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 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 : gburkett@academyprep.org

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 : ccook@academyprep.org

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.

Email : kwatson@academyprep.org

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 : twalters@academyprep.org

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 : tscarcelli@academyprep.org

 

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 : llockhart@academyprep.org

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 : cbrazee@academyprep.org

 

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

Antoinette Smith
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

 

Cameron Daivs - EdTech 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 :  cdavis@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2266

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 :  jbagger@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 

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 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 : 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

 

Ms. Renix 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. 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. Ms. Renix served in the Peace Corps Lesotho from 2017-2019 as an Education volunteer. Since serving as an Americorps Specialist for the 2019-2020 school year, Ms. Renix is excited to continue 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


 

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 : swright@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2104

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 : jszasz@academyprep.org

 

GRADUATE SUPPORT

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 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 : lnashmiller@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2109

Sarah McDonald - Marketing and Communications Manager

 

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 and wife of educators. 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 : smcdonald@academyprep.org

Phone : 727.322.0800 x 2106

Sarah McDonald
Sidney Wall Portrait

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

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 : rleary@academyprep.org

Phone : 863.279.2782

Roxane Leary Portrait

AMERICORPS TEACHING FELLOWS

Angelica Davis
Thomas Cassano
Jessica Feinman

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

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

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

Maeghan Holzbaur Portrait

Maeghan Holzbaur

Maeghan Holzbaur recently graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience and Behavior. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Maeghan moved to South Bend to pursue new research opportunities in both the biological sciences and psychology. She spent several years serving the local hospice community as well as working with the Infant Studies Lab and the Family Justice Center of St. Joseph's County. Maeghan has also worked for various summer camps and tutoring programs in the Jacksonville area. Additionally, she loves to travel, spend time with friends, and occasionally go for a long run. Maeghan is so grateful to be at AP and can't wait to explore math and science with her students! 
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).