Gina Burkett

 Gina Burkett - Head of School 

 Gina entered the field of education shortly after earning her MBA and has over 30 years of experience as a teacher and an administrator. She is looking forward to beginning her 8th year with Academy Prep as their Head of School.  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 :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2141

Chance Cook - Assistant Head of School | Academic Dean


Chance joined Academy Prep in 2018 after serving as a teacher and administrator in private high schools across the US.  He appreciates the opportunity to be part of a school community that always focuses on best practices, ensuring our scholars receive a dynamic education that prepares them for high school and beyond while supporting them throughout their journeys. Chance holds a BA in History from the College of Charleston, MA in History from Queen's University of Belfast, and MPhil in Education from the University of Cambridge. 


Email :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2101

Chance Cook
Ken Watson

Ken Watson - Dean of Student Life


Ken Watson has served as Dean of Student Life at Academy Prep since 2019. He is a St. Petersburg native and holds a BS in Educational Studies from St. Petersburg College.  His role focuses on overseeing behavior and discipline on campus as well as guiding the enrichment activity program. Most importantly, however, he works with all of our scholars on character development and learning the 'AP Way' so they find productive ways to work through challenging situations and build stronger relationships with their peers. Mr. Watson really enjoys working with our families to ensure our children have a wonderful experience here at Academy Prep.


Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2115

Terika Walters - School 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 :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2107

Terika Walters Portrait
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 :

Lee Lockhart - Operations 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 :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2122

Lee Lockhart
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 :

727.322.0800 x 3133

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 :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2105

Cameron Davis - Educational Technology Specialist


Cameron originally hails from Atlanta, Georgia and is currently pursuing an AA in Music with a minor in IT. Technology and music have always been equal passions, and Cameron has been equally involved in both for over ten years; delving into side projects like PC building, USF's HOT Band, and starting a program with Hillsborough County's senior centers to teach technical proficiency to senior citizens.  He has previously worked as a Teacher's Assistant in Schools in the Metro-Atlanta area and as an IT consultant to a number of small businesses in the Tampa Bay area. Cameron relocated to Tampa permanently in the beginning of 2018, and he’s thrilled to be a part of the Academy Prep team.

Email :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2266

Cameron Davis Portrait
Faculty and Staff Portrait

Josh Bagger - Maintenance Coordinator


Josh comes to Academy Prep from Laurel, Montana where he supervised the maintenance and custodial crew for a 280 apartment unit complex. Josh and his family recently moved to Kenneth City, Florida in August 2020 and he is excited to be a part of the Academy Prep family as it reminds him of the private school his daughter attended through the 8th grade.  Josh is looking forward to the upcoming school year when he can learn more about Academy Prep and our students.  In his free time, Josh enjoys the outdoors, fishing, hiking, camping, and spending time with his family. 

Email :

Phone : 727.322.0800 


Antez Brinson Portrait
Antez Brinson Upper School Social Studies

Antez Brinson is a native of St. Petersburg, Florida.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Geography from Florida A&M University.  Antez has 12 years of classroom experience in public and charter schools and has also served as an instructor with the Pinellas County Job Corps program.  He has not only served as a head football coach at the high school level, but he has also been involved in a local non-profit which is designed to assist high school student athletes obtain admission into college.  Antez will be teaching Upper School Social Studies for the 2021-2022 school year, but more importantly, he is looking forward to connecting with students and parents in an effort to further maintain the "AP Way."  

Email :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2111

 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 :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2112

Brittany Dillard
Max Massengill - Lower School Mathematics

Max is a native of St. Petersburg, Florida.  He graduated from Northside Christian School in 2014 and holds a Bachelor's degree in International Business from St. Petersburg College. Max has previously worked as an Event Coordinator at IMG Academy in Bradenton, and prior to joining the Academy Prep family, Max was a substitute teacher at his alma mater of Northside Christian School.  He also provided assistance to the college counseling office working alongside senior athletes to ensure their academic success and eligibility. Max feels blessed to be a part of an organization like Academy Prep where a desire for excellence is instilled in every facet. He is looking forward to getting to know the students and encouraging them to be their very best every day.  

Email :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2104

Max Massengill Portrait
Laura Manke Portrait

 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. Laura earned her Master's of Education from USF St. Petersburg in 2019. She is looking forward to continuing with Academy Prep in Upper School English!

Email :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2119

 Zack Brockett - Upper School Science | Athletic Coordinator


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 :

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 :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2118

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 :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2116

Prechae Rodriguez - Lower School Social Studies 


Born and raised in Tampa, Prechae attended Jefferson High School before heading to Auburn University on a full athletic scholarship. Prechae was a three year letterman in football, and after graduating, he went on to play professional football in the NFL and the CFL for 10 years. Prechae transitioned to education in 2016, and looks forward to working at Academy Prep to make an impact and build a rapport with our scholars and staff. Prechae believes in providing self-empowerment, self-acceptance, and self-actualization to the youth of our society. Prechae is also a children's book author and illustrator.  

