Independent School Guide 2020-21

ABOUT THE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE

Atlanta magazine’s 2020 directory includes schools that are members of or accredited by Cognia (formerly AdvancED), the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), or the Atlanta Area Association of Independent Schools (AAAIS). The schools have campuses in metro Atlanta’s 12 core counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, and Rockdale.

Researched and compiled by Jennifer Coltrin

EDITOR’S NOTE: Data was compiled in September 2020 from surveys sent to the schools. The “What’s New” question was optional. N/A = not applicable; data N/A = data not available

What's new on campus

It’s been a challenging and unusual year for education, with schools shifting to online learning in the spring and contemplating how to continue in the fall. So it’s not surprising that many of this year’s projects and programs have some pandemic inspiration behind them. Here’s a look.H.M. CAULEY

Illustrations by Michael Korfhage.

BIGGER & BETTER

Just before the start of school in August, Whitefield Academy in Smyrna opened the doors to its new lower school building, Brostrand Hall, named for former principal Jeanine Brostrand, who retired in 2018. The $17 million project, the largest underwritten by the Leaving a Legacy Capital campaign, includes a 40,000-square-foot building with 19 classrooms, a dining facility with a commercial kitchen, offices with collaborative spaces, and better access to the covered outdoor play area.

CREATIVE JUICES

August saw the opening of a new facility on the Marist School campus off Ashford Dunwoody Road. The Goizueta Center for Immersive Experience and Design, located on the bottom floor of the Wooldridge Center, is now the centerpiece of the school’s STEAM 2.0 initiative, created to increase students’ exploration of STEAM subjects. Among the programs it supports are robotics, engineering, 3-D design and printing, virtual and augmented reality, immersive media and media studies, podcasting, broadcasting, documentary filmmaking, and music technology.

Building a Brighter Future

That construction noise echoing across the Sandy Springs campus of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School is the school’s latest growth spurt. A new 60,000-square- foot upper school humanities building is in the works with classrooms for English, history, religion, and world languages. In addition, the space will be home to the school’s Program for Global Citizenship, offices for college counseling and faculty, and the campus store. The target completion date is fall 2021.

BUSY BEES

What’s the big buzz on Springmont School’s campus? The arrival of honeybees. With a grant from the Bee Cause Project and Whole Kids Foundation, the Sandy Springs Montessori school recently created a home for two hives. The bees aren’t there just to make contributions to the local ecosystem but to education as well. Elementary students are studying bee biology, anatomy, and life cycles, while middle schoolers are looking into bee genetics. The school’s first Bee Club teaches the younger set the basics of beekeeping, how to inspect hives, and ways to counteract the global decrease of the bee population. The project is made just a bit sweeter by the small amount of honey the bees produce.

Room to Grow

They’ve already cut the ribbons on two new construction projects at the Howard School. The 17-acre campus, located on Atlanta’s Westside, now includes the Young High School, a 36,000-square-foot building with state-of-the-art classrooms, a design center, makerspace, and art and music rooms to support the school’s multi- sensory approach to learning. The second addition is the Marifred Cilella Student Center, affectionately dubbed “the Fred” in honor of the head of school. This 9,000-square-foot facility provides the space to offer full lunch service—the first time that option has been available.

Field of Dreams

This fall brought new additions and improvements to the Wesleyan School’s Hoyt Family Athletic Complex with the opening of a 13,000-sqaure-foot field house with four locker rooms, a training room, concessions, and restrooms. A lacrosse stadium and a new synthetic turf field were added as well.

HEAD OF THE CLASS

Lisa Baker was named head of school and camp at High Meadows, a Roswell-based International Baccalaureate institution with 300 students in pre-K through grade 8. Her experience and passion for social justice, diversity, equity, inclusion, and outdoor education align with High Meadows’ mission and focus. “Lisa is an experienced independent school leader who identifies as an educator and celebrates childhood and child-centered learning, both highly regarded values of High Meadows,” says Javier Estrella, chair of the board of trustees, who led the search. Prior to taking the post, Baker was the head of upper school at Bancroft School in Worcester, Massachusetts. She received her Certificate of School Administration from McDaniel College, a master’s in school counseling from Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor’s in English from American University.

CREATIVITY HUB

Work is wrapping up on North Cobb Christian School’s latest campus addition. A 38,000-square-foot complex will open its doors in late 2020 as a hub for creativity and innovation. Inside, students will find a STEM center with labs for physics and robotics, makerspace, and collaborative areas outfitted with computers, 3-D printers, and scan- ners. There’s also a laser engraver, a CNC router for woodworking and metalworking, a soldering station, table saws, sewing and textile construction machines, and more. Classrooms, offices, and a new parking lot are also part of the project, designed with ex- posed ceilings and garage-style doors for open-air learning. “Essentially, if you can build it, break it, or blow it up, it will happen in our makerspace and robotics lab,” says Upper School Principal Megan Strange.

Sports Minded

In May, Pace Academy in Buckhead named two rising seniors as the first recipients of the new Horowitz Athletics Leadership Award. Established by alumnus Scott Horowitz, the prize recognizes student athletes for “consistently demonstrating qualities that represent positive athletics leadership, both on and off the field.” The inaugural honorees are Logan Baker, a varsity soccer and basketball player, and Jamie Kornheiser, a member of the softball, basketball, and tennis teams. Horowitz, a 1984 graduate who played on the varsity soccer team, named the endowment for his parents, Gerald and PearlAnn Horowitz.

School of Tomorrow

Since August, new state-of-the-art technology at Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross has provided an unusual opportunity: Rather than opting to learn in-person or virtually for the entire semester, students can decide on a day-by-day basis whether to be on campus. More than 100 classrooms for kindergarten through grade 12 were outfitted with DTEN whiteboards and monitors, smart cameras, and directional microphones so instructors can see remote students and interact with them in real time. The school is just one of four in the country to have these high-tech facilities in place.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

New leadership is in place at the Lovett School’s 521-student lower school, where James Choi took the helm July 1. Choi was the former assistant head of the lower school at the John Cooper School in Texas, where he created a mentorship program to help first-year teachers make the transition into a new setting and developed a culture of continuing growth. Before heading to Texas, Choi was on the faculty at Greene Hill School in Brooklyn. His educational credentials include a master’s in teaching literacy and childhood education from the Bank Street Graduate School of Education in New York, a master’s in education from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s from Colgate University.