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THE A+ TEAM


A+ Education Partnership

Mark Dixon, President

mark@aplusala.org

Mark joined the A+ team on February 1, 2019. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Wake Forest University. He spent five years as Education Policy Advisor to Alabama Governor Bob Riley and later as Policy Director. With an expressed desire to learn more about nonprofit management, Dixon moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue his Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and Public Policy from The George Washington University School of Business. While in school, Dixon held an Education Pioneers Fellowship with Teach for America where he continued his pursuit of education reform.

Following business school, Dixon joined General Electric (GE) where for the past six years he has held both corporate and business roles. A graduate of GE’s Experienced Commercial Leadership Program, Dixon helped build a commercial consulting organization, and led teams on strategic projects for senior leaders on five continents. Most recently, Dixon led market development efforts for GE Power’s steam unit in North and South America to develop projects and drive value creation for customers.

Michelle Condon, Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officer
[email protected]

Michelle came to A+ in 2010 as Chief Financial Officer. Prior to A+, she worked for 37 years in commercial banking, primarily in operations, finance, and mergers/acquisitions. She was, in her words, a "military brat" who landed at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, and graduated from Sidney Lanier High School and then Auburn University with a B.S. in Economics.

Michelle has one son who graduated from Auburn and lives in Winston-Salem, NC with his wife. She enjoys her Lake Martin cabin, as well as traveling, cooking and spending time with friends. Michelle is very happy to be working with A+, and out of the pressure cooker world of banking!

Rennie Crabb, Special Projects Coordinator

Special Projects Coordinator
[email protected]

Rennie began working at A+ in August of 2008. She works with all the A+ divisions, handling special projects, board interactions, donor relations, meetings preparation, and other administrative duties. Before joining A+, Rennie was a stay-at-home mom for 20 years while volunteering with various community groups and church activities. She also worked as an account executive with Automatic Data Processing after graduating from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations.

Rennie was born in Birmingham and moved to Montgomery in elementary school. She attended Jefferson Davis High School, along with her husband, Barry, a CPA. They worked in Birmingham after attending opposing colleges (AU and UA) for 6 years before settling down in Montgomery to raise their two children. Rennie loves going to the beach and enjoys reading, cooking, and watching football.

Caroline Novak, Senior Advisor

[email protected]

As a member of the charter class of Leadership Alabama, Caroline learned about the depth of Alabama's challenges in education, and the role citizens played in organizing efforts to improve education in states such as Kentucky. Caroline challenged her class to promote excellence and equity for all children in our state. Caroline and her classmate, Bill Smith, chairman of Royal Cup Coffee, launched A+ in 1991 with the support of committed Alabama educators and other business and civic leaders.

The A+ message that we can succeed with the right mix of high expectations, support for educators and students, and accountability for all stakeholders has helped to build strong partnerships throughout the state. Caroline believes that we can create opportunities for all Alabama students to pursue their dreams by ensuring that we are constant learners ourselves. She has worked diligently to build support for improving schools and develop programs to actually deliver support to educators and students through the Alabama Best practices Center and A+ College Ready.

Although Caroline retired as founding President of A+ Education Partnership in February of 2019, she remains part of the team, serving as Senior Advisor. To stay connected to national resources and local issues, she serves on the boards of the Education Commission of the States, the Southern Regional Education Board, the Business Council of Alabama, Sterling Bank, and Leadership Alabama. She and her husband, Tabor, are proud that their children, grandchildren and grand-dogs call Alabama home.

Matt Smith, Ed.L.D, VP of Policy

Vice President of Policy
[email protected]

Dr. Matthew L. Smith joined the A+ team as the Vice President of Policy in 2020. Called to the education profession after completing his bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Georgia, Matt became a high school social studies teacher in Clayton County, an urban school district in metropolitan Atlanta. During his decade-plus service to Clayton County Public Schools, Matt served as a Department Chair, School Improvement Specialist, Assistant Principal, District K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Director, and Middle School Principal. Along the way, Matt completed his Master of Arts in Teaching at Mercer University as well as his Education Specialist degree in Education Leadership at the University of West Georgia.  

