Vision - The Magic City Acceptance Academy (MCAA) will motivate and prepare students in grades sixth through twelve by providing an exceptional, innovative, and quality-driven education. MCAA’s purpose is to engage students who have dropped out, are not thriving in traditional schools, or are enrolled in home-school programs. Mentors and teachers will be incorporated throughout the diverse MCAA curriculum to empower students in directing their own education. MCAA will provide a brave learning environment and LGBTQ affirming culture for all.

MCAA Staff.png


Dr. Mike Wilson

Founding Principal

Michael Wilson was with the Birmingham City Schools from 1992 until his retirement in November of 2019. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  Dr. Wilson completed his Masters and Ed.S. in special education from The University of Alabama, Birmingham, as well as an Ed.S. in Educational Administration from the University of Montevallo. In 2003 he was awarded a Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership from the University of Alabama. 


Dr Wilson has served as a special education teacher, assistant principal and has had the opportunity to lead two elementary schools within the Birmingham City School System. First as principal at Whatley Elementary and now principal at Glen Iris Elementary which has been under his leadership for 14 years.  During his first year as principal at Whatley Elementary, his school was one of 6 schools across the state to move from Alert III status to Academic Clear. Whatley was converted successfully from a K-5 to a K-8 school in 2003.  He also oversaw the first Kaboom playground construction in the district at Whatley Elementary and the last at Glen Iris.  Dr. Wilson left Whatley in 2006 with 100% of their accountability goals reached.

Dr. Wilson worked tirelessly to ensure that the curriculum implemented is one that is rigorous and relevant in order to meet the diverse needs of the over 700 students at Glen Iris. He empowered teachers to utilize an integrated approach to learning thereby improving the achievement of all students.  This is accomplished by having the literacy standards as the driving force across all curriculum areas. Another avenue he has instituted in order to ensure continuous learning for teachers and students is a partnership with the UAB Curriculum and Instruction Department. This partnership provides strategic professional development for teachers during and after school. Under his supervision Glen Iris was awarded two prestigious academic achievement awards: Bronze winner of National Center for Urban Transformation and CLAS Banner School.


As principal of Glen Iris Elementary school Dr. Wilson has experienced many accomplishments. He partnered with B.R.E.A.D (Birmingham Regional Empowerment and Development Center) and was awarded a 21st Century grant.  Dr. Wilson also served as Alabama’s Ambassador for the After-school Alliance whose mission is to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality after-school programs.


Dr. Wilson’s dream of an outdoor classroom came into fruition, which includes several plant habitats, vegetable washing station, pond with a variety of living creatures, and a season farmer’s market which supports our local community. The outdoor classroom was created through a partnership with Jones Valley Teaching Farm through which the Good School Food Program was created.  This partnership has since been replicated at 6 schools within our district. 


Dr. Wilson has served on several advisory committees such as Partners in Education, Family Involvement, Hands on Birmingham, and Community Education South.


Associations and Honors


State President of Alabama Association of Elementary School Principals

Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools, Board of Directors

Chairperson for Alabama Council for Leadership Development

Alabama Education Association, Board of Directors

Birmingham Council of PTA, Principal of the Year

Birmingham Rotary, Principal of the Year

2019 Alabama National Distinguished Principal

Alabama Ambassador for After-school Alliance

Charity Jackson

Chief Academic Officer

Charity was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Charity has over 10 years of experience in public education. 

She began her career as an educator in Bridgeport, Connecticut where she was a Spanish teacher, founder of PRIDE (Peers Rallying for the Inclusion of Diversity and Equity), and the step team coach. She transitioned back to her hometown where she continued her work as an educator at the historic Arthur Harold Parker High School. She continued there as a Spanish teacher as well. She also served as the advisor to the Robotics team, Coding Club, Spanish Honor Society, and the Multicultural and Diversity Club.


During her tenure at A.H. Parker High School, she also served on Teach for America Alabama’s (TFA) Alumni board and is a founding board member and prior board chair for TFA-Bamaly (TFAB) Prism board. She went on to join TFA Alabama's staff as a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development. She coached and supported 1st and 2nd year corps members throughout the Black Belt and the Greater Birmingham area.

Charity graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in Chemistry and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. She also graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Master’s degree in Education for English as a Second Language with a Dual Class A Certification in ESL and Spanish with the highest honors.

