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Gina Burkett, Head of School
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2141
After a nation-wide search, Academy Prep has a St. Petersburg native, Gina Tanase Burkett, as its Head of School. Following a successful 2015-16 school year, Gina is looking forward to a long tenure with the Academy Prep family and midtown community.
Gina was born at Bayfront Center and was educated in the St. Petersburg public school system including Shore Acres Elementary, Riviera Middle School, and St. Petersburg High School.
Gina graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from there. She has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a Minor in Computer Science and a Masters in Business Administration. She received a full 4-year intercollegiate tennis scholarship with this division one school.
Gina entered the field of education shortly after earning her MBA and has over 25 years of experience as a teacher and an administrator. She brings Academy Prep the diversity of school management, marketing, and expertise within the educational realm. She has been involved in schools in New Orleans, Tampa, and St. Petersburg. She has served on the Florida Commission for ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International who partners with SACS in accrediting Florida private schools) and brings much experience in the area of school accreditation. She has years of experience in both the areas of technology and initiating programs that foster differentiated learning.
Lee Lockhart, Assistant Head of School
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2122
Born in West Virginia, Lee lived in multiple states while growing up as a military brat. He graduated from Marshall University with a degree in Psychology. In 2008, he retired from the Air Force after 25 years and then graduated from Central Michigan University with a Master of Science degree in Administration. In 1999 he moved to St. Petersburg and worked at Northside Christian school for 17 years as an administrator, teacher and chaplain. He has two grown children and one awesome grandson who live in the St. Petersburg area. He enjoys time with family, fishing, reading and golfing with friends.
Sonja Felton, Director of Graduate Support
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2103
A native of St. Petersburg, Sonja graduated from Lakewood High School in 1990. She attended Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, Florida, and subsequently obtained her B.A. in Economics from the University of South Florida-Tampa. Sonja is currently pursuing a Master of Science in School Counseling through Nova Southeastern as well as a Graduate Certificate in College Counseling through the UCLA Extension program.
Sonja comes to Academy Prep from Eckerd College after serving two years as the Associate Director of Annual Giving and two years as Assistant Director of Admission. She is also very active in the local community, having graduated with the Leadership St. Pete Class of 2013, serving as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, and acting as a member of the Board of Directors of the YWCA Tampa Bay. She is also a member of the Pinellas County Urban League Guild and Pinellas County Urban League Young Professionals.
Lacey Nash Miller, Director of Development
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2109
Lacey Nash Miller is thrilled to be a member of the Academy Prep family and to promote the mission of Academy Prep through philanthropy.
As a third-generation St. Petersburg native, she is inspired and motivated by our hard-working students, dedicated faculty and staff, and generous and committed board. Prior to joining Academy Prep, Lacey was the Director of the Annual Fund and Alumni Programs at Shorecrest Preparatory School. She holds a B.S. in Mass Media Communications from Florida State University.
Vicky Baumann, School Manager
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2101
Vicky comes to Academy Prep with an administrative background of more than 30 years including having worked at Shorecrest Preparatory School and Stetson University College of Law. She has worked with students of all ages, from small children to young adults, in many different capacities and enjoys seeing them succeed. She also has toured and done professional and regional theatre throughout the U.S. and Canada and looks forward to sharing those talents with the students. Vicky also enjoys working alongside the students, parents, teachers, and staff and assisting them in whatever way she can.
Leigh Gale, Grants Specialist
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2107
Leigh is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Public Relations. While at UF, Leigh became involved in non-profit work as an intern with the Cris Collinsworth Foundation.
After moving to the Bay area, she stayed committed to non-profit work with several area organizations. With over 8 years of development experience in media relations, event planning and grant writing, Leigh looks forward to being an advocate for the students and sharing the wonderful mission of Academy Prep.
Kevin Gunter, Facilities / Maintenance
Kevin, a native of St. Pete, joined the Academy Prep family in 2004. His extensive technical and construction experience is invaluable to our campus’ needs.
Jim Humboldt, CFO, Academy Prep Foundation
Phone: 727-322-0800 x3401
Jim is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Jim has been involved in financial management for over thirty years, including eighteen years at General Mills and as the CFO for multiple companies, including The Wing House, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, Kanes Furniture and Crabby Bills Restaurants. Jim is following a family tradition by coming to work for Academy Prep. His daughters, Leslie and Amy, were Americorps teachers on the Tampa campus and his wife, Chris, worked in development at APT. Additionally, Jim and Chris have a son, Dan. Jim is looking forward to helping Academy Prep fulfill its vision and by helping our students reach their potential.
