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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

Rachel A. Gordon, Ph.D.
Director of the Picard Center, the Loyd J Rockhold Endowed Chair in Child Development, and a Professor of Sociology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Rachel A. Gordon became director of the Picard Center in August 2021 after two decades at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she was a tenured Professor of Sociology and served as Chair of Social Science Research and Chair of the Executive Committee in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was Associate Director for the Social Sciences at the Institute for Health Research and Policy, and, was a tenured Professor and Senior Scholar at the University of Illinois System’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs where she Chaired the System-Wide Working Group on Education and Learning. In 2018, Dr. Gordon was awarded one of UIC’s top honors, as Distinguished Researcher of the Year for the Social Sciences. Throughout her career, Dr. Gordon has worked at the intersection of academic research and social policy, including through directing the Illinois Family Impact Seminars for a decade and launching the Illinois chapter of NEW Leadership with the Conference of Women Legislators of the Illinois General Assembly. Drawing on multiple disciplines and methods, Gordon’s research broadly examines contextual, social, and policy factors that support and constrain children’s development.

Read more about Rachel and her work at the Center.


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.