Trevor Hauenstein

Director of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S.T.E.M.)

I am Trevor Hauenstein and I grew up right here in Birmingham attending Shades Valley for high school and I had the opportunity to participate in their Engineering Academy. Afterwards, I went to Auburn University, where I received a B.S. of Mechanical Engineering and the Neil Austin Best Student award for Mechanics of Materials. While at Auburn I was so fortunate to have technical electives including Advanced Manufacturing Concepts, Vehicle Dynamics, and Kinematics and Dynamics of Robots. Furthermore, I participated in Co-operative Education which required me to alternate between work and school each semester and mine was at Fitz-Thors Engineering that primarily worked to support the automotive industry but also other local manufacturers and organizations around the world.


Once I had graduated, I began to work in automotive manufacturing directly at Magna International, where our location primarily supplied Mercedes Benz but also other automotive manufacturers around the world. I started as a Process Engineer and within the first six months I was promoted to Production Supervisor. After that, due to my unique expertise, we created a new position of the World Class Manufacturing Coordinator where I focused on implementing LEAN manufacturing concepts and best practices from around the world to improve quality and efficiency simultaneously while also being compliant in all of our many audits. My last position at the company was Program Manager, which focuses on managing the whole company’s infrastructure around the manufacture of certain products. It is all this professional experience that I plan to share with our students to develop our graduates into the most marketable candidates for both careers and colleges.


At MCAA, we intend to have the most engaging and innovative programs including Robotics, 3D Printing, Computer Aided Drafting (CAD), Software Coding, Manufacturing Simulation, Dual Enrollment, and much more. We recognize that if our students are to succeed and be career and college ready, they need to be prepared with the skills that are most desired by employers and we need to teach those skills using the same equipment used out in industry. That is why we will be closely working with our industry partners to get that equipment and to tailor our instruction to their needs as well as develop a network with our graduates.

Jim Gibbs

Operations Director

Coordinator of Fine Arts

Marixa Coward


Karen Musgrove, PhD.

Hugh Comer

Administrative Assistant

FACULTY: (email access will be available soon)

Steph Munkachy is passionate about science, equity and access to opportunity, and believes in the power of education to transform lives. An alum of Teach For America and Johns Hopkins Graduate School in Education, they’ve been teaching secondary science for five years now. As a non-binary person, Munkachy is excited to provide access to student-centered, holistic, world-class science instruction.

Theodore Freeman, a University of Alabama grad, brings 36 years of electrical engineering and industry experience to the classroom, plus over 20 years’ worth of part-time college-level and two years’ full-time high school teaching. Making math relevant and accessible to students is second nature to Freeman.

Chastity JaNae Cauthen is a graduate of Ramsay High School and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She’s been teaching for four years and is committed to creating an environment where the creativity and innovation of all students can flourish through STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) education.

Rachel Benoit, 6-12 Visual Arts and Graphic Design. Rachel Benoit worked in PR and advertising before deciding to become an art teacher. Her mission is to advocate for the arts and provide a creative outlet to every student, no matter their background. Her own art focuses on diversity and environmental issues. She’ll be teaching Visual Arts and Graphic Design.

Lisa Balazs brings math concepts down to earth for students through hands-on learning while encouraging them to reach for the stars. She’s got a B.S. in Geology from Duke University, an M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts in Boston *and* has done graduate work in planetary science at Wash U in St. Louis. Balazs worked for NASA’s education department at the Goddard Space Flight Center for 2 years and recently became one of 37 teachers from across the US to be certified by the American Meteorological Society

Spiro Gerontakis, 6-12 Theater and Chorus. Spiro Gerontakis has a deep passion for theater and the arts. He’s excited to collaborate with students to create and share stories together. He’s spent the past five years in Boston teaching everything from 9th grade math to performing arts. At MCAA, he’ll be teaching Theatre and Chorus. 

Megan Haller, 6-12 Instrumental Music and Band. Megan Haller spent four years in the Shoals Symphony Orchestra. For the 2019-20 season, she served as the Student President of the symphony. Currently, she teaches private violin lessons and is a violist for the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra. In her free time, Megan enjoys hiking and swimming with her dog. She’ll be the Instrumental Music teacher.