Jack Kennedy – Founder & President, United Christian Ministries | Email Jack
Jack Kennedy grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and resides in Hattiesburg, MS with his wife Gayle. The thread throughout Jack’s life is his heart for the Lord and ministering to low-income families. After graduating from Louisiana State University with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering, Jack served in the US Army. After leaving the military, Jack joined the staff of the Navigators where he met his wife Gayle while ministering to college students at NC State University in Raleigh, NC. He also served at Cherry Point Marine Airbase with the Navigators. Jack then worked as a contractor building houses in NC and Mobile, AL. He came to Hattiesburg in 1982 to work for Mississippi Power as a service representative. After taking early retirement with Mississippi Power, Jack and Gayle were called to devote themselves full-time to ministering to low-income families in Hattiesburg. They founded United Christian Ministries in 2006 to share the Gospel of Christ and to show His compassion to the less fortunate in very real and physical ways. Jack and Gayle have six children and six grandchildren.
Callison Richardson – School Lead, United Christian Academy | Email Callison
Callison came to Hattiesburg in 2015 by way of Columbia, South Carolina after her husband, Jay Richardson, accepted a History Professorship at William Carey University. She has a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Clemson University and a Master in Public Administration from the University of Georgia. She has ten years of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, communications, public policy advocacy and event planning for organizations with missions ranging from high school dropout prevention to uniting community resources to help families move out of poverty. Before moving to Hattiesburg, Callison was the Director of Education Partnerships for United Way of the Midlands in Columbia, SC where she helped distribute $1.4 million in education grants to local programs and worked to grow a city-wide volunteer reading program serving 400+ elementary students. She has served as a literacy tutor for children in high poverty schools and a mentor for young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds. Callison and Jay are members of First Presbyterian Church of Hattiesburg.
Mary Ann Rust – Math Teacher, Administrative Assistant, United Christian Academy | Email Mary Ann
Mary Ann and her husband, Doug Rust, moved to Hattiesburg in 2007 where he now works at the University of Southern Mississippi as an Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Graduate Coordinator. Mary Ann has worked with children in various capacities since her graduation from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development, including a Teacher’s Certificate, and a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling with a specialization in Play Therapy for young children. Some of her jobs include counseling severely emotionally disturbed children in a residential setting in Fort Worth, Texas and starting and running a therapeutic nursery for drug-exposed children in West Haven, Connecticut. Mary Ann has also been a substitute teacher and teacher in Hattiesburg and home schooled two of her three children from K-8 and one child from K-12. Her daughter Elizabeth is married to Stephen Merritt and lives in the Dallas, Texas area, her son Samuel is at Mississippi State University studying Civil Engineering, and her son Michael is at Mississippi State University studying Mechanical Engineering. Since her college years, Mary Ann has had a strong desire to help children and families especially those who are underprivileged or have special needs; consequently, she is very happy to be a part of the United Christian Academy family. Mary Ann and her family are members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Hattiesburg.
Rachael Smith Floyd – English and Social Studies Teacher, United Christian Academy