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Top Alumni Under 40 Recipients

Class of 2023

  • Dr. Darlene F. Atkins

    Principal of Westlawn Middle School

  • Dr. Tasha Brown

    Assistant Dean, Instructional Technology, Assessment, & Evaluation, College of Nursing, University of South Florida

  • David Dai

    Math Instructor, Barton Academy for Advanced World Studies

  • Nathan Kenny

    Math Teacher, National Board Certified Teacher, Hillcrest High School

  • Dr. LeNa` Powe McDonald

    SEC Associate Commissioner for Academic Relations

  • Dr. Elizabeth Michael

    Clinical Assistant Professor of Special Education, The University of Alabama

  • Tiffany Muse, Ed.S., NCSP, LSSP

    Nationally Certified School Psychologist

  • Dr. Kiara Summerville

    Director, Student Academic Engagement & Advocacy, The University of Alabama

  • Dr. Clay Webber

    Principal, Asbury High School

  • Dr. Megan Welborn

    Director of Program Development, The University of Alabama Online


Dr. Tasha Brown is a change agent and transformational leader who fosters a culture of continuous learning and improvement. She is a champion for the meaningful integration of technology in the classroom and the workplace. She has a passion for helping others succeed and fulfills this passion through the service she provides faculty, staff, and students at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Nursing. In her role as Assistant Dean, Tasha provides thought leadership and innovative solutions to create a data-driven culture that is rooted in excellence and integrity. She has been instrumental in establishing the Office of Assessment and Evaluation and its policies and procedures to ensure the highest level of quality in the data provided to internal and external stakeholders. She has also established processes and enhanced services provided by the instructional design team to make certain they are developing high-quality and pedagogically sound content that align with teaching and learning best practices. In fall 2022, Tasha led the College of Nursing to be the first college at USF to implement Simple Syllabus, a syllabus management system. In addition to earning her doctorate in instructional leadership from the University of Alabama, Tasha has completed her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. She leverages her education and expertise in assessment, evaluation, instructional design, information technology, and project management to deliver creative solutions that help to educate and prepare the nurses of tomorrow.

Dr. Darlene F. Atkins is a middle school principal, adjunct professor, and ACCESS instructor. Dr. Atkins is a veteran educator with over 15 years in education at the secondary and post-secondary levels. She has taught English, creative writing, and journalism at the secondary level. In conjunction, she teaches graduate courses in instructional and educational leadership at the post-secondary level. She has been recognized as the Beginning Teacher of the Year, Tutwiler Educator of the Year, Alabama Teacher of the Year nominee, and Distinguished Alumni of the Year, to name a few. During her tenure as a school leader, her school was named a State and National School of Character. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for The House Tuscaloosa and Temporary Emergency Services. Dr. Atkins has a passion and zeal for helping others tap into their fullest potential. If, over the course of her lifetime, she can make a difference in the life of one of her students, staff members, or anyone she encounters, then she will know that she has done some good for the world-at-large. 

As the son of Vietnamese immigrants, Mr. Dai strives to celebrate his students’ diversity in the classroom by highlighting the uniqueness of all students and leveraging their strengths. He prioritizes building meaningful relationships with his students inside and outside of class. As a National Board Certified Teacher and State Finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, Mr. Dai’s classroom structure promotes collaborative engagement on high-level math tasks in a project-based learning environment where he provides a balanced experience between real-world/relevant math opportunities with more abstract studies to explore and understand the beauty of mathematics. Mr. Dai consistently shares his knowledge with the greater teaching community by leading professional development opportunities, mentoring other pre-service and in-service teachers, and presenting at local, state, and national conferences. As a result of his work, Mr. Dai has been recognized as the 2019 Alabama Council of Teachers of Mathematics High School Teacher of The Year, the University of Alabama’s College of Education’s 2019 Young Alumni Award Recipient, 2020-2021 Alabama Secondary Teacher of The Year and State Alternate Teacher of the Year, and 2021 Air Force Association STEM Teacher of the Year. He is currently in his seventh year of teaching at Barton Academy for Advanced World Studies and serves as a Board member for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics where he helps establish policy and direction for the Council. 

