Brad 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
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 email@example.com:
- 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
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
Cristal 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
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 sophomore 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
Our history, as a city, comes from communication and collaboration. Our future is whether we can continue this tradition.
Community engagement is the enactment of providing branches for conversations to establish the collective future envisioned. It is a right, a privilege, and my pleasure to be involved in the facilitation of engaging my community. Continue reading
During the 2017-2018 school year, Meryem Tunagur served the Birmingham Education Foundation as an AmeriCorps VISTA Program Specialist and the Network Night Manager. Serving on the Educate Local program team gave her a great introduction to the Birmingham City Schools (BCS) community and helped her establish relationships with families, teachers, and students. Her new role as the Community Engagement Manager is an extension of her work from last year. In August, she launched Continue reading
Nehemiah Edison is a highly admired Birmingham Ed Alumnus and a 2018 graduate of George Washington Carver High School. He is now attending Alabama A&M University, majoring in Electrical Engineering. Nehemiah always had a passion for engineering, and wanted to
I attended the very first network night of the year on Tuesday, October 30th and itexceeded any/all expectations! This network night was held at Ramsay high school. I’m a proud alum of Ramsay High School so I was excited to see what was in store. When I entered the school I was greeted by a group of student volunteers. They assisted me with signing in and directing me to the table of food provided by Ed. Once the program started, things began to take off! The Network Night was hosted by a teacher of the school who did a wonderful job engaging the audience. The first activity was “New and Good.” The host asked everyone to get into groups of 6 and share with each other Continue reading
On Friday, November 2, Walter Carr joined with friends of the Birmingham Education Foundation for a special watch party of his appearance with Steve Harvey on the Steve TV Show. Continue reading
Change is underway for CeCe Lacey who formerly served as a program specialist and is now turning her focus to alumni relations. This new position is focused on serving graduates of Birmingham City Schools who participated in Educate Local programs. Lacey’s transition comes as part of the Ed team’s desire to constantly give and receive feedback in order to best work with their stakeholders. “We always need to have an idea of the best direction for our work,” she explains. “Our mission is to increase the number of BCS students who graduate career, college, and life ready and we we want to know how many students actually do graduate career, college, and life ready.” By transitioning Lacey’s focus to these alumni, the hope is Ed can better serve students before and after they graduate. Continue reading
DeCarlo Howard is a Huffman High School senior, where he’s a member of the swim and wrestling team, a former linebacker and defensive end on the football team, and an active member in his school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. Outside of school, DeCarlo participates in Miles College Upward Bound and with his church, New Rising Star. DeCarlo is a student in the Academy of Architecture and Construction at Huffman, where he specializes in electrical training. Last summer, he worked with Bright Future Electric, an electric contract company for construction, as an apprentice to earn his electrician’s license. He also worked with the Division of Youth Services in City Hall to complete a paid internship in the engineering department of the Mayor’s office. DeCarlo’s interest in electrical work has lead him to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) because of their great engineering and business programs. DeCarlo eventually wants to own his own electrical engineering business. Continue reading
N’Kayla Slaughter is a P.D. Jackson-Olin High School senior, where she’s the president of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), where she and other students compete in project-based competitions that showcase their skills in athletic training. N’Kayla has gained on-the-job skills in her role as the student athletic trainer for the Jackson-Olin football team. Her time spent working with Jackson-Olin’s athletes has inspired her to continue her education at the University of Georgia or Kennesaw State due to their excellent athletic training programs. N’Kayla wants to make a career out of athletic training because she loves learning new things about the body and how it functions during sports. Continue reading
Ciele Williams is a Wenonah High School senior, where she’s the captain of the cheerleading team. Ciele is part of Wenonah’s Academy of Hospitality and Tourism. Outside of school, Ciele is a member of the Mount Olive Baptist Church youth choir, praise team, and she serves as the secretary of the youth department. Her dedication and love of cheerleading has inspired her to continue her cheerleading while pursuing her career in education at Tuskegee University. Ciele says she’s interested in Tuskegee for its strengths in both of her areas of interest. Ciele wants to major in psychology and ultimately become a child or school therapist, because she loves working with kids. She realizes kids have a lot on their minds and are full of things to talk about, but often some young people don’t have that person to talk to; Ciele wants to be that person for children. Continue reading
Emilee Burrell is a Ramsay High School senior, where she’s the treasurer of the Key Club, member of Future Business Leaders of America and Ramsay Changemakers. Outside of school, Emilee is a member of the Mount Pilgrim District Youth Council, which puts on programs at different churches in the Birmingham area to promote community. She’s also been a teen volunteer at The University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) Hospital for the past two summers. While volunteering, she’s worked in the pre-op area and with overnight patients by checking their charts, vital signs, and preparing patients for surgery. Emilee’s volunteer work with UAB’s hospital may have sparked her love for the school as well. Although she’s considering Clark Atlanta University and The University of Alabama, UAB is her top choice for college next year, because they have a good school of business, they genuinely care for their students, and it’s not that far from home. She believes that it’s the best place to provide her with a great education in order to become a certified public accountant and help people financially with managing money. Continue reading
The Birmingham Association of Realtors (BAR) gave multiple students the opportunity to work with them through Ed’s Executive Internship program in Spring of last year. The Executive Internship gives students real-world experience in their field of study through the Academies of Birmingham, while also allowing them to make connections with business professionals throughout the community. Continue reading
Mohamed Jalloh is an Electrical Engineering major at Lawson State Community College and will be graduating at the end of the year. He also works at Jones Valley Teaching Farm, where he began working as an eleventh grader in Wenonah’s Academy of Business and Finance.
