Meet the Board of Directors
Each June, the Board of Directors holds an annual meeting to nominate members, select officers and recognize members who are ending terms of service. The nominations and roles are effective beginning July 1.
Leona Lucas, Board and Vice Chair – Leona Lucas is a senior technical director with AT&T. She has experience working for SBC and Missouri Higher Education Learning Authority. She volunteers with Big Brother Big Sister, Girls Incorporated and St. Louis Crisis Nursery. She is a member of Telephone Communication Pioneers and the AT&T Community Network Mentoring and AT&T Aspire Mentoring programs. She has a degree in business administration and a master’s degree in human resource management from Lindenwood University. Ms. Lucas joined the Board in June 2014.
Essence Owens, Secretary – Essence Owens is a former parent at Confluence Academy-Old North. Her interest in serving on the board represents her principles of giving back to the community and a love of learning. She is a volunteer member of the Confluence Strategic Planning Curriculum Sub-Committee. She has more than 15 years of experience in customer service, with 11 years of experience in managing, scheduling and training staff. Her management experience includes working with municipal and government agencies. Ms. Owens earned an associate degree in information systems at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Columbia College. Ms. Owens joined the Board in April 2016.
Odis Johnson Jr., PhD – Dr. Odis Johnson Jr., Professor, Departments of Sociology and Education (Joint) Associate Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Equity (CREE) Professor, Brown School of Social Work (Courtesy), Faculty Scholar, Institute for Public Health Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to his appointments at Washington University, Dr. Johnson chaired the African American Studies Department in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland and was a Faculty Associate at the Maryland Population Research Center. Dr. Johnson’s research examines how neighborhoods, schools, and public policies related to social inequality, youth development, and the status of African American populations. His work on these topics has earned him a National Academies Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, the first won by someone in the field of education in the history of the interdisciplinary competition, and the 2013 Outstanding Review of Research Award from the American Educational Research Association, the leading professional association of education research. Grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Spencer Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and American Educational Research Association have supported Dr. Johnson's research, leading to a better understanding of how policies have sought to influence neighborhood differences in school functioning and achievement, and of the policy and residential dynamics related to the status of African American males in particular. His most recent work is funded by the National Institutes of Health and uses multilevel statistical methodologies to assess neighborhood risk propensity factors related to adolescents’ educational self-concept and persistence. Dr. Johnson serves on the editorial boards of the Review of Educational Research and the Urban Review makes frequent appearances in media outlets and serves as an advisor to governmental agencies and school systems to improve the lives of young people, urban neighborhoods, and social services.
Jack Williams., Ed.D – Jack Williams has served as an interim leader for two charter schools: Preclarus Mastery Academy and St. Louis Language Immersion Schools. He has over 10 years of experience as a building principal and 16 years of experience as an assistant superintendent. As assistant superintendent, he has served in the areas of curriculum and instruction and human resources. He is currently an assistant professor in the School of Education at Maryville University. He has leadership and volunteer experience as a member of the Rotary Club of Overland for 20+ years as well as serving on the Board of the Ritenour Pride and Promise Foundation and the Ready to Learn Organization. His experience is extended and not limited to strategic and school improvement planning, budgeting, leadership development, evaluation of professional and classified staff, and curriculum planning. He has a Bachelor of Education degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology from Lincoln University, a Master of Elementary School Administration from Saint Louis University, and a doctorate degree in Educational Administration from Saint Louis University.
Lance LeComb – Treasurer As Community Development Executive, Lance LeComb is responsible for communicating Ameren Missouri's community and economic development programs and energy product and service offerings. He also liaisons with Ameren Missouri operations as it responds to local service issues and plans for impending construction projects. Drawing on his extensive public affairs and policy development experience, Lance works to facilitate partnerships and develop solutions that advance the shared goals of Ameren and the communities it serves. With primary responsibility for the St. Louis metro area counties of Lincoln, St. Charles, and Warren, Lance serves as the point of contact for local government officials and community leaders to foster collaboration and understanding of public priorities, local initiatives, and constituent needs as they relate to the delivery of Ameren services. In 2020, Lance joined Ameren Missouri from his public affairs consultancy, LeComb Consulting, LLC. Prior to consulting, he served in leadership roles with St. Louis County and the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. With over 25 years of experience in government affairs, stakeholder relations, media relations, issues management, and crisis communications, Lance has a record of creating outcomes to difficult challenges that are respectful and inclusive. Possessing a deep commitment to strengthening our shared metropolitan community and creating understanding amongst diverse stakeholders, Lance has and continues to serve in leadership positions with numerous civic and professional organizations. Lance graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and has continued his studies through post-graduate programs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis; the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and the Kellogg School of Management Executive Education at Northwestern University. He is also a graduate of FOCUS St. Louis’ Leadership St. Louis Program.