As an engineering major, Mr. Kenny appreciated the importance and natural beauty of mathematics and after graduating chose to follow in his mom’s footsteps and pursued a career in education to foster that same appreciation in students. Over the next decade, he earned a masters in secondary math education and pursued every professional learning opportunity he could find to grow as an educator. Now he prioritizes empowering students of all backgrounds to see themselves as individuals with valuable ideas and contributions in class, so they view themselves as capable doers of mathematics. He does this by asking students to collaborate in making sense of mathematical concepts and by celebrating their failures as both are fundamental to growth, to learning, to seeing the beauty of math, and to preparation for life after high school. He also now leads professional development and learning communities to bring these same principles into classrooms around his district and the state. Due to his efforts, Mr. Kenny earned National Board Certification in 2021, was named the Alabama Council of Teachers of Mathematics High School Math Teacher of the Year in 2022, and recently has been announced as a State Finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. He currently is in his 10th year teaching and teaches at Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Dr. LeNá Powe McDonald currently serves as Associate Commissioner for Academic Relations for the SEC. In her role, she leads SEC activities meant to highlight the academic accomplishments and impact of SEC universities, including academically focused intercollegiate athletics opportunities. Prior to the SEC, McDonald worked for the University of Alabama where she has served as Director of Internal Affairs and UA System Liaison.  She previously worked in communications for UA’s Division of Advancement and served as a faculty member in UA’s Department of Communication Studies. A three-time graduate of the University of Alabama, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from UA in 2007, a Master of Arts degree in Communications Studies in 2009 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education in 2020. McDonald is an alumna of the Oxford Women’s Leadership Symposium and was named a Birmingham Trailblazer by The Birmingham Times in 2015. She was also named Best Young Professional by Birmingham Magazine Best in Minority Business Awards in 2014 and an honoree in Who’s Who in Black Alabama. She is a member of the Birmingham Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She has been active in her community and volunteers with several community boards.

Dr. Elizabeth Loftin Michael is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the College of Education’s Collaborative Program. Dr. Michael graduated from the University of Alabama with her BS in Education in 2009. She completed her MA in 2016 and her PhD in 2022 here at the Capstone. Prior to returning to the University as a professor, she worked across the state of Alabama as an intervention and self-contained special education teacher at both the elementary and secondary level. She is the recipient of the Martha Lynn Smith Dissertation Award and the University of Alabama College of Education’s Recognition for Excellence in Dissertation Research. Dr. Michael has focused her research on embedded behavior strategies within academic content, specifically writing, when working with students with and at risk for Emotional Behavior Disorders. Most recently, she is working in collaboration with fellow UA colleagues building a comprehensive social emotional learning platform to support K-3 educators across the state of Alabama to embed social emotional learning instructions within routine academic content. She currently lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, Seth Michael (UA Class of 2012) and their two English bulldogs, George & Rocky. She currently serves on the board of directors for The Arc of Tuscaloosa.

Tiffany C. Muse is a highly accomplished Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) with an impressive career spanning over a decade in the field of School Psychology. Tiffany is the proud daughter of Clarence and Yvette Muse. Hailing from Baton Rouge, LA, Tiffany’s dedication to her profession has left a lasting impact on the educational landscape. In 2022, Tiffany took a significant step by creating an independent practice, “Tiffany C. Muse, Independent Contractor,” a venture aimed at delivering invaluable Psychological Services to school districts in Louisiana. This initiative underscores her commitment to providing comprehensive support to educational institutions and fostering the well-being of students. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University in 2006, a foundation that would drive her aspirations. She then pursued advanced studies at The University of Alabama, where she earned both a Master of Arts degree (2009) and an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree (2010) in Educational Psychology. Throughout her career, Tiffany’s desire for diverse experiences led her across the nation, making impactful contributions in regions including the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Texas, and Virginia. Her multifaceted exposure equipped her with an astute understanding of Special Education Law across various states, further enhancing her professional capabilities. Tiffany’s active engagement in professional organizations reflects her commitment to continuous growth. She is a valued member of the Louisiana School Psychological Association, the Clark Atlanta Alumni Association, and The University of Alabama Alumni Association. These affiliations serve as a testament to her dedication to networking and advancing the field. Tiffany boasts an array of certifications and licenses that validate her expertise. Holding the esteemed titles of Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP), Louisiana Certified School Psychologist, and Texas Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP), she stands as a beacon of excellence in her field. Her leadership ability shines through her supervisory roles, notably as a School Psychology Doctoral Student Practicum Supervisor and a Psychology Undergraduate Student Career Exploration Supervisor for Louisiana State University (LSU) students. In essence, Tiffany’s journey exemplifies dedication, expertise, and an unwavering commitment to uplifting the educational experience for all. Her profound impact in School Psychology, as showcased through her dynamic career, diverse experiences, and leadership roles, serves as an inspiration to both colleagues and aspiring professionals.