Kelly Knox, Community Relations Coordinator
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2108
Kelly is an Eckerd College graduate with a degree in Environmental Science and Political Science and originally hails from the Philadelphia area. She has worked in the outdoor education field for the past 6 years everywhere from Vermont to New Hampshire to the coast of Georgia. She moved back to St. Pete five years ago and has been working with and for local non-profit organizations. She is very excited to be working with such a wonderful school as Academy Prep, its students and families.
Deborah Kurelik, Academic Dean
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2113
Deborah holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mass Communications and a Master of Arts in Reading Education from the University of South Florida. She is reading-endorsed by the state of Florida and is a member of the International Literacy Association. Deborah was recognized as a “Pinellas County Outstanding Educator” in 2015 by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chase Bank. Since joining Academy Prep, Deborah has taught Social Studies, Photojournalism, and Tennis.
Shannon Wright, Guidance Counselor
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2140
Shannon is a graduate from the University of Florida, with a Bachelors degree in English and a Masters of Education in School Counseling. A native Floridian, she has worked with children and teens in a school setting for the past 10 years, first as a reading teacher and then a counselor. Previous to joining Academy Prep, she served as the counselor at a public Title I Elementary School in Largo. Her work with children is grounded in the ideas of empowerment and resiliency, and she believes strongly in every child’s ability to be successful, if given the proper resources and supports. Shannon also previously volunteered in the Peace Corps, where she lived for two years in the Caribbean nation of St Vincent and the Grenadines, teaching remedial reading and designing curriculum at a rural secondary school.
Layla Souchet, Development Coordinator
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2140
Born and raised in South Florida, Layla moved to Tampa to attend the University of Tampa in 2010. Right before graduating, she was introduced to Academy Prep and fell in love with the mission. She graduated in May 2014 with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Communications. She taught 5th and 6th grade English 2. After completing her two years as an AmeriCorps, she was asked back to Academy Prep as Development Coordinator which she graciously accepted. She has a passion for sports, arts & crafts and food.
Elizabeth Perkins, Graduate Support Coordinator
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2137
Elizabeth holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Development from Eckerd College. She is immersed in the community and has experience in public and private education, previously having been employed for 11 years with Pinellas County Schools as a data clerk and guidance secretary.
In addition, Elizabeth gained valuable experience working with the community, families, and individuals at Family Service Centers. Since joining Academy Prep and Graduate Support in 2003, Elizabeth has continued to serve those she cherishes most in her community: our students and their families.
Anita Reece, Administrative Assistant
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2100
Anita was born and raised in St. Petersburg. She has over 15 years in the corporate industry with a strong background in an administrative environment. She is the mother of two college students, and one of her children previously attended Academy Prep. She aspires to contribute to the success of Academy Prep as a whole. She also looks forward to inspiring our students to become future lifelong stars in the community.
Antoinette Smith, Administrative Assistant
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2100
Antoinette was born and raised in St. Petersburg. She spent 15 years in the insurance industry and has a strong background in customer service. Antoinette is the parent of a successful college student and she has a healthy respect for the educational system. She looks forward to helping the parents, students and staff in any way possible.
Nancy graduated from Howard W. Blake High School for Performing Arts and then went on to receive a Bachelors of Arts in Music at Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia. After graduating from college she enlisted in the Army National Guard where she served in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as a Public Affairs specialist. Upon returning to the states in she decided to continue pursing music through both performing and teaching. She fulfilled that goal by becoming a member of the 13th Army Band and serving as an AmeriCorps teacher last year. She is excited to return to Academy Prep this year as the Music/Athletic Coordinator, eager to instill the value of both arts and athletics in Academy Prep students.
