(727) 281-6564 veall@blilearning.org

OUR TEAM

Meet Our Dynamic Team

MISSION & VISION

BLI’s mission is to promote self-worth, increase academic proficiency, and instill a love of learning in all children.  Leah Veal, a specialist level educator and equity champion, founded the organization so that children from every socioeconomic status will have access to a high-quality education. Our team envisions a world where all children have access to effective and inspiring learning programs.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Lorena Grizzle

Lorena Grizzle

President

Pinellas County Schools

Lorena Grizzle is a 14-year teacher with Pinellas County Schools. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Fine Arts, and had a career in art, banking and sales before returning to teaching. She earned a Masters degree in Exceptional Student Education in 2011 and a Master’s in Reading Education in 2012 from USF St. Petersburg. Hobbies include art, cartooning and swimming. She lives with her son in Largo, FL.

Patrick H. Mazza

Patrick H. Mazza

Vice President

Mazza Insurance

Patrick is the President of Mazza Insurance & Financial Services. He brings over 22 years of experience in insurance and risk management to the board. Patrick is a husband, a father, and a long time resident of Florida. He is invested in making sure that Florida youth have access to quality educational programs. He happily volunteers his time to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed.

Howard Braun

Howard Braun

Treasurer

Score Mentor

Howard is a proven problem solver with extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. He has worked as an engineer, a management consultant in planning, an investment banker, and a compliance officer. Although retired, he continues to volunteer as a Score Mentor in Pinellas County and his background in both fundraising and finance make him a valued addition to the team. He brings an MIT education and over 55 years of practical experience to the board.

Tina Fischer

Tina Fischer

Board MEmber

Fletcher Fischer Pollack P.L

Tina represents developers and small and medium-sized businesses as outside corporate and real estate counsel. She also represents landlords and tenants in commercial lease transactions and provide assistance to clients with land acquisition and disposition, due diligence, environmental permitting, and negotiation of land use approvals, master development agreements, interlocal agreements and public/private partnership agreements. Tina is dedicated to her community as active board member and supporter.

Cailey Klassen

Cailey Klassen

Board Member

Gulfport Library

Cailey Klasson is a youth services librarian in the City of Gulfport. She is also an active board member of the Sonia Plotnick Health Fund supporting PR, Social Media, and Community Outreach for non-profit women’s health fund serving the Tampa Bay area. She has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science and a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature. She is a certified FTCE Educational Media Specialist for PK-12.

David Lafferty

David Lafferty

Local Moguls

Board Member

David is the founder of Local Moguls and graduate of the University of Kentucky. He is a marketing maverick and digital communications developer who loves helping businesses in his local area grow and thrive. David lives in Lexington, KY with his partner of 10 years, his son, Owen, and his two bulldogs. 

Marisa Campbell

Marisa Campbell

Advisory Board Mentor

Marisa attended Hollins College where she graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and French. She spent four years in service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa studying rural community development. After returning to the States, she founded Campbell Concierge Services. She continuously pursues her love of learning through travel and has visited over 50 countries to date! Marisa is thrilled to support an organization where she can share her knowledge and talents with young learners. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, Kenneth Campbell, and their 3 dogs.

Charla Heersche

Charla Heersche

Board Member

Board Member

Charla is a former educator and current director of Faith Lutheran Childcare. She graduated with her Master’s in Early Education, and she is a native of Lexington, KY. Charla is committed to helping all children in her local community believe and do good, learn and grow, and become inspired to make the world a better place. She is a valued member of our team!

STAFF

Leah Veal, Ed.S

Leah Veal, Ed.S

Founding Executive Director

Ms. Veal is a third-generation educator, former counselor, and founding director of BLI Learning Labs. She obtained her Ed.S from Georgia State University and has twenty-five years of experience in healthcare and education. She is responsible for creating dynamic academic programs, developing relevant, creative, engaging educational products, and strategically collaborating with a variety of stakeholders to ensure that all children have access to a high-quality, inspiring education.

Whether teaching in a Title 1 school or an IB school, Leah sets high expectations for learners and always encourages children to give their best in everything that they do.  

Nayoung Lee

Nayoung Lee

Instructor

Ms. Lee obtained her degree from State University of New York, and she is fluent in both English and Korean. She has 5 years of experience teaching youth and is a valued and dedicated team member. Learners and staff love working with Ms. Lee!

Nathan Seligman

Nathan Seligman

Instructor

Mr. Seligman is a new intern with our program, and he is passionate about reading and learning. He chose our organization because he believes in our mission and is eager to help young learners find the joy in learning. Mr S. enjoys instructing learners of all ages and when youth are working him, they are always engaged! Our staff is thrilled to add another avid reader to our team!

Rachel Cato

Rachel Cato

Instructor

Rachel has been teaching kingergarten  with Pinellas County Schools for 8 years, and she loves working with our young learners to ensure they are performing above grade level. She is a native of St. Pete and enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering with her sorority.

Whitney Barrett

Whitney Barrett

Instructor

Ms. Barrett is an experienced Montessori teacher with a background in sales and marketing. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and is committed to driving our mission forward in the Lexington area and beyond. We are thrilled to have her on our team!

Cheryl Bryant

Cheryl Bryant

Instructor

Ms. Bryant is an enthusiastic  learner and educator who loves teaching young learners core skills in reading, writing, and math. Cheryl holds a BS in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Reading Education from Townson University. Her multisensory approach to teaching fully engages children in each lesson, and Ms. Bryant always provides learners a creative space to learn and grow.

PARTNERS

COMMUNITY PARTNERS

CORPORATE SPONSORS

FUNDERS

STRATEGIC PARTNERS

Contact us to promote self-worth, increase academic proficiency, and instill a love of learning in all children.

REGISTRATION #: CH53259 A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the division of consumer services by calling toll free 1.800.HELP-FLA or ONLINE at www.FloridaConsumerHelp.com. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state.

Main Campus

BLI Learning Labs
4820 Park Blvd
Pinellas Park, FL 33781
(727) 281-6564

Email

veall@blilearning.org