Dr. Kiara Summerville is a staff member and instructor at The University of Alabama. She currently serves as a director in the Capstone Center for Student Success, Office of Student Academic Engagement & Advocacy. In this role, she directs the BRIDGE and Lucy’s Legacy programs, which are campus immersion programs for Black and Hispanic/Latino undergraduate men and women. She also oversees programmatic efforts for the UA transfer student community. Dr. Summerville is a three-time Bama graduate. She earned her BA in Communication and Information Sciences in 2013 and completed both of her graduate degrees in UA’s Higher Education Administration program, graduating in 2016 (MA) and 2020 (PhD). Dr. Summerville’s award-winning dissertation research was on Black women student leaders and their sense of belonging at a historically White institution in the US Deep South. She is an affiliate faculty member in UA’s Higher Education Administration program, and she also instructs courses in UA’s Department of Gender & Race Studies and UA’s Qualitative Research program. Dr. Summerville has a passion for the UA student experience and seeks to create opportunities for all students to feel as if they matter. Dr. Summerville was born & raised in Huntsville, Alabama and is a 2009 graduate of Sparkman High School. She describes her “everyday joy” as working with her students, but she also enjoys Saturday morning farmer’s market visits, spur-of-the-moment trips to 30A, long talks around the kitchen table, music, game shows, and quality time with family & friends. 

Dr. Clay Webber currently serves as principal of Asbury High School in the Marshall County school system. He has served in public education for the last 16 years as a coach, teacher, guidance counselor and administrator. Throughout his career, he has embodied the principles of fairness and equity, reflective practice, commitment to diversity and a culture of collaboration that are fundamental to the College of Education. Prior to his role with Marshall County Schools, Webber served as a K-12 principal at Paint Rock Valley High School in Jackson County, Alabama. He has served as a Title I school administrator for the last 12 years consecutively. Webber works tirelessly to bring opportunities to disadvantaged students in rural Alabama. Clay graduated from The University of Alabama in 2021 with a Ph.D. in Educational Administration. Webber used his dissertation as a tool for exploring Alabama public school funding inequities. He shared his research findings through presentations at the National Education Finance Academy (NEFA) and through publications in the Journal of Education Finance as well as the Journal of Education Human Resources. Dr. Webber joins in discussions annually with national professionals in the field who share similar concerns about inequities in educational funding. Most of all, Clay enjoys spending as much time as possible on his cattle farm with his wife of 17 years, Amanda Hinshaw Webber and their children, Josiah, Abigail and Selah.

Dr. Megan Welborn recently celebrated 14 years of service to the Capstone.  With extensive experience at the graduate and undergraduate level, including main campus and distance learning students, Dr. Welborn’s career has provided her with experience in the following areas: recruitment, admissions, enrollment management, marketing and promotion, event planning, and most recently, academic program development and delivery.  Dr. Welborn currently serves as the Director of Program Development for The University of Alabama Online.  Her job is to oversee the creation and the maintenance of over 100 online and hybrid academic degree programs.  Dr. Welborn earned a BA in Communication and Information Sciences, a MA in Educational Psychology, and her EdD in Higher Education Administration, all from the University.  Dr. Welborn’s doctoral research examined how socioeconomic status predicts college choice of first-generation college students.  She continues to advocate for those who cannot otherwise advocate for themselves.  Dr. Welborn sees it as her daily mission to share her passion for UA and accessibility to higher education through online academic degree programs. Dr. Welborn is an active member of the Tuscaloosa community.  Her biggest passion is supporting her son’s school, the RISE Center.  Dr. Welborn actively volunteers for fundraisers hosted by the RISE Center and is a member of the RISE Tournament of Champions Annual Golf Tournament planning committee. An avid Alabama athletics fan, Dr. Welborn is married to another three-time UA graduate, and they have two sons (a 4-year-old and one expected to arrive at the end of September). 

