Friends School of Atlanta
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|The Friends School of Atlanta|
|862 Columbia Drive
Decatur, Georgia, 30030
|Head of school||Waman French|
|Teaching staff||22 (as of 2005-06)|
|Enrollment||172 (as of 2009-10)|
|Student to teacher ratio||1:6 (as of 2009-10)|
|School colour(s)||purple and gold|
|Website||Friends School of Atlanta|
The Friends School of Atlanta is an independent school in Decatur, Georgia.
The Atlanta Friends Meeting was organized in 1943, and in the late 1950s the Meeting purchased a residence on Fairview Road in the historic Druid Hills neighborhood. In addition to providing a gathering place for Friends, the Meetinghouse was one of the few sites in the city available for interracial meetings and education. In 1990, the Meeting built a new facility near the border of Atlanta and the City of Decatur.
The Friends School of Atlanta, which was incorporated as a nonprofit institution in 1990, grew out of the work of a committee of the Meeting. In 1991, The Friends School of Atlanta's Board of Trustees called Waman French, an educator with experience at Brooklyn Friends School and Atlanta International School, to be the first Head of School. Meeting members are active in the school’s Board of Trustees and offer guidance and support to the school in many ways.
Leasing space in the newly constructed Friends Meetinghouse at West Howard and Adair Streets in Decatur, the school opened in the fall of 1991 with 37 students, ages 4½ through eight, and three teachers. A key to the early success of the school has been—and continues to be—the strong involvement of parents, whose efforts have included providing administrative and secretarial assistance in the office, coordinating a hot lunch program, building the playground, serving on committees, and taking part in policy development.
The school stayed at the Meetinghouse for five years, expanding by a grade a year and adding portable classrooms on the property. In 1995, two classes relocated to the First Christian Church in downtown Decatur and in 1996, the entire school moved there while awaiting the renovation of its permanent space.
In 1997, we moved to 121 Sams Street in Decatur, at first using one half of the building, sharing space with S & A Industries until 2001, when we renovated the other half of the building, including a Meeting room for whole school and community events.
After a tenure of eight years as Head of School, Waman French decided to return to working with children in the middle school in 1999. The Board of Trustees appointed Marcia Pauly as its next Head of School. With a rich educational background, most recently with Decatur City Schools, she led FSA into the twenty-first century. Reluctantly, Marcia stepped down as Head in June, 2001 