About Us

E.S.P.A Gameplan

The E.S.P.A. (Education and Sports Performance Academy, Inc.) is a 501c3 organization whose mission is to nourish students intellectually, socially, and emotionally to reach their academic potential and achieve their personal physical best so that they become productive citizens, serving the community in which they live.



Donald Byrd

President & CEO

Donald Byrd is the founder of E.S.P.A. his experience spans the athletic, corporate and non-profit sector. His love for sports began in high school where he played basketball at Gorton High School in Yonkers, NY. He also played at Ulster County Community College in Stone Ridge, NY. His dedication to the game and youth led him to be an assistant coach for Tuckahoe High School in Tuckahoe, NY. He also coached 13-16 year olds in the Yonkers, NY midnight basketball league.


Coach Byrd realizes that not enough youth are given equal opportunity to achieve and excel. He has therefore dedicated his life to E.S.P.A. and is doing his part to make sure that the youth in Atlanta are on a “level playing field” to become self-sufficient and successful adults.


Reginald Stewart

Vice President & COO

Reginald Stewart is the chief operating officer for Education and Sports Performance Academy. At ESPA, he directs and recruits high quality professionals to support ESPA’s of STEAM education, and Sports Feeder programs to assure all our programs meet rigorous standards for effectiveness. In addition, he oversees major research to make sure ESPA stays on the cutting edge with the latest STEAM education. Mr. Stewart graduated from Frank. W. Ballou High School in Washington D.C. He then went on to attend Tennessee State University where he honed in on his passion for science and technology. This passion for technology has led to the co-formation of ESPA’s STEAM program. ESPA has taken on the charge by President Barack Obama to help increase the number of students graduating in STEAM fields.


Mr. Stewart currently works as a Business Analyst for Delta Air Lines, where he successfully supports a wide variety of core areas at Delta. From baggage and ramp operations support to training and employee engagement; he currently supports the training and development activities of over 8,000 Delta employees. In additionto this he is also responsible for Human Capital Management, Customer Relationship Management, Stakeholder Organizational Change Management as well as Risk Management and Performance Reporting.


Mr. Stewart is deeply committed to community service. He has served as the President for the Madison Trace Subdivision Board of Directors, and as the Vice President for the Sandtown Association Board of Directors in the city of South Fulton, Georgia. As the Vice President of the Sandtown Association he was on the committee that was responsible for monitoring and supporting the clusters of schools that reside in the Sandtown area in the city of South Fulton, Georgia. Mr. Stewart also volunteered as a coach for the past 6 years where he coached football, basketball, and soccer. His experience, dedication and service to his community have ultimately developed into a passion to continuously find innovative ways to help our youth succeed.


Melody Barnett

Vice President of Programs & Development

Melody E. Barnett is currently serving in the capacity of Director of Human Resources at a local Federal Government contractor in Atlanta, GA. She is responsible for creating and delivering customized HR solutions to new, small and established businesses in need of Human Capital management. She is also charged to act as an employee champion and change agent to existing clients as well as formulate business partnerships in order to deliver value added service to management. With 18 years of experience in employment regulations, employee relations, workplace program development, management training and coaching, organizational development and talent management; Melody continues to assist businesses in making positive transformations in the workplace.


Melody’s tenacity to visualize and establish a sound workforce has enabled her to accomplish both small to large scale projects with numerous clients. She has worked with management and business owners from various industries and has found that the need for return on investment of Human Capital is vital to organizational growth from employee on-boarding to performance management.   Melody has facilitated training, workshops and conference breakout sessions on her expertise in local community organizations, university student groups and in client settings. Some of her special sessions include, Leadership Training Series and Managing HR for Small Businesses.


Melody received her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Psychology from Georgia State University in Atlanta. She is a national member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and local member of Atlanta SHRM. She has served as a volunteer for SHRM with the Mayor’s Youth Summer program and with her previous employer as a Corporate Champion for Junior Achievement. In addition to serving as Board of Director at Georgia State University, Melody also volunteers frequently at her children’s school having served as a Community Relations Committee member, Grade Parent and soliciting annual donations. Melody has also been recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of Atlanta’s Top Employees. In addition, she received the President’s Choice Award as Partner of the Year by her employer.