The year 2000 was designated as The Year of the Child by the Presbyterian Church USA. Jeanne Isaacs, former Director of Children’s Education at Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC) expressed interested in creating programming to celebrate and honor the Year of the Child.  She wanted to establish programs on three levels:  church, community, and international.  Jeanne had long dreamed of creating programming for the children of the community so that they would have opportunities for after school activities.  She noted that our children’s facilities at IPC were empty all week except for Wednesday evenings.
IPC member Caroline Polson, a teacher in the Birmingham City School System, told Jeanne that if she were going to do anything with these children it should be tutoring them in reading.  She said that reading skills were the greatest weakness in the students she encountered in her teaching experience.  Coincidentally a few weeks later Dr. Jim Carter, IPC pastor at that time, mentioned the STAIR reading program during a sermon.  STAIR was founded in 1985 in New Orleans at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church.  Dr. Carter had also been pastor at this church leading to his familiarity with the program.  Caroline’s interest was piqued.  On Monday morning she called the New Orleans STAIR program and the rest is history.
The New Orleans STAIR director was extremely helpful and encouraging.  She sent curriculum and worked with Caroline on the phone.  Jeanne and Caroline decided to pursue the program for IPC.  STAIR of Birmingham began in the fall of 2000.  There were 12 students and 24 tutors. The first two schools served were Avondale Elementary and Whatley Elementary. Willie Mae Butler joined the team.


Our Staff

Anna James, Executive Director

Evelyn Puckett, Program Director, Site Director for Hayes K-8 School, in North Avondale, at Independent Presbyterian Church

Alice Morgan, Executive Assistant

Lewanna Robinson, Student Coordinator for Hayes K-8 School, in North Avondale, at Independent Presbyterian Church

Alison Jenkins, Site Director for Avondale K-5 School in South Avondale, at Avondale United Methodist Church

Ingrid Moore, Site Director for Barrett K-8 School, in East Lake, at 45th Street Baptist Church

Ruthie Royster, Site Director for Bush K-8 School, in Ensley, at Greater New Antioch Baptist Church 

Diane Rencher, Site Director for Lewis K-5 School in North Birmingham (held at the school) sponsored by St. Luke's Episcopal Church and the Norwood Resource Center

Janet Dixon, Site Director for Oliver K-8 School in Woodlawn (held at the school), sponsored by the Christian Service Mission

William Colvin, Site Director for Washington K-8 School in Titusville, at Westminster Presbyterian Church

Mary Owen, Site Director for South Hampton K-8 School in Pratt City (held at the school), sponsored by South Highland Presbyterian Church

Shirley Rhand, Site Director for Hemphill K-5 School in West End, at 6th Avenue Baptist Church


Board of Directors

President                        Kennon Walthall--SVP, PRA Government Services

Vice President               Gene Lewis--Retired from Royal Cup Coffee, STAIR Tutor--IPC & Lewis K-5 School 

Secretary                        Chip Grizzle--Attorney w/ Brasfield & Gorrie, STAIR Tutor at                      IPC & Westminster Presbyterian

Treasurer                       Laura Clarke--Relationship Manager at BBVA Compass

Floresha Boyd               Home Preservation Specialist, Wells Fargo, Home Mortgage Dept.  

Eve Carter                     Retired, Dean, Lawson State Community College, Presently, Norwood Resource Center VITA Volunteer, STAIR Tutor - Westminster Presbyterian

Susan Clayton                Associate Pastor and Director of Community Ministries, Independent Presbyterian Church, STAIR Tutor - IPC

Melodie Echols              Executive Director, Norwood Resource Center

Maura Goodwyn             Volunteer Attorney, STAIR tutor-- IPC

Penney Hartline             Community Volunteer 

Jan Hughey                    Community Volunteer, STAIR Tutor--Oliver K-8 School

Lee E. Loder                   Retired/Community Organizer

Will Matthews                 Vice Chairman & CFO, National Bank of Commerce

Diana Plosser                 Retired Teacher, STAIR Tutor--Lewis K-5 School

Bryson Stephens           General Manager of EBSCO Sign Group

Jeannette Watford         STAIR Tutor Coordinator--Lewis K-5 School

Randall Woodfin            City Attorney for the City of Birmingham, Member of the Birmingham Board of Education