Jalloh was one of the students picked to design the farm. During the summer, he and the other students met once a week to see how they wanted the farm to look, and he took a leadership role in the formation of the farm. He and other students also planned the best way to introduce the farm to the students and faculty at Woodlawn High School. Although Jalloh graduated after the farm started, Jones Valley Teaching Farm invited him to continue working at the farm, where he is now the Woodlawn farm manager. He also designs curriculum for Jones Valley. Mohamed credits Ed for playing a major role into where he is today. He says that Ed “helped me learn through first hand experiences and by talking to people who have been working with their jobs for 15 to Continue reading
This week, Walter Carr presented a check to Ed, representing his $25,000 contribution. Walter is a graduate of Carver High School, and he participated in Ed’s programs when he was a student there, beginning in 2014. Continue reading
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., June 18, 2018 —Efforts to keep local students connected to a positive future got a boost as AT&T, which has been connecting people for well over a century, contributed $20,000 to the Birmingham Education Foundation’s (Ed) Career Development Conference. Continue reading
Intrigued by the command lines of the Commodore 64, Instructor Forte’ developed an
interest in technology at 10 years old in the Black Belt. With an earned Bachelor of
Science and Graduate Studies at UAB in Criminal Justice, Forte’ has a sincere
passion for cultivating student success. Continue reading
Seven years of Jesuit education is challenging. Even before I arrived on Boston College’s campus, I knew the Jesuit motto, “Men and women for others,” because it’s always front and center. Boston College wants students thinking about its motto, but what they really want is for you to get busy doing something about it. And they are perfectly willing to physically drag you there if necessary, which is what they more or less had to do with me when I was 18. Throughout my time at Boston College, the mission and the message were clear: on your path to the immense opportunities that a college graduate receives, the most important part is the “for others.”
I first learned of the work of the Birmingham Education Foundation the way you are now–by following along online. While living in Washington, D.C., I spent a lot of time visiting the website and Facebook page of the Birmingham Education Foundation. I was in awe of the work Victoria Hollis was doing as Educate Local Programs Director at the time. I wondered how a team of only four people was able to put on a professional conference for high school students,who then got to speak to the Rotary Club of Birmingham and on the program alongside Condoleezza Rice. Continue reading
“How am I supposed to plan an Ed conference if I have never been to one?” Continue reading
A 2016 graduate of Carver High School, Jamerial Gardner currently studies Biology at Wilberforce University, a private historically black university in Wilberforce, Ohio. There she is a member of STEM, a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics club for students who are STEM majors, which consists of groups such as the National Society of Black Engineers, Biology, and Information-Technological students. Continue reading
I am truly humbled to have the opportunity to share with you a bit about my journey with Ed thus far. Like most good things in my life, my journey with Ed started in a rather unconventional way.
Why do I do what I do for ED?
Because preventing summer learning loss in ourmost vulnerable children is so important! Continue reading
Our work at Ed benefits from so many of our partners and Christian & Small LLP is one of the best! Investing back into the lives of the children in Birmingham City Schools is what we love about Christian & Small LLP.
Jarian Lee is a current freshman at Georgetown University, where he is a Government and Sociology double major and a Business Administration minor.
It is with great excitement that I give you a glimpse of my life with Ed. I am from Greensboro, NC although I have lived all over because I come from a military family. I went to school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I am a Tar Heel through and through! It was at UNC that I really found my passion for education.
