Work Local Manager – Emily Burt

Education is important no matter what you do. It makes you feel secure, independent, and confident in yourself. . . So, if it starts at the basic level . . . a lot will change. –Kriti Sanon

For schools to engage in constructive conversations about education that empowers and inspires its students, the dialogue must remain student-centered. When Birmingham native, Emily Burt, applied for a Program Specialist position at the Birmingham Education Foundation through AmeriCorps State, she discovered that the role not only aligned with her graduate studies in School Counseling, but also revealed the organization’s dedication to keeping students at the forefront of discussion. As Program Specialist, Burt delivered the College and Career Preparation Curriculum, and enjoyed serving in this capacity so much that she applied for a full-time position. Continue reading

“Diary of Ed” – Ed Family Game Night

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. – BrenéBrown

Each packed hitting bay on Top Golf’s first floor emanated an exhilarating energy as seniors from seven Birmingham City high schools networked with local partners. Departing from Game Night’s recent family feud tradition, Development Manager, Brad Jennings, organized the annual fundraiser at Top Golf, creating a relaxed, engaging environment for relationships new and old to grow through community and competition. Students from a wide variety of Birmingham City schools joined together to compete on teams with executives from Regions, UAB, Engel Realty, C-Spire, SlateXP, Birmingham Athletic Partnership, American’s First Federal Credit Union, The Edit with MDL, Oakworth, Jones Walker, Christian & Smalls, and other community leaders.  “Every time someone came down here, you could feel the energy,” exclaimed a Top Golf worker. Continue reading

Program Specialist – Carolyn Williams

Carolyn Williams’ role at the Birmingham Education IMG_1757.jpgFoundation is Program Specialist. Her responsibilities include creating and delivering curriculum to 6-12th-grade students within the city of Birmingham. These in-school sessions focus on college, career, and life readiness. Within her role, one of Carolyn’s favorite tasks is to go into classrooms and provide students with access to resources that can help them reach their maximum potential. Through the help of the team, she is able to match students with local professionals for mentorship, provide resume preparation for future job opportunities, and help students financially prepare for college, as well as any other needs they may have. Continue reading

Development & Communications Specialist – Brad Jennings

D72ABBA3-3749-4397-88A8-A0516A974AE8Brad Jennings joined the Birmingham Education Foundation team during the 2017-2018 academic year as the Development and Communications Specialist. In this role, Brad identifies and researches state and federal grants and local, state, and national opportunities to support Ed’s fundraising activities. He also supports the Development and Communications Director, Whitney Williams, in implementing Ed’s communications strategy through social media and marketing materials. Continue reading

Accepting Applications for the Walter Carr Award!

The Walter Carr award was announced in 2018 and named in honor of Walter Carr, who is a graduate of Carver High School. The award will be presented to a graduating senior from a Birmingham City School who demonstrates grit, hard work, and character during their time in high school. In order to apply for the Walter Carr Award, please submit the following to

  • Resume’
  • 1 page typed essay stating how the applicant represents the qualities of “grit, hard work, and character”
  • At least 1 recommendation from a non-related person who can speak about the applicant’s grit, hard work, and character
  • Short statement on the applicant’s plans for next year
  • Headshot or other photo of the applicant
  • Optional – video essay

Finalists will be asked to participate in an in-person interview. Finalists will be notified via email during the week of April 22nd and interviews will take place the week of April 29th. Continue reading

Ed Chat

In order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the educational ecosystem in Birmingham, this year, the Birmingham Education Foundation dedicated capacity to the research and analysis of education policy for the first time through the creation of Ed’s Policy Project.  Our strategy manager, Corinn O’Brien, and a team of policy fellows, Maureen Moose, Nathan Yoguez, and Aditi Prasad, have been researching and writing policy briefs that focus on 1) the analysis of the current Alabama education policy landscape and 2) the exploration of effective education policy & best practices from around the country and potential for application in Alabama.   Continue reading

Program Team Lead – Cristal Brister

unnamedCristal Brister, a former Program Specialist, has really owned her role this year as the Program Team Lead with the Birmingham Education Foundation (Ed). As the new Program Team Lead, she will be managing the Social Emotional Learning partnership with the Birmingham City School district, managing curriculum development, facilitating in-school programming, and building relationships with community stakeholders. While she notes how stretching the experience has been, she gladly welcomes the continual growth. Continue reading

Alumni Spotlight – Juahmun Sturgeon

Juahmun Sturgeon is a 2018 graduate of Wenonah High School and is currently working on an associates degree in Business Administration from Lawson State Community College. Juahmun became involved with the Birmingham Education Foundation (Ed) as a unspecifiedsophomore in high school. He was first introduced to Ed through Wenonah’s Birmingham Academy coordinators, Angela Smith and Juanita Harris. Throughout his high school career, he participated in Ed’s Network Nights and was a contestant in the 2017 Ed Family Game Night. While participating in Ed Family Game Night, Juahmun had  the opportunity to team up with the University of Alabama at Birmingham(UAB). Juahmum along with his UAB team ended up placing third in the competition, allowing him to win scholarship money. Continue reading

Brad Jennings

BradBrad Jennings
Development Manager

Brad is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. While at UAB, Brad served as a member and Liaison of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and Public Relations Council of Alabama (PRCA). Brad has participated in the MLB’s Diversity Economic Impact Engagement Diversity Business Summit as well as Plank Center Challenge for Emerging Leaders. He has a passion for growing while also helping others grow. Brad became interested in education after visiting schools around Birmingham and realizing that so many students have a desire to succeed, but don’t have the support or resources they need.

Suzy Harris

View More: Harris
Program Manager SAIL

Suzy joined Ed in January 2016 after over 24 years in education program management at the Birmingham Museum of Art. She was responsible for developing programming for teachers and schools as well as public programming and outreach to community groups and other cultural institutions. She received her undergraduate degree in art history from the University of the South and her Master’s degree in art history from Vanderbilt University. She believes strongly in community service and currently serves on the Advocacy Task force of the Alabama Alliance for Arts Education, the CTE Advisory Committee for the Carver High School Animation Program and as Treasurer for the Alabama Art Education Association. She was a founding board member of Heart Gallery of Alabama and has served on the boards of the Jefferson County Children’s Policy Cooperative, the Nia Institute and the Junior Board of Gateway. In addition, she served as Board President for VSA arts Alabama, a statewide non­profit group that serves people with chronic illnesses and disabilities through the arts. She is an alumnus of Leadership Birmingham.