Robert Mayes, Jr. – Chairman

Columbia Southern University’s President and Co-Founder Robert Mayes began his career in the distance education industry alongside his father, Dr. Robert Mayes, with the establishment of CSU in 1993. Since then, CSU has evolved to encompass students from all 50 states and around the world. It has an active student body of approximately 30,000 students supported by more than 1,000 faculty and staff.

During his tenure, Mayes has had direct experience in many areas of University operations including accounting, finance, information technology, online course development, outcomes assessment, development of policies and procedures, accreditation and more. In 2009, Mayes led the efforts to acquire Waldorf College (now known as Waldorf University) in Forest City, Iowa.

Mayes holds an Associate in Applied Science from Faulkner State Community College, a Bachelor of Science from Columbia Southern University and a Master of Business Administration from Capella University. He previously served on the board of directors of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). During his eight-year tenure, his committee work included the Finance, Executive, and Nominating Committees.  Mayes finished his last term as vice chairman. Mayes is a board member of the Alabama Association of Private Colleges and Schools, and serves as chairman of the board of directors for South Baldwin Christian Academy. Mayes also holds the position of CEO of Columbia Southern Education Group, the parent company of Columbia Southern University and Waldorf University. In 2017, Mayes was awarded the DEAC’s Distinguished Service Award.



Mrs. Minnie Mayes – Trustee

Mrs. Mayes is a co-founder of Columbia Southern and serves in an executive advisory capacity at CSU. Mrs. Mayes has also been with CSU since its founding and is on the Board of Directors and follows strict ethical standards and requires that all staff members do likewise. Before CSU, Minnie co-founded a safety consulting company that provided training and services to small businesses nationwide. Mrs. Mayes has much knowledge about CSU through her long tenure as a board member and numerous work and advisory experiences in all aspects of distance study during the past 15 years.


Chantell Cooley

Chantell Cooley is senior vice president, co-founder and part owner of Columbia Southern University. She leads many important initiatives at CSU including leadership training for management, customer service training, and various self-improvement training programs for staff and faculty. She is particularly knowledgeable about educational administration and the admission/student services aspects of distance learning. She serves on the university’s Board of Trustees as well as that of Waldorf College, the sister institution to CSU, where she is also the executive vice president. Mrs. Cooley oversees business development at Columbia Southern Education Group, the parent company of CSU and Waldorf College.


Buford Lipscomb

Buford Lipscomb, known by most as “Pastor Buford” is a nationally recognized pastor and leader, but prefers to view himself more simply as a spiritual father. He has served in ministry since 1972. He currently serves as Senior Pastor or Liberty Church, overseeing their 6 campuses in Northwest Florida and South Alabama.

He also currently oversees apostolic ministries, Liberty Network and Church Foundational Network. Buford has been committed to advancing God’s Kingdom around the world his entire ministry.

He and Ann travel internationally each year, and now will be travelling even more and plan to spend one month of the year ministering, leading teams and visiting the many international ministries and missionaries related to Liberty and CFN. Buford and Ann have 5 children and soon to be 10 grandchildren.


Dr. Toni Stanton

Dr. Toni Stanton has served as an educator over 25 years. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Middle School and Secondary Education from the University of South Alabama in 1987 and immediately accepted her first assignment as a classroom teacher. Since that time, she has served as classroom teacher, coach, and assistant principal in Alabama’s public school system and as school administrator in a classical, Christian school. She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Education at Liberty University, a position she has held since 2009.

In addition to her bachelor’s degree, she holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of South Alabama and a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Dr. Stanton states that some of the most exciting and memorable times of her career stem from experiences she had during the startup of three separate schools at three levels: elementary, middle, and high school. “Most educators are lucky if they have the chance to help startup a single school. I’ve been blessed to be involved in the startup of three!” The most rewarding experiences of her career, she adds, have come from the relationships built with students, parents, and colleagues.

She is a member of the Association of Classical Christian Schools, the National Council of Professors of Educational Administrators, ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), and Phi Delta Kappa International. Additionally, she is a peer reviewer for Christian Perspectives in Education and reviewer for Choice Magazine.

A long-time resident of South Baldwin County, Dr. Stanton has been active with the American Cancer Society, South Baldwin Sports Association, Young Life, Baldwin County Board of Realtors, and First Baptist Church of Gulf Shores, where she is church pianist. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Isaiah 55 Ministry to the Deaf in Reynosa, MX and holds a real estate license with Exit Realty Gulf Shores.

