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

Liz Edwards, Executive Director, liz@stairbirmingham.org

Evelyn Puckett, Program Director, Site Director for Hayes K-8 School, in North Avondale, at Independent Presbyterian Church, evelyn@stairbirmingham.org

Alice Morgan, Executive Assistant, alice@stairbirmingham.org

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

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

John Myatt, 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

Ethel R. Scott, Site Director for Hemphill K-5 School in West End, at 6th Avenue Baptist Church

Renay Herndon, Site Director for Hudson K-8 School in Collegeville, at Bethel 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- Vice President/Relationship Manager, BBVA Compass
Board Members

Floresha Boyd              Workplace Banking Coordinator, Regions Bank  

Eva Carter                     Retired, Dean of Educational Services, Lawson State Community College
                                       STAIR Tutor - Washington K-8

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

Lawrence Cooper        Director of Community Programs, McWane Science Center

Melodie Echols             Executive Director, Norwood Resource Center

David Fleming              CEO of REV Brimingham

Penney Hartline            Community Volunteer 
                                        STAIR Substitute Tutor

Jan Hughey                   Retired Teacher and Community Volunteer
                                        STAIR Tutor - Oliver K-8 School

Kim Killgore                   Community Volunteer and Teacher, Southminster Day School

Lee E. Loder                  Retired/Community Organizer

Judy Matthews              Retired Principal, Tarrant  Intermediate School
                                        STAIR Tutor - IPC

Will Matthews                Vice Chairman & CFO, National Bank of Commerce

Diana Plosser                Retired Teacher and Community Volunteer
                                        STAIR Tutor--Lewis K-5 School

Alison Scott                  Community Volunteer

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