FACULTY AND STAFF

ADMINISTRATION

Gina Burkett
Gina Burkett - Head of 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.

Email : gburkett@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2141

Chance Cook - Assistant Head of School | Academic Dean

 

Chance Cook joined Academy Prep after serving as a teacher, coach, department chair, and Dean of Curriculum at private day and boarding schools across the US. He holds a MPhil in Educational Leadership and School Improvement from Cambridge University, MA in History from Queen’s University Belfast, and BA in History from the College of Charleston. At AP, he oversees curriculum design, leads professional development for faculty and staff, and ensures all academic programs on campus align with our mission while reflecting research-based best practices, enabling students to grow as learners, thinkers, and communicators.

Email : ccook@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2101

Chance Cook
Ken Watson
Ken Watson - Dean of Students

 

Mr. Watson is excited to join Academy Prep to start in the brand new position as the Dean of Students.  Mr. Watson will be responsible for overseeing behavioral issues that may arise at the school and working with our scholars on character development and learning the Academy Prep way.  Mr. Watson is really looking forward to working with all families to ensure that their child has a wonderful experience here at Academy Prep.

Email : kwatson@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2115

Terika Walters - Guidance Counselor 

 

Terika Walters, a native of Miami Florida, graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and obtained her Master’s in Social Work from Florida State University. Terika has served children, youth, and families in many different capacities over the past 9 years. Prior to joining the Academy Prep family, Terika worked as a Preschool Teacher, College Reach Out Program Camp Counselor, School Counselor, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Therapist. Terika also spent a week in St. Georges Grenada where she was instrumental in creating and implementing a curriculum on character development, and healthy relationships for adolescent mothers. Terika is motivated with a great zeal for children and youth, and always strives to ensure that she can provide emotional support, resources, and education to those that she encounters. Terika is excited to be a part of the Academy Prep family, and is looking forward to providing additional assistance to the students, faculty, and families served.

Email : twalters@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2107

Terika Walters
Terri Scarcelli
Terri Scarcelli - Chief Financial Officer

 

Terri earned her accounting degree from the University of South Florida.  Terri is also licensed by the Internal Revenue Service as an Enrolled Agent and has been the president and owner of Balanced Accounting and Tax for since 2009.  Additionally, she worked 10 plus years as a staff accountant for Dwight Darby and Co. and Ennis CPA Associates, PA.  Her private industry experience has been in the non-profit area where she has held the position of CFO for both the Tampa Bay Builders Association and The Cambridge School, a pre K3 through 12th grade Christian school.  Terri and her husband Ron, who has been the IT Coordinator at Academy Prep for the past 6 years, have five children and four grandchildren.  Terri is honored to help Academy Prep fulfill its vision by helping our students reach their potential. 

Email : tscarcelli@academyprep.org

Lee Lockhart - School Manager

 

Lee has been with Academy Prep since 2015 where he served as the Assistant Head of School before taking on his current role of School Manager in 2018.  Lee previously worked at Northside Christian School for 17 years where he served as MS Principal, Dean of Students, and Superintendent.  Originally from West Virginia, Lee received his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Marshall University and his Master's Degree in Administration from Central Michigan University.  Lee was also a member of the United States Air Force where he retired after 26 years of service and has two grown children and one amazing grandson.

Email : llockhart@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2122

Lee Lockhart
Anita Reece
Anita Reece - Admissions and Scholarship Coordinator

 

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. 

Email : areece@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2105

Victoria Alderman - Community Relations Coordinator

 

Victoria is a proud graduate from The Great Bethune-Cookman University with a BS degree in Physical Education/Recreation. Throughout her college career, she has served as an urban youth camp counselor; Locker Coordinator; Kids Across America college campus representative; and has held several executive positions of student organizations. Impacting the lives of kids is her mission. Her heart is to serve the scholars and their families to reach their greatest level of achievement and success. She joined Academy Prep team in 2017 serving as the Physical Education Teacher and volleyball coach. 