Class of 2021

  • Amber Barton

    4th Grade Teacher, Huntington Place Elementary

  • Aaron Brazelton

    Director of Admissions and Advancement, Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering

  • Dr. Mary Lee Caldwell

    Executive Director, Phi Eta Sigma

  • Dorie Edwards

    School Counselor, Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools-Elementary

  • Amber Emerson

    Biology Teacher of the Year, Westlawn Middle School

  • Mark Fleming

    Equally Fit Fitness Studio Owner

  • Dr. Maureen Flint

    Assistant Professor of Qualitative Research, University of Georgia

  • Will Flowers

    Social Studies Teacher, Alberta School of Performing Arts

  • Dr. Matthew F. Kerch

    Executive Director, Housing and Residential Communities, The University of Alabama

  • Dr. Kristalyn Lee

    VP for Administration and Liaison to the Board of Trustees, University of Montevallo

  • Dr. Amanda (Glaze) Townley

    Associate Professor of Middle Grades & Secondary Education, Georgia Southern University

  • Caitlin Elizabeth McCamy-Smith

    Head Kindergarten Teacher, McDonnell Elementary School

  • Tyler Merriweather

    Instructional Coach, Davis Elementary

  • Maggie McDaniel Morrow

    Lead Teacher, Alabama First-Class Pre-K, Slocomb Elementary School

  • Allison Ramey

    French Teacher, The Altamont School

  • Sarah Saint

    Education & Human Rights Attorney

  • Lindsey Thompson

    Principal, Northside High School

  • Dr. Amy Williamson

    CrossingPoints Program Coordinator, The University of Alabama


Amber Barton

4th Grade Teacher, Huntington Place Elementary 

Barton is teacher with a heart of compassion, excitement, creativity and true love for education and investment in the lives of her students.  She infuses her students with a passion for education through unique methods of instruction to ensure that students feel comfortable and more like a home environment vs. being in school.  She shares with her students that she struggled with sitting still and focusing during class. As she started her career in education her goal was to provide an environment where everyone felt equal regardless of income or where they came from, everyone felt loved, appreciated and safe, everyone felt like they had a home regardless of what their “home-life” may be away from her classroom. Each day she ensures that each student knows that she loves them and they are important not only through her words but actions.

Aaron Brazelton

Director of Admissions and Advancement, Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering   

Brazelton holds an B.S.E.. in secondary education from UA and an advanced certification in school leadership and management from Harvard University. Additionally, he is pursuing his M.Ed.. in enrollment management and policy from the University of Southern California.  Highlighted by the Southern Living Magazine as one of 50 People Changing the South, Brazelton has received international recognition for his work in both development and admissions– in the US and abroad. Brazelton spearheaded the creation of the Serbia Fellowship Experience, an educational and social partnership between UA Honors College, The University of Novi Sad and the municipality of Blace, Serbia. As a result, the U.S. Department of State selected Aaron, out of a pool of one million people, to receive the International Alumnus Award in 2015.

Dr. Mary Lee Caldwell

Executive Director, Phi Eta Sigma 

Caldwell serves as the executive director of Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society. Caldwell advises Omicron Delta Kappa honor society, and she was the recipient of the 2018 Crimson Spirit Award and the 2017 SGA Foundation Award. Her students selected her as a member of the Anderson Society and the UA XXXI Women’s Honorary. She also served as the chair of the 125 Years of Women at UA celebration in 2018. She previously served as the director of the Believe program, as the SGA advisor, and the assistant director of the Blackburn Institute at The University of Alabama. She founded Lean On: Alabama, a statewide non-profit that focuses on the promotion of collaboration among women of all generations in the state. Caldwell has been a member of the Alabama Girls State program’s staff for more than 15 years and was named by the Alabama Media Group as one of 30 Women Who Shape the State in 2017.