Email :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2135

Prechae Rodriguez Portrait
Samuel Luna

 Samuel Luna - Music and 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 :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2142

 Shannon Wright - Reading Support Coordinator


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 :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2113

Shannon Wright
Jake Szasz Portrait

 Jake Szasz - Math Support Coordinator


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.  After spending the last two years at Academy Prep as an AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow, Jake is excited to be returning to continue his work with the math intervention program.

Email :



Desmond Baker Portrait
Desmond Baker - Graduate Support Director


Mr. Baker hails from Camden, NJ.  Growing up in his hometown was no easy feat; engulfed by drugs, crime, violence, and poverty were some early disadvantages that Mr. Baker knew that he wanted to be much greater than.  Most recently, he’s graduated from Morgan State University receiving his master’s degree in Higher Education & Student Affairs Administration.  Mr. Baker has had a longstanding admiration for education while cultivating student’s success through strong leadership, mentorship, and engagement.  A previous role as an elementary grade-school teacher in the city of Philadelphia for over 7 years is where Mr. Baker’s passion for academic achievement stems from. 

Many of his previous professional experiences have molded him to excel within this position.  Mr. Baker lives by the philosophy “giving all that you have to open the doors for the next generation.”  This philosophy is produced in Mr. Baker’s daily habits and is a testament to his approach to build strong relationships, collaborate with staff members, and enhance the vision here at Academy Prep.


Email :

Phone : 727.322.0800 X 2137

 Courtney Bynum Graduate Support Coordinator


Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Courtney 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 :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2103

Courtney Bynum


Lacey Miller

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, Lacey 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 :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2109

Sarah McDonald - Marketing and Communications Specialist


Sarah comes to Academy Prep after a long career as a professional photographer, designer, and business owner. Sarah holds a BA in Journalism, with an emphasis in Advertising and Public relations from the University of Wisconsin and has also earned an AS in Photography from the International Academy of Design and Technology. Originally from Wisconsin, Sarah is the daughter of an educator, and as 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.

Email :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2106

Sarah McDonald
Roxane Leary - Grants Specialist


Roxane graduated in 2011 from Florida State University with a B.S. in Political Science and in 2015 from the University of South Florida with a Master of Public Administration. She has spent many years working with at risk youth in Polk and Hillsborough County as a life skills coach and substance abuse prevention counselor. After earning her master’s degree, Roxane transitioned to finance as a revenue analyst at DACCO Behavioral Health, Inc. Her passion for working with at risk youth lead her to Academy Prep Centers for Education where as a member of the development team she is able to help contribute to enriching the lives of youth in the community.    

Email :

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2150

Roxane Leary Portrait


Jonathan Dixon Portrait

Jonathan Dixon

Although born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jonathan has been a Florida resident for most of his life, and currently calls Tampa his home. He graduated from Wake Forest University with a Major in English and double Minored in Creative Writing and Film Studies. He began his career in education as a tutor for Hillsborough Community College where he reviewed the basics of essay formatting, grammar, and work citations with students. Now, he is glad to be a part of Academy Prep’s Mission to help students advance their reading skills. Jonathan also has a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).

Email :

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 :

727.322.0800 x 2102

Thomas Cassano
Jamal Turner Portrait

Jamal Turner

Jamal hails from Houston, but moved to Chicago in order to play basketball collegiately at Concordia University, where he earned his Bachelor's degree in Sports & Fitness. Prior to moving to St. Petersburg, he served as a Physical Education instructor at private schools in the greater Chicago area while coaching his favorite sport. Jamal is excited to join a mission-driven school like AP, where he will serve as our Physical Education teacher for all grades, assist in the Athletics Department, and help our Eagles find success on and off the court.

Email :

Trevor Otis

Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Trevor graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 2014. After graduation, he traveled the United States and spent winters in Park City, Utah working at a ski resort as a lift foreman and summers teaching horseback riding at Camp Lohikan in Lake Como, PA.  He is an avid skier and horseback rider and enjoys sharing that passion with others.  Trevor is currently attending St. Petersburg College working on a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education.  He is dedicated to working with children and helping them see and reach their greatest potential. Trevor is excited to join the Academy Prep family! 


Email :

Trevor Otis Portrait
Kasey Burke Portrait
Kasey Burke 

Born in St. Petersburg, Kasey attended Northside Christian School and graduated in 2014.  She went on earn a Bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of South Florida in 2020.  Kasey loves the field of anthropology because it demonstrates an understanding of human nature in a way that both studies and appreciates diversity amongst people.  Kasey is a creator and she loves to draw, paint, and innovate.  She sells her artwork at local events and markets around the St. Petersburg area.  Kasey also writes creative content for local businesses.  Her educational background and her creative nature equips her to understand the difference between individual student and she loves working creatively with young minds to help them succeed.  Kasey is excited to be a part of the Academy Prep family because she feels it is an opportunity to help the future generations of our nation grow and learn in a way that best serves them every  day.