TRIO Upward Bound Programs

Meet the Staff

Paul G. Barnes, EdS

Director, TRIO Upward Bound Programs

Paul G. Barnes

Paul G. Barnes

Mr. Barnes joined the University of Montevallo TRIO Upward Bound Programs as Program Coordinator in 1999. Over the years, his job duties changed as the needs of the program changed and his most recent title was Educational Technology Coordinator. In 2021, he was promoted to Director. Mr. Barnes is responsible for creating and overseeing programs and services designed to serve and support first-generation, low-income high school students. He is also responsible for all record-keeping, monitoring program compliance with federal regulations, government reporting, and grant writing.

Prior to joining the UM TRIO Upward Bound Programs staff, Mr. Barnes was a community mental health counselor, a computer technician, a webmaster, and a network manager.

Reggie Holifield, MEd

Math and Science Coordinator

Photo of Reggie Holifield

Reggie Holifield

Mr. Reggie is an alumnus of the University of Montevallo TRIO Upward Bound, Student Support Services, and Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement programs. He joined The University of Montevallo TRIO Upward Bound Programs in the Fall of 2014 as a volunteer tutor, and soon transitioned into the roll of Master Tutor. In the Summer of 2021, Mr. Reggie was promoted to the position of Math and Science Coordinator. His areas of responsibilities include: collaborating with community partners to enhance program resources including research and applied science opportunities; supervising the UBMS STEM Mentoring program; assisting participants in the identification and selection of STEM majors and career fields of interest; assisting in the identification, recruitment, and selection of project participants; coordinating STEM-related career site visits; implementing STEM workshops; and preparing students for successful entry into post-secondary programs.

Prior to joining the UM TRIO Upward Bound Programs staff, Mr. Reggie served as a secondary school educator in the field of science. He has taught courses including ACT Prep, Advanced Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, Life Science, Physical Science, and Science: Reading, Writing, and Publishing.

Rebbie Taylor-Jones B.S.

Student Development Coordinator

Rebbie Taylor-Jones

Rebbie Taylor-Jones

Mrs. Rebbie graduated from the University of Montevallo with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She began working as the Student Development Coordinator for the TRIO Upward Bound Programs in the spring of 2022. Mrs. Rebbie is responsible for providing individual and group support sessions for personal and social needs. Mrs. Rebbie is in charge of the Upward Bound Ambassadors program and coordinates community service activities. She organizes cultural enrichment and development activities.

Mrs. Rebbie previously worked for Shelby Emergency Assistance as the Thrive Together Coach, where she worked with single moms and their families. She helped the mothers return to school, childcare services, transportation, and other essentials. She genuinely enjoys helping others.

Audrey Crippen, MSW

Education Technology Coordinator

Audrey Crippen

Audrey Crippen

Audrey Crippen is a licensed social worker and an alum of the University of Montevallo, where she earned degrees in psychology and social work. She holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Alabama. She is a TRIO alum (McNair Scholars, 2007.) Originally from Elmore County, Alabama, Audrey has dedicated her career to policy advocacy and serving her community.


Savannah Finney B.S.

Academic Coordinator

Savannah Finney

Savannah Finney

Ms. Savannah is an alumnus of the University of Montevallo TRIO Upward Bound program. Her Upward Bound involvement fostered a love for education after she witnessed educators invest so much of their own time and interest into the students. While working to obtain her education degree, Ms. Savannah studied abroad in Oxford, England to study literature relating to the Inklings and historic locations involving the work of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. As Academic Coordinator, she is responsible for providing supplemental instruction to students and monitoring grades and assessment data of participants. Ms. Savannah is also responsible for training tutors, providing academic guidance, and assisting students with test registrations and scholarships.

Prior to joining the TRIO Upward Bound staff, Ms. Finney worked for both Montgomery Public Schools and Chilton County Schools for three and a half years as an English educator. During that time, she served as a Yearbook advisor and head of an English department. Additionally, she has taught courses including English Language Arts, Pre-AP English, Test Taking Skills, Creative Writing, Art, and Yearbook Publication.

Anitka Sims, BBA

Administrative Assistant

Anitka Sims

Anitka Sims

Mrs. Anitka Stewart Sims joined the TRIO Upward Bound staff in January 2020 as Administrative Assistant. In this position, Anitka works with staff, students, and external offices providing various administrative support functions.

Previously, she worked as SEA Thrift Store manager for Shelby Emergency Assistance. Anitka graduated from the University of Montevallo with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management.