About Us

Leading, Educating, And Developing Promising Youth (L.E.A.D.) inspires and empowers children from disadvantaged backgrounds to continue their education into college or a job training program. Our students, who live in some of St. Louis’ poorest neighborhoods, begin the program when they are approximately seven years old, and most of our children remain with us until their high school graduation. We provide a safe place to enhance a child’s education, and we mentor our students to be confident and productive members of our community.

L.E.A.D.’s holistic approach to education creates a continuum of care and a consistent approach to learning. Each participant receives personal and customized attention from our experienced teachers and volunteers throughout their tenure with our program. Our staff and volunteers are responsible for tutoring, mentoring, and building a partnership between the student, the student’s parent, and the staff at the child’s school. In this way, a safety net is provided to our students that protect them from negative influences in their lives and help them focus on academic goals.

Our Mission

It is the mission of Leading, Educating, And Developing Promising Youth to inspire and empower low-income youth to sever the bonds of poverty and become educated, self-sufficient adults.

The hallmark of L.E.A.D. Promising Youth is establishing long term connections with tutors, students, and parents at an early age. This holistic approach to tutoring, mentoring, and enrichment programs provides the tools necessary for each student to complete high school and continue on to college or job training.

2017-2018 Board of Trustees


Dotty Pressman-Tepper is L.E.A D.’s Founder, President and Director. She is also a Private Tutor, a job she has refined throughout a 30 year tenure. Dotty created and directed the Hosea House Tutoring and Mentoring Program in 1993, transitioning and retitling it to L.E.A D. Promising Youth in Spring 2013. She has a B.A in English and M.A in Teaching from Washington University in St. Louis. She taught 8 years in the Ladue School District and is self-employed as a private tutor in SAT and ACT preparation, upper level math (Algebra I, II, Geometry, PreCalc.) and English. She is the primary teacher for High School and middle instruction in Math and Language Arts.


Dr. Karen Gheesling Mullis, PhD is a regular tutor with the middle and upper school students. She taught molecular biology at Washington University and tutored in the Pfizer Science Outreach to Schools program, as well as Hosea House (now L.E.A.D). Dr. Gheesling Mullis has a B.S. in Chemistry, a PhD. in Biochemistry, and Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biochemistry. She was employed at Pfizer for over 18 years, most currently as Director of Project Management in Oncology Clinical Development and Medical Affairs. In 2016 Karen was selected to be a PhD Venture Partner at RiverVest and President of Archer Venture Partners During her countless hours at L.E.A.D., Karen brings exciting and innovative science instruction to all members. She has contagious enthusiasm for her work, and as a result, has attracted her father and two sons to also serve L.E.A.D.’s mission.


Diane Stern (ex-officio) is L.E.A.D.’s computer teacher and photographer. She has a B.F.A. from Washington University. She is an owner/partner in Reby-Stern Photography and has been a freelance computer consultant since 1996. Ms. Stern has been with the Hosea House Tutoring and Mentoring / L.E.A.D. program since 1997, serving as the computer tutor. She has expanded our students’ knowledge about the computer to include research, educational gaming, and Power Point.

Additional Trustees

Craig D. Sherrill received his Bachelor of Science from Washington University in St. Louis. By day, and often at night, he is Supervisor of Distribution Control for Ameren Missouri. In addition to serving on L.E.A.D.’s board of directors, Craig carves out time to build relationships with our middle school students and is often onsite to help them with homework, and mentor them. Like others , Craig has contagious enthusiasm for serving L.E.A.D.’s membership; his daughter Genise was one of L.E.A.D.’s classroom instructors.

Joan C. Walker is a teacher in L.E.A D.’s elementary program. She has a M.S. in Hearing and Speech. She retired after teaching for Central Institute for the Deaf, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, The College School, and MICDS. Ms. Walker is a L.E.A.D. tutor and organizes enrichment activities that enhance hands on learning in language arts, math, and science.

Dr. Alisha White graduated from University of Missouri – Columbia and completed residency and internship at Northwestern University Medical School (Chicago, Illinois). Alisha has been in practice since 2009, working as an internist with BJC Healthcare.