Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors are local individuals who have a vested interest in seeing Bessemer Academy achieve excellence. Board members are nominated by foundation members (parents and financial supporters of current students) and voted on at our annual foundation meeting. Board members meet monthly to discuss the operation of the school and stay in close contact via phone and email throughout the month as needed to provide oversight. The Board revises and updates policies and procedures to meet the needs of our students, faculty, staff, and facilities, so parents are encouraged to get involved as well as read and review the handbook periodically. Because there is not a cover church for Bessemer Academy, we operate under the ownership of its foundation.


SECTION 1. Directors. A board of a minimum of seven and maximum of thirteen directors shall constitute the governing board to manage the affairs of Bessemer Academy. the number of directors may be increased or decreased at the will of the directors providing that there shall never be less than seven or more than thirteen. The Board of Directors shall consist of only members; however the Board may have a Director(s) that is an accountant and/or a Director(s) that is an attorney who are not members.

SECTION 2. Nomination of Board of Directors. Any member may nominate another member to serve on the Board. The Board must approve the nomination by a majority vote prior to an election by the members.

SECTION 3. Election Process. The members will vote on whether to elect the approved nominee to the Board at the annual meeting held in accordance with Article III, Section 1. Upon a majority vote of the members, the nominee will become a Director.

SECTION 4. Term. A director shall be elected for a term of three years. The terms of the directors shall be staggered so as to enable one-third of the Board of Directors to be elected each year.

Nominations 2023

Jonathan Beams (Jon Westin)

Laetitia Coleman (Morgan, Sydney, Demetrius)

Jason Leight (Fin, Tuck, Tate)

Gregg Roberts (Dane, Everett)

Reid Smith (Collier, Jayne Ann)

Board of Directors 2022-2023

Brooke Nixon, President

Brooke Nixon is a partner at Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, a labor and employment firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. Brooke works out of Constangy’s Birmingham office focusing on employment litigation and employment law advice and counsel. Brooke attended Bessemer Academy from the sixth grade until her senior year, when she graduated as salutatorian of her 2002 class. She attended Auburn University and then graduated from the University of Alabama in 2005 with degrees in political science and philosophy. In 2008, Brooke graduated from Cumberland School of Law second in her class.

Brooke has been on the Board of Directors of Bessemer Academy since 2014. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Tuscaloosa YMCA for a number of years, and in 2016 she was named the first female President of the Tuscaloosa YMCA Board of Directors. During her tenure as Board President, the YMCA constructed and opened a multi-million dollar new building. Brooke was also a founding member of the Young Professionals of Tuscaloosa where she served as Director of the Board for five years.

Brooke is married to Michael Nixon, also a member of the Bessemer Academy 2002 graduating class. Brooke and Michael live in Hoover with their two daughters, Tyler and Harper, who also attend Bessemer Academy.

Debbie Harrison, Vice President

Debbie Harrison is a Provider Reimbursement, Payment Integrity & Innovations Consultant, responsible for analytical project management, system implementation, and research analysis at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. She has been with Blue Cross for 33 years. Debbie is a graduate of Bessemer Academy and attended the University of Montevallo. Debbie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management.

Debbie has been on the Board of Directors since 2020. She has served / is currently serving on the following boards over the past 20 years: Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church (Administrative and Executive Board), Junior Service League, Senior Ambassador / Chamber of Commerce.

Debbie lives in Bessemer with her husband, Wayne, and their son, Dawson, who attends Bessemer Academy.

Joe Brister, Secretary

Joe Brister is a Sales Executive at Dell Technologies, with responsibility for leading a sales team, increasing market share, and accelerating profitable growth within his region. Since 2000, he has enjoyed a successful career in delivering value to education, government and corporate customers with Dell Technologies. Prior to joining Dell Technologies, Joe started his sales career in the fitness industry partnering with both individuals and organizations to promote healthier lifestyles. Notable is his five years of board membership with McCalla Youth Athletic Association (MYAA), where he leveraged his experience in IT to promote MYAA and helped drive partnering initiatives with the community.

Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in Biological Science from the University of Mississippi. He lives in Bessemer Alabama with his wife, Kelly, and their three children, Grace, Emma, and Jacob.

Kerry Clark

Kerry A. Clark is an author, speaker, Christian life coach, information systems and technology professional, platform builder, and project manager. He got his start in high school where he had the opportunity to serve in a key leadership role of a local church plant. After completing his degree at The University of Alabama, he began a career in information systems and technology, following that served as a media director, and later used his organizational skills in an administrative executive role. Notably, he has managed projects which established multisite ministry campuses, constructed a multimillion-dollar private school, and served as a subject-matter expert (SME) for multimillion-dollar revenue generating billing systems in the telecommunications and media industries.

Kerry spends most of his time writing and coaching individuals on “the business of running your life.” He takes the principles and practices acquired in his accomplished career and uses these same principles to make lives, homes, individuals, and organizations successful. He lives outside of Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife, Pamela, and daughter, Tamia. Kerry has devoted his life to his three Ms:

  1. Mission. “Surround yourself” like no one else.
  2. Message. “Believe” like no one else.
  3. Ministration. “Act” like no one else.

“Surround yourself, believe, and take action.” 

Ken Salter

Ken Salter works as an Enterprise Systems Analyst for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Ken has worked at UAB for 16 years. After graduating from Hueytown High School Ken attended UAB and Virginia College and has an Associates degree in Network Engineering.

Ken lives in McCalla with his wife Christy and their three daughters, Sidney (class of 2022), Skylar, and Libby, who all attend Bessemer Academy.

Kellan Burt

Kellan Burt works as a production manager for Kykenkee, Inc., a wood products manufacturing facility in Vance, AL.  After graduating from Bessemer Academy, which he attended for 13 years, Kellan enrolled at the University of Alabama, where he earned degrees in Mathematical Statistics and Computer Science.

Kellan currently serves on the Woodstock Parks and Recreation Board. He also volunteers, coaching youth basketball, baseball, and softball.

Kellan and his wife Kim live in Woodstock, AL. They have four children, three of whom currently attend Bessemer Academy.

Polly Bice

Polly is a speaker, a writer, and the host of the Made to Matter Podcast. She graduated from Oak Grove High School and went on to attend Jefferson State Community College and UAB. Polly speaks at colleges, churches, and women’s events encouraging youth and women. She creates tools and resources to help with recognizing how someone is equipped to live life on mission and make it matter.

Polly and her husband have been foster parents in Jefferson County for seven years and have fostered over 35 children. She is an advocate for foster care and child welfare. She is the co-founder of Altar84, an organization that exist to encourage and equip the church to care for orphans and children in need. In addition, she co-founded Know More Orphans, an initiative that created resources for foster and adoptive families along with conferences and workshops. Polly is currently on the planning committee for the Foster Coalition in Birmingham.

Polly has been married to her husband, Shawn, for 28 years. They are raising a multi-ethnic family that includes 12 children. Nine of their children currently attend Bessemer Academy.

Mark Rhea