About Us

Go Alliance Academy launched in 2009 to help train counselors and college access professionals in guiding students to postsecondary success, especially low-income and first-generation students. 

Go Alliance originally started as a coalition between six state agencies to increase the number of adults who “go” on to complete an education credential after high school. Today Go Alliance offers a comprehensive lineup of online-based, instructor-led courses, designed by experts in the field, that are focused on topics counselors, educators and access advisers want and need most. 

Our Team

Dr. Alice Anne Bailey, Founder

Dr. Alice-Anne Bailey

Dr. Alice Anne Bailey is an applied social psychologist, professor and consultant with more than 20 years of experience in higher education policy.  

She conducts research and provides guidance to elected officials, nonprofit organizations and education agencies on effective policies and practices to increase the number of students who enroll in and complete education after high school.    

She provided guidance on President Barack Obama’s Access to Opportunity Initiative to help improve college access and success for underserved students and on former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, an effort to inspire every student in the U.S. to complete their education past high school.    

In 2008, Dr. Bailey created the Go Alliance Academy to help school counselors, college access advisers, teachers and administrators better prepare students for higher education and careers.    

She draws from her past experiences as a psychometrician at IBM and her expertise in education, postsecondary counseling and training to ensure Go Alliance offers the most highly effective training possible. 


Dianne Acuña, Go Alliance Instructor

Dianne Acuña Andree brings 25+ years of experience in education. Dianne has worked in rural, suburban and urban settings as a school counselor at the elementary and high school setting, and has extensive district administrative experience supporting school counselors and mental health programming.

She has experience presenting at numerous state and national conferences, and has been asked to serve as a content expert for multiple, educational organizations. Dianne is married with four kids, and a beloved dog and cat.

Vanessa Barnes, Go Alliance Instructor
Image of Vanessa Barnes
Vanessa Barnes currently serves as a Senior Administrator for High School Counseling for the Wake County Public School System in Raleigh, NC. Prior to assuming her current role in the district, she served as a high school dean of students and chair of her school’s Student Services Department, where she coordinated and delivered a comprehensive school counseling program. Vanessa Barnes has also served in small and medium-sized districts prior to joining Wake County. Before becoming a school counselor, Vanessa served as a college admissions officer for numerous years. In addition to her counseling roles, Vanessa is an advocate for the profession and has served as past president of the North Carolina School Counselor Association (NCSCA) and on many state task forces and committees. She continues to serve on the NCSCA Board of Directors as Chair of the Delegate Assembly. In 2021, Vanessa was a top-five finalist for the ASCA National School Counselor of the Year. Vanessa has been facilitating Go Alliance Academy Career and College Readiness courses for over eight years.

Cari Burson, Go Alliance Instructor
Image of Cari BursonCari Burson has 26 years of experience in K-12 education as a school counselor, teacher, and administrator. Currently, she is the CTE Director and Transition School to Work Coordinator for Catalina Foothills School District in Tucson, AZ.  Cari previously held leadership roles on the Arizona School Counseling Association board for 7 years.  She has taught the Go Alliance curriculum for six years.

In her spare time, she enjoys time with her five children and dogs.

Cynthia Floyd, Go Alliance Instructor
Image of Cynthia FloydCynthia Floyd has 30 years of experience in education, having served as a school counselor, state consultant for school counseling and student services, district executive director of student support services and state consultant for school counseling.

She led the revision of the North Carolina School Counseling Job Description to be aligned with national best practices as defined in the ASCA National Model. In addition to other live and recorded professional development opportunities, she provided countless training sessions across the state to support school districts and school counselors in the implementation of the job description, professional standards, and the ASCA National Model. Cynthia also facilitated the creation of online self-paced mini-courses for school counselors and school administrators and coordinated the Go Alliance Academy asynchronous online courses for the state of North Carolina. 

In between her two employments with the NC Department of Public Instruction, Cynthia served as the Executive Director for Student Services in a public school district where she supervised and supported the effective implementation of the student support services programs of school counseling, school social work, school psychology, school nursing, and student intervention specialists. 

Christina Welch, Go Alliance Instructor

Christina Welch is a K-8 School Counselor in Watauga County, NC. 

Christina was a 2014 ASCA School Counselor of the Year Semi-Finalist and served as President of the NC School Counseling Association in 2015. 

Christina works with the NC Department of Instruction Strategic School Counseling Leadership Team and has facilitated Go Alliance courses for more than 8 years.