In 2016, Matt was accepted into the Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) degree program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During the intensive three-year experience, Matt engaged in rigorous coursework on campus while supporting school districts and states across the country, including Orange County Public Schools (FL), South Bend Community School District (IN), and the PA State Department of Education. The cornerstone of his experience was serving as the Special Assistant to the Superintendent in the Birmingham City Schools during his doctoral residency. In this role, Matt led several strategic initiatives central to the strategic plan of the district. Matt completed his doctoral degree in May 2020. Matt is committed to continuous improvement, and recognizes that equitable, innovative learning and policy can significantly improve educational outcomes for all children.

Megan Skipper, Director of Communications

Director of Communications
[email protected]

Megan joined the A+ team in December 2018 as Director of Communications. She loves her home state of Alabama and wants to work to improve outcomes for those who live here—especially our children.

After college, Megan began her career in Montgomery at the Montgomery Education Foundation as a communications and research coordinator. After two years at MEF, she left the non-profit world briefly to be a political strategist during the 2018 Midterm Election season. Now, she's happy to continue her work in education policy and communications at A+.

Megan likes to keep herself busy with community work, including assisting local Montgomery non-profits with communications and development. She received a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies, focused in public policy from Auburn University. She also holds a master’s in strategic communication from Troy University.

Originally from Daphne, AL, Megan has made a home in Montgomery with her cat and loved ones.

Alabama Best Practices Center

Cathy Gassenheimer, Executive Vice President

[email protected]

Cathy has been with A+ from almost the very beginning, joining in August 1991. In 1999, A+ launched the Alabama Best Practices Center, which works directly with educators through our four professional learning networks: the Superintendent Leaders Network, the Key Leaders Network (school and district leaders), the Powerful Conversations Network (school teams), and the Instructional Partners Network (school-based instructional coaches).

Cathy is a life-long learner and loves nothing more than to learn more about things that matter. She's also quite a lover of all types of music! Personally, she's married to Rick Gassenheimer and together they have three children and three grandchildren. You can connect with Cathy through this website, and also on Twitter (@cathygassenheim) and the ABPC Facebook page.

Stoney Beavers, Ph.D., Assistant Director

[email protected]

Stoney grew up in Blount County, Alabama. He attended the University of Montevallo, where he completed his undergraduate degree in Spanish and English with a secondary teaching certificate. He completed his Masters in Secondary Education while teaching at Hoover High School. He then went to work with the United States Peace Corps in Paraguay, extending his service to be the Education Volunteer Coordinator and eventually was named the Assistant Director of Peace Corps Training.

Five years later, Stoney returned home, teaching English, Spanish, and drama at his alma mater, the Cleveland School, for the next ten years. During that time he finished his Educational Specialist Degree, became a National Board Certified Teacher, was inducted into the Jacksonville State University Teacher Hall of Fame, was named Alabama Secondary Teacher of the Year, and received the National Milken Family Foundation Award for Educators (the Oscars of Teaching). He also met his wife Lisa, and they started their family a few years later with the birth of their daughter, Mckinley.

In 2006, Stoney took a position as the Secondary Curriculum Coordinator for Blount County, and later the Assistant Superintendent, where he served for the next fourteen years. During this time, he received his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction Teaching and Learning from the University of Alabama.

Stoney joined the A+ team as the Assistant Director of the Alabama Best Practices Center in 2020, so as to have a broader impact on student learning: "I have seen the power of networking with other highly engaged school and classroom leaders from across the state, and I have benefited personally from the quality learning and sharing that’s really the hallmark of the work of A+ College Ready and the Alabama Best Practices Center. I will be ABPC’s first assistant director and this new position provides me with an opportunity to learn and to continue to grow with other passionate educators and educational leaders across the state who are striving every day to create great schools for every child."