Ron Scarcelli, Technology Coordinator
Tampa Phone: 813-248-5600 x1166
St Pete Phone: 727-322-0800 x2107
A graduate of Dominican College in Racine WI, Ron has taught mathematics from middle school through community college as well as computer science at the high school level. After he became a Novell certified network administrator he became the director of technology at Jesuit High School, Tampa. As director, he oversaw every aspect of technology implementation at the school including their 1-to-1 iPad initiative, live video streaming of sports broadcasts & student news shows, a state-of-the-art VOIP phone system and data migrations to the school information systems. Besides math & technology, Ron has taught band at two schools in his career and he is currently lead trumpet and President of the Voices of Jazz big band in Pinellas County. A huge sports – Bucs, Rays & a Die-Hard Cubs – fan, Ron has coached baseball, softball, football, wrestling, track and golf in his career. Ron is so excited to join Academy Prep as his goal is bring the most innovative technology to the classroom and make it simple to use.
Latasha Seay, Upper School Science Teacher
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2110
Latasha hails from Selma, Alabama. She is a graduate of Talladega College with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Biology and a Master’s of Education in Interdisciplinary Studies in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in Science Education. She is also returning to Capella University in 2015 to continue her dissertation towards completing her PhD in Curriculum & Instruction. Latasha is a former Science teacher at Academy Prep. She has taught at Pinellas County Schools and Tampa Bay Christian Academy. She is currently an adjunct professor at St. Petersburg College. Latasha has returned to Academy Prep to teach seventh and eighth grade Science.
Zulma Soba, Lower School Science Teacher
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2118
Married to the love of her life, Zulma has 5 children and 3 grandchildren. She has a Bachelors degree from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, in Science with a major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry, and now she is pursuing her Masters Degree in Church Ministries. Born in Cuba, and raised in Puerto Rico where she was teaching and leading the National Elementary Honor Society at a local school, she moved to Florida to continue teaching in public schools, especially with high-risk students. She enjoys a good walk on the beach, reading a good book and cooking. Mrs. Soba, who has 6 years of experience teaching Science and Spanish, is excited to be at Academy Prep teaching 5th and 6th grade Science.
Laura Manke, Lower School Social Studies Teacher
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2119
Email: mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura, originally from Illinois, moved to Tampa to attend the University of Tampa and to escape the cold Illinois winters. Laura’s journey with Academy Prep started in 2012 when she began an internship on the Tampa campus co-facilitating a “Too Good for Drugs” enrichment course. Following the internship Laura was fortunate enough to be able to continue her work with Academy Prep in St. Petersburg facilitating the Teen Outreach Program. Laura knew that she wanted to spend more time at Academy Prep, and was ecstatic to be able to join the team as a 5th and 6th grade social studies teacher!
Kevia Brock, Upper School Math Teacher
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2112
Kevia is a newlywed and she loves being married. She graduated in 2011 from the University of Florida. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics with a minor in Education. She is currently working on her Master’s of Education from Walden University. She has worked for Hillsborough County Public Schools as an 8th Grade Mathematics Teacher and is currently working as an Adjunct Professor at St. Petersburg College Downtown/Midtown Campus. She teaches developmental mathematics at both campuses. She is a Tampa Bay Native and in her spare time, she loves going to the movies and shopping. She has a strong love for traveling as well. Her recent travels include the Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico. She hopes that she will be able to do more of this!
Lillian Callihan, Lower School Math Teacher
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2112
Lillian Callihan is married with 3 children and is a graduate of Pinellas Park High School, Dillard University, and Webster University. She majored in Accounting and worked in the business world for many years. She realized that the career could be lucrative but it did not afford her family time or a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. In 2002, Mrs. Callihan finally fulfilled her dream of being a teacher and began at Azalea Middle School in St. Petersburg where she taught 7th and 8th grade. At Academy Prep, she teaches Math to all 5th and 6th graders. Mrs. Callihan became a teacher to help today’s students, who are in critical need of positive influences. She plans to set high expectations for her students to be capable and productive. She feels her greatest accomplishment is her commitment to educating children and helping them reach their goals.
Hugh Culbreath, Upper School Social Studies Teacher
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2111
Hugh is an eighth generation Tampa Bay native. He served seven years in the United States Navy on the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. He returned to Tampa and earned a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the University of Tampa. He returned to the University of Tampa and earned a Masters degree in Education to follow his dream of teaching.
Hugh currently teaches Social Studies to all the 7th and 8th grade students. His passion is teaching and learning about history and traveling. He is excited to be able to share his many travels with the students.
