The Faces of Leona
The essence of Leona Group is the cumulative passion, dedication and expertise of its people. Every Leona team member is an integral part of the continued success of its students. Founded by Dr. Bill Coats, national leader in education reform, Leona continues to change the landscape of public education. When you partner with us, these faces and more than 2,000 others work collectively to bring your school’s mission and vision to life and to improve the nation’s education landscape.
Dr. William Coats • Chief Executive Officer
William (Bill) Coats, Ph.D., has worked to improve public education throughout his career
as a school superintendent, university professor, foundation director and now chief executive
officer of The Leona Group, L.L.C.
As superintendent of public school districts across the nation, Dr. Coats worked within the
system to allow parents freedom and choice within the schools, empower teachers and staff,
and promote the idea that all children can learn.
Dr. Coats holds a master’s degree in educational psychology and a doctorate in research design
and data analysis in education from the University of Michigan.
Michele Kaye • Chief Operating Officer
Michele Kaye began her career with The Leona Group in January 2000 as an English teacher
at Maya High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Ms. Kaye has since held progressive positions within
the organization including assistant school leader, curriculum coach and director of Leona’s
Quality Schools Initiative (QSI).
Ms. Kaye holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Arizona State University and a Master of Arts
in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.
Georgia Rodgers • Executive Vice President of Midwest Operations
Georgia Rodgers serves as executive vice president for The Leona Group’s Midwest operations. This position is directly responsible for ensuring strong leadership and execution of The Leona Group’s vision and mission and the supporting operational plans.
In her role, Ms. Rodgers manages effective coordination and communication among The Leona Group’s schools, corporate office, regional leadership team and other high priority stakeholders.
Prior to joining The Leona Group’s corporate team, Ms. Rodgers was school leader at Allen Academy
in Detroit and has been with the organization since 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction from University of Detroit Mercy.
Patrick Lawrence • Chief Financial Officer
Patrick Lawrence graduated from Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan with a Bachelor’s of
Business Administration in accounting with an emphasis on business administration. Lawrence
worked at a large insurance company in Michigan for five years before joining The Leona
Group in 1997. Mr. Lawrence serves in the capacity of chief financial officer and is currently
based out of the Arizona corporate office.
Teri Knick • Vice President for Human Resources
A native of Phoenix, Teri Knick graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of
Arts in elementary education. After teaching elementary school for five years, Ms. Knick
entered the business world where she received training and education in human resources.
She was the human resources director for LETCO, Inc., KSAZ-TV Channel 10, and was regional
human resources manager for Blood Systems, Inc. before joining The Leona Group in 2002.
Ms. Knick has held Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification from the HR
Certification Institute of The Society for Human Resource Management since 1999.
Mary Berg • Vice President for Academic Support Services
Mary Berg began her career at The Leona Group in 1999 at Summit High School as a math teacher, assistant principal and curriculum coach until moving to TLG corporate to work with the Director of QSI. Mary currently coordinates the Academic Support Services team to ensure that all of its efforts are support-driven and focused on the academic success of our schools.
Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Management, a post baccalaureate in secondary mathematics education and a Masters degree in physical therapy.
Michelle Thomas • General Counsel
Michelle Thomas has an impressive background and comes from a family of educators. She has a B.S. from the University of Michigan, M.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University and a J.D. from Wayne State Law School. She is passionate about her work and committed to making a difference.
Rachael Parks • Director of Technology
Rachael Parks leads the technology team for The Leona Group. Ms. Parks’ team has expertise
in translating board and academy desires into workable technology solutions, ensuring maximum value for every technology dollar expended. Schools are able to take advantage of TLG’s pre-negotiated volume purchasing prices including Internet connectivity, hardware and software.
The technology team’s on-staff specialists assist with connectivity projects including data and telephone cabling, minor electrical, construction project data infrastructure oversight and phone system installation and updates. Rachael joined the organization in 1999.