2018 LEANLAB K12 Fellows

This year we received more applications than ever before for our fellowship program. We saw a tremendous amount of highly-qualified candidates interested in making an impact for students in Kansas City. The selection process was especially tough but we relied on the conversations during our listening tour to guide the selection process. Next month, these six bold entrepreneurs will join us for our K12 Fellowship to develop their innovations in partnership with Crossroads Preparatory Academy, Lee A. Tolbert, and Pitcher Elementary.

Artboard 1 copy 5.png

Base Academy of Music

Clint Velazquez, CEO

Clint Velazquez is a lifelong musician and has over 15 years experience as a music teacher. Clint holds a B.M. from Kansas State University in Music Theater and founded Base Academy of Music in 2013 as a way to fill a need in the Kansas City community and make music education affordable and accessible for urban families.

Artboard 1 copy 7.png

Doors to Explore

Kelley Johnson, CEO

Kelley Johnson has 20+ years of experience in high-tech as an engineer and business leader at NASA, Lockheed Martin, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and Intel Corporation. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science Engineering, M.S. in Electrical Engineering, and M.B.A. Kelley serves in STEM workforce development advisory roles for industry groups, state-level committees, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Artboard 1 copy 9.png

K12 Perform

Brett Simpson, CEO

Serial entrepreneur with 20 years in consulting & software, Accenture & Archer Technologies Executive, Active investor & advisor on strategy, operations & delivery

Brad Maclaughlin, Chief Learning Officer

20 years in education with 10 years in district senior leadership, Delivered state leading 21.8% increase over 5 years in MO APR, Collaborates with Ford NGL, Kauffman, Walton, Hall Foundations

Artboard 1 copy 3.png


AJ DeLeon, CEO

A former educator, school improvement coach, data strategist in Chicago Public Schools, and consultant at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, AJ is our internal strategist and team leader. AJ was recognized as a 2016 EPic alumnus of Education Pioneers, is an inaugural fellow of The Surge Institute, and is an admirer of the art of Frida Kahlo.

Nick Freeman, President

A private sector transplant, former data strategist in Chicago Public Schools, and recent Education Pioneers alumnus, Nick leads the delivery of products/services to our partners, and is our internal financial leader. Nick is a self-proclaimed data geek, proud Chicago Hyde Park native, and new connoisseur of Kansas City BBQ.

Artboard 1 copy.png


Shanti Elangovan, CEO

After obtaining an M.Ed from Columbia University, Shanti Elangovan served as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and curriculum director, before directing programs at the National Center for Teacher Residencies. In 2017 Shanti founded inquirED to scale the use and impact of inquiry-based learning, a powerful teaching pedagogy that prepares students for the 21st century.

Artboard 1 copy 11.png

Words Liive

Sage Salvo, President

Gil Perkins, doing business as Sage Salvo, is the artist, scholar, and social entrepreneur founder of Words Liive and a 2017 graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School where he earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA). Armed with a patented algorithm to import song lyrics into classroom texts to augment literacy-based curriculum for schools, Mr. Salvo's organization is dedicated to eradicating illiteracy across the world, and particularly in marginalized urban and rural districts.