Liz Purcell Leskinen

A native of St. Mary’s County, I was educated by the fine teachers of SMCPS, attending Town Creek Elementary School, Esperanza Middle School, and Great Mills High School (go Class of 1977!). I have a B.A. in English from St. Mary’s College, an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Certificate in Organizational Development and Systems Change from the NTL Institute. Specialized training rounds out my education in topics such as contract management, accounting, advanced bargaining, legal advocacy, conflict resolution, and mediation.

From the time I was young, my parents immersed me in public school advocacy and activism. Both proud Great Mills High School alumni, my mother (Sue) retired from SMCPS after 39 years of teaching and my father (Charles) began his career as a teacher at Frank Knox Elementary School. He later served as principal of George Washington Carver Elementary School during the first year of integration. In 1968, after serving as EASMC president, he accepted a position with the Maryland State Educators Association (MSEA) as the first UniServ Director/Chief Negotiator for the tri-county area. He pioneered the earliest negotiated agreements in St. Mary’s, Charles, and Calvert Counties and worked tirelessly to advance the public education profession until his retirement in 2001.

I am very proud and honored to have the unique distinction of being a second-generation MSTA UniServ Director/Chief Negotiator, being hired by MSTA in 2003 to follow in my father’s mighty footsteps. I began my career teaching English at Chopticon High School, went on to hone my business skills in support of the Department of Defense (DOD), and served as an adjunct instructor for Towson University in the area of human resources. My DOD service of almost 20 years was in diverse capacities that well prepared me for this work, including management analysis, human resources, systems engineering, contract negotiations, and program management. I achieved several awards including exceptional annual customer ratings under the Contractor Performance and Review System for Personal and Program Performance from 1997 through 2000; the Award for Outstanding Commitment, Professionalism, and Loyalty in Providing Technical and Leadership Support from NAVSEA Dahlgren in October 2000; and the AEGIS Computer Center Award for Outstanding Effort Exhibited in Performing Activation in June 2000.

My work in support of public educators distinctively and perfectly ties my love for public schools with my business acumen, allowing me the privilege of earning a living while also serving the most worthy. It is in this way that I have the fortune to simultaneously fuel my inner spirit as well.