Pat Johnson, Consultant

Consultant
AL Best Practices Center
[email protected]

Pat cannot remember a time when she was not involved in education: she has been in school, teaching school, managing a school or consulting with schools for many years. Her career began in kindergarten in North Carolina, then to Florida, and now in Alabama. She taught multiple grade levels and content areas from kindergarten to college. In addition, she has had the opportunity to visit classrooms in Kenya, Bolivia, and Honduras.

Pat never dreamed she would leave the classroom, but when she began working as Teacher-In-Residence with the University of Alabama, she realized the importance of strong administrative leadership. As such, she spent the last years in public education in administration.

Pat's goal is to always be a learner—in education and in life. She believes that no matter the age or stage in life there is always something new to learn.

Away from the work of education, Pat and her husband enjoy traveling, involvement in mission outreach through their church, and gardening.

Beth McDavid, Consultant

Consultant
AL Best Practices Center
[email protected]

bethmcdavidBeth started her career in education over forty years ago as an art teacher with the Tarrant City School District and was honored to receive the National Elementary Art Educator of the Year award. After a number of years teaching, she served as assistant principal and then in central office as an administrator. Her responsibilities have included staff development, curriculum, technology, English as a Second Language, accreditation, and Federal Programs.

Since retiring, she joined the Alabama Best Practice Center (ABPC), working with Alabama educators in supporting the ABPC’s work with Key Leader Networks (KLN), Powerful Conversation Networks (PCN), and Instructional Partners Networks (IPN).

Beth has found it rewarding to continue her work with teachers and leaders, learning together to further learning and success for Alabama children. She enjoys yoga, reading, and cooking new and interesting foods. Her family includes her husband, Bill McDavid, four children, and eight grandchildren.

John Norton, Communications Consultant

Communications Consultant
AL Best Practices Center
[email protected]

John made his first connection with A+ more than 20 years ago during a chance phone encounter with Cathy Gassenheimer, while he was vice president for information at the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). As a communications consultant for the A+ Alabama Best Practices Center, John has spent a decade writing and editing the ABPC journal Working Toward Excellence and now serves as editor for the ABPC Blog. In his first career, he reported on education for newspapers in South Carolina. He was also the first executive director of the state-supported SC Center for Teacher Recruitment (now CERRA).

A Clemson graduate, John attended "small-town" public schools while growing up near Myrtle Beach. He and his wife, Janice, live in Little Switzerland, NC, but spend lots of time in Atlanta with grandson Wyatt and daughter Laurah, an English professor at Georgia State.

Dakota Punzel, Program Coordinator

Program Coordinator
AL Best Practices Center
[email protected]

Dakota joined the Alabama Best Practices Center team in March of 2020.  He was born in Indiana, and has spent the last 15 years in Alabama. Since graduation from Troy University in 2015, Dakota has worked in the non-profit world in many different capacities. A recent opportunity gave him the chance to teach reading classes to K-12 students over the summer. This illuminating experience gave him an even greater appreciation for the significant challenge that teachers face every single day.

He was homeschooled from Kindergarden-9th grade and credits his mother for instilling his lifelong love of learning. He graduated from Cleveland High School in Cleveland, AL, and went on to earn his bachelor's degree in Sport Management from Troy University. Dakota proudly says “Go Trojans!” when asked whether he is an Auburn or Alabama fan, taking the non-confrontational path in that rivalry.

In his spare time, Dakota likes to read, go to the gym with his wife, spend time with his 5 dogs and 1 cat, and work on carpentry and other projects.