DoriE Edwards

School Counselor, Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools-Elementary

For the first eight years of her educational career,  Edwards was a classroom teacher in third grade and later in fifth grade. She received her M.A. in school counseling in 2015 now serves as school counselor at Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools. She blends her passions and talents to do something that makes a difference in the lives of the next generation. So much of her job is collaborating with staff, parents, and students so that she can best advocate for the needs of my students, which she does with a comprehensive counseling program that addresses the academic, career, personal/social, and emotional development of all students.  Through a variety of classroom lessons, students learn to embrace each other’s differences, be open-minded, encourage kindness, and have a growth mindset. Students face many challenges before they even enter the doors of our school, so she makes sure that her classroom and office is a place of comfort, acceptance, and love for every one of them. She works feverishly to provide opportunities and solutions to help her students and families overcome the different barriers that they face.

Amber Emerson

Biology Teacher of the Year, Westlawn Middle School

Amber Emerson has been teaching 7th and 8th grade science for six years in Tuscaloosa. Emerson has had many accomplishments in her career, two being becoming a National Board Certified Teacher and winning the Middle School Biology Teacher of the Year from the Alabama Science Teachers Association. Emerson speaks at many conferences and professional developments and has two main platforms she speaks on, incorporating standards-based grading in the classroom and inspiring other teachers to become National Board Certified. Emerson does not plan to leave the classroom for a while, she does plan to become a principal in the future in order to support teachers in their professionalism and to aid students in their success. She is a Tuscaloosa City School Ambassador aiding in recruiting and the retention of teachers; she is on the district’s NBCT leadership team promoting the process and helping teachers through it; she is the science department head at Westlawn Middle School; she mentors both new and student teachers; she serves as a director for the district’s summer learning programs.

Mark Fleming

Equally Fit Fitness Studio Owner

Mark Fleming is an entrepreneur with autism who owns and runs a fitness studio in Tampa called Equally Fit where he provides exercise training to those with disabilities and specializes in working with autistic individuals. He has spent time working in Applied Behavior Analysis and has coached Special Olympics, where his athletes all won gold at the state competition level.  His involvement in Special Olympics helped to spur him to start his own business for athletes with disabilities who were finding a lack of resources outside of Special Olympics. He has been featured on, the University of Alabama Alumni Magazine, various websites and other magazines as well as on every local news channel in Tampa. He currently serves on the Autism Friendly Tampa Advisory Board, the constituency board for C.A.R.D-USF, and the executive board for the A. E. Wood Foundation.

Dr. Maureen Flint

Assistant Professor of Qualitative Research, University of Georgia

Flint is an assistant professor in qualitative research at the University of Georgia. Her scholarship explores the theory, practice, and pedagogy of qualitative methodologies, artful inquiries, and questions of social (in)justice, ethics, and equity in higher education. Flint’s dissertation was the recipient two dissertation awards including from the American Educational Research Association’s Qualitative Research SIG as well as the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry.  Flint has background in college student affairs and student leadership development, having also worked in a variety of capacities in student life at the University of Alabama including in residential life and housing and with the Crossroads Community Center before graduating with her doctorate. She has served as an associate with the National Sustained Dialogue Institute since 2015, facilitating workshops on intergroup dialogue on campuses across the country. Maureen’s work has been published in such venues as Qualitative Inquiry, the Review of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, and the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education

Will Flowers

Social Studies Teacher, Alberta School of Performing Arts 

Ever since Flowers was a child, he knew he wanted to be an educator.  He was impacted by so many great educators who not only helped him fall in love with the content, but also the idea of passing that knowledge along. His passion in teaching, besides the content, is creating environments where students can feel safe and grow.  He said, “It doesn’t matter who reaches the finish line first, but rather that we all finish…mastering the standards is the goal, however the starting line isn’t always the same (fair isn’t always equal). But with scaffolding or extension activities, we can meet our students where they are while still holding high expectations for them.” In his time teaching, cross-curricular collaboration is key to not only his success as an educator, but more importantly, the success of his students.  He said, “Our lessons should not only be meaningful, but also powerful and applicable. When we draw on a student’s experience or prior knowledge we can make more lasting connections.  We make our content relevant  and lasting. We create critical thinkers who are invested in their communities.  My goal as an educator is to make history come alive in my classroom by helping my students understand that they are the writers and creators of history.  Their story is important. Their voices matter.”

