The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching has served as a springboard for opportunities too numerous to mention. It has allowed me to expand my network, broaden my outreach, and advocate for STEM education on a much wider and more diverse scale than ever before.

Leslie Blanchard Plaquemine, LA | 7-12, Science, 2002

Dr. Leslie Blanchard has worked in the field of education for more than 25 years. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Leadership Development Institute at Louisiana State University (LSU). From 1996 to 2008, Leslie 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 Mathematics and Science Teaching given by President George W. Bush in 2003. For 10 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. In 2013, Dr. Blanchard assumed the role of Assistant Dean of the College of Agriculture where she served for five years. 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. Her research focus is in the areas of leadership development and evaluation, particularly in K-20 education. Dr. Blanchard received her B.S. in secondary education from Nicholls State University in 1996; her M.Ed. from Southern University in 2001; and her Ph.D. in Human Resource Education from Louisiana State University in 2013.

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