Christine Spear, Consultant, Ed.D

Consultant
AL Best Practices Center
[email protected]

Christine grew up in Selma, Alabama. In the fall of 1968 she, along with a very small number of African American children, integrated Cedar Park Elementary School in Selma. That experience forever shaped how she viewed education and the school environment. Christine graduated from the University of Montevallo with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. After graduation, she returned to Selma to marry her sweetheart and start a family. She initially worked in the Selma City School District as an instructional aide in a first-grade classroom. Shortly after, she worked as a control room operator and then broadcast director at WAKA-TV station in Selma. Although she enjoyed her work at the TV station, Christine never forgot the fulfillment she experienced during the year she spent with those first graders. She then enrolled at Auburn University Montgomery to pursue a master’s in education. Upon graduation Christine was hired as a teacher in Montgomery Public Schools and for the next 10 years she taught fourth and fifth grade reading, Kindergarten, First Grade and served as a Library Media Specialist. She received an Education Specialist degree from Alabama State University in Library Education Media. The last eighteen years of her K-12 education career was spent working at the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) in the following capacities: Education Specialist for the Alabama Reading Initiative, Statewide Coordinator for Response to Instruction (RtI), Project Administrator for the School Improvement Grant (SIG) and Project Alabama Consortium for Turnaround (PACT) programs and an Education Administrator for the Office of School Improvement. In these roles at the ALSDE, she provided technical assistance to local education agencies that were engaged in school reform processes and encouraged them to organize school resources so that students received appropriate supports in a timely manner. She holds degrees in education from Auburn University, Montgomery (M.Ed.), Alabama State University (Ed.S.) Christine received her Educational Doctorate in Leadership from Concordia University-Portland.

After nearly 30 years serving K-12 education, Christine retired, but is proud to still be able to serve educators by being a part of the A+ team. Helping educators develop professionally while also being able to learn and grow is a passion of hers. Being a part of the progressive work of the Alabama Best Practices Center helps to feed that passion.

Jackie Walsh, Primary Consultant

Primary Consultant
AL Best Practices Center
[email protected]

Since 2008, Jackie has served as senior consultant to the ABPC with primary responsibilities for design and facilitation of professional learning. Previously, she collaborated with A+ in her role as consultant to the Governor’s Commission on Quality Teaching.

Jackie began her career as a high school social studies teacher and, over the years, hasworked in multiple educational organizations, including universities, a state department of education, a regional educational laboratory, and as consultant to the USDOE, national professional organizations, multiple SDEs, regional agencies, and school districts across the country. Phew! She should be really tired!

Jackie's passion is classroom questioning. She has co-authored four books on this topic, most recently Quality Questioning, 2nd Edition (Corwin Press, 2017) and Questioning for Classroom Discussion (ASCD, 2015), numerous articles in national journals, and presented at many national conferences. She partners with teachers in schools and districts across the country to improve questioning practices.

A native of Georgia, Jackie received the A.B. from Duke University, M.A.T. from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa). In her spare time, she enjoys time with her adult children, two granddaughters, and two grand-dogs. She also travels whenever a good opportunity arises, reads recreationally (as well as professionally), and is a huge college basketball and football fan.

A+ College Ready

Tammy Dunn, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Vice President for Academic Affairs
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Tammy is a 28 year career educator. The first 17 years of her career were spent in science classrooms in Tennessee and Hoover, Alabama, teaching biology, chemistry, physics and AP biology. In 2007, she went to work as the science supervisor for Jefferson County Schools where she facilitated the curriculum, instruction, professional learning, and assessment for 6 - 12 science education in 14 high schools and their feeder middle schools. While working with Jefferson County schools, Tammy helped manage the A+ College Ready grant program, and in 2010, she became the Program Manager for A+ College Ready. In 2013, she went to serve as the Chief Academic Officer for Mathematics and Science for Hoover City Schools, and in 2016 returned to A+ College Ready as the Chief Academic Officer.

Tammy earned a bachelor's degree from the University of North Alabama, a master's degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and an Education Specialist's Degree from Samford University, where she currently serves as an adjunct teacher for the School of Education.

Tammy achieved certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in 1999 and renewed the certification in 2009. She has mentored over 100 teachers who have undergone the NBPTS certification process. She currently serves on the NBPTS board of directors. She received the 2001 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching and the 2003 Alabama Teacher of the Year.