John McCall-Pitts is a current UAB student, in his junior year of studying business management. He’s also an alumni of Ramsay High School, where he finished in 2015. Eager to get started on his education, John started at UAB immediately in the Fall of 2015, entering with 8 AP classes worth of credit he’d earned in high school.
John is the youngest, and one of the founding members of Ed’s Junior Board. He joined because he liked the organization, and wanted to give back to the programs he’d benefitted from while he was a student at Ramsay. He remembers career conferences hosted at the Harbert Center that allowed him to start networking with professionals very early in his career. He also adds that his first experience on a board encouraged him to think more collaboratively. John says the Junior Board of Ed is his first look into what a board (and a board member) can do.
Triniti Williams is a Sophomore and Exercise Science/Pre-Health major at Troy University. Triniti graduated from G.W. Carver High School in 2016, and got her start working with Ed as a student in the Health Sciences Academy at Carver. At Troy, Triniti is on the Troy University Student Advisory Council and a member of the NAACP, Sparkle Volunteer Group, and the Black Student Union. Continue reading
Student Changemaker Councils (SCC) began in the Spring of 2016 with the idea to create student-led councils that focused on serving the community in positive ways while creating space for students to have time and resources to research, plan, and implement a project that supports the communities around their schools. Student Changemakers Councils Prepares third through 12th grade students to be civically minded and engaged in their community.
With great enthusiasm, I offer a few words about why I engage in the work we do at the Birmingham Education Foundation (Ed). I am always reminded of how privileged I am to work on behalf of students when I’m ask, “So Mrs. Dada, what do you do?” to which I respond with the utmost excitement “THIS is my job!” Ed provides the chance for me to build a network of great stakeholders and partners who work together to offer opportunities to prepare our students for college, career, and life after high school graduation.
Aspen Gorman is a Freshman and a Business major with a concentration in Supply Management at Tennessee State University. Aspen graduated from A.H. Parker High School in 2017, and got her start working with the Ed Foundation as a student in the Academy of Urban Educators at A.H. Parker. At Tennessee State, Aspen is a Supply Chain Ambassador and a member of the Pep Club, and even after attending college out-of-state, Aspen continues to participate with Ed by being one of the Ed Alumni Group founders.
Student, parent, educator, community partner, teammate, or friend:
It is with gratitude and pride that I write to you today to share a tiny glimpse into my life at the Birmingham Education Foundation. The beauty of this opportunity is that it reiterates how much this team truly values bringing all voices to the table. Just as much as we want to share our stories, thoughts, and ideas with you, we want to hear yours even more. This is a journey we are taking together and it would not be able to be successful any other way. Continue reading
For the first Alumni Feature of the school year, Kendal Harris sat down with Robyn Gulley, a Political Science major and sophomore at Birmingham-Southern College. Robyn graduated from Ramsay High School in 2016, and during her time at Ramsay, she was very active in Ed’s programs, including Ed Family Game Night.
On Friday, October 13, seniors from all seven high schools in Birmingham City Schools met at the Harbert Center for the skill-building conference on public speaking. Participating students had worked with volunteer presenters, Ed staff, and their teachers to produce personal commentaries, which they wrote, practiced, and perfected through in-school sessions, before giving presentations to volunteers from Rotary Club of Birmingham.
GEAR UP Birmingham Prepares Birmingham City Schools 9th and 10th Grade Students for Collegiate Success
GEAR UP Birmingham (GUB) is a federally funded initiative, currently serving a cohort of 9th and 10th grade students attending Birmingham City Schools. The initiative began in 2014, when the current cohort of students were just entering 6th and 7th grades.
“The grant was written with longevity and sustainability in mind”, said Dr. Kisha Tolbert Simmons, NBCT, Project Director, GEAR UP Birmingham. “It offers cohort students opportunities to participate in college awareness and preparation services throughout their middle and high school years, in an effort to promote and support postsecondary education attainment”, she said.
Ask me why I do what I do and I’ll hand you a list like a phonebook. 25,000 names of kids in Birmingham City Schools and I am not lying when I tell you I do it for every single one.
I met Triniti and Josselyn when they were in the tenth grade. Continue reading
This September, college-bound students from five of Birmingham’s high schools will take the stage with executives from some of Birmingham’s best companies for the third annual Ed Family Game Night at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center. Continue reading
Imagine us last summer, our program staff of six – the Hexapod – spread out across the city in different board rooms and different office buildings, sitting across a conference table or a desk making the same ask to twenty different partners:
“We think this idea is the game-changer. Are you in?”
