Dr. James M Burkett, FTC
Dr. James Michael Burkett has an extensive background in higher education and a life-long commitment to public service. He is a Marine Corps Veteran and former Police Lieutenant. He has more than a decade of experience in higher education as an instructor, Program Director, Dean of Academics, and Campus President before being named President of Florida Technical College and the DAVE School in December of 2016. During his tenure Florida Technical College has added blended learning options, Spanish only programs, expanded trades and hospitality program offerings, and achieved MSCHE accreditation as an academic unit of NUC University, among other innovations in academic offerings.
Dr. Burkett himself was a non-traditional student and began college after his service in the Marine Corps and while working full time and raising his son as a single parent. He graduated with high honors with an Associate’s degree in General Studies from Daytona Beach Community College, and then graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida. Dr. Burkett continued his education by earning a Master’s of Business Administration from the New England College of Business and Finance, a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Central Florida and a Masters in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida. He completed his academic journey by earning a PhD from Capella University.
Gina Rhodes is a veteran in both creating and managing productions to build relationships for organizations and individuals. Her Industry career began over 20 years ago with the creation of Wahi Media, Inc., a SIM based interactive and development platform used with Fortune 500 executives for training and educational purposes. She also launched a crowd sourced app used for distributing short films called Red Movie House, which led to her appointment at the FSU Film School, Dean’s office. She served as a Producer and Managing Director for FRAME | A Production Company, and has won several awards including a National Webby, A Regional Emmy, and has been a key advising member for numerous student productions receiving Student Emmys at the Academy Awards. Gina holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Communication and Leadership. She is a co-author of “The Conflict Lens,” and “A Closer Look at Conflict” and has worked with high-performing teams all over the globe. Gina is currently the Executive Director of the DAVE school and is dedicated to building its legacy of excellence in the VFX and Gaming arenas.
Gina was born in Winter Park, FL but moved shortly after and has since lived all over the world, including: Tallahassee, FL, Colorado, New York, California, London and Oxford, England. She just recently returned to the Orlando area when she became Executive Director of The DAVE School. She carries her trusty GPS with her wherever she goes.
With over 25 years of experience in motion picture, visual effects & emerging media production technologies, Jon Gress has been on the cutting edge of digital production technologies since their beginnings. He has trained thousands of filmmakers and visual effects artists from all over the world, who have gone on from his training to secure jobs in top visual effects companies and have worked on blockbuster movies and award winning television series including: 24, Ant Man, Assassin’s Creed, Captain America, Conan The Barbarian, CSI, Die Hard, Fringe, Game of Thrones GI Joe, Godzilla, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Harry Potter and many many more.
Jon, is a published Pearson Higher Education author (“Digital Visual Effects & Compositing”, a complete college curriculum textbook), has been a regular writer/columnist for motion picture industry publications and has produced, directed and supervised hundreds of movie, television, VFX and cutting edge interactive & immersive media productions (for institutions ranging from small independent to Fortune 100) since 1998.
Jon brings to The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School decades of expertise, research and development in cutting edge visualization technologies such as 3D Stereoscopic Imaging, 3D Photogrammetry, 360 & 180 VR photo/video, 3D motion capture, 3D motion control and the integration of these into a the real-time visualization and VR development environment for Motion Pictures, 3D Visual Effects, Game and Immersive Technologies.
Director of Career Services
Michael is a Visual Effects Society Member and VFX community member since 2008. He has worked as a VFX compositor, a production coordinator, an editor, a recruiter, and his primary role at DAVE School is as our Director of Career Services.
Michael was born in Santa Maria, California but he has been living in Orlando since 1976. He is an avid motorcycle enthusiast and can often be found cruising around Central Florida or the Great Smoky Mountains on his Harley Davidson!
Student Accounts Coordinator
Jennifer joined the DAVE team in August 2020 after moving to Florida from New Jersey. Jennifer has extensive experience in education and has managed districts throughout the state of New Jersey and Pennsylvania for the past 15 years. She has a passion for education and loves helping our students become a part of DAVE’s program.
In her free time, you can find Jennifer heading to the coast with her two children and their dog, to enjoy the beach and sunshine!
Student Services Coordinator
Joan joined the DAVE School in August 2019 as a student services coordinator. Working closely with the students from the first day of school, until they graduate, the student services office provides resources and support to promote student’s educational success at the DAVE School. Prior to the DAVE School, as an international student advisor, Joan has advised, mentored and guided international students who pursue higher education in the United States, away from their home countries. She is passionate about working with students to help them reach their educational goals.
Marketing Producer & Social Media Specialist
Lauren is an Orlando native who started her career in film and television production with positions held at The Golf Channel and HSN before making the shift to Marketing 3 years ago.
Lauren joined The DAVE School in September and specializes in Marketing and Social Media. Lauren loves creating content and is passionate about all things social media.
In her free time, Lauren spends her time traveling, hanging out with her dogs, working on her Florida lifestyle blog or is at Disney.
Amy has worked in “guest-facing” industries for most of her life, honing her skills at companies such as Disney, Indiana University, and AAA.
She was born and raised in Connecticut and relocated to Indiana, where she attended college. She was also in the Walt Disney World College Program, which had a huge impact on her decision to move to Florida.
Amy is a huge fan of all things Disney, Marvel, and Harry Potter, and can often be found with her nose in a book during her time off.
Anthony was born and raised in Yorktown, New York and moved to Florida to attend college at Webber International University. Anthony loves bowling and was a 2-time collegiate National Champion. He graduated with a background in the hospitality and tourism industry and joined the DAVE School Admissions Team in May 2020. Anthony loves working with students to help pursue their dreams.
In college, Anthony participated in Phi Beta Lambda Business Fraternity. Outside of his position at The DAVE School, Anthony enjoys golf, traveling, and watching sports, and cooking.
Veronica is a native Long Islander and Adelphi University attendee, graduating with a BA in Film and Television Production and an MBA in Marketing.
She moved to Orlando in the summer of 2004 and began working for The Walt Disney Company in 2006.
She wrote and produced the award-winning independent film Mafiosa, which has been screened at film festivals across the globe and won several awards for Best Action Film.
In her free time, Veronica enjoys watching horror movies and musicals with her three dogs and playing Pokémon Go.
Marc grew up in Orlando. In 2001, he moved to Miami where he attended Florida International University with International Relations as a major. In 2015, fulfilling a childhood dream, Marc opened a small pizzeria in Coral Gables. It was successful but he decided to sell to finish his degree at FIU.
Marc moved back to his hometown in 2020 to be closer to family and friends. After discovering DAVE school, he fell in love with its environment and close-knit community. He joined the Admissions Team in April, 2021. In his time off, Marc enjoys playing games and exploring Central Florida.