Tammy and her husband Ray love to travel and play golf. The joy of her life is enjoying her family, especially her two granddaughters, Ava and Olivia.

Teri Thompson, Vice President for Operations

Vice President for Operations
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Teri has spent the last 33 years involved with public education in Alabama, then retired from the classroom and began working with A+ College Ready.  Her classroom experience includes teaching high school English, grades 9-12 and AP literature and Composition in diverse educational settings from urban to rural to magnet.

Teri graduated from Bradley Central High School in Cleveland, TN, in 1979, and then attended The University of Alabama and The University of Alabama at Birmingham.  She began teaching in 1984.

In 2010, Teri became a certified Laying the Foundation trainer and has presented at summer trainings across the state as well as presenting at Advanced Placement (AP) Literature Saturday Study Sessions in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.

Teri joined the staff of A+ College Ready in 2014 as the manager for Partner Schools.  She is currently the Chief Program Officer for the organization.

Teri is a member of the 2017 class of Leadership Elmore County, the 2014 Wetumpka High School Teacher of the Year, the 2013-14 Building Leadership Team chairperson, and a member of ADK (Alpha Delta Kappa), an education sorority.  She and her husband, David, have one child and live in Wetumpka, AL.

Lakiah Clark, Logistics Manager

Logistics Manager
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Lakiah re-joined A+ College Ready in the Fall of 2020 and continues to operate as the Logistics Manager.
She was born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and found a home in Alabama through her
alma mater, Tuskegee University. During her time away from A+, Lakiah served as a coordinator and
manager of youth programs in Macon and Jefferson counties. She shares a passion for youth
programming with a special affinity towards agricultural education.

Lakiah earned her B.S. in Environmental Science and a M.S. from UIUC in Agriculture Education. As a
single mother of zero, Lakiah continues to make time to explore the morphing horizons of life. Along
with travel, she enjoys dabbling with culinary creations, part-time gardening, and an overwhelming
attempt at multi-tasking, reading, and learning new skills.

Melissa Crook, Executive Assistant

Executive Assistant
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Melissa has served as the executive assistant for A+ College Ready since 2015. She earned a B.A. in Anthropology and Master of Public Health, both from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her passion for the education field stems from her upbringing in a small, rural town. She graduated from Fayetteville High School in Sylacauga, AL, and is encouraged by the opportunities the A+ program offers to so many students in similar settings.

Melissa lives in Sylacauga, and has two children, daughter Madelyn, and son MJ. In her spare time, she enjoys photography and spending time outdoors.

Matt Dean, Science Content Director (AP)

Science Content Director (AP)
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Matt has taught AP Biology for over 20 years and AP Physics for over 5, and is currently the Science Content Director for A+ College Ready. He has presented at numerous AP professional development conferences and Saturday study sessions across the state.

Matt attended Madison County High School in Gurley, AL, and earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Additionally, he earned Educational Specialist and Doctoral degrees from the University of Alabama. He was awarded National Board Certification in 2001 and 2011. He enjoys kayaking and farming in his spare time.

Katherine Dearing, Training & Data Manager

Training & Data Manager
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Katherine joined A+ College Ready as the Training Manager in 2016.  Prior to joining our team, she worked in the legal profession while pursuing a long-held interest in education and completing an M.Ed from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Katherine graduated from Tulane University with a B.A. in Political Economy, and obtained a J.D. from the Birmingham School of Law. She enjoys working as part of a team to help ensure the quality of public education and, in doing so, top open the doors of opportunity for every Alabama student.

Jenifer Glover, Director of Finance

Director of Finance
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Jenifer joined the A+ team in 2014, serving as its Finance Manager. Prior to that, she worked with Southern Company in various roles for sixteen years- the last six years as a Budget Analyst. Jenifer earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and MBA from South University.

