About Our School

Meet Our Team

Experience the Support of Seasoned School Leadership

The leadership at Alabama Virtual Academy at Eufaula City Schools (ALVA) is dedicated to empowering our school community to achieve great things.

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Melanie Barkley | Executive Director

Melanie Barkley is excited to join ALVA as the Executive Director.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Athens State College in 1996, specializing in Social Science.  She later obtained her Master’s in Administration and Supervision from Tennessee State University in 2002 and an Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership from the University of Alabama Birmingham in 2012.   She has also completed the following certifications from the University of Alabama Superintendents Academy in 2019 and The School Superintendents Association Aspiring Superintendents Academy in 2021.   She has served in various leadership roles throughout her 25 year career in Alabama public education. Most recently she served as the Secondary Curriculum and District Technology Coordinator for the Athens City School System. 

Her previous experience includes middle and elementary school principal, assistant principal, secondary reading specialist for the state department, local instructional specialist, classroom teacher, and coach. She believes in innovation and building capacity among leaders and teachers.   She has been a speaker on best practices in continuous school improvement, leadership, and instructional technology throughout the state of Alabama for many years, conducting presentations and professional development workshops, in-services, and job-embedded training. She has served as a mentor for new principals, assistant principals, and leaders throughout the state. She believes in life-long learning and frequently attends continuing education conferences on instructional leadership and business improvement at both the local and national level.  She and her husband Scott live in North Alabama and they have two sons.  Dalton is a graduate of the University of Alabama Huntsville with a Civil Engineering degree, and Bryant is a senior at the University of Alabama pursuing a degree in Finance and plans to attend law school. 

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Kelly Wynn | Elementary Principal

Kelly has worked at ALVA since 2015 when she helped launch the school. She taught grades K–2. Kelly has served as a kindergarten teacher, lead teacher, and then transitioned into the role of elementary principal in 2019. Kelly was a public-school elementary teacher in Georgia for 15 years before moving to Alabama with her family in 2015. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Alabama. Kelly and her husband live in North Alabama with their two daughters.

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Carol Taylor | Elementary School Assistant Principal

Carol joined the ALVA team in the fall of 2017. While at ALVA she has taught 4th grade math, 4th grade history, and been a K5 general education lead teacher. She transitioned into the elementary assistant principal role last year. Carol has dedicated over 25 years to the field of education. She has taught for the Mobile County Public School System and Cottage Hill Christian Academy. She received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Mobile College (University of Mobile) and her master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Alabama. Carol and her husband live in Mobile, Alabama and have two children. 

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Merrill Dotson | Middle School Principal

Over the past 11 years, Merrill has had the privilege to be a math teacher and school leader in several states. She joined ALVA in August of 2016. She is a graduate of Auburn University and Athens State University. Working at ALVA has been one of the best decisions she has ever made, and she is proud to serve families as middle school principal! ALVA has changed students’ lives, helped families through tough situations, and built relationships that could never be replaced. ALVA is certainly a special place! She and her husband Chris are proud to call Alabama home, with their two beautiful daughters, Gloria and Dorothy.

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Gary (Lanier) Pearce | High School Interim Principal

Lanier has worked with ALVA since 2020 where he started in a 7th grade math position. Since then, Lanier has also worked as the Middle School General Education Lead Teacher before transitioning to the High School Assistant Principal role. Lanier was a public school teacher in elementary and middle schools for 13 years before joining the virtual world of education. He also spent five years as a high school tennis coach. Lanier has an Educational Specialists (Ed.S.) degree and is currently enrolled in a graduate program at The University of Alabama. He enjoys having his three dogs, two horses, and spending as much time as possible on his boat. 

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Kyle Altier | Special Programs Manager

Kyle has been with the K12 team since 2019, joining ALVA in the spring of 2021. While at Stride, she has served in the role of Special Education Compliance Coordinator and current role as Special Programs Manager. Kyle graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Family and Child Sciences from Florida State University and obtained her Master of Education in Counselor Education from the University of North Florida. Prior to moving to virtual education, Kyle has taught elementary general education students, special education, and served as an Elementary School Counselor. She and her husband are the proud parents of Valerie and McClain.


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Crystal Merron | Elementary Counselor, Grades K – 2nd 

Crystal joined ALVA’s team in 2021. She has over 15 years of experience in education which began as an elementary school teacher. Since earning her Master’s and Education Specialist Degrees in Counseling, she has served as a School Counselor at the Elementary and High School Levels. As an Elementary Counselor at ALVA, Crystal helps equip students with the social and emotional skills to experience success. She works with students through Lunch Bunch and Counselor Connect classes each week, in addition to individual classes by teacher and parent referral. Though raised in North Alabama, Crystal, her husband, Sean, and their two littles (Anderson and Reagan) now reside in Gulf Shores. 

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Amy Buckner | Elementary Counselor, Grades 3rd-5th

Amy joined ALVA’s team in 2022. She has over 28 years of experience in education which began as a speech therapist. Since earning her master’s and Educational Specialist Degrees in Counseling, she has served as a School Counselor at the Elementary and Intermediate School Levels. As an Elementary Counselor at ALVA, Amy helps equip students with the social and emotional skills to experience success. She works with students through Lunch Bunch and Counselor Connect classes each week, in addition to individual classes by teacher and parent referral. Amy lives in Springville, Alabama with her husband, Brad. They have three children, Evan, Logan, and Bradlee-Paige.

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Tracey Gulledge | Middle School Counselor, Grades 6th – 8th

Tracey joined ALVA’s team in July of 2019 as a middle school counselor. She earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Florida State University and a Master of Science in school counseling from Troy University. Tracey has six years of experience as a classroom teacher and 22 years of experience as a school counselor. As middle school counselor, Tracey works with students to help them focus on personal and social development, as well as academic and career goals. She schedules individual classes for teacher- and parent-referred students. She lives in central Alabama with her husband. She has three grown children and nine grandchildren. She thoroughly enjoys helping students grow and become successful!

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Adrianne Dodgen | High School Counselor, 9th Grade & AP Coordinator

Adrianne joined ALVA’s team in January 2022 as a middle school counselor before transitioning to the high school as the 9th grade school counselor. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and  a Master’s degree in both School Counseling and Educational Leadership all from Jacksonville State University.  Adrianne worked 27 for the St. Clair County Board of Education in various roles including elementary teacher, reading specialist, school counselor and an administrator before retiring in December 2021 to join the ALVA team.  Adrianne lives in Ragland, Alabama, with her husband, grandson and two fur babies. She has three grown children and enjoys music, walking, riding horses, traveling and spending time with her family. Adrianne loves working with the ALVA team and enjoys working the most talented and dedicated educators across the state of Alabama, as well as, the students and families that she assists throughout their educational journey. 

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Dionne Vandiber | High School Counselor, 10th Grade & Dual Enrollment Coordinator

Dionne joined the ALVA team in 2020. She is from Alabama and has a bachelor’s from the University of Alabama. She has a master’s degree from Jacksonville State University in School Counseling. Dionne is our dual enrollment specialist at ALVA.

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Stephanie Williams | High School Counselor, 12th Grade

Stephanie joined ALVA’s team in August 2016 as a 6th grade science teacher. She earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama in elementary education, a Master of Arts in elementary education from the University of Montevallo, a master’s degree and an education specialist’s degree from the University of West Alabama. Stephanie has 22 years of teaching experience and 11 years of counseling experience. She lives in Odenville, Alabama, with her son, her sister, and her three fur babies. She thoroughly enjoys working with ALVA students and families and helping them along their educational journey.