Meet Our Team

Meet our team

Dr. Larson, Head of school

Dr. Larson, Head of school.Melissa Stokke Larson has worked with Stride since 2012. She served as a teacher, lead teacher, and academic administrator within the company before being named Alabama Virtual Academy Head of School in the 2019-2020 school year. Melissa graduated with her Bachelors in Elementary Education from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. After teaching elementary school in Jacksonville, FL, she went on to earn her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Alabama and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from Florida State University. Melissa lives with her husband, daughter, and three dogs in St. Augustine, FL.

Kelly Wynn, Elementary Principal

Kelly Wynn, Elementary PrincipalKelly Wynn has worked at Alabama Virtual Academy since 2015. Kelly helped open Alabama Virtual Academy in 2015 and taught Kindergarten, First, and Second grade. Over the course of the last 5 years, 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 is a graduate of Valdosta State University and holds a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Kelly is currently enrolled in the graduate school program at the University of Alabama. She and her husband live in North Alabama with their two daughters and their Westie named Bella.

Merrill Dotson, Middle School Principal

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

Valerie Staten, High School Principal

Valerie Staten, High School PrincipalValerie Staten joined K12 Stride Inc. on September 2, 2016. She is the mother of two sons Christopher and Ethan. She received her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Miles College in 2003, Master of Education from Alabama State University in 2012, and her Instructional Leadership Certification from the University of West Alabama in 2020. Her career began in the Birmingham City Schools System in 2003. She has had the privilege of educating students on the middle school, high school, and college levels. She has held titles as Adjunct Professor, Mathematics Department Chair, Volleyball and Track Coach, Mentor, and Lead Teacher throughout her teaching career. She prides herself on the accomplishment of various math competitions that she has won with numerous school systems. She has spent years providing professional development to teachers, students, parents, and staff. She believes partnerships with parents is essential to gaining trust and helping student growth.



Crystall Merron, Elementary Counselor

Tracey Gulledge, Middle School Counselor

Tracey Gulledge, Middle School Counselor

Stephanie Williams, High School Counselor

Shawndrisa Malone, High School Counselor

Marcie Rome, High School Counselor

Dionne Vandiber, High School Counselor

Candace Doak, CRE & School Counseling Program Coordinator