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SAIS Staff

  Kirk Walker, Ph.D. - President
(423) 240-9551

Kirk Walker was born and raised in Chattanooga, TN. He is a graduate of McCallie School ('69), was a Morehead Scholar at UNC (Chapel Hill), and completed his Masters and Doctorate degrees at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. He has taught at the middle, high school, and college levels. He served as a supervisor of instruction (Ft. Campbell, KY) and as head of school of Bright School (Chattanooga, TN), Ensworth School (Nashville, TN), and McCallie School (Chattanooga, TN). Most recently he served as interim president of the Webb School of Knoxville. He has served as board chair of TAIS and SAIS. He is married to Patsi Walker. They have three children. In his free time, he enjoys travel with his family, hiking, reading, and badminton.  He joined the staff of SAIS in July 2015.

On January 11, 2018 Dr. Walker announced his plans to retire from his position effective June 30, 2019.  For updates on the SAIS president search, click here.

Lori Spear, CAE - Executive Vice President
(404) 561-5841

Lori received a B.A. from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY. She spent six years working with the Georgia Society of Association Executives (GSAE) before coming to SAIS in August 2003. Lori is an active member of GSAE, having served as chair of the GSAE Board of Directors. She earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in June 2006. She is also an advocate of historic preservation, and has served on the board of Rhodes Hall, a historic home in midtown Atlanta, as well as the board of the DeKalb League of Women Voters. Lori has also volunteered for YearUp Atlanta, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Red Clay Music Foundry.

Joanne Andruscavage - Director of Accreditation
(678) 231-2908

Joanne joined SAIS as Director of Accreditation in June 2014 after many successful years as a teacher, administrator and head of school. Most recently she was the accreditation coordinator for the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. A lifelong educator, Joanne has also been a consultant on governance and leadership in independent schools and has traveled extensively to schools across the continent. Her experience in school accreditation includes work on both sides of the process and collaboration with more than 14 different accrediting agencies. Joanne received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Florida International University and her Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Loyola University of Maryland. She also holds a Certificate in Non Profit Management from Duke University. Joanne has a passion for animal rescue and dog training and spends her free time volunteering for animal welfare causes.

  Sheri Burkeen - Director of Professional Development
(901) 651-6618

Sheri Burkeen joined the SAIS staff as the director of professional development in June 2017. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Memphis and a master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Alabama. Over the past 20 years, she has served in both public and private institutions and both co-ed and single-sex schools, teaching at the early childhood, lower, and middle school levels. Sheri has experience as a classroom teacher and technology coordinator with Woodland Presbyterian School and Lausanne Collegiate School, both in Memphis. She has most recently served as the curriculum development coordinator with St. Mary’s Episcopal School for Girls, also in Memphis. She is married to Jon Burkeen, and they have one son, Tucker. Sheri enjoys rolling up her sleeves and getting her hands dirty, whether it is outside in the garden or in the kitchen whipping up a new recipe.

Julia Grantham - Director of Administration
(770) 789-3432

Julia Grantham joined the SAIS staff in January 2012. In her role as director of administration, Julia is responsible for accounting, human resources, and office services. She holds bachelor’s degrees in both Accounting (Mercer University Atlanta) and Business Administration (University of Georgia). In her spare time, Julia enjoys playing on several tennis teams and cheering her Braves and Falcons to victory.

Christina Mimms - Director of Communications
(404) 883-5369

Christina joined the SAIS staff in August 2015. She received a B.A. in communications from Loyola University of New Orleans and also holds a certificate of nonprofit marketing from the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. She served as director of communications at St. Martin’s Episcopal School for 14 years, has presented at several conferences for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and has won several professional awards. Christina graduated from St. John’s Parish Day School and Tampa Preparatory School, both in Tampa, FL. She is a member of GSAE.

LeeAnne Minnick - Director of Technology
(706) 224-3530

LeeAnne joined the SAIS staff in May 2008. She graduated from the University of Georgia in December 2004 with a B.A. in Anthropology and a certificate in Environmental Ethics. She worked as the lead project manager for J House Media before coming to SAIS. She is an active member of GSAE, currently serving on the GSAE Foundation Board.  She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Athens Clarke County Friends of the Library, and volunteers for Hands on Northeast Georgia.

Anna Taylor - Events & Marketing Manager
(404) 583-6452

Anna joined the SAIS staff in May 2014. She graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Sociology. During college, she worked as an intern, administrative assistant, and substitute teacher at The Suzuki School in Buckhead. She has a love for education and a passion for working with and helping people of all ages. She spends her free time volunteering at a music venue as well as spending quality time with family and friends.

Carole Weems - Accreditation & Administrative Coordinator
(423) 645-8965

Carole joined the SAIS staff in April 2015. She graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a B.S. in Education. She worked for 15 years at McCallie School in Chattanooga, TN as executive assistant to the head of school as well as administrative assistant to the vice president for planning and board relations. She is married to Sam and together they have four children: Christopher, Anne, Marybeth, and Lindsey. When Carole is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and friends. She also enjoys hiking, reading, golfing, and porch-sitting.


Calendar more
Athletic Directors Conference
January 16-17, 2018 | Charlotte, NC
A professional development opportunity for new and experienced athletic directors from across the region.

Finance Institute
January 16-17, 2018 | Charlotte, NC
An overview of independent school finance for aspiring and early career heads of school.

All Events

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