Support a LeaderDonate to SportsChallenge
Ballard joined Sports Illustrated in September 2000 and has since written 14 cover stories, as well as features on a wide array of subjects, from motocross star Ricky Carmichael to America's best sports bars to bass fisherman Mike Iaconelli. He has been nominated by SI for Need The Word a National Magazine Award and his work has twice been cited in the Best American Sports Writing anthology (2005 and 2007) including The Game of the Year, a 2007 SI story which examined a Friday night high school game in Lepanto, Ark., with record-setting individual performances, exhausting swings of emotion and an unexpected dose of national fame. Since December 2007 Ballard has been part of a rotation of writers who have authored the Point After column. His most recent book, The Art of a Beautiful Game, has received rave reviews. A native Californian, Ballard graduated from Pomona College, where he played basketball and was on the track and field team. He lives in Berkeley with his wife Alexandra and two daughters, Callie and Eliza.
Josh Byrnes joined the Padres in December 2010 as senior vice president, baseball operations, bringing with him 17 seasons of experience in Major League Baseball. Byrnes previously served five seasons as the executive vice president and general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. His tenure with the D-backs was highlighted by winning the National League West in 2007 with a 90-72 (.556) record and making it to the National League Championship Series.
Originally from Washington, D.C., Byrnes attended Haverford College in Pennsylvania, where he established school career records in home runs and RBI. He and his wife, Charity, currently reside in Phoenix, Ariz. with their daughters, Avery and Darby.
Amie graduated from Andover in '91 and Haverford College in '95. At Haverford she was a two-sport captain and Regional All-American lacrosse player and majored in Political Science. She then spent a year living in Siberia and teaching English before going to Andover to teach Russian (and coach 3 sports). She also taught middle school Spanish and Russian at the Friends School of Baltimore before coming to Deerfield in 1999. She has worked in the Deerfield Admission Office and the Deans Office and now serves as a language teacher and the Assistant Dean of Students.
Jeaney Garcia is the first female Athletic Director in the history of the school, overseeing 26 different sports, 130 teams, and over 350 coaches. Sports Illustrated has ranked Punahou’s athletics program among the top three in the nation for the past five years, being number one in the nation for two consecutive years, 2008 and 2009. Prior to Punahou, Jeaney has been a coach, teacher, official, and administrator at the collegiate, high school, middle and elementary school, and recreational level for the past 25 years. Jeaney was also the Los Angeles Coordinator for Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) for five years and continues to lead workshops around the world. Jeaney is a former two sport Division I athlete at Kansas State University.
Steven Gross, M.S.W., is the Founder and Executive Director of Project Joy. Gross is regularly called upon to provide consulting, workshops, and trainings in the field of trauma and play. Recent presentations include Harvard University Medical School, National Association for the Education of Young Children, The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Save the Children, UNICEF and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Says Gross, “My work in the world is providing adults with the insights and skills they need to joyfully play with children in a way that helps them overcome adversity, create new realities, and reach
their full human potential.”
Martin Jacobson is the winningest high school soccer coach in New York City history. His teams have won the coveted Public School Athletic League Championship, the largest and oldest high school league in the country, a record 13 times. Teams under his guidance over the last 16 years at MLK have won over 95% of all games played and are consistently one of the top 20 ranked (NSCAA and ESPN Polls) high school teams in the United States. Coach Jacobson has been the center of numerous documentaries including pieces done by The New York Times, ESPN and The Fox Soccer Channel.
Bridget took over as WINGS’ CEO in January 2011. Bridget has an undergraduate degree in Parks and Recreation from North Carolina State University where she captained her nationally ranked soccer team. Bridget later earned a Master's degree in Education, with a concentration in school-age development from Concordia University in St. Paul, MN. At NC State, she captained her nationally ranked soccer team. She is member of the Charleston Volunteer for Literacy Board and is also an adjunct professor at Trident Technical College. in 2008 she was recognized as a promising leader on the Forty under 40 list in the Charleston Regional Business Journal. Bridget is married and has a 7 year old daughter and a baby boy.
Pete has enriched Fortune 100 corporations, high-growth startups, major nonprofits, and assorted student groups. His work have earned him recognition as one of 10 Outstanding Young People of Illinois. He is the author of The Student Leader's Field Guide and Team Up: Becoming Accountable to your Dreams.
Pete is also a certified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) practitioner who holds degrees in organizational administration and finance, summa cum laude, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He started his career at acclaimed consulting firms The Bridgespan Group and Bain & Company, a firm CNN has called “the elite of the already elite field of management consultants.”
Mr. Phillips was an all-conference, two sport athlete (football and basketball) at Harvard University. After graduating from Harvard in 1989, Neil played basketball professionally in Australia and for the Jamaican National Team. He then took on leadership positions with the Positive Coaching Alliance, One on One Basketball and then as Assistant Headmaster at Landon School (MD). Today, Neil is committed to empowering and inspiring young black boys by exposing them to role models who can help them see and realize their potential.
Tad graduated from Williams College in 1979 and joined the faculty at St. Andrew's School as an English teacher, dorm parent and coach.
At St. Andrew's, Tad served as dean of students and assistant headmaster for student life from 1985 to 1991 and academic dean and assistant headmaster for academic affairs from 1991 to 1997. Tad was appointed St. Andrew's School's fourth headmaster in July 1997.
Tad and his wife, Elizabeth, have four children — Matt, Hadley, Zachary and Anne. Z and Matt are SportsChallenge alum.
Tina Syer has been with PCA since 2000. She grew up playing soccer, softball, basketball, and field hockey in Davis, California and went on to play Division I field hockey at Stanford University, where she graduated with honors and was named an Academic All-American.
Tina has presented more than 300 PCA training sessions and has produced products featuring PCA National Advisory Board members such as Phil Jackson, Steve Young, Julie Foudy and Dusty Baker. Tina's coaching experience includes seasons at the high school, college and Olympic Development levels.
SportsChallenge Leadership Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit | 1419 Columbia Road NW Washington, DC 20009 | 202.321.3917