Governing Board


Patrick Connell                            Chair      
Patrick Connell is a partner at the law firm of Boyd & Jenerette in Savannah, Georgia. His primary practice areas include real estate development, land use and zoning, and litigation. He also has significant experience representing clients in the tourism and hospitality industry and serves as General Counsel for the Tourism Leadership Council, the leading trade organization for the industry in the Savannah area.
Mr. Connell’s mother and father worked in public education for their entire careers, and the importance of quality educational opportunities was instilled in Mr. Connell from an early age. Mr. Connell sees SECA as a unique opportunity to provide top-level educational programming to students who otherwise would be unable to attain it, effectively changing real-world outcomes by preparing children to excel in future educational endeavors and ultimately life.  In addition to serving on the SECA Governing Board, Mr. Connell serves on the Savannah Technical College Foundation Board and the Savannah Downtown Business Association Board. Mr. Connell is also an active supporter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Richard Kevin Jackson, Jr        Vice Chair

Richard Kevin Jackson, Jr. is founder and CEO of Pintail Site Preparation, LLC, a state-of-the-art site prep, demolition and heavy construction company. A graduate of Valdosta State University, Mr. Jackson is a dedicated community leader, currently serving on the board of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia and various committees for Ducks Unlimited. Passionate about community involvement, Mr. Jackson is a mentor in the “Big Brother” program.

Jason Gallegos Treasurer

Jason Gallegos is a financial advisor with First Chatham.  He brings over 20 years of financial experience to the project, and is proud to serve as the treasurer.  Jason has years of prior board experience including an active board member with The Salvation Army and past treasurer for The Savannah Children’s Choir.

 Julie Diebolt

Julie Diebolt is a human resource expert with over 30 years of HR experience. She also brings firsthand knowledge of charter schools to the governing board having served on the founding and governing board of another charter school in Savannah. She was a regional outreach coordinator with the Georgia Charter Schools Association, where she formed a parent advocacy network.

Dr. Juliann McBrayer, Ed.D.             

An Assistant Professor and Program Director in Educational Leadership at Georgia Southern University. She holds a Doctorate and Educational Specialist from Georgia Southern University, a Master’s degree from Ohio University, and a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY College at Buffalo. She has served 20 years as an educational leadership assistant professor, educational program coordinator, instructional school leader, professional development and federal programs coordinator, classroom teacher and teacher leader. As a scholarly practitioner, her research interests include the development, implementation, and assessment of educational leadership and teacher preparation programs with a focus on purposeful, collaborative, and sustainable professional learning and programming to ensure effectiveness and accountability.

Jim Goodlett  

For business, Jim Goodlett is a proactive Executive with proven SMB and Enterprise business success as a President of a technology company with expertise in technology engineering and support services. With non-profit Boards and educational institutions, Jim’s experience extends to starting the most successful problem based learning (PBL) in art and design for an higher education online program, as well as being a funder and Board member of a PBL led after school program for 11th graders in Chatham County entitled Savannah Science Seminar.

Dr. Taylor Norman      

After a four-year career as a rural high school English teacher in Indiana, Dr. Taylor Norman attended Purdue University for her graduate degrees in English Education. She now serves as an assistant professor at Georgia Southern University in the College of Education’s Middle and Secondary Education Department. With a background in English language arts pedagogy, Dr. Norman is an expert in disciplinary literacy and inquiry-based/project-based language arts instruction. Her scholarly pursuits explore identities and practices of inservice teachers, particularly their stories about induction and mentorship professional development programs. This scholarship is collected and shared to illuminate the support young teachers need in order to survive and thrive within their classroom walls.

With the continuation of the challenges from the pandemic and now the crushing supply chain issues, along with the ever-increasing cost of goods, the SECA Governing Board has made the very difficult decision to delay the school's opening until the 2023-2024 school year. The board feels that to put the school and scholars in the best position for long-term success they have to make the best possible financial choices they can. Please stay tuned as we will continue to keep you informed about our progress in the coming months.