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Water Valley nonprofit Base Camp fills leadership roles

C Spire is expanding its partnership with the Base Camp Coding Academy in Water Valley.

The organization is accelerating efforts to train Mississippi’s next generation of software developers by hiring a technical director.

Carla Lewis, senior vice president of IT for the Mississippi-based diversified telecommunications and technology services company, has been named to the Base Camp board of directors and Sean Anthony, a Teach for America manager in Mississippi, has been hired as technical director for the Water Valley nonprofit.

Base Camp provides high school graduates with a year-long vocational training program in computer programming to support the technology needs of local and regional employers.  The first classes begin June 1. Once students leave the program, they can pursue full-time jobs with Mississippi technology companies.

“Lewis brings deep IT expertise to the board,” said Glen Evans, president of Oxford-based FNC Inc. and Base Camp co-founder.  “In her 15 years with C Spire, she has led all of the major software development and IT initiatives for this Mississippi-based technology company. We’re excited to have such an accomplished professional and leader in the technology field helping us guide the growth and future of Base Camp.”

Carla Lewis

Carla Lewis

Sean Anthony

Sean Anthony

C Spire, through its nonprofit charitable Foundation, is a founding sponsor of the Base Camp Coding Academy. Many Mississippi companies face a constant shortage of skilled computer programmers in the workforce. Last year, there were nearly 1,100 job openings, but only 145 computer science graduates in the state, Lewis said.

“Hiring a technical director to lead the curriculum development and technical teaching has been a top priority for the board and we are thrilled to have found an immense talent in Sean Anthony right here in Water Valley,” said Kagan Coughlin, co-founder and executive director of Base Camp.   

Anthony has a wide range of experience, including teaching STEM classes in regional high schools and helping manage the operations of Teach for America in Mississippi.

“Anthony has dedicated his career to improving education in Mississippi and we’re excited about the leadership and guidance he will bring in the classroom,” Coughlin said.

Base Camp focuses on minority and female high school graduates who do not have an alternate pathway to higher education, a group that has historically been underrepresented in the computer sciences field.

Once they qualify and join the program, students receive 12 months of fast-paced, focused and intensive training.