Tanya McDonald has worked at Banks Academy since 2017. She is a native of Buffalo, New York. She has over 18 years of experience in education and holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Applied Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University. She is ACSI Certified at Banks Academy. She worked in the commercial industry for several years until she realized making a difference in a child’s life is her passion. She began her educational career as a home-based math teacher/tutor at Greece High School in Rochester, New York. Throughout her 18+ years of teaching, Mrs. McDonald has also taught at Jefferson State Community College, Jefferson County Schools, Birmingham City Schools, Sylvan Learning Center and tutored many students.
Besides teaching, Mrs. McDonald’s first love is the Lord. Jesus Christ is truly the head of her life. Family is her second love. Her husband Chris of 26 years and their five children (Cedric, Caleb, Cornelius, Danielle, and Danah), dog-Samson and bunny-Thor. Roll Tide!!! 🙂
Caleb Maxey was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Just short of his graduation from Huffman High school, someone began to show and share with a very hopeless and minatory Caleb the bottomless gospel of JESUS CHRIST. After graduating, Caleb began pursuing a degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as well as being enthralled into a unpredictable journey in ministry. Caleb Maxey now serves as the Vice President of the college ministry R.A.N.S.O.M as well as studying to practice Out Patient and Acute care as a Therapist.
After praying for GOD to open a door for an opportunity to reach millennial high school students, through education, and an unfiltered introduction to the SPIRIT of JESUS, he was confronted with the opportunity to teach the discipline of science at Banks Academy High School. There is a story alluding to a MAN leaving the comfort of ninety-nine sheep to journey and fight for the fate and future of one missing lamb…here at Banks Academy we believe that all of those “one’s” are worth the journey.
PE, Health, Boys Basketball Coach
Chase graduated from Mountain Brook High School in 2008 where he was standout Basketball player. He went on to play basketball at Jefferson Davis Community College (now Coastal Alabama) for one year before transferring to The University of Montevallo. Chase finished his education at UAB and graduated with a degree in kinesiology in 2017. During his time in college, Chase coached the Freshmen boys at Gardendale High school (2010-2011), head coached the JV and was an assistant on the Varsity team at Tarrant High School from (2013-2014).
Coach Cornelius is entering his 3rd year teaching and coaching and captured the school’s first state championship for the 2017-18 season in boys basketball with a record of 25-4. Chase is married to Kindall (Cornelius) who is also a teacher and a coach at Helena HighSchool. They have been married for two years and reside in Homewood.
English & Music
Mrs. Carter is originally from Kentucky and moved to Alabama in 2014. She graduated from Liberty University with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies and is currently working on a Master’s in English Secondary Education.
Mrs. Carter is a worship leader for her band Wonder Worship based in Birmingham, AL. She also sings, plays guitar, piano, and ukulele.
Her favorite music genres are Soul, Funk, and Jazz.
And her favorite passage of scripture is Hebrews 12:1-2.
Sarah Riley is from the Birmingham area, although life has taken her around the world. This is her first-year teaching at Banks, and she is excited to be back in Birmingham. Sarah graduated from Auburn University with a History degree and has also taught English language internationally in Thailand, Italy, China, Senegal, and Ivory Coast.
Driven to follow Jesus Christ wherever He leads, serving the nations has also been a significant passion of Sarah’s and that was her focus once she graduated college. Sarah has had experience living and working in many countries with many different types of people and is able to use this international perspective in the classroom. As a result of living internationally, Sarah has studied three languages, Italian, Wolof, and French, but considers herself most proficient in French. Sarah hopes her students also develop a passion for learning about and experiencing new cultures.
Art & Photography
I have been a Christian most of my life with periods of doubt in the past and no doubts now. I have been an artist all my life with much longer and greater periods of doubt – it is just now that I feel confident in that label (sort of). I was raised in a Christian home that always reached out to people in need, especially people in places that most respectable people didn’t feel comfortable going into. I have always taught my own children at home and some of their peers in co-op situations. And now I am excited to teach high school.
I have so many ideas I want to share, especially an exposure to and appreciation, maybe even love, for beautiful and well-executed art. My own artistic outlet right now is photography and I also hope to impart some photographic skills, namely seeing what is beautiful and interesting all around. I attended high school at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and beyond that I am self taught in photography and everything else I have tried outside of painting. I show regularly at Art Crawl at the Pizitz building downtown and have work in a gallery as well.
BA Communications; Master of Divinity
Eric is the Associate Pastor of TAPESTRY CHURCH, where he provides oversight to all disciple making efforts, including small groups, teaching and preaching.
In addition to his other roles, he is also a freelance contributor for The Gospel Coalition and Radical.
Eric and his wife Katie have two incredible children, with a third on the way via adoption. He and his family live in Pelham, Alabama.