Board of Directors

Get to know us

We have a diverse and experienced  board that is dedicated to building communities, mentoring, leadership, and character development. We are proud of the work we do and the partnerships we have formed. Our dedication to the student athletes in and out of our program is our main focus and goal.We pride ourselves on Spirituality, Integrity, Honestly and Attitude. 

Gary Burley

Retired NFL Player

  • As an un-recruited student athlete out of high school, Gary worked hard and with the help of mentors was ultimately recruited by the University of Pittsburgh, earning a full scholarship

  • While at “Pitt” he earned top honors as a collegiate ALL American and Walter Camp, Kodak All American

  • Made numerous Bowl and All-star game appearances

  • Selected in the third round of the NFL draft – resulting in a ten-year career which included playoffs and a Super Bowl appearance

  • As of 2006 Burley and teammate Coy Bacon still hold the record for duo sacks in a season (32) for the Cincinnati Bengals

  • Upon retirement from the NFL he worked in the sports, entertainment and publication businesses including advertising manager for the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Braves sports publications, and R&B music and sports marketing for legendary entertainment attorney, Joel Katz

  • Co-founded the Leon Bender Epilepsy Research Foundation with Grammy winner Manuel Seal. That organization partnered with Emory Hospital in Atlanta to fund an Epilepsy Research initiative that has shown promising results

  • Currently founder and CEO of Pro Start Academy

Tapeka Fennel

CEO of The Fennell Corporation 

  • As Birmingham’s National Journalist ™, Tapeka is host and producer of the docuseries entitled, My Story, with Alabama Cable Network | Charter Channel 80 in which she has purposeful conversations with celebrities nationwide on their success, positive influence and future endeavors which will garner influential change within the community.

  • She is an active partner with Mr. Mathew Knowles, of Music World Entertainment, in promoting community activism as it pertains to bringing awareness to racism in today’s society ( She is also an active partner with Judge Glenda Hatchett in bringing awareness to maternal mortality, which affects African American women at a higher rate than any other nationality. Please visit ( 

  • As a Bachelor of Science, Magna Cum Laude Honors graduate in Accounting from Miles College, Tapeka is also a Harvard Business School CORe certification candidate, as well as a Colorado Tech, MBA candidate. She serves our community through teaching fiscal education and entrepreneurship by volunteering in our local classrooms with Junior League of Birmingham, and Junior Achievement.

  • She is also a member of The National Association of Black Accountants, AICPA, and ASCPAs. Having been selected as a TEDx Birmingham Focus Group participant TEDx Conversation starter participant, and TEDx Birmingham attendee, Tapeka enjoys events that bring together individuals to share in deep discussion and influential, positive guidance. She also enjoys sharing ideas with her fellow constituents of Sigma Kappa Delta (Eta Epsilon Chapter) National English Honor Society, to promote interest in literature, language, reading, and writing.

  • Tapeka Fennell is an active member of UNA-USA, UN Women, UNICEF, and a Congressional Action Team Advocate who is passionately involved in combating the injustices of women and children worldwide. Pressing for political accountability as it pertains to civil and legal rights of all humanity. Assuring that each and every man, woman, and child share in freedoms of life, liberty, and justice. 

  • Tapeka was extended an invitation to attend the UNA-USA Members' Day at the UN headquarters in New York, NY, having also been chosen to participate in the UNA-USA Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. Tapeka actively participates in the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Foundation in an effort to strengthen laws as they pertain to refugee women and children. Tapeka supports and is also involved in "She Should Run", an organization that works to create a culture that inspires women and girls to aspire towards public leadership. 

  • As a Mom to one son (Jayden), and member of Faith Chapel Christian Center, Tapeka loves spending quality time celebrating her faith, family, and friends. She also enjoys traveling abroad promoting UN peace efforts and refugee rights. 

Dr. Stacey Gill

Assistant Professor of Instructional leadership

  • B. A. History- University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 

  • M.A. Ed. Educational Leadership- University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 

  • Ed. S. Educational Leadership - University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL    

  • Ed. D. Educational Leadership - University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL/University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

  • Alabama Department of Education

  • Class A, Educational Administration (81) (P-12), 2006 – 2024

  • Class AA, Educational Administration (81P) (P-12), 2008 – 2024

  • Class A, Secondary (06A), (6-12), 2002 - 2024

  • Highly Qualified Teacher Status, issued 2004

    Professional Biography

    I am a native of Eutaw, Alabama. I served 8 years in Birmingham City Schools in Birmingham, Alabama and 2 years in Jefferson County Schools as a classroom teacher. I became an assistant principal in Tarrant City Schools where I served for two years. Later, I was appointed Principal in Choctaw County schools in Butler, Alabama. As the instructional leader, I led the turnaround efforts to increased student achievement and graduation rates in two schools. I received awards and recognition by the district two consecutive years for outstanding leadership. I transitioned to higher education as the Director of Adult Education at Drake State Community and Technical College in Huntsville, Alabama. My research agenda includes continuing my research in developing an effective leadership model for difficult rural and urban secondary schools. 


Get to know your trainers


Football Staff

  • Head Coach 
    Richard Richardson

  • Assistant Head Coach - Def Coordinator / Secondary
    Stephen Johnson

  • Offensive Coordinator/ Qb's & Runningbacks
    Sidney Skanes

  • Receivers
    Benji Marshall

  • Offensive Line 

      Harvey Patton

  • Linebackers
    Marcellus McElrath

  • Defensive Line
    Deshawn Burgess

  • Strength and Conditioning

      Stephen Johnson ​

  • Recruiting Coordinator  
    Robb Jonson

  • VP of Operations
    Jazmin Martin

Basketball Staff

  • Head Coach 
    Harvey Patton

  • Assistant Coach
    Rashad Louie