New 2016-17 faculty- Welcome to the #rebelnation
Jeremy Carter- History & Government
J.T. Bartley- English
Valerie Higgins- Math
6th Grade/ 7th Grade
Ms. Pat attended the University of William & Carey and the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. She has a bachelor’s degree in business, Masters in reading and elementary education. She also has a Specialist degree in administration and Supervision. This is her 6th year at Bessemer Academy, and her 41st year teaching all together. She loves the family atmosphere at Bessemer Academy. Her favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 22:6. She has two children. A son, Mike, Director of Sports Medicine at UAB, and a daughter, Tonya, entrepreneur and voted Birmingham’s Young Professional 2014. She also has three granddaughters.
Coach Kress is the history and reading teacher for grades 6th through 8th. He’s a very busy man when comes to athletic events as he is the defensive coordinator for varsity football, head coach for JV football, Head varsity basketball coach, and assistant Varsity basketball coach. He attended Coosa Valley Academy and Condordia University in Pittsburgh. He played all sports in high school and even played football at Condordia. Past coaches have said that he resembled a small version of Jack Lambert. He has 6 years of teaching under his belt now, with 3 of those being at Bessemer Academy. In the rare case that he has downtime he enjoys golf and sports, especially Alabama and Pittsburg Steelers football. His favorite quote is: “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” -John Wooden
Coach Bob Spurgeon is the English teacher for 6th through 8th grade here at Bessemer Academy as well as an assistant football coach. He is a high school graduate of Vinemont High School, class of 1994. He later obtained a BS in Psychology from Troy University. Coach Spurgeon has been teaching for 16 years, 11 years at Kingwood Christian School, 1 year at Bullock Memorial High School, and now 4 years at Bessemer Academy. Coach Spurgeon is married to his wife, Betsy, of 16 years, and they have an 10 year old daughter, Sarah, who is in the 6th grade here at Bessemer Academy. A quote that he often uses is “Man in the arena” by Teddy Roosevelt and it states, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
At BA since 2012
Candace Griffin graduated from Corner High School in 2008. After graduating she attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In 2012, she graduated college with a degree in Math Reasoning with a concentration in Middle School Education. Mrs. G also received the Dean’s Award for the undergraduate students. She is currently teaching math for 6th through 8th grade and character Ed at Bessemer Academy. She has been teaching for four years. She loves the family atmosphere and that the school is easy going. Mrs. G’s favorite color is green. Her favorite hobby is hanging out with her husband, Taylor. In high school, she played volleyball and softball. Mrs. Griffin loves her students and teaching at Bessemer Academy.
Ms. Marilyn English is one of the high school math teachers at Bessemer Academy. She attended Ensley High School and graduated in 1968. She then attended the University of Alabama and graduated in 1972. She holds a Bachelor’s in Education, a Major in Math and a Minor in Biology. She has now been teaching for 44 years. Her favorite quote is, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.”
Ms. Valerie Higgins is a math and career preparation teacher here at Bessemer Academy. She received her Bachelor’s in Science and Math with a minor in history from Auburn University. Shortly after her graduation from Auburn, she began teaching at Bessemer Academy. This same year she began her Master’s degree and later received a M.Ed. in secondary math education. After five years at Bessemer Academy, Ms. Higgins began teaching in the public arena. She is thrilled to be returning to Bessemer Academy this year. In addition to teaching at Bessemer Academy, Ms, Higgins is a youth pastor at Rock Creek Church of God. Her favorite pastime is sewing. She enjoys making original purses and bags.
Nathan Kitchens is 26 years old and currently teaches Spanish at BA. He has bachelor degrees in Political Science/ Economics and Hispanic Studies from the University of Kentucky. Although Nathan lives in Hueytown, he grew up in Owensboro Kentucky. He is also a youth pastor at Ezra Baptist Church in Oak Grove. Mr. Kitchens is a lover of all sports but his favorite is Kentucky basketball, go Big Blue!!
PE, Driver’s Ed, Weightlifting, Coach
Coach Jon is the physical education teacher, drivers ed teacher, and strength and conditioning coach for the football team. He attended the University of West Alabama and attained a physical education degree and certification in drivers ed. This is his 7th year at Bessemer Academy. He believes Bessemer Academy is a comfortable environment and a great place to work with great students. His favorite thing to do outside of school is thinking about football, grilling, and watching Alabama football.
At BA since 2006
Health, Athletic Director & Head Football Coach
Josh Wright is the athletics director, health teacher, and head coach of the football team. Wright attended Jacksonville State University and attained bachelors in science and a minor in health and recreation. He has been teaching for 11 years and of those 11 he has been at Bessemer Academy 7 years and has been coaching now for 14 years. The thing he enjoys most about Bessemer Academy is the friendly staff, the kids, and the family atmosphere. Josh is married to Caroline McKinzey.
