The LEANLAB team is comprised of a small group of passionate individuals, dedicated to supporting education innovators and finding the very best solutions to the most endemic problems in K12 education.
A native of Kansas City and the daughter of two community organizers, Katie Boody has worked in public education in KCMO since 2008. Seemingly always involved in the "startup" phase of organizations, Katie was a charter corps member of Teach For America Kansas City, a founding member of C.A. Franklin's middle school team in Kansas City Public Schools, a founding teacher at Alta Vista Charter Middle School School, and eventually, a founder of LEANLAB. Katie taught middle school math for five years and later worked as an instructional coach. Holding a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis in dance, an M.Ed. in Middle School Education, and an Ed.S. in Education Leadership, Katie is interested in exploring the unique intersections of urban education, creativity, community building, entrepreneurship, and the hospitality of Kansas City BBQ. Katie has been recognized as a 2017 NextGen Leader, Techweek 100 (2015 & 2017), Leadership for Educational Equity Public Leadership Fellow, and is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Kansas City Teacher Residency.
Director of Innovation Programs
Descending from a family of entrepreneurs and the daughter of a lifelong educator, it makes sense that Stephanie would find herself working where education and innovation intersect. She discovered the burgeoning Kansas City startup scene while pursuing her MBA at UMKC and proclaimed “I’ve found my people!” Prior to joining LEANLAB, she worked in the higher education sector as the Operations Manager for the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Bloch School of Management and managed E-Scholars—an early-stage accelerator program at UMKC. Stephanie is passionate about the arts and spent six years marketing nationally touring Broadway shows. In her free time, Stephanie attends as much theater as possible and is a busy mama of three. Stephanie holds an MBA from UMKC and a B.S. in Journalism, Strategic Communications from the University of Kansas, William Allen White School of Journalism.
Operations Coordinator VISTA
Mary holds a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In her previous work, she traveled to a variety of schools teaching skills students needed to transition from high school into the community. Mary worked with students to set goals related to college, immediate employment, and housing. During her work in the classroom, she saw students and teachers frustrated with the regular school curriculum. They often would become tired and disinterested in the activities. Many students didn’t have the motivation to get a passing grade. Knowing this, Mary was even more motivated to ensure that the transition topics challenged and excited them each week, and eventually came to care deeply about education innovation. These experiences have informed her work at LEANLAB. Aside from social media, Mary’s other passion is spending time with her cat Princess—who recently celebrated her second birthday with a party.
Marketing and Fund Development Coordinator
Hailing from Pittsburg, KS, Alexander has worked as a freelancer since graduating from Pittsburg State University with a B.A. in Technical Writing. His freelance work allowed him to work with both private and nonprofit entities, exploring a passion for design and writing that places accessibility at the forefront of all work. Alexander’s current work at LEANLAB and outside pursuit as a musician is a perfect melding of the values he learned from his parents—a children’s librarian and a folk musician.
Ebony Edwards, Ph.D.
Director of research and Community Partnerships
Ebony was born on the east side of Kansas City where she graduated from high school before going on to receive her B.A. from Clark Atlanta University and M.A. and Ph.D. in Community Psychology from University of Illinois at Chicago. But the experience and privilege of attending a private school on the apparently west side of Kansas City stuck with her when later life experiences awakened her to the harsh reality for many people. Her mission became to increase the effectiveness of organizations seeking to advance those facing systemic barriers. Ebony has spent the last 10 years equipping school district administration, program developers, and policy-makers in multiple cities and states with research, evaluation, and technical assistance to guide decision-making. Ebony is excited to now share this skillset with innovators through LEANLAB.
LEANLAB Board of Directors
Our board is composed of industry leaders who oversee the LEANLAB vision; a group with a zealous and singular commitment to see that all children have equal access to stellar education.
Chairman of the Board
Director of Community Health Initiatives at Children's Mercy Hospital
Co-Founder CEO of Netchemia,
Co-Founder, Managing Director of Novel Growth Partners