Originally from Spring Hill, Florida, Jenifer now lives in Elmore County with her husband LaDon. They have four children, two of whom are currently in college, and one proudly serving in the Alabama National Guard. She enjoys reading and volunteering in her community in her spare time.

Erica Griffin, English Content Director (AP)

English Content Director (AP)
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

An educator since 2000, Erica joined A+ College Ready in June of 2019 to serve Alabama’s teachers and their students as the English Content Director for AP. A graduate of Maryville College (B.A.), the University of North Alabama (M.A.), and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (Ed.S.), Erica has worked as a teacher in both Tennessee and Alabama. Prior to joining A+, she worked at Hartselle High School where she was an Instructional Partner and taught AP English Language and Advanced English 10.

Through the years, Erica has presented at numerous national conferences and has worked as a consultant for both A+ College Ready and for the National Math and Science Initiative where she presented at Saturday Study Sessions and at fall conferences, served as a LTF and E3 summer trainer, and worked as a curriculum consultant. Erica is also an adjunct professor in the College of Education at Athens State University. She currently lives in Hartselle, Alabama, with her husband and two sons where she enjoys running and watching her children play sports.

Mallory Harp, Science Content Director (6-10)

Science Content Director (6-10)
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Mallory serves as the 6-10 Science Content Director for A+ College Ready. Prior to joining A+, Mallory served nine years in the classroom teaching physical science while also serving in various roles with student leadership, and as an A+ Coordinator. She began working for A+ as part of the 6th and 8th grade curriculum development teams and became a Laying the Foundation and A+ summer institute trainer. Additionally, she is an AMSTI presenter.

Mallory earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Alabama in 2008 and her Master's degree in Secondary Science Education from the University of Montevallo in 2010. Originally from Trussville, she now lives in Millbrook with her husband and daughter. She enjoys time at the lake, spending time with friends and family, and cooking and baking.

Dieatra Howie, Social Studies Content Director (6-10)

Social Studies Content Director (6-10)
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Dieatra taught World History, U.S. History, U.S. Government, Economics and AP U.S. History for several years and served as the Graduation Coach at Northview High School before joining the A+ team. She also served as Social Studies Instructional Coach and supported both school and district level initiatives. Additionally, she served a summer instructor for history classes for the Upward Bound Program at Troy University and as an adjunct professor for Troy University’s College of Education.

Dieatra received both her Bachelor’s Degree of Science and Master’s Degree of Science in Social Science Education from Troy University, and a Master’s Degree of Science in Instructional Leadership from Jacksonville State University. She has facilitated several professional development workshops and developed curriculum on the local, state, and national level.

Dieatra was a member of the University of Alabama Advanced Placement Team, and has been a consultant and trainer for the Alabama Department of Education with the implementation of the Social Studies Career and College Readiness Standards. She also served on the A+ College Ready Social Studies Development Team and as an AP U.S. History Saturday session presenter and was named the 2014 Alabama History Teacher of the Year.

She is happily married and enjoys traveling, scrapbooking, and writing in her free time. She believes that education is the key that can open endless doors, and one of the greatest gifts educators have is the ability to truly make a difference in another’s life.

Lee Ann Latta, Mathematics Content Director (6-11)

Mathematics Content Director (6-11)
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Lee Ann is a 20-year veteran of the Birmingham City School system where she taught everything from Algebra I to AP Statistics and AP Calculus. She served as the AP math lead teacher for the district. She has been a National Math and Science Initiative / Laying The Foundation trainer for over five years and also presents at Saturday study sessions, ACT study sessions, and is AMSTI trained. She is married and has two daughters.

Gina McCarly, Computer Science Content Director (6-10)

Computer Science Content Director (6-10)
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Kitty Morgan, Mathematics Content Director (AP)

Mathematics Content Director (AP)
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Kitty has taught AP Calculus AB and BC for over 20 years, and is currently the Math Content Director for A+ College Ready. She has served as an AP Calculus Reader, have presented at state, regional, and national conferences on math education and is a "Laying The Foundation" (LTF) presenter.