Dr. Amanda Glaze TOWNLEY

Associate Professor of Middle Grades & Secondary Education, Georgia Southern University 

Townley specializes in science teacher education, evolution education research and outreach, and professional development. Her research centers on the intersections of science and society, specifically the acceptance and rejection of evolution in the southeastern United States and the impact of the conflict between religion and evolution on science literacy. Her work has been featured on NPR’s video/radio series Science Friday as well as on social media outlets such as the NCSE Science Education Blog,, and She served as an expert panelist for Science Friday’s education focus #TeachTheE and works with organizations including NCSE, the Smithsonian Human Origins Program, and National Geographic funded Umsuka project at the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa.  Her research has been referenced in media outlets such as Scientific American, Forbes, and Newsweek and can be found in Science Education, The American Biology Teacher, Education Sciences, the International Journal of Mathematics & Science Education, and others. Her work in science and faith has led to her being named a “boundary pioneer,” one who bridges gaps across areas of conflict and helps others better understand and interact in places of contention. Her work is focused on cultural diversity in that it seeks to improve scientific literacy in all people, regardless of their backgrounds, by creating spaces where discourse and growth can occur. 

Dr. Matthew F. Kerch

Executive Director, Housing and Residential Communities, The University of Alabama

Kerch serves as the executive director of Housing and Residential Communities and as a special assistant in the Division of Student Life at The University of Alabama. He is recognized as an exemplary leader who demonstrates his commitment to the advancement of other higher education and student affairs professionals through educational and training opportunities. Passionate about helping young people find their place on campus, Kerch has worked to foster a culture of collaboration and develop relationships across campus to broaden the co-curricular experience for students residing in on-campus residence halls. He has developed new relationships leading to learning opportunities, educational partnerships, and advancements to student life on campus. Kerch oversees and leads a department serving over 8,500 on-campus students and is responsible for a multi-million dollar annual budget. He has managed multiple high-level construction projects and is completing one of the largest construction projects in UA history in the new Tutwiler Residence Hall, slated to open in August of 2022. In addition, he has implemented a long-term strategy for new construction and a renovation plan for existing residence halls over the next 10 – 15 years. Kerch believes that working with students’ co-curricular experience is essential and we must continually re-evaluate the way we approach our work. This calls for aligning efforts with academic missions, developing close working relationships and collaborations, and creating a strong student experience. 

Dr. Kristalyn Lee

VP for Administration and Liaison to the Board of Trustees, University of Montevallo 

Lee is a lifelong learner and advocate for life advancement through education. Her passion is helping students persist to graduation in order to transform their futures by the power of knowledge gained from degree completion with a strategic emphasis on diversity and inclusion. It was growing up in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama that Kristy first discovered her passion for education. She set a goal and graduated from her first academic love, Auburn University, in 2003 with a B.S. in microbiology. She proudly holds a J.D. from The University of Alabama School of Law, as well as her Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from The University of Alabama. She has also obtained certification in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from the University of South Florida. It is the knowledge gained from her ascension through academia coupled with the insight acquired in former careers as a middle school educator, financial advisor and college recruiter that have propelled her to her existing role as Vice President for Administration and Liaison to the Board of Trustees at the University of Montevallo. She has innovated and led programming for minority students at University of Montevallo including Montevallo MADE (Minorities Achieving Dreams of Excellence), a program designed to help minority students prepare for the academic, social, personal and professional challenges experienced by minority students in college. She also serves on Auburn University’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board and the Higher Education Partnership, Board of Directors. She was honored by Auburn University as an outstanding alumni for the College of Sciences and Mathematics and by the Birmingham Business Journal with the 2020 Women to Watch award. 

