Leslie Blanchard, Ph.D., Executive Director
Dr. Leslie Blanchard has worked in the field of education for 23 years. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Leadership Development Institute at Louisiana State University.
From 1996 to 2008, Blanchard worked exclusively in the K-12 world. As a classroom English and Secondary Science teacher, she was both a school and district level teacher of the year, as well as the Louisiana recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching given by President George W. Bush in 2003. For ten of those years, Dr. Blanchard served as a professional development specialist in the areas of New Teacher Induction, STEM, and Technology Integration in Curriculum. She is also a talented grant writer who has procured more than $13 million in state and federal funding for her districts.
Dr. Blanchard moved to LSU in 2009 where she served as the Operations Manager for the Masters of Natural Sciences degree in the Cain Center for STEM Literacy. She directed the processes for the Louisiana Math and Science Teachers’ Institute (LaMSTI), a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation and the Central Louisiana Academic Residency Program for Teachers (CART), a $16 million grant from the United States Department of Education until their expiration. Both programs supported middle and high school STEM teachers to pursue advanced degrees including leadership development components taught by Dr. Blanchard.
In 2013, Dr. Blanchard assumed the role of Assistant Dean of the College of Agriculture where she served for five years. She supervised the recruitment/retention, student services, employee engagement/internships, and study abroad units for 1400 students. During her tenure, she created the Governors’ School for Agricultural Sciences and Project EXPLORE (grant funded through USDA) which provided leadership and workforce development opportunities for high school and undergraduate students.
Dr. Blanchard accepted the position as Executive Director of the LDI in August of 2018. She has directed her efforts toward improved outcomes in K-12 schools and districts through customized, strategic, and deliberate leadership development. Dr. Blanchard’s research focus is in the areas of leadership development and evaluation, particularly in K-20 education. Her dissertation researched the method of using self-assessment of efficacy and student feedback as a component of K-12 teacher evaluation, and she continues her research as it relates to leadership development and evaluation across all workforce areas in the human services sector. Dr. Blanchard has developed and taught leadership courses at the undergraduate and graduate level for the past ten years, and has consulted and coached with individuals, teams, and large groups to facilitate organizational effectiveness and improved culture and climate. Her passion is to “develop the people that develop people,” and she hopes that her efforts to cultivate great leaders in the human services field will have a positive lasting impact on the communities that LSU serves.
Lacy Dicharry, MS, MBA, Assistant Director
Lacy Dicharry currently serves as a CEO, Coach, & Consultant for LacyDee Consulting, and as Co-Founder of Elevate Young Professionals. Prior to this role, Lacy served as the start-up CEO for the Kevin and Margaret Hines Foundation and as a Partner and Change Specialist with Change Matrix, LLC a change management consulting firm, and served as the Executive Director of Youth MOVE (Motivating Others through Voices of Experience) National, a youth-led, non-profit organization that advocates for and supports youth voice.
Lacy is an internationally known expert in youth engagement, and has lead the nation in several innovative youth-led programs and helped set standards for youth engagement practice. Over the past 15 years, her work has impacted more than 250,000+ individuals in more than 40+ countries around the world. She was a 2014 VOICE Award winner for her advocacy efforts to promote youth engagement and National Association of Professional Women VIP Woman of the Year in 2016.
Lacy had to work to overcome many challenges, including abuse, multiple mental health diagnoses, suicidal ideation, alcohol, and trauma responses before finding her way to recovery. Lacy also serves as the Vice-President for the International Foster Care Organization, and on the boards of Foster Care Alumni of America, Mental Health America, and was a Founding Board Member with Youth People in Recovery. She continues to advocate for positive changes for youth through sharing her story and consultation for local, state, national and international initiatives and organizations. Through coaching and mentoring other young people, she inspires them to do the same.
Deana Losavio Meredith, Program Coordinator
Deana Meredith has worked in multi-media relations, consulting and advertising for over 10 years. She has decided to apply this extensive knowledge to her new role as Program Coordinator for the Leadership Development Institute where she manages day-to-day operations, communications with internal and external stakeholders and collaborations with the LDI team on every detail happening behind-the-scenes ensuring clients have the best possible experience. Deana is an alum of LSU with a degree in Communication Studies. She was born and raised in Baton Rouge and has a passion to serve the community where she grew up and beyond. She is proud to be a part of an organization that allows her to hit that mark while developing her personal and professional goals at the same time. Deana is humbled to be one of the first followers of the important work happening at the LDI and is striving every day to live the values written on the LDI walls: servant leadership and radical compassion. With a great mission and remarkable leadership, the LDI has grown quickly and she is excited to be part of a dynamic team that cooperates effectively to expand the institute’s reach for positive social impact.