Kitty attended Stanhope Elmore High School in Millbrook, AL, and earned a degree in math education from Troy University. She holds a Master’s Degree from UAB, and earned National Board Certification in 2005. In her free time she loves to sing and twirl baton!

John Richey, Leadership Consultant

Leadership Consultant
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

John joined the A+ team in 2015 to serve in a consulting capacity, primarily as a liaison between A+ College Ready and schools involved in the program. Prior to that, John served as a teacher and administrator in the Albertville, Arab, and Guntersville City School Systems. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Auburn University in 1986, a Master's degree in Education from the University of Alabama Birmingham in 1988, and an Educational Specialist degree from the University of Alabama in 1998.

John is originally from St. Clair County and now lives in Arab with his wife, Laura. They have three children. The oldest, John William and his wife, Sara, live in Madison, and he works as a Data Analyst for Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. His other two sons, Benjamin and Jack, attend Auburn University.

John enjoys travel, sports, cooking, and helping schools grow academically by partnering with A+ College Ready.

Rhonda Rush, Social Studies Content Director (AP)

Social Studies Content Director (AP)
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Rhonda has taught social studies in Alabama for 33 years and is currently the Social Studies Content Director for A+ College Ready. She is a graduate of Etowah High School and earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Jacksonville State University.  She taught her first AP course in 1986 and has since taught AP United States History at Saks High School in Calhoun County, at Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa County and at Bob Jones High School in Madison County. In 1998, she began teaching at Homewood High School, where she taught AP United States History  and in 2006 added AP United States Government and Politics. She has served as an AP exam reader and a consultant leading AP Summer Institutes.

Through the years Rhonda has presented at numerous conferences on the state, regional and national level. She achieved certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in 2009 and has served as a mentor and facilitator for NBCT candidates. Reading and sewing occupy her free time and she loves to spend time at the lake with her family.

Pam Walker, English Content Director (6-10)

English Content Director (6-10)
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Pam joined A+ College Ready in June of 2015 as the English Content Manager. She is a twenty-year veteran English teacher who has taught in both Georgia and Alabama public schools where her primary teaching roles have been freshman English and AP Language and Composition. She has served as an AP study session presenter, and is also a certified Laying The Foundation trainer. She was named Elmore County Teacher of the Year for Secondary Schools for 2015-2016.

Pam earned her bachelor’s degree in Language Arts Education from Auburn University in 1995. Originally from Auburn, she now lives in Wetumpka with her husband and three children.

Kim Wallace, Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistant A+ College Ready [email protected] Kim joined the A+ team in 2018, having worked in various support staff roles at Informations Transport Solutions and Caddell Construction.  She is a Mississippi State University graduate with a Bachelors in Business Administration. Kim grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and now calls Wetumpka her home with her husband, Michael. They have two children, one in college and one who will graduate from high school soon. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling to high school sporting events, and reading.

Carol Yarborough, Computer Science Content Director

Computer Science Content Director
A+ College Ready
[email protected]

Carol began teaching high school in 2007, embarking on a second career after working in the computer industry for 20+ years. She is currently teaching computer science full-time at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, in Birmingham, Alabama, and serving as the A+ College Ready Computer Science Content Specialist.

Carol graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Computational Mathematics. She then was employed in just about every aspect of the computer industry, doing both scientific and business programming. In addition to being a programmer, she has been a designer, analyst, system administrator, database administrator, technical architect, corporate trainer and curriculum developer. But, she always wanted to teach, so she studied Secondary Mathematics Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has been a College Board pilot teacher for the AP CS Principles course and a Teacher Leader with the CS4Alabama project. CS4Alabama is training in-service teachers in Alabama to teach the APCS Principles course.

Carol enjoys working with bright and creative people and the satisfaction of knowing that her work matters.

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