Board of Directors

Nana Yaw Appah - Bio_Headshot_auto_x2.jpg

Mr. Nana Yaw Appah-Sampong

Co-Chair

 

Mr. Appah-Sampong is a graduate of Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut, USA). As the son of Ghanaian parents, he has always desired to live a purpose-driven life, and more importantly, to improve the lives of others. Since joining Spire, a local gas distribution business, in 2019, Mr. Appah-Sampong has been actively engaged in the company's investor relations and treasury departments. In his previous role, Mr. Appah-Sampong was a junior investment banker at Wells Fargo Securities, where his primary emphasis was on capital market transactions in the energy and public power industries.

 

Mr. Appah-Sampong and his wife have three beautiful daughters. He has been serving on LEA's Board of Directors since 2021.

J McLarnon.jpeg

Mrs. Jennifer McLarnon

Co-Chair

 

Mrs. McLarnon is a Security Consulting Senior Manager at Accenture and the group lead for Public Service clients in the Northeastern region of the United States. She supports clients in health and human services, public sector health, education, public safety, cities, transport and infrastructure, and non-profits. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Cybersecurity at Assumption University in Worcester, Massachusetts (USA). Prior to her current role at Accenture, she worked as the Chief Information Officer at Boston College High School. In this role, she oversaw IT infrastructure, delivery, and security, developing a great deal of empathy for CIO/CISOs and the challenges facing public service clients related to digital transformation and innovation. 

Mrs. McLarnon is a strategic leader and a relationship builder focused on creating cultures that value privacy and security and align cybersecurity efforts with business strategy, deeply committed to diversity, social equity, and belonging. She also serves as a mentor with Women In CyberSecurity (WiCyS) and Hack.Diversity, a member of the Mashpee Advanced Cable and Technology Advisory Board, a member of the NYC Cyber Critical Services and Infrastructure (CCSI) Project, and a member of the Customer Advisory Boards at Spirion and Winslow Technology Group.

 

Mrs. McLarnon lives with her husband, two sons, and their dog. She has been serving on LEA's Board of Directors since 2022.

Mengistu  W.jpg

Mr. Mengistu Weldemariam

Co-Chair

 

Mr. Weldemariam is a proud African of Ethiopian heritage, born and raised in Addis Ababa. With a background in governance, financial auditing, and financial literacy, spanning over 20 years, he is currently a Senior Financial Counselor and Clinical Supervisor. He has also worked as a Senior Business Consultant and had a stint in academia as a lecturer in finance and accounting. 

 

Over the years, Mr. Weldemariam has been a keen advocate for others achieving mental, physical, and financial wellbeing. Passionate about social justice and improving systems, he also holds the strong belief that education is key to sparking social change and building vibrant communities.

 

Mr. Weldemariam currently resides in Australia, where he is happily married with four children (two boys and two girls): Addis, Solomon, Abysinia, and Gabriel. He has been serving on LEA's Board of Directors since 2022.

Liberty.jpeg

Mr. Jeff Liberty

Co-Chair

 

Mr. Liberty is BetterLesson’s National Vice President of Urban & Strategic Partnerships. An educational pioneer with over 20 years of experience as a teacher, a district administrator, literacy coach, and a founding principal of an ecology-themed secondary school in Boston, Massachusetts (USA), he joined the BetterLesson team in 2014 to design and to lead the Blended Master Teacher Project and is responsible for BetterLesson’s professional learning partnerships with schools and districts on three continents. Mr. Liberty also directs BetterLesson’s thought leadership in the areas of blended and personalized learning.

 

A father of two middle school students in the United States, Mr. Liberty is passionate about building loving, innovative, and equity-minded schools and systems that are worthy of the children and communities they serve. He has been serving on LEA's Board of Directors since 2021.

4.jpg

Dr. Chukwuma Ekwelum

ex-officio

 

Dr. Ekwelum is proud to be serving as LEA's chief transformational leader, on the ground. For him, Legacy of Excellence Academy has been nothing short of a dream come true, starting as a mere idea that the Lord placed on his heart years ago. With over a decade of experience in the field of education, he brings to this position a profound respect for the process of successfully guiding our youth and the process of supporting continuous adult learning - two areas that require a great deal of humility and compassion. Specializing in culturally responsive teaching and learning, school start up, school turnaround, and teacher retention, Dr. Ekwelum is the author of Education's Silent Exodus: A Critical Exploration of Race & the Shortage of Black Men in the Teaching Profession.

Dr. Ekwelum is kept grounded by his faith, his Nigerian heritage, and his family, specifically his incredible wife and their three, precocious children.

Board Meeting Dates:

*NoteSummaries of meeting minutes are available, upon formal request: cekwelum@legacyrw.org.