Email : valderman@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2108

Victoria Alderman
Antoinette Smith
Antoinette Smith - Administrative Assistant

 

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.

Email : asmith@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2100

Shannon Wright - Intervention Specialist

 

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.

Email : swright@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2104

Shannon Wright
Chris Brazee
Chris Brazee -Technology Coordinator

 

Chris originally hails from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Millersville University with a BA in Music Business and Technology. Before he started working in schools, Chris worked for Apple in New York City as a Certified Technician and Trainer for almost ten years.  He has previously worked as a Technology Specialist for independent schools on the Upper East Side in NYC, and in Potomac MD, just outside of Washington D.C. Chris relocated to Tampa with his family over the summer of 2020, and he’s thrilled to be a part of the Academy Prep team.

Email : cbrazee@academyprep.org

Andy Hoang Educational Technology Specialist

 

Originally from Việt Nam, Andy Hoàng has been privileged to work with NASA STEM Enrichment utilizing programs in collaboration with MIT Zero Robotics, USF SOAR and CASIS to implement thoughtful approaches to improving educational reach for underserved and underrepresented students, also to encourage young people in the STEM pathway to affect real change. Andy’s education path is through CompTIA where he is certified as a Healthcare Information Technology Professional.  He also holds an International Business BAS as well as a Masters degree at the University of South Florida. Andy is looking forward to working at Academy Prep as the Educational Technology Specialist!

Email : ahoang@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2266

Andy Hoang

FACULTY

Hugh Culbreath
Hugh Culbreath - Upper School Social Studies

 

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. 

Email : hculbreath@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2101

Brittany Dillard - Upper School Mathematics

 

Born in Jacksonville, Brittany is a graduate of Edward Waters College, earning her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education.  She also graduated as senior class valedictorian.  Brittany furthered her education at Southern New Hampshire University and earned her Master of Science in Higher Education Administration as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology with a specialization in online education.  She has over 9 years teaching experience with the youngest grade being Pre-K. Brittany love's children and evolving and shaping young minds, always reminding students that education is the most powerful tool you can have that no one can ever take from you.

Email : bdillard@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2112

Brittany Dillard
Laura Manke
Laura Manke - Upper School English 

 

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 the 5th and 6th grade social studies teacher.  She is looking forward to continuing with Academy Prep in Upper School English!

Email : lmanke@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2113

Zack Brockett - Upper School Science

 

Zack is originally from Ohio. The son of two teachers, delving into education has always been close to his heart and he loves the idea of making an impact at a small school like Academy Prep. He graduated from Eckerd College with a BA in Environmental Studies and Political Science, where he also served as a College Ambassador, peer mentor, and captain of the rugby team. At AP, he teaches Upper School Science, helping students grow in confidence and teaching them about the importance of the natural world.

Email : zbrockett@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2110

Zach Brockett
Sarena Sommer
Sarena Sommer - Lower School Science

 

Sarena Sommer has five years of experience in education, teaching all grade levels in public and private sectors. Sarena has taught a variety of subjects including Biology, Marine Science, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Consumer Math, and Civics. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance with a minor in Biology from the University of Central Florida. Her first year of teaching was completed in Beijing, China where she was an instructor of grades K-12 Math, Science, and English. She has experience working in the classroom with ESOL and students with disabilities. She’s traveled to several countries and enjoys sharing experiences with students from what she has learned abroad. 

Email : ssommer@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2118

Columbia Renix - Lower School Mathematics

 

Columbia is a passionate educator who earned her BS in Early Childhood Education from Columbus State University in Georgia and holds a TESOL certificate specializing in reading strategies and phonics. Columbia served in the Peace Corps overseas from 2017-2019, and specializes in reading strategies and phonics. While at Columbus State, she was extensively involved in student leadership and served as VP of Events as well as chairperson for a committee tasked with fostering connections between alumni and current students.  Serving as an Americorps Specialist for the 2019-2020 school year, Columbia is excited to begin teaching Lower School Mathematics this year and continuing to work with Academy Prep students as they learn and grow. 

