Leslie Blanchard, PhD, Executive Director
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. Leslie Blanchard has worked in the field of education for over 25 years. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Leadership Development Institute at Louisiana State University.
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 1,400 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.
Twana Yvette Hilton-Pitre, PhD, Assistant Director
Dr. Twana Yvette Hilton-Pitre received her BA and MEd in Elementary Education and
Administration/Supervision from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dr.
Hilton-Pitre completed her PhD in Educational Leadership and Human Resource Studies/Counseling
from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Dr. Twana Yvette Hilton-Pitre’s experiences span the range of K-12 and higher education. She has been an associate professor, assistant professor, teacher, school counselor, assistant principal, principal, and district administrator. Dr. Hilton-Pitre has worked as an assistant professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver teaching undergraduate students in the field of elementary education and an associate professor at Grambling State University teaching graduate students in the Educational Leadership program. She has previously taught courses in the P-12 Educational Leadership Ph.D. department at LSU and worked as a University Supervisor for the LSU teacher preparation program.
In addition to making a positive impact in higher education, Dr. Hilton-Pitre has made a significant difference in the K-12 sector. During her tenure as principal in Ascension Parish, she developed a strong leadership team and transformed the school performance score (SPS) from a 79 “C” to a SPS of 100.5 “A”. From 2018-2021, Dr. Twana Hilton-Pitre served as an Executive Director for School Leadership over select elementary, middle and high school principals in Baton Rouge, LA. As an Executive Director, she supported the district’s low-performing high-poverty schools by increasing student achievement while enhancing leadership development.
Currently, Dr. Hilton-Pitre serves as the Assistant Director for Leadership Development at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. She is responsible for design, implementation, and management of the Leadership Development Institute programming with the K-12 audience at every level as well as facilitation of presentations in various departments across the campus of LSU. Dr. Twana Hilton-Pitre’s educational training and diverse experience in education and management have provided her with invaluable insight in the areas of professional development, district consulting, education, student achievement, counseling, and leadership.
Deana Losavio Meredith, Operations Manager
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 Operations Manager 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