ALA's Board of Directors

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ALA's Board of Directors is comprised of individuals who are experienced in public education and operating charter schools. They are committed to the growth of Ascend Leadership Academy operationally, financially and academically.  The Board also upholds the mission of the school and provides oversight to ALA administration. 

ALA's Board of Directors meets every 4th Wednesday at 6:30 pm.  Check the website for the meeting location. Below are the brief biographies of members of ALA's current Board of Directors.

***Ascend Leadership Academy is seeking new community based board members. If you or someone you know is interested in serving on our Board of Directors, please complete the application here. We look forward to hearing from potential board members who want to support our wonderful program.***

ALA's Next Board Meeting

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021

Location:  Virtual Meeting

ALA Founding Board Members

Board Chairperson

Steven Gatlin

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Steven Gatlin is a teacher and curriculum specialist at Voyager Academy (charter school) in Durham, NC. Mr. Gatlin is a Project Based Learning specialist who is a strong advocate for innovate teaching and learning. Steven was a candidate for the Durham County Board of Education in 2014.


Vice Chairperson

Anna Fonke

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Anna, a Bladen County native, received her degree in Communications from Campbell University and eventually decided to make Lee County home almost 20 years ago. She worked in Human Resources before deciding to stay at home with her two young children and start her own photography business - Anna Fonke Photography. Both of her children now attend ALA.



Brandy Grindle

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Brandy is a Broadway native, and a lifelong Lee County resident. She has degrees from CCCC and ECU in Information Technology. Currently she works in the pharmaceutical industry for Medicago, Inc. as a Systems Administrator. Brandy has a son that currently attends ALA, and a daughter at Tramway Elementary. She also serves on the Lee County Literacy Council and the Tramway Elementary PTO.



Ebony Arrington

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Ebony currently serves a department head in Production Operations at the Pfizer, Inc. site in Sanford, NC.. She is a graduate of Duke University with a degree in Biology and has extensive experience working with children through a variety of roles. She is an active member of Zeta Phi Beta, inc. and is very involved in a variety of other community organizations.


At Large Board Member

Tina Fox

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Tina, a North Carolina resident  for 20 years, relocated to Sanford in 2018 with her family. She is  mother of two, her oldest a junior at Meredith College and her youngest an 8th grader at ALA. Tina has recently launched her own business as a Wordpress Designer/developer and Local Google SEO Management company. 

An avid soccer player growing up, Tina loves coaching youth soccer and has been a coach for over 15 years. She currently coaches for NCFC youth.