What we were talking about, of course, was Ed’s Executive Internship Program (EIP), a pie-in-the-sky idea four years in the making, a seed planted on our first site visit to UAB Hospital, the answer to the questions we’d been asking ourselves since 2012: “How are we making a difference in the lives of our kids in Birmingham City Schools?” Continue reading
Despite the impressive list of places where he has taught—from the Bronx, to Austin, Texas, to the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina—you’d be hard-pressed to
find a teacher anywhere that has as much enthusiasm for their system as Erik Batson has for Birmingham City Schools.
Sitting at a table at Starbucks in Five Points South, wearing cycling clothes complete with a “Brooklyn”-emblazoned cycling cap, he professed, “I love my job. I love working for Jackson-Olin, and I love working for Birmingham City Schools—much better than other places I have been.” Continue reading
During the week of June 6 at Princeton Elementary, third-grader Jihan showcased the ‘prototype’ of an educational toy that he designed as part of Camp Invention. “I made something for little children to learn to read,” he said of the design, which used parts from a retired desktop PC keyboard, the keys popped out and rearranged. “This way my sister has to know what the letter looks like,” he said, “not just the order.” On the top right corner of the keyboard, a small, green LED light attached with duct tape to a watch battery lights up when pressed. “If you get the letter right, you get the green light,” he explained. Continue reading
If you ever start to doubt the magnitude of the investment that the Birmingham community has placed in the success of our students, let me borrow an hour of your time and introduce you to Sanjay Singh, President of the Birmingham Rotary Club.
“Our members look forward to the Career Development Conference each semester,” says Singh. “Sitting across from these students, what stands out the most is their potential, their ambition, and their genuine desire to be change-makers in their community. It is an honor and a privilege to work one-on-one with Birmingham’s youth, supporting them as they prepare for their futures.” Continue reading
If there is one person that is responsible for helping to define Ed’s Bridging the Gap program, it is our friend and partner, Amanda DuBois.
A longtime resident of Birmingham, DuBois grew up in the UAB Hospital System, and received her BA in English from Tulane University in 1988 and a Masters in Social Work from the Univ. of Alabama in 1994. Continue reading
Last month, Ed and Rotary Club brought together over 50 individual volunteers to pull-off the fall Career Development Conference on Public Speaking for seniors in the Academies of Birmingham at six-BCS high schools. Over the course of three months, students participated in in-school sessions that equipped them with the knowledge and skills they need to choose a presentation topic, engage their audience, and develop an elevator pitch. Their hard work culminated in a full-day professional conference, where they learned event more about the art of storytelling, executive presence, and how to develop a presentation. Continue reading
Development & Communications Specialist
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.
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.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Corinn comes to Ed with ten years of experience working in public schools. She began her career in education teaching 8th-grade math in New Orleans as a 2008 Teach For America corps member.
In 2010, Corinn became a founding team member and math teacher at Phillis Wheatley Community School. For the next five years, Corinn continued to teach and share her passion for middle school math. She also served as the 7th Grade Level Leader, co-founder of the JDCS Outdoor Education program, and the girl’s soccer coach. Most recently, Corinn worked for two years as Assistant Principal of Upper Middle School of Nashville Prep, where she coached a team of twelve teachers on instruction, systems, and family engagement.
Corinn earned her B.A. in Economics from Louisiana State University and an M.Ed. in Learning, Diversity, and Urban Studies from Vanderbilt University. As a newly minted resident, she is looking forward to getting to know Birmingham and the state of Alabama.
In 2007, Meryem and her family moved to Birmingham from the Middle East. After a short adjustment period, Birmingham quickly became home and she found herself staying in the city for an Undergrad. Meryem graduated from Birmingham-Southern College Cum Laude in 2017 with a B.A in Theatre Educational Psychology; a major she created which focused on theatre therapy for children and adults with special needs.
This past year Meryem served as an AmeriCorps VISTA on the Ed Program Team. Taking on her new role as Community Engagement Manager, Meryem feels extremely grateful and humbled by the opportunity to continue to learn and grow from the inspiring students, teachers, parents and community members in Birmingham City. In her new role, she extremely excited to continue to build on established relationships, grow the Ed Network, strengthen our understanding and deepen our roots. After all, “service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth” -Muhammad Ali.
Cristal Brister is a California native who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She brings 10 years of non-profit and youth development experience to Ed. She has utilized her theatrical training in developing Project Open Heart, a program which works to assist youth in developing and finding their personal, unique voice through the arts. She is an alumni of Project Corporate Leadership’s 30th class and served as the Project Manager for her group. Cristal is passionate about education, social justice, and youth and community development. She is thrilled to be a part of an organization that is impacting the lives of Birmingham City School students in such an integral way.