Email : crenix@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2117

Columbia Renix
Quinn Dolezal
Quinn Dolezal - Lower School English

 

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  as the 5th and 6th grade English Language Arts teacher. 

Email : qdolezal@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2116

Olivia Sailors - Lower School Social Studies

 

Olivia was born and raised in the small town of Newton, Kansas. Passionate about the liberal arts model of education and in search of a new and exciting environment, she attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. While at Macalester, Olivia's coursework enhanced her awareness of educational inequality and ways enhancing access to education can contribute to helping rectify broader inequity in our society. This drove her to pursue a double major in Educational Studies and American Studies with the goal of teaching American History more truthfully than it traditionally has been taught.  She is excited to join the Academy Prep family this year as the Lower School Social Studies Teacher!

Email : osailors@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2119

Olivia Sailors
Samuel Luna
Samuel Luna - Music and Athletic Coordinator | Spanish Teacher 

 

Samuel Luna was born and raised in Southern Spain where he went on to college to study Environmental Sciences and Marine Biology. Soon his passion for music took over and Mr. Luna began a new career of teaching music at various educational academies in Spain and the United States. In addition to his work at Academy Prep, he is also an adjunct professor and Spanish curriculum designer at Florida State College. Mr. Luna is very excited to be part of the Academy Prep mission teaching music and Spanish to our scholars.

Email : sluna@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2142


GRADUATE SUPPORT

Tonya Mathis Director of Graduate Support

 

Ms. Mathis enrolled her son in Academy Prep when it had its first class of young men.  Andrew Williams graduated from Academy Prep in the year 2000.  Andrew was one of the first students to attend a boarding school, St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware.  From there, Andrew graduated from Dickinson College, a prestigious college in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She is excited to play a role in giving back to an institution that helped their family with the tools to reach their goals and aspirations.  While Andrew was in school at AP, Ms. Mathis earned her first degree with an Associate of Arts at St. Petersburg College, then a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology at USFSP, followed by a Master of Public Administration (Non-Profit Administration, Public Policy Analysis & Evaluation) from Barry University.  She has over 20 years’ experience in working with youth and families as a Disaster Case Manager, Personal Health Coordinator, Juvenile Probation Officer, Young Adult Case Manager, and a Protective Services Case Manager.  She and her son Andrew hold Academy Prep very close to their hearts, and once again, they are both excited about the opportunities she will have to assess how she can bring her experience and enthusiasm to our graduate support program. 

Email : tmathis@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2137

  
Tonya Mathis
Courtney Bynum
Courtney Bynum Graduate Support Coordinator

 

Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Miss Courtney Bynum attended Academy Prep during her middle school years. She went on to graduate from St. Petersburg High before attending and graduating from Johnson & Wales University where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Finance. Throughout Courtney’s high school and college education, she always looked for ways to volunteer with AP because of her strong desire to give back to the school.  She is thrilled to join the school, knowing that she’ll be part of an organization that not only impacts the lives of others, but certainly had an impact on hers.

Email : cbynum@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2103

DEVELOPMENT

Lacey Nash Miller Director of Development

 

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.

Email : lnashmiller@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2109

Lacey Miller
Sarah McDonald
Sarah McDonald Marketing and Communications Coordinator 

 

Sarah comes to Academy Prep after a long career as a photographer specializing in weddings and lifestyle portraits, a business owner, and designer.  Originally from Wisconsin, Sarah holds a BA in Communication, Advertising, and Public Relations from the University of Wisconsin and an AS in Photography from International Academy of Design and Technology. The daughter and wife of educators and a former adjunct professor herself, she strongly believes that the success of our society depends on the quality of education our youngest generation receives which has drawn her to the students and the mission of Academy Prep.  Sarah is thrilled to join the team where she can spread the word about Academy Prep and help to inspire and motivate positive change in the lives of our scholars as well as the community. Outside of Academy Prep you can find Sarah enjoying photography, running, reading, attending concerts and musical theater, and cheering on the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Green Bay Packers!

