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Meet Our Dedicated Board Members


Board President

Dr. Ammie Akin is a career educator with a background across all

areas of education.  Dr. Akin began her career as a special education teacher and was an administrator at both the school and district levels. She has taught both undergraduate and graduate level courses at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Samford University.

After leaving a career in public education, Dr. Akin worked as an executive director for a local nonprofit.  


Dr. Akin currently serves as the board president for Rising Hope Academy, and Unless U, a nonprofit for adults with developmental disabilities. Dr. Akin is an active member of Church of the Highlands where she and her husband lead a small group. Dr. Akin lives in Mountain Brook with her husband Will, a commercial real estate broker, and their three boys Jack (7), George (5), and Henry (1).

Board Vice President

John McNeil earned a B.S. in Commerce from Washington & Lee University.  After more than 30 years in property management and real estate development, John McNeil took his financial and corporate management expertise to Portraits, Inc. in 2010, taking on the role of President and COO. He now acts as a consultant for the company.


John has previously served as President of the Destin Rotary Club and was named Business Person of the Year by the Destin Chamber of Commerce. He was also a Board Chairman of the John Guest Evangelistic Team. He currently serves on the board of Desire Street Ministries.


In early 2013, John joined the staff at The Lovelady Center as COO and Board Chairman. “I am blessed to now be a full-time part of His work at The Lovelady Center, a place I plan to stay as long as His grace will allow.”


Executive Director and Treasurer

Shannon Weaver began her career in education as a middle school teacher in Birmingham City Schools. Ms. Weaver was a fellow in the Urban Teaching Enhancement Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She served as a facilitator for seminars and professional development workshops for urban teaching and content areas.


In addition, Ms. Weaver served as a mentor for first-year teachers,

led building leadership committees as well as continuous improvement teams. Ms. Weaver left her role as a public school teacher to pursue a call combining her passion for ministry and education to serve the most at-risk population, children impacted by trauma, restructuring a small church school into Rising Hope Academy. Ms. Weaver is a member of Church of the Highlands. She resides in Crestwood, and has served as a foster parent and
a mentor to former students.


Ann Maura Hinton, M Ed. in Special Education, is a graduate of the University of Tennessee. She has over thirty years of experience teaching a wide variety of children with learning differences. She served as the director of Empower Ministries, a program developed to build bridges from frustration to hope by equipping, strengthening and shepherding children with learning differences academically, relationally and emotionally. ( Ann Maura currently directs Bridge Educational Services at Lifeline Children's Services and co-directs the Camp Empower, a camp for vulnerable children.) She is certified in cognitive- developmental brain training and works to equip families with the tools needed to increase cognitive development.



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Department of Psychology, Samford University


OT/L, CHT, Founder, aKIDs organization


LICSW, RPT-S Department of Social Work, Samford University

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