We are pleased to announce that Dr. Leanne M. Roberts has recently joined our PLS 3rd Learning team as our new Chief Innovation Officer and EVP.
Dr. Roberts has over three decades of experience spanning K-12, corporate, and higher education, and a broad range of expertise in developing and implementing strategy that aligns with industry trends. She is skilled at quickly understanding any industry or academic discipline, the key players, and related value drivers while intuitively weaving together people, ideas, and strategy to generate innovation and transformational opportunities for organizational stakeholders.
Leanne comes to PLS 3rd Learning after a three year appointment as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Mercyhurst University after 17 years of increasing academic leadership responsibility and portfolio with the institution. During that time, Leanne founded the Mercyhurst University Carpe Diem Academy, a nationally recognized K-2 extended-day learning program for inner-city children and their families, was the 2014 recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award, and secured over $8 Million in funding through grants, contracts, and strategic partnerships.
Prior to her higher education experience, Dr. Roberts worked in the private sector as a corporate consultant, trainer, and educator providing customized programs and services to both public and private sector clients including but not limited to, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Goodyear, Quest Diagnostics, and Veteran Affairs Medical Centers. Leanne’s career began in an early childhood classroom teaching kindergarten and first grade students with a specialization in literacy and reading education.
Although Dr. Roberts has an extensive background in education, her earliest jobs included working in her family’s Italian deli in Pittsburgh, going to the Strip District at dawn for produce and Mancini’s Italian bread for the deli; spending college summer breaks working on a “30 man”” road crew filling potholes, painting road lines, and signs, etc.; and bartending and waiting tables at a comedy club and golf club through college which she continued to do part-time once she started teaching. Mamma Mia!
In her spare time, Dr. Roberts enjoys attending live events sporting events (from Nascar to PGA), theatre (from Broadway to small community theatre), music events (from open mic nights to stadium concerts) — you name it, she’s in! Dr. Roberts says, “I really enjoy taking in the energy of a live performance or competition with others. I feel it feeds my soul, almost like a renewing mini-vacation.”
On the weekends, you’ll find Dr. Roberts and her husband, Dr. Joseph M. Morris, Chair of the Political Science Department at Mercyhurst University, cheering on their 12 year old son, Logan at his hockey games at rinks across Ontario, CA and the US, or golfing with him in the summer months. While their daughter Gracie has headed off to college to study Intelligence Studies and Cyber Security, they still make time to feed Gracie’s love of musical theatre and stage performance and take in shows together (when COVID cooperates) and catch her on open mic nights too!
Lastly, Dr. Roberts recently added a new fur baby to her family. Sparky, who is pictured above, is a West Highland Terrier (Westie) and was a surprise for Logan during the pandemic.
Please help us welcome Dr. Roberts to our team. We are delighted to have her on board!
Connect with Dr. Roberts on LinkedIn.
Fun fact! This isn’t Dr. Robert’s first experience with PLS. In 1989, Dr. Roberts took a professional development course with PLS Classes the first year she started teaching. Talk about a full circle experience!