Email : smcdonald@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2106

Sidney Wall Development Coordinator

 

Sidney is a St. Petersburg native and graduated from Shorecrest Preparatory School. She went on to earn varsity letters in both Volleyball and Basketball at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, earning a BA in Psychology and Business. Sidney then served as an English teacher with Peace Corps Lesotho (2017-2019) before returning to Florida and arriving at AP as an AmeriCorps specialist teacher.  Sidney is excited to continue serving the Academy Prep mission as a member of the Development team. 

Email : swall@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2131

Sidney Wall

AMERICORPS TEACHING FELLOWS

Jake Szasz
Jessica Feinman
Thomas Cassano

Jake Szasz

 

Jake is from St. Petersburg, having graduated from Shorecrest Prep before heading off to New Orleans, where he completed his BS in Psychology from Tulane University. While at Tulane, Jake was a committed volunteer with the Tulane Community Tutor Program, which centers on providing academic assistance to at-risk young people from the city's wards. Jake is also a master thespian, performing in and designing sets for multiple productions at Tulane as well as writing for the campus newspaper. AP's mission really spoke to Jake, and he is excited to begin his second year as an Americorps Teaching Fellow assisting with a wide array of endeavors (theater included!) around our campus during the upcoming school year.

Email : jszasz@academyprep.org

Jess Feinman

 

Jessica Feinman graduated from Eckerd College with a BA in Spanish and Creative Writing. She is originally from Chester, Connecticut, but has lived in St. Petersburg since the start of her undergraduate studies and immediately sought to engage with the local community. Jessica had the opportunity to complete an internship with Pinellas Refugee Education Program and this experience, in particular, taught her how empowering education can be. She is excited to begin her first year at Academy Prep and help students be The Greatest!

Email : jfeinman@academyprep.org

Thomas Cassano

 

Thomas was born and raised in Staten Island, New York. He graduated from Arizona State University cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Anthropology. While attending Arizona State, he had the opportunities to conduct research via the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, assisted in teaching human anatomy and physiology, worked alongside the very best at the Institute of Human Origins, and volunteered with local youth through the FitPHX program. Thomas takes particular interests in existentialism and the theory of evolution, and is highly passionate about art, traveling, and fitness. Mr. Cassano believes in the importance of education and seeks to bring out the inquisitive nature of others. He is ecstatic to be a part of the AP team!

Email : tcassano@academyprep.org

Marissa Daniels 

 

Marisa Daniels is a fervent advocate for youth development, having worked with children of all ages for over six years. She is originally from New Jersey, where she worked as a youth mentor for two non-profits, the YMCA and Heroes & Cool Kids, and earned her Bachelor's Degree from Stockton University. Marisa is a former collegiate basketball player and remains passionate about fitness. She has been a youth sports coach and is also a Crossfit Level 1 Trainer, with experience training both children and adults. Besides working out, Marisa loves to learn and share ideas about mindset, positivity, and self-love. Marisa is very excited to join the Academy Prep family!

Email : mdaneils@academyprep.org

Marissa Daniels
Angelica Davis
Angelica Davis


A native of St. Petersburg, Angelica Davis holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Management from National American University. She then furthered her education by earning a Master's in Management degree with a Higher Education Administration focus. Over the past five years, Angelica has had wonderfully positive experiences teaching children in Charlotte and right here in St. Petersburg. Angelica loves children and truly enjoys helping them appreciate and understand her favorite subject, Math, while inspiring each child to be the greatest version of themselves!

Email : adavis@academyprep.org