St. Petersburg native Gina Tanase Burkett has been named the new head of school at Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg.
She replaces Leanne Howard, who stepped down late last year, saying she wanted to focus on the task of being a new mother. Howard had held the position for three years.
Burkett was educated in Pinellas public schools, including Shore Acres Elementary, Riviera Middle and St. Petersburg High.
She graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a Master's in Business Administration. She attended the school on a full tennis scholarship.
Burkett was chosen after a nationwide search. Academy Prep, in its 17th year, is a rigorous private middle school for low-income children. Its students attend school 11 hours a day, six days a week for 11 months of the year. The school is at 2301 22nd Ave. S.
Calling the school "one of the true education pillars of our community," Joe Bourdow, chairman of the school's board of trustees, said Burkett "is committed to transform the lives of children through a meaningful and demanding education, and we know she will build upon the great work accomplished by our outgoing head, Leanne Howard."