TALLADEGA, AL – In partnership with the City of Talladega, the Omega Academy of Science and Fine Arts has acquired the Talladega Golf Course and the Eastside Head Start building. These acquisitions will be used to provide education and sports initiatives to underserved communities.
The Omega Academy of Science and Fine Arts is a public-private partnership led by Dr. Mark E. Stevens, Vanessa Williams-Nash, Lamar D. Williams, and Dr. Shaquille O’Neal. Its mission is to provide solutions that enrich education and child development options to diverse communities by leveraging the organizers’ relationships with corporate partners using Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives.
Motivated and inspired by Dr. David Marion, Grand Basileus, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Dr. Stevens undertook the challenge to find a new and innovative pathway to educational equity and inclusion.
The Omega Academy of Science and Fine Arts will provide services to individuals and families whose quality of life has been negatively impacted by poverty, unemployment, homelessness,crime, and inadequate public education services. The Academy’s resources will provide an alternative education platform and child development options for the community.
Plans include utilizing portions of the old golf course to create a golf school or six-hole loop course and driving range for the the city on the current 38-arce property. The program will enable youth to build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges by seamlessly integrating the game of golf with a curriculum focused on diverse life skills.
Dr. Marion stated, ”Our historic organization is proud to partner with the Omega Academy of Science and Fine Arts in an effort to continue our legacy of building and developing tomorrow’s leaders. This partnership is an innovative solution to addressing the great challenges that many of our communities and cities are facing today.”
Talladega City Manager Seddrick Hill Sr., a Talladega College alumnus, noted that the city is undergoing a transformation that includes knocking down dilapidated, abandoned buildings; combating crime more aggressively; beautifying public spaces; and creating resolutions and ordinances that will help make the city a better place to live, work, and do business. He believes the academies will have a ”tremendous impact.”
Hill stated, ”The Omega Academy of Science and Fine Arts and the Omega Golf Academy will increase hope, opportunity and pride in Talladega.”
The Omega Academy of Science and Fine Arts plans to hire many of the same staff and previous student that attended the Eastside Academy in the past years.
During a recorded messages shared at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 17, 2022, Dr. Shaquille O’Neal praised Mr. Hill for helping to transform Talladega.
”When I do something, I do it big cause I’m still a kid at heart,” says O’Neal.
For more information, email Dr. Mark E. Stevens, Vanessa Williams-Nash or Lamar D. Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TALLADEGA, AL – Seddrick Hill Sr. , who previously served as vice president for institutional advancement at Talladega College, is the first African American ever selected to serve as Talladega, Alabama’s city manager. The fact that Mr. Hill was unanimously chosen by Talladega City’s Council for the city’s highest-ranking post, overseeing close to 300 employees, including Talladega fire fighters and police, suggests that a seismic shift may be underway in Dega.
“Some people who didn’t necessary envision or desire a city manager who looked like me seem to be excited about the changes I’m trying to bring to the city,” said Hill, who earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration with a minor in criminal justice from Talladega; a master’s in public administration with a concentration in criminal justice from Jacksonville State University; and a certificate in philanthropy and fundraising at the New York University (NYU) George H. Heyman, Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising.
“One of my chief priorities is to restore a sense of pride in our community,” said Hill. “Everybody didn’t celebrate my appointment, but most people want what’s best for our city. So as they see the changes I’m trying to make, even some of the naysayers have begun to ask me how they can help me make Talladega a better place to live and work.”
These changes including fighting crime by adding LED lighting to brighten dangerous areas; installing ShotSpotters to alert police when a gun is fired; establishing a partnership with Crime Stoppers; increasing police training; and getting more officers into the community and engaging with young people in order to build trust and better serve Talladegans.
Mr. Hill has also undertaken an epic battle against blight. While the city has an array of impressive resources, including Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega College, the Alabama Institute the for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB), the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, Historic Silk Stocking District, Hall of Heroes, CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park, Heritage Hall, Historic Ritz Theatre, TOP Trails, Davey Allison Park and the William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which houses the Amistad Murals, many areas are in need of a facelift. A number of neglected homes, some inherited by individuals who reside in other states, have detracted from Talladega’s beauty.
To remedy this program, Hill drives through the community extensively, actively seeking ways to better maintain and improve Talladega. He is working aggressively to strengthen the city’s code enforcement department while also working closely with the Talladega City Council to remove some abandoned homes at no charge to homeowners via development block grants. His strategies including meeting with negligent landlords and insisting that they maintain the properties they own or risk losing their business licenses; encouraging tenants to take pride in their communities via contests and special promotions; securing more workers and new equipment to better maintain outdoor spaces; and more proactively seeking grants to help beautify Talladega.