She and her husband, Tom, have four children and six grandchildren.


Fred Franks

Fred Franks has served in ministry for over thirty years. Ten years as youth pastor in Illinois and Florida in addition to District Youth Director in Illinois. For over twenty years Fred has served as lead pastor in churches in Illinois and California; as well as Vice President of Saul’s Consulting Services in Atlanta, Georgia, a leadership and stewardship firm. Fred currently serves as the Preaching and Vision Pastor of Christian Life…the Island Church – a position he assumed in May of 2011.

Fred has served on numerous ministry and district boards including the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Board at his alma mater: Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. He is known as the ‘leader of leaders.’ Fred has a great passion for life and ministry, having spoken in churches all across America and around the world. He is a family man and has been married to his college sweetheart Liz for thirty years. They feel privileged to have their son Luke, his wife Michele, as well as their daughter Paige and her husband Matt serve in ministry with them.


Phillip Anthony

Phillip L. Anthony, CPA is a graduate of the University of South Alabama with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting (Beta Alpha Psi) in July, 1994 and became a Certified Public Accountant in May 1997. Mr. Anthony became a partner with Anthony Financial Group, CPAs – Mobile / Gulf Shores in 1998. Mr. Anthony served as CFO and member of Executive Board of Management at A.B. Dick Southeastern, Inc. until 2003. Mr. Anthony now serves as Administrative Pastor at Christian Life Church in Orange Beach, AL, and additionally serves on Board of Directors Youth Reach Gulf Coast while continuing in a consulting role with Anthony Financial Group, CPAs. Mr. Anthony previously served on the Executive Board of Directors of the YMCA of Metro Mobile and on the Board of Directors of Calvary Christian Learning Center.

Mr. Anthony married Jenny in April 2004 and they have two sons, Ben and Will as well as a daughter Claire.


Lance Odeneal

Lance was born and raised in Alabama. He has served as President of Christian Web Host, Inc. since 1998. Lance and his family have been living in the Gulf Shores area since 2002 and would rather live here than anywhere else.

Mr. Odeneal, his wife Pam, and their two sons have been connected with many of these teachers and families since 2004.  They have volunteered and spent much time at the school since the very first day and consider it their mission to help SBCA in it’s vision to minister to the students and their families in love.  Mr. Odeneal’s oldest son graduated from Calvary Christian Learning Center and currently attends University of South Alabama and his youngest son is in high school here at South Baldwin Christian Academy.


J.P. Wilson

Biography introduction coming soon.


Glenn Butler

Biography introduction coming soon.


Dawn Cranston – Vice President

Dawn Cranston began her career as an educator in 1990.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Education with an emphasis on elementary and early childhood education from Indiana University.  She earned her Master’s of Education degree studying Educational Leadership at Concordia University.  Mrs. Cranston has two daughters who attend South Baldwin Christian Academy.  Mrs. Cranston has worked in both the public and private sectors of education. It has been a joy for her to serve in Christian education since 2005.


Jimmy Weaver – Treasurer

Jimmy Weaver, a Pensacola resident, serves as Controller for Columbia Southern University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida. He also holds a Bachelor of Theology degree from Liberty Christian College in Pensacola, Florida.

With a 35 year career in accounting and auditing, he has held positions as Controller for Liberty Christian College, Audit Supervisor for the Florida Department of Revenue where he retired in 1989, and Accountant at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. He also serves his community as treasurer and board member for several nonprofit organizations.

Jimmy opened his own accounting consulting firm, Northwest Florida Consultants, in Pensacola, Florida. His main purpose with Northwest Florida Consultants was to assist the nonprofit sector with accounting, tax, and compliance issues. In 2012 Jimmy sold his practice and has dedicated himself to serving his church and community.


Tara Collins – Secretary

Mrs. Tara Collins serves as the Executive Assistant to the President of Columbia Southern University. She has been a member of the CSU team since 1994. She assists in managing the day-to-day operations of CSU from the President’s Office. Before moving into this position in late 2008, she was the director of Student Services and Retention and has played a significant role in Student Services for many years. She served as the Nursery Director for Liberty Church in Pensacola, FL for 9 years. Tara completed an associate degree at Faulkner State Community College. She is the Board Secretary for Columbia Southern University, Inc. and also the Board Secretary for South Baldwin Christian Academy. She currently serves her local community through Liberty Church’s Crossover Student Ministry