Caitlin Elizabeth McCamy-Smith

Head Kindergarten Teacher, McDonnell Elementary School 

In her role as a teacher, Caitlin exemplifies the ideals of fairness and equity. She believes that education is the great equalizer and lives that belief daily. She is guided by her conviction that all children, regardless of background, should have equal access to learning experiences that will equip them for a successful future. Caitlin teaches at a Title I school in a neighborhood. Year after year, children arrive in her class excited about school and eager to learn despite disadvantages due to poverty, racial discrimination, inadequate supervision due to parents working long hours at their jobs, and sometimes sudden homelessness. She works tirelessly to ensure that her students get a good start academically. But beyond academics, she tries to give children the basic ingredients they need to help them take advantage of the chance to learn. She treats every child as special and worthy and by the time they leave her class, they know that they are valued, deserving, and loved. She knows that for many of her students, school is the only safe and consistent environment they have. Like all good teachers sometimes do, she provides a lot of extra guidance beyond academics. It is her habit to put food in the backpacks for children who will not have enough food for the weekend. She also puts clothes in backpacks of children who need clothing. Other students don’t see these extras. Only the students who need food and clothing know about the surprises that appear in their backpacks. Caitlin is deeply committed to helping all of her students succeed. She teaches at an elementary school where the student body is composed of primarily Hispanic and African-American students. She is devoted to making sure her English language learner students make progress in reading and writing in English since they need to know the English language to succeed in the US. However, she makes sure to respect the cultures of all her students, celebrating traditions from their communities in the classroom. This makes students feel included and know that their background is important. Appreciation of each others’ strengths and being able to work together are valuable skills that are introduced and developed in her classroom. To develop her own skills to further benefit her diverse students, Caitlin earned a master’s with a concentration in differentiated instruction and teaching English speakers of other languages from the UAH. She has served as the head teacher in her grade level and as a member of the school -wide Leadership Committee for seven years. Her leadership has resulted in a strong partnership and work ethic with her teacher colleagues. 

Tyler Merriweather

Instructional Coach, Davis Elementary

Tyler Merriweather, an instructional coach for Davis Elementary in the Montgomery Public Schools, earned his B.S.E. in elementary education (cum laude) from UA in 2017.  Merriweather served as an ambassador for the College and as parliamentarian for the UA Black Student Union. 

He began his teaching career at Southview Elementary in Montgomery. A longtime advocate of the Girls and Boys Club, Merriweather began attending the Boys and Girls Club of West Alabama around the age of seven or eight and became a volunteer by age fifteen. By 2013, he was named the Boys and Girls Club of America’s Southeast Youth of the Year. This distinction is the ticket that landed him in the Oval Office.  Merriweather, a Holt native, then served as staff member at the Boys & Girls Club of West Alabama Inc. Merriweather’s passion is in encouraging youth not to be victims of their circumstances but to discover victories within those circumstances. He is active in the campaign for Holt to become a city and to get a new school, the latter recently approved by the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education. For this work, he received the 2015 UA Realizing the Dream Horizon Award. “Above anything else, I care about an education,” he said. “Having four other siblings, you kind of just have to make your own identity, and I can say I was able to do that at the Boys & Girls Club.” While he believes that diversity is essential, he would rather serve as a motivator to his students, providing them with the extra push that they need.   Merriweather’s enthusiasm for his students and his colleagues make him a life force as an instructional coach.

Maggie McDaniel Morrow

Lead Teacher, Alabama First-Class Pre-K, Slocomb Elementary School 

Maggie Morrow graduated from The University of Alabama College of Education in 2013 with a dual certificate in early childhood and elementary education. She resides in Dothan with her husband, Paul, and their two dogs, Henry and Tiny. She recently completed her eighth year of teaching and is looking forward to number nine!  Her professional teaching journey began in a third grade classroom in Orange Beach.  After a year, she became the lead teacher for one of Slocomb Elementary School’s Alabama First-Class Pre-K programs for three years. She found her passion for teaching in the early childhood classroom.  She said, “As an educator, I strive daily to be reflective of my practices while establishing a fair, safe classroom environment with a commitment to diversity. Creating a culture of collaboration and sharpening my students’ social-emotional skills are ways I hope to impact their lives, my profession, and our future.”