After surveying Talladega citizens, Hill discovered that over ninety percent felt there were not enough free or affordable activities for children and families. To remedy this program, he recently hosted Talladega’s first-ever Community and Employee Appreciation Day. Highlights included a picnic, pedal boats, golf, fishing, waterslides and swimming at Shocco Springs, a large conference center in Talladega. The free outdoor event was attended by hundreds.
While Hill is a native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he is thoroughly at home in Talladega. In addition to graduating from and working for Talladega College, he was most recently employed by AIDB, where he was the first African American to serve as the organization’s executive director of institutional advancement and community relations.
“Talladega is blessed to have beautiful outdoor spaces where residents and visitors can socialize, bond and have a great time. After seeing how much everyone enjoyed our first Community and Employee Appreciation Day, I am determined to make this a tradition. It’s good for families and good for the entire community,” Hill stated.
“Living in a safe, clean, attractive community where the grass is mowed, potholes are filled, streets are cleaned, and properties are well-maintain is critical to the mental and physical wellbeing of our residents,” said Hill, who believes that revitalizing the city will help attract more businesses and create greater opportunities for its citizens.
A number of community leaders have expressed excitement about Mr. Hill’s initiatives.
Talladega City School Superintendent Dr. Quentin Lee stated, “Mr. Hill has an eye for discovering the beauty in all things Talladega. In my many conversations with him, he is always thinking towards the future and finding ways to provide more for the citizens of Talladega. Mr. Hill has a heart for the students in Talladega. His commitment to helping children succeed is key in moving our city forward. Mr. Hill is always eager to help assist the students and schools in Talladega. He’s a welcomed change agent in our community. His plans will definitely benefit the next generations to come.”
Dr. John Mascia, president and CEO of Alabama Institute for the Dear and Blind, one of the largest institutions in Talladega, stated, “Mr. Hill is accessible and he is truly interested in getting to know people in this community. He is naturally carious to learn about what other people are thinking and his style of developing events that bring a cross section of the community together is the gift that Seddrick Hill brings to the city of Talladega, Alabama in his role as city manager.”
Talladega College Acting President Dr. Lisa Long stated, “I am so pleased that Mr. Hill has taken this opportunity to build community relationships and partnerships.”
Talladaga Mayor Timothy Ragland added, “Mr. Hill has a record of getting things done and he brings that experience to City Hall. I am excited to work with Mr. Hill on critical initiatives and policies to expand smart growth and development while maintaining the community’s identity.”
Hall of Heroes Museum Curator Jimmy Williams, stated, “My support for Seddrick Hill is based on his passion and vision for Talladega long before he became our City Manager. Even though both of his prior positions, Talladega College and AIDB, were very demanding, he still took time to support anyone trying to make our city a better place. If he tell you he is going to do something, it happens. If he teels you he can’t, he will tell you why. I have every confidence that with support he will make this city a place we will all be proud to call home.”
(JACKSON, MS) – Jackson State University (JSU) has announced the promotion of Jerome Tinker to the position of executive director for the JSU Development Foundation. In 2018, Tinker joined the JSUDF where he fulfilled the duties of executive assistant, account payable, donor relations, board administrator, and most recently, director.
“My diligent work ethic was not overlooked by Universiter administrators and the JSUDF Board of Directors, and for that, I am immensely grateful. I absolutely love what I do, and each day, I am motivated to go above and beyond my call of duty to ensure the BOD have what they need to exercise proper and effective governance,” said Tinker.
As Executive Director, he plans to collaborative with the executive officers of JSUDF to create an all-inclusive strategic proposal which will assist with strengthening the Board of Directors. This initiative will focus on the following sectors:
Policy and procedures
Tinker also wants to ensure all JSUDF University staff members receive adequate professional development to assist with enhancing internal operations.
“We have limited amount of team members who all have to perform variety of duties. I believe by empowering my staff and ensuring they have all the necessary resources to be successful, they will in turn, produce an astounding work product for the JSUDF.”
Tinker is a native of Sawyerville, Alabama. He is a cum laude graduate of Stillman College where he received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus in Operations Management. He also has a Master of Community Development in Housing with a certification in Community Planning from Prairie View A&M University.
He is a student member of the Mississippi Economic Development Council, the American Planning Association (MS Chapter), the Council of Advancement and Support of Education, wand was recently appointed as chairman of the Scholarship and Student Engagement Committee for the PVAMU Atlanta Metro Alumni Chapter.
Tinker is a proud member of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grant Lodge of Alabama and is a 2006 initiate of the Gamma Phi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.
About the JSU Development Foundation The Jackson State University Foundation was established as a private, nonprofit organization in 1977 specifically to increase private gift support for Jackson State University. Since its inception, the JSUDF has been committed to establishing the best possible relationship with its benefactors based on trust by operating with the highest ethical standards and providing excellent performance. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu/jsudf.