Director of Operations
A Founding Crew Member
IG: @Lead_U_Kelly

+ Where are you from?

I grew up in Toms River, NJ and currently reside in Matawan, NJ.

+ What is your educational background?

I graduated from Monsignor Donovan High School in 2010. Then I graduated from Monmouth University in 2014 after studying Elementary Education and English with a Teacher of Students with Disabilities Endorsement. Currently, I am studying Administration and Leadership at the graduate level.

+ When you aren't at Lead U, what are you doing?

Although my heart is always with Lead U, I spend most of my time as a 1st grade teacher in Hazlet, NJ! I take advantage of many opportunities to grow professionally through continued higher education and diverse trainings in order to provide the best experience for my students. My newly evolved passion revolves around leading trainings and workshops to help other educators grow professionally! My dad has always encouraged me to never settle and to always challenge myself, so any opportunities that I have to do that I take them on!

+ Who do you view as a leader and why?

When I hear the word leader, the people that come to mind first are each of my four grandparents, my dad and mom, and my mentor and dear friend, Lynn Romeo. All for different incredible reasons; however, the one person that strikes me most as a leader is my grammy, Dolores Buck. She is the mother of five children, grandmother to eleven, and dear friend to countless others, all while being married to a dedicated teacher and principal for 65 years. She has a striking smile that brings joy to every situation, a heart of gold that listens, cares, and comforts, and a vivacious personality that keeps our entire family in check! She was a woman in auto sales well before her time and is a devoted Catholic who still volunteers to count money for church every Monday. Most importantly, each person she comes across leaves a better version of themselves because she has a special way of bringing it out in them.

+ What's one thing you remember from Kindergarten or the early years of school?

I have a really clear memory of a field trip to the beach during Preschool. I just remember loving the beach, loving that my mom was our chaperone, and loving that day. When we got back to school we used a real fish as a stamp in paint to design a shirt. Though it now sounds pretty gross, I remember thinking it was so cool!

+ If you could only eat three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Tacos, chicken fingers, and lettuce. If coffee had to count as a food then that would trump them all.

+ If you could ask your pet one question, what would it be?

How could I best persuade you to stop eating my socks?

+ Who would play you in a movie of your life?

It's a toss up between Alexis Bledel and Ellen Pompeo.

+ If you could be a cartoon character for one week, who would it be?

Definitely Sponge Bob, who wouldn't want to live in a pineapple under the sea!?

+ What is your spirit animal and why?

A Narwhal since they are known as the magical unicorns of the sea... but they are actually real.

+ What is your favorite family or friend tradition?

Thanksgiving at my Uncle Brian and Aunt Cindy's house is by far the one day I look forward to each and every year!

+ Most memorable Lead U moment

This summer a group of the Lead U crew volunteered with the Best Day Foundation. I didn't know much about it when I volunteered other than we would be helping special needs kids have the best day ever. I have never had a day full of more genuine happiness surrounded by a community of incredible people. Also having the opportunity to meet and hang out on the beach all day with mine and Mike's buddy, Ray was a moment I'll never forget!