Quinn Dolezal, Lower School English Teacher
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2116
Originally from the state of Illinois, Mr. Dolezal graduated from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where he earned a degree in English. Mr. Dolezal is thrilled to continue being a part of the Academy Prep family this year as the 5th and 6th grade English Language Arts teacher.
Monica Pollock, Upper School School English Teacher
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2113
Monica graduated from USF with a B.A. degree in English Literature. She started out in the Academy Prep family over at our Tampa location as an AmeriCorp. After that, she began working in graduate support and stayed in graduate support for 4 years. She attends Bible Based Fellowship Church of Temple Terrace, where she is actively involved with working and mentoring middle school and high school students. She was a part of the organization Young Life, an organization that mentors inner city high school students. She was a part of Young Life for four years and currently still mentors some of those students. She loves teaching and feels that her purpose in life is to guide young minds, as well as inspire them to want to better themselves through their education. She prides herself on being a good role model for students and making sure they have someone positive to look up to.
LaTerrica Mathis, AmeriCorps Teacher
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2123
LaTerrica was born and raise right here in Saint Petersburg. In fact, she actually attended and graduated from Academy Prep in 2007. She attended the Masters School, a boarding school in Upstate New York. She went on to receive her Bachelor of the Art’s degree in Political Science from the University of South Florida. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family and going on random adventures. She is excited about returning to Academy Prep to teach English 2 this year and looks forward to the opportunity to commit some of her time and energy to a place that nurtured her so many years ago! Welcome back LaTerrica!
Amanda Whelden, AmeriCorps Teacher
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2114
Amanda Whelden recently graduated Eckerd College with a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish, with a minor in International Business. She was born and raised in Pompano Beach, FL and spent some of her childhood years living in the Big Apple. This year she joins the Academy Prep family as an AmeriCorps teacher, instructing the Upper School Spanish classes. Amanda has been immersed in the Latino culture since her early teens, which is where her passion for the Spanish language first took its spark. She learned about Academy Prep while in college and has felt called to teach Spanish ever since she declared it as her major. She loves to travel, sing, dance, cook, and hopes to empower students to become world changers and leaders!
Charlotte Benziger, AmeriCorps Teacher
Originally from Maryland, Charlotte moved to Florida to attend Eckerd College. She graduated with a BA in International Studies and Spanish. After graduating college, she moved back to Washington, DC where she interned for a local nonprofit whose main focus was youth and community service. After her internship year she accepted a position to teach English as a foreign language as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Quito, Ecuador. Charlotte started as a substitute teacher at Academy Prep and was brought in to temporarily fill the position of Development Coordinator. She is now doing the AmeriCorp program and is super excited to begin teaching English 2 to the Upper School students.
Alex Miller, AmeriCorps Teacher
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2120
Alex hails from Oxford, Connecticut where he played football, baseball, and basketball in high school. He has two older brothers. He graduated from Rollins College with a B.A. in Business and Social Entrepreneurship and played baseball while he was there. Alex has added volunteer work to his resume after working at elementary schools in Orlando as well as volunteer work in Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic where he was a part of a team who put on a free baseball camp for kids.
Alex has been involved with organizations like One Million Cups and Toastmasters for the past couple years. He is obsessed with ice cream (in particular Ben and Jerry’s half-baked flavor) and is a coffee addict.
Emily Ludwinski, AmeriCorps Teacher
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2114
Emily is from St. Louis Missouri. She attended Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau Missouri. In December 2015, she graduated with degree in Art Education. She thought this position with Academy Prep was an amazing opportunity, so she moved to Florida. So far, it’s been great for her. She really enjoys the change of pace, getting to know new people, seeing a new school, and being so close to the ocean is always a plus! She is really excited to be teaching art this upcoming school year. In her free time she likes to paint. She also enjoys traveling, swimming and hiking.
Tim Ciskowski, AmeriCorps Teacher
Phone: 727-322-0800 x2120
Tim, a native of Buford, Wyoming and made his way to the Bay area while interning with Barnum and Bailey. He is a national champion in ballroom dancing, as well as winning the title of “Best Bass Fisherman” in his hometown. He is an avid baker whose strawberry-balsamic macaron once caught the eye of world renowned chef Gordon Ramsay during a junior chef competition. Tim is ecstatic to be joining our team this year and really hopes that all of his quirky talents have an impact on our students.
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