Allison Ramey

French Teacher, The Altamont School 

Ramey is a French teacher at the Altamont School in Birmingham and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Alabama. She upholds all of the ideals expected of a graduate of our college and has made a positive impact on the students in her classrooms as well as on her professional colleagues. She designs curriculum and teaches middle and high-school level French classes; coordinates and chaperones week-long trips to France for students as well as coordinates and chaperones the annual French Convention, administers the National French Contest for middle and high-school French students, and sponsors French Club.  Allison has received many honors for her work in the classroom and for supporting other teachers of world languages throughout the state of Alabama. She currently serves as the President of the Alabama Federation of French Clubs and is the Vice-President of the Alabama chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French. While in college, she received the UA Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Master’s Student. More recently, Allison was the recipient of the Edna Earle Mullins Endowed Teaching Prize, given by the Altamont School to a teacher who has excelled in teaching and also has demonstrated leadership in the school and in the educational community.

Sarah Saint

Education & Human Rights Attorney 

Saint, an associate at Brooks Pierce in Greensboro, North Carolina, is a successful attorney with a passion for education and human rights. She believes all children deserve a high-quality education and uses her background in school counseling to advocate for both students and educational institutions. Sarah received her B.A. in psychology and M.A. in school counseling from UA. While working on her master’s degree and immediately after, she served as the Coordinator of Educational Outreach for the Honors College, where she designed and implemented a college and career readiness program for 1,000 local children, matching them with mentors to work with the students on developing “soft” skills known to increase positive outcomes across socioeconomic status. She also worked as the Coordinator of Mentoring in the Office of the Dean of Students, where she designed a curriculum to help first-generation college students succeed. Sarah thrived on helping students achieve but continued to look for ways to have a broader impact in shaping the lives of young people. This led Sarah to education law, a pathway allowing her to shape policies and decisions that could impact more students. She attended Wake Forest University School of Law, receiving her J.D. in 2017. Sarah has focused much of her work on special education and helping school board members, administrators, and teachers understand their obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. While she often guides school districts holistically, Sarah also provides counsel in individual situations, including helping to make sure plans are developed to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities and that school discipline rules are implemented in compliance with the law. For the past year, much of her work has focused on helping school districts navigate the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sarah is involved in her community, holding many leadership roles, including serving as a member of the board of trustees for Triad Stage, a nonprofit professional theater. She also gives considerable time to pro bono work to advance LGBTQ+ protections and rights.

Lindsey Thompson

Principal, Northside High School

Lindsey Brown Thompson is a 2005 graduate of The University of Alabama earning a B.S. in collaborative special education. Upon graduation, she started her career as a special education teacher at West Blocton Middle School in Bibb County and two years later moved to Brookwood Elementary School in Tuscaloosa County Schools in the same capacity. She continued her education and earned a M.Ed. in school counseling becoming school counselor at Brookwood Elementary. In 2012, Thompson became the junior counselor at Tuscaloosa County High School. During her six years as counselor at Tuscaloosa County High School, she continued to pursue her goal of becoming a school administrator and completed her Class A certification in Instructional Leadership. She was hired in 2018 as assistant principal at Northside High School in Tuscaloosa County and promoted to principal in 2022. During her professional career, she has received numerous awards for her outstanding leadership and dedication to her profession. Her awards/recognitions include the Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Special Education in 2005; the Tommy Russell Award for the most outstanding student in special education from the Council for Exceptional Children; and the Jacksonville State Teacher of the Year for Brookwood Elementary in 2008. In her career, Thompson has encouraged and facilitated collaboration among all faculty and staff in creating a positive and productive educational environment. She does not hesitate to include students in the decision-making process.

Dr. Amy Williamson

CrossingPoints Program Coordinator, The University of Alabama

Dr. Williamson completed her bachelor’s degree at The University of Alabama in 2006 and immediately took a teaching position in the CrossingPoints Program at UA. She taught in the program for more than twelve years before moving into the CrossingPoints Program Coordinator position as the program grew. Williamson has been involved in securing over $6 million dollars in grant funding for the program and has served in various key personnel positions in those external projects. Throughout that time, she earned her master’s degree (2009) and Ph.D. (2017) in special education at The University of Alabama. Her research centers around human rights, transition programing, and other critically-related areas such as sexuality and disability.  In addition to numerous national and international conference presentations, Dr. Williamson has also co-authored several book chapters and articles related to transition and postsecondary education for students with intellectual disabilities. She also serves on various local, statewide, and national committees to advocate for improvements in transition opportunities both in the community and in Institutions of Higher Education.