our Board

The New Designs Charter School Board brings together a diverse group of professionals with a singular purpose: to provide a top-notch, college preparatory education for students in underserved communities.We invite you to get to know the dedicated individuals who are helping to make next-level education accessible to our communities.

Meet Our Board Members

Mr. Lloyd T. McKinney
Board President
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Biography

About Mr. Lloyd T. McKinney

Mr. McKinney is a leader with a proven track record in leading high performance teams. A skilled negotiator and customer/supplier interface manager, he brings over 25 years of experience in global supply chain management, including special projects management, proposal planning and preparation, administrative and financial management, and project planning and control. He is currently responsible for all aspects of the subcontract management activities for Advanced Mission Programs in the Payloads and Sensors Subcontracts organization for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. In this capacity, he develops acquisition strategies and proactively manages the surveillance over cost, subcontractor interfaces, technical, schedule, and contractual performance of an approximate $200 million portfolio.

Mr. McKinney currently serves on the advisory board of New Designs Charter School and the finance committee for the WATTSTAR Theatre Project. In these capacities, he advises on strategic planning, fundraising, marketing, finance, and program development. Previously, Mr. McKinney served on the boards of Los Angeles Urban Youth Golf, Su Casa Family Crisis and Support Center, WATTSTAR Theatre, and the Venus and Serena Williams Tennis Academy. 

A graduate of the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, Mr. McKinney currently mentors students in the Career Advantage Program (CAP). He has successfully completed the following programs: The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Graduate School of Business and Management African American Leadership Institute, the UCLA Professional Designation in Government Contract Management, and the UCLA Professional Certification in Accounting.

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Sheldon Zaslansky
Finance Committee Chair
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Biography

About Sheldon Zaslansky

Mr. Sheldon Zaslansky is an accomplished business leader and marketing professional. As the founder and president of YellowBrickRoad, a consulting firm specializing in external and internal business development, he brings more than 20 years of business development expertise to the table. YellowBrickRoad provides consulting services to a variety of clients ranging from cataloguers to retail marketers to online marketers and private service providers.

Mr. Zaslansky built Consumers Bargain, a direct mail marketing company. In just 10 years (1971 to 1981) he grew the company into a multimillion-dollar organization as its CEO. Target Magazine recognized him as one of the Top 100 Marketers in the country, and he is a featured speaker at many industry conferences. In addition, he has written articles for several industry publications and is regularly invited to participate in the DMA Leadership forum with the top marketers in the country.

Currently Mr. Zaslansky is actively involved with a number of companies. He serves on the board of directors for Direct Ventures and Nola3, is a director of numerous companies for which he holds ownership positions, and is an advisor to The Kahn Gauthier Law Group over web business, which is one of the most visited legal websites in the country. In addition, he is an active member of the Direct Marketing Association. Since moving to California in 2000, he has assumed the position of treasurer and is on the board of directors for New Designs Charter School. 

As a child advocate, Mr. Zaslansky focuses his attention on children's organizations and international political policies and is also often involved in fundraising for local charities. 

Mr. Zaslansky has a BS in Business Administration from Long Island University and served in the U.S. Army Reserves.

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Dr. Derek Asiedu-Akrofi
Board Secretary
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Biography

About Dr. Derek Asiedu-Akrofi

Dr. Derek Asiedu-Akrofi is a managing partner and head of the international law practice group at Akrofi & Akrofi, P.C., a Los Angeles based law firm specializing in international business, project financing, and immigration and humanitarian law. 

Dr. Asiedu-Akrofi holds master of law and doctorate degrees in international law, international banking, and monetary law from Columbia University School of Law, New York. He also holds an additional master of law degree in international law from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He currently serves as a professor of law and as course director at the International Law Institute, Washington D.C., and is a Geoffrey Wilson Fellow at the University of Warwick School of Law and the Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom.

Throughout his career, Dr. Akrofi has served in many capacities including legal counsel for the International Monetary Fund, Washington D.C.; executive vice president of legal affairs for Protocol Inc., New York; and a member of the U.N. Committee of Experts on Debt-Equity Swaps constituted by the UN Centre of Transnational Corporations. He has taught at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Boston University School of Law, and Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Dr. Akrofi also has extensive experience in international law, anti-money laundering, financial fraud, international business, and consulting for various companies and governments in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, the former Soviet Republic, and Asia. His experience further extends as a legal adviser to international consulting projects including those sponsored by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, USAID (United States Agency for International Development), Austrian Development Cooperation, UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research), Kuwait Investment Authority, and the Middle East Securities Training Center.

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Diego Abba
Member
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Biography

About Diego Abba

Diego Abba is the current president of Opes International & Co., an international advisory firm based in Beverly Hills. He is the former CEO of Sleepy Giant, a fast-growing technology and service provider participated by TPG Capital and EMC (CAA). Mr. Abba's executive focus is on the content and digital space both in the U.S. and in Europe where he created and developed the position of VP Finance, Americas, with Activision/Blizzard and served as CFO of Zero9, a mobile content company majority owned by InvestIndustrial, respectively.

Prior to these roles, Mr. Abba advised clients in media, technology, and private equity for nine years, both in the U.S. and in Europe, while employed with Bain & Company. He also lived and worked in Asia where he started up Procter & Gamble, Vietnam. After contributing to the design and implementation of a global in-house bank, Mr. Abba became head of its finance division. He was also the Forex Manager Europe for P&G European Treasury in Belgium. Mr. Abba previously served on the board of MILES SpA, an Italian luxury company, where he led the company's turnaround and growth strategy.  

Diego holds an MBA from Cornell University and an MA in business from Ca' Foscari University in Venice, Italy, with a full academic year at UCLA.

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Kojoe Essien
Member
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Biography

About Kojoe Essien

In 1976, Kojoe Essien enrolled in the Department of Russian Language and Literature at Voronezh State University located in central Russia in the former Soviet Union. Five years later, he graduated from Rostov-on-Don Technical University where he excelled in water treatment and sewage engineering.

After holding various job positions in former West Germany and West Africa, Mr. Essien accepted an engineering position from Tri-Valley Construction in Covina, California, as a cost estimator and later became a construction supervisor. From 1986 to 1987, Mr. Essien worked as a substitute teacher in both the West Covina and Compton, California, unified school districts.

Driven by an unflinching desire to provide services to people in need, Mr. Essien answered President Bill Clinton's call for the private sector to assist in providing housing for low-income families. Shortly after the Clinton administration's GORE (Government Owned Real Estate) program was unveiled, Mr. Essien was among the first respondents in California. Using private and government resources, he built or completely renovated a total of 405 homes and apartments and sold them to disadvantaged families throughout Southern California.

In keeping with his vision, Mr. Essien sold these homes and apartments and structured resale transactions that produced millions of dollars. These proceeds were donated to deserving people as gifts for down payments or closing expenses, making home ownership a dream-come-true for hundreds of families who may never have had the opportunity to own a home.

Since 2001, Mr. Essien has taught evening real estate classes. To date, about half of his 600 students have earned a California state real estate license and are now actively promoting lending and real estate development in their communities. Of note: Mr. Essien has never charged a penny for his teaching services. 

Currently, Mr. Essien is the broker and president of American Federal Funding, Inc. and CasaHome Realty Corp. He is also the president of Casa Por Menos (Home for Less). He continues to work tirelessly on the provision of affordable housing for the Hispanic community in Southern California.

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