December Newsletter

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A Special Welcome to Our New Project Director

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Meet Dr. Marsha Savage

The University of Montevallo welcomes Dr. Marsha Hall Savage as the new Project Director of GEAR UP Jefferson County. Dr. Savage is a committed educator who is passionate about the success of students and teachers from urban school districts.

Dr. Savage is a product of both Fairfield and Birmingham City School Systems. She began her teaching career in Birmingham City Schools in 1991 and worked in various capacities during her 27 year tenure—seventh grade language arts teacher, Literacy Support Teacher K-12, R.E.A.D.S. Support Teacher, Reading/Language Arts Support 6-8, Alabama Reading Initiative Plan for Adolescent Literacy LEA Secondary Literacy Coach, Reading Intervention Specialist, high school English teacher, and Area Site Facilitator for GEAR UP Birmingham. Additionally, she has worked as a consulting Mentor Teacher for the Center of Urban Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dr. Savage holds a Bachelor of Science degree in language arts education from Miles College, a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, an Educational Specialist degree and Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership from Samford University.

Dr. Savage is active in her church and many organizations including the Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She is married and has four children.


We appreciate the feedback that we have gotten on the District MOA. We will be reviewing change recommendations and sending the final copy after the holidays.

Next Steps for the Schools...

  • Begin thinking about the candidates in each school for the School Coordinator Position. Remember that these applicants will need to be people in the GU-JC schools that will receive a stipend and serve as the single point of contact for the schools and school teams.
  • Begin forming your school teams. Remember that you should have at least 4 members that include people from the following categories:
    • Administrators
    • Teachers
    • Counselors
    • Parents
    • Community Volunteers

School Coordinator Job Description

To provide engaging and challenging activities for students to meet the Goals, Objectives, and Absolute Priorities of the GEAR UP Jefferson County grant.

Click here to view the full job description.

Updates on Job Searches

The position of GEAR UP Project Director has been filled and we are interviewing for the Financial Manager, Administrative Assistant, and Area Coordinators. After these are hired, we will proceed with the kickoffs for the school teams and the individual schools.

About Us

Principle Investigator: Dr. Jennifer Alexiou-Ray

Co-Principle Investigators: Dr. Cassie Raulston, Dr. Amy Samuels, Dr. Greg Samuels, & Dr. Alvin Taylor

Project Director: Dr. Marsha Savage