Star WrayExecutive Director - AdministrationStar Wray is a graduate of Auburn University with a B.S. in Social Work and a M.S. in Rehabilitation Services. Since 1987, she has been an active participant in the field of rehabilitation, working with children and adults in a variety of settings. Star has educated students with severe and profound intellectual disabilities, taught therapeutic recreation, and performed case management with emphasis on independent living skills to adults with psychological disorders. She has been an employee of the Achievement Center Easter Seals since 2006. While here, she has worked as a Job Developer, Program Manager, Program Coordinator, Director of Industrial and Vocational Services, Assistant Executive Director, and is currently the Executive Director. Star is also a member of the Pilot Club of Lee County, a service organization that helps people who are affected by brain related diseases and disorders.
Joni HouseDirector of Business and Finance - AdministrationMy name is Joni House, and I am the Director of Business & Finance at Achievement Center – Easterseals. I am married to Jonah House, and we have two children, Cole and Addy. I am a graduate of Auburn University with a B.S. degree in Accountancy and a Masters degree in Business from Troy University. Since my employment in 2006, I am grateful to have the opportunity daily to serve hundreds of individuals with disabilities from our surrounding counties. My passion is to provide a nurturing and welcoming environment for consumers and encourage them to lead independent and fulfilling lives in their respective communities.
Chuck GoodwinBusiness Operations Manager - AdministrationHello. My name is Chuck Goodwin, and I am the Business Operation Manager for The Achievement Center-Easterseals. My main duties include safety and health, data network and communications management, and fleet management. I am married to Angela Harper Goodwin and I have two daughters, Candace Yarbrough and Carmen Scroggins. I also have one granddaughter, Hanley Grace Yarbrough and two grandsons, Jackson Owen Yarbrough and William Luke Scroggins. I have been employed with the Achievement Center since 2015, and previously worked as a job developer with ACES before my role as Business Operation Manager. I am also the Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Penton, Alabama. I love my job at The Achievement Center and am proud to be a part of a great team.
Sami Jo WalkerAccountant - AdministrationMy name is Sami Jo Walker, and I am the Accountant at Achievement Center-Easterseals. I was born in Opelika, Alabama and grew up in Valley, Alabama. I graduated from Chambers Academy in 2012, have an associate’s degree from Southern Union and I am a 2017 graduate of Columbia Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Finance. I have been working at the Achievement Center since May of 2017, and I am proud to be a part of an amazing organization that helps so many people. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Collin, and our family and friends, visiting the beach and playing with my dogs.
Denise SmithAdministrative SpecialistMy name is Denise Smith, and I am the Administrative Specialist for the Achievement Center. I am married to Chris, have two daughters, Lauren Cooper and Stephanie Smith and three grandchildren, Tatum, Benjamin and Makenzie. Previously I was a paralegal for over 20 years and worked in medical billing/coding for over 10 years. I love my job here and feel blessed to be a part of such a wonderful and caring organization.
Melinda ButlerSenior Records Analyst - Program ServicesMy name is Melinda Butler. I was born in Columbus, Georgia but raised in Tuskegee, Al. all my life.
I’m currently the Senior Records Analyst for the Achievement Center – Easter Seals with over 18 years of experience. I am the 2015 Advocate of the Year for East Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.
I’m a mother of two sons. I enjoy going to the movies and spending time with my friends and family.
Sam AlexanderFleet Maintenance - Program ServicesSam has been employed with The Achievement Center since 2009. His primary responsibility is ensuring that the ACES fleet is fueled and inspected daily. Sam also works with special needs children at Opelika City Schools. Sam was born in St. Vincent in the Caribbean, but has been a resident of Opelika for 20 years. He also is the current Minister at South Girard Church of Christ in Phenix City Al.
Marissa DavisDirector of Vocational ServicesMy name is Marissa Davis, and I am a team member of the Vocational Services Staff here at The Achievement Center-Easterseals. I enjoy outdoor activities and have a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. I am extremely glad to be an essential part of an experience that permits me to help other people get to their desired and fulfilling employment outcome in the workforce.
Amara KnightCoordinator of Vocational Services Amara Knight is the Vocational Evaluator at the Achievement Center-Easter Seals. She was born and raised on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Amara completed her B.S. in Psychology at Auburn University at Montgomery and received her M.S. in Psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio. As the Vocational Evaluator, she administers a variety of vocational assessments to help guide the consumer, their referral counselor, and AC-ES staff in vocational development. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Taskila TaylorTransition Specialist My name is Mrs. Taylor-Hardy. I am presently serving in the Vocational Services Department as the Senior Vocational instructor specializing in High School Transition. My overall goal is to prepare transitioning high school students to make proper and effective vocational decisions. I teach a variety of job preparation, life skills and work ethic courses in hopes that it assists students in making educated and efficient decisions during this transitional phase of their lives. I provide specialized instruction in an individualized program for students to empower them to become happy, confident, and productive members of the community. I am Currently assigned to 12 high schools throughout both Alabama and Georgia to provide transition services resources to students with disabilities to help find post-secondary employment, training and or college opportunities.
Robbie JenkinsVocational Support Asst. Driver’s Permit Instructor My name is Robbie Jenkins and I am part of the job development staff here at Easter Seals. As a job developer I assist consumers with job searches, interviewing, and building skill sets. I am very happy to be part of such a rewarding experience that allows me to help others get to their next step in the work force.
Mary Kathryn DuncanC.N.A Instructor Mary Kathryn is a native of Opelika and graduated high school at OHS. She received a B.S. degree in education from Auburn University and an A.D. in nursing from Southern Union. Before she decided to return to school, she taught in Auburn City Schools and Trinity Christian School. She has enjoyed a varied career in nursing including working at EAMC, MD Anderson Cancer Center/Orlando, Florida Hospital Translational Research, Alacare Home Health, and at Briggs and Stratton as Wellness Coordinator and plant nurse. She loves her job at ACES as a CNA Instructor as she can use both her teaching and nursing skills to help her students be prepared for employment. Mary Kathryn and her husband Mike have 4 grown children, 6 grandchildren and a lovable American Bulldog!
Russell DeLeeEmployment Specialist Hello. My name is Russell DeLee, and I am the Employment Specialist for The Achievement Center-Easterseals. My main duty is to assist consumers with searching for and obtaining employment. I am married to Jamie Nicole (Social Worker for Children’s Rehabilitation Services) and I have two sons, Brody DeLee and Brennan DeLee. I have been employed with the Achievement Center since November 22nd, 2021, and previously worked as a Funeral Director/Embalmer in Alexander City, AL. I am also the Pastor of Union Grove Baptist Church in Opelika, Alabama. I love my job at The Achievement Center and am proud to be a part of a great team.
Randy BurkeDirector of Industrial Services - Work CenterRandy Burke, Director of Industrial Operations, has worked at the Achievement Center-Easter Seals since 2003 in many different capacities. He has worked as wood shop supervisor, production supervisor, and coordinator of industrial services. He now is responsible for the daily operations of the work center which employs individuals with disabilities to produce goods and services for partners in our community.
He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Troy University, and is married with two grown sons. Randy enjoys Lake Martin, golf, and most of all his grandchildren.
Joey DukeCoordinator of Industrial Services - Work CenterI am an Industrial Instructor in the Industrial Services Department at the Achievement Center-Easter Seals. My main responsibility is assuring production requirements and quality standards are met by employees scheduled in the FR area. I have been employed with ACES since March of 2017. I am a native of Marietta, GA, a proud graduate of the University of Georgia and have lived in the Opelika-Auburn area for 26 years. I am married to Deborah Morris Duke and have two sons, Joshua Schwiening and Julian Duke. I truly believe that God gave me the opportunity to be a member of the ACES Team. This position is more than a job, it’s a ministry. Each day when I leave here to go home, I leave with the satisfaction of feeling that I may have played a positive part in someone else’s life.
Jennifer ThomasIndustrial Instructor - Work CenterJennifer Thomas is an Industrial Instructor with ACES. She trains consumers and makes sure our customers are provided the products they deserve. With 32 years of experience, Jennifer, brings a world of product knowledge and a passion for teaching to work each day.
Jennifer is lifelong resident of Auburn, Alabama and graduate of Auburn High School.
Jennifer loves spending time with family, friends, reading and going to church.
Bettye SaxtonIndustrial Instructor - Work CenterMy name is Bettye Saxton. I am married, the mother of three sons and several wonderful grands. For the past three years I have been working at a great job with great people. Super excited to say at the age of sixty-nine I was made a member of the staff. Hope to have many years working with people that don’t discriminate and treat you with kindness and respect.
Shawn HardyIndustrial Instructor - Work CenterMy name is Shawn Hardy. I am an Industrial Instructor at the Achievement Center Easterseals. I’m originally from North Carolina, but I moved to Alabama after retiring from the United States Army. I have over six years of warehouse experience. As an Industrial Instructor, I manage and supervise work center employees who assemble and prepare fluid routing oil drain hoses and filter hoses to distribute out to our supporting customers within the community. I’m also responsible for the
health and welfare of my work center employees so that they each can maintain their families and livelihood.
Matt KnitterIndustrial Operations Manager - Work CenterI have been married for 28 years to my wonderful wife, Debra. God blessed us with two awesome kids, Dani(elle) and John. I am an Auburn Tigers/Dallas Cowboys/Los Angeles Dodgers fan. I enjoy mowing yards and just doing things around the house.
Evelyn MickleClinical Instructor I am a former military brat and 1969 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in nursing. I have worked in various settings such as hospitals, public health, head start, Auburn University Student Health Center, Job Corps, home health, and hospice. I am now a substitute nurse for Opelika City Schools and a Clinical Instructor for The Achievement Center.
Debra StoryIndustrial Instructor - Work CenterMy name is Debra Story. I am an Industrial Instructor at Achievement Center Easterseals. I manage and supervise workcenter employees that assemble and prepare oil drain hoses and filter hoses for our supporting customers within the community. I have one son, Bryant Story, and two wonderful grandchildren, Landon and Paisley. I love spending time with family, gardening, painting, reading and going to church. I am a Alabama fan. I am proud to be a part of the Achievement Center.
Christian GrimesSupported Employment SpecialistMy name is Christian Grimes and I am the Supported Employment Specialist at The Achievement Center. I am married to my husband David and we have two beautiful boys! We spend most of our free time at the ball field, whether it’s football or baseball, or watching movies on the couch! Getting the opportunity to help the individuals in our community with their employment needs has brought such joy to my life and I am looking forward to all of the positive things that we will continue to do at The Achievement Center.
Beautina BarnesEmployment Specialist Hello, my name is Beautina. I am single mother of 2 and fulltime student at Troy University where I am currently working on my Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. I currently have a side hobby of baking cakes and making treats for others. I am big on family time, so I spend most of my free time with my kids and extended immediate family. I am a Christian and I believe and prayer and understanding HIS ways makes life worthwhile.
Meredith AveraProgram ManagerMy name is Meredith and I am so excited to serve as the Program Manager in the Vocational Services Department at the Achievement Center. I have a B.S. in Collaborative Education from the University of Montevallo. I have worked in various educational settings with students with disabilities and I’m thrilled to continue my work advocating for inclusion with an amazing team. In my free time, I love practicing martial arts, hiking, reading, and spending time with my family and my hound mix, Iris.