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Leadership & Administration

Our leadership and administration team leads center-wide efforts in establishing new areas of research and academic exploration, engaging the expertise and commitment of partnerships and funding sources, and raising public awareness to improve the education and quality of life of children and families.

Executive Team

David Danahar, Ph.D.
Interim Executive Director

Dr. Danahar has held high-level administrative posts at several universities. He currently serves the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as the Senior Adviser to the President and as the Interim Executive Director for the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development. From August 2014 to June 2016, Danahar was interim dean of Arts and Sciences and senior adviser to the president at St. Bonaventure University in St. Bonaventure, N.Y. He served as interim provost of Valdosta State University in Georgia from August 2013 to June 2014 and president of Southwest Minnesota State University from 2001 to 2011. Danahar was provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Loyola University in New Orleans from 1992 to 2001. There, he was responsible for the overall administration of the university, with special emphasis on planning, budgeting, evaluation, sponsored research, and faculty recruitment and development. He was also a professor of history at Loyola during his tenure as president. Danahar taught at several other universities. He was a visiting lecturer at the Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Parma in Parma, Italy.

Early Childhood Director & Loyd J Rockhold Endowed Chair

The Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning at the University of Louisiana Lafayette seeks qualified candidates to apply for an Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Development. The successful candidate will be appointed as a tenured full professor with the expectation that he or she will lead and establish a comprehensive research agenda focused on young children, their families and their communities. This research agenda will focus on matters of policy and practice, and it will seek to provide a foundation for leading, supporting and informing early childhood education initiatives in Louisiana and, where appropriate, on a national level. Additionally, it is expected that this senior scholar will build a community of early childhood research scholars at the Picard Center and will work cooperatively with the development of an expanded early childhood curriculum offered by the University’s College of Education.  The senior scholar who occupies this endowed chair will be responsible for securing significant external funding to support and sustain the early childhood research programs of the Picard Center and their associated personnel costs.

Finance & Administration Team

Kathryn B. LeBlanc, M.P.A.
Chief Financial Officer

Ms. LeBlanc is responsible for all center budget development, supervision and monitoring. She directs the human resources, procurement, contracts and accounting functions of the Center and provides functional supervision, technical assistance, and budgetary support to individual project budgets. All Center projects are supported by the Chief Financial Officer. LeBlanc has over 20 years of financial experience in public budgeting, including budget administration. She has worked extensively with the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) formula, as well as charter school financing. As a Budget Administrator, her responsibilities included supervision, preparation, coordination, review and control of complex budgets with multiple diverse funding sources. She has experience in forecasting of expenditures and revenue, in performing field audits of institutional budgets, and in reviewing agency performance indicators and fiscal notes.

Read more about Kathryn and her work at the Center.

Chelsea Comeaux, B.S.
Financial and Operations Coordinator

Ms. Comeaux works directly with the CFO, the Compliance/Budget Officer, and all Picard staff to maintain and monitor project files and maintains all personnel and employment records for the Center. She works to support all Center-wide projects. Comeaux has over 15 years experience in Finance and Business Management with 10 years in the public sector.

Read more about Chelsea and her work at the Center.


Megan A. Bergeron, M.S.
Compliance/Budget Officer

Ms. Bergeron has nearly eight years of cumulative experience in research administration at a doctoral-granting institution with Higher Research Activity. She has served as a research administrator at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, first as a pre-award administrator in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs under the Vice President for Research, then moving up into the role of Senior Pre-Award Administrator in the same office. Currently, she is the Compliance/Budget Officer at the Picard Center, overseeing research administration and compliance for a team of active investigators in the areas of early childhood development and education; early language, literacy and cognitive development; and health, well-being and quality of life studies. She also provides guidance to investigators in project development, data collection and analysis, and project management (including programmatic, administrative, and fiscal oversight).

Read more about Megan and her work at the Center.

Management Information Services (MIS): Data, Analysis, and Technology Team

Jing Chen, M.S.
Research Associate

As the Data Security Officer, Ms. Chen is responsible for all IT administrative functions related to planning, budgeting, hardware, and software acquisition. She is also responsible for the management of remote distribution and maintenance of enterprise and local area network software for the entirety of the center. Chen is accountable for the following systems: Antivirus software, Microsoft Windows Server; Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server and various application systems.

Read more about Jing and her work at the Center.


Brandon Charles, M.B.A.
Data Coordinator

Mr. Charles works under the direction of the Data Security Officer and assists staff with the collection, management, and reporting of education related information. He oversees the review and verification of data collected by the department for validity and accuracy by using a variety of analytical and statistical methods. Charles also assists in defining, comparing, presenting, and recommending the implementation of specific data collection activities and educational research approaches; assists in design, development and maintenance of computerized databases containing data on public and non-public education required by the production of reports; assists with designing and identifying measurements standards which are used in reporting of departmental projects; helps conduct training of staff about department data collection and procedures; researches, designs and evaluates current and long range plans for data collection procedures; serves on a team of data analyst and project personnel in securing the best possible results for evaluation of departmental projects, and assists in the creation of grants and proposals that are crucial to departmental success.

Read more about Brandon and his work at the Center.

Christopher P. Reed, M.S., M.B.A.
Information Technology Coordinator

Mr. Reed is responsible for the Picard Center’s IT systems administration, network, server functioning as well as providing desktop computing environment support for Picard staff. Reed focuses on monitoring and maintaining the systems, computing environment for optimal productivity at the Center. He also provides customer service to staff, students, and faculty. In support of the Center’s business operations, Reed also provides assistance to the Center’s rental operations.

Read more about Chris and his work at the Center.