History, Economics, Coach
Jesse Boyd is the head baseball coach and history teacher for grades 9-12. Coach Boyd is also a returning alumni from Bessemer Academy. He attended the Universities of Southern Union and West Alabama. He attained degrees in history and sports management. He played 5 years of college baseball as a pitcher. He has been teaching for 2 years and this is his second year at Bessemer Academy, and he likes the smaller school system.
At BA since 2016
History, Government, Psychology, Coach
Bio coming soon
At BA since 2013
Middle School Science
Amanda Howard is the 6th, 7th and 8th grade science teacher and middle school computer teacher at Bessemer Academy. Both Amanda and her husband Colby graduated from Bessemer Academy in 2009. She graduated from the University of Montevallo in 2013 with superior Academic Achievement and Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Biology. Amanda came back to teach at Bessemer Academy because she previously experienced the family atmosphere and loved it. She also enjoys the fact that it is a much smaller environment compared to public schools.
At BA since 2010
Science, Research & Writing, Yearbook
Trina Ludvik graduated with an advanced academic diploma from Hueytown High School in 1990. She graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a B.S. in Secondary Language Arts Education (1994) and a M.A.E. in Secondary Language Arts Education (2010). She is certified to teach science and language arts grades 6-12. She has been married for 24 years and has two daughters that graduated from Bessemer academy. Mrs. Ludvik’s favorite part of Bessemer Academy is the atmosphere, autonomy, and of course the Rebel football. One interesting fact about Mrs. Ludvik is that she is a survivor of stage 3 breast cancer.
Mrs. Millican is beginning her third year at BA. Along with teaching, Mrs. Millican coaches JV Cheer and Track. She graduated from Sparta Academy and attended the University of West Alabama from August 2008 to May 2014. She completed her undergraduate with a BS degree and her masters with an MAT in Biology. Her husband Colter can often be found out on the diamond coaching Rebel baseball. They have a daughter named Addison and a chihuahua named Koleigh. Mrs. Millican enjoys reading, exercising, and spending time with her daughter who is in her first year of preschool here at BA. Her favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” She is looking forward to an exciting year with her new students. She would like to thank BA for the love and support over the past couple of years.
Ms. Reach graduated from Jones Valley High School in 1964. After high school she attended Samford University to get her BA degree in Spanish and English. Then she attended the University of Montevallo where she received a Masters in School Supervision.
Next, she attended the University of Alabama to get her AA in School Supervision. After college she taught English for four years and Spanish for 15 years. Also, Ms. Reach has been an assistant principle for Erwin High School and a principal for Rudd Middle School, Pittman Junior High, and Hueytown High School. Ms. Reach is currently the Honors English teacher at Bessemer Academy for grades tenth through twelfth. She taught one full year and has been a part time teacher for eight years. Some interesting facts about Ms. Reach are: her favorite color is blue, she loves cats, she plays the hand bells at church, she is in her church choir, and she taught some of the parents of her current students. She also has a 41 year old son who lives in Chicago. Ms. Reach loves the students and faculty at Bessemer Academy.
At BA since 2015
J.T. Bartley teaches 9th-12th grade English. He attended Miles college where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in English. He coaches baseball and football. This is his first year teaching at BA. He enjoys watching Alabama football, fishing, and reading books. His favorite thing about BA is the family environment and how everyone gets along and works well together.
At BA since 1999
Broadcast Journalism, Art, Family & Consumer Science, Speech
Kaaren Hopping attended the University of Montevallo and received a Bachelors Degree in Art. She has taught at North Birmingham Elementary School, Huffman High School, Charles A. Brown Middle School, Pratt City Elementary, Ensley High School, and Bessemer Academy. She has been married to Jack Hopping, the Commandant of the Marine Corps League of Alabama, for forty-seven years. They have one daughter named Ellen. Kaaren loves to travel, paint, sew, and listen to 60’s music. Also, she has been teaching at Bessemer Academy for 16 years. She loves Bessemer Academy because of the kind students and teachers.
At BA since 2016
Math Grades 9-12
Mathew Hooper graduated from Oak Grove High school in 2010. After high school he attended The University of Alabama and graduated in 2016 with a degree in secondary in mathematics education. Along with this being Mr. Hooper’s first year teaching, he is also a youth pastor at Rock Creek Church of God. Mathew also enjoys fishing and carpentry.
Girls Athletic Director & Coach
Joel Penfield graduated from Hueytown High School in 1989 and then attended Jefferson State Community College. He has been married for 21 years and has 2 children that have graduated from Bessemer Academy. He has been at Bessemer Academy for 8 years working as the Girl’s Athletic Director which includes coaching volleyball, softball, and basketball. Coach Penfield’s favorite part of being at Bessemer Academy is getting to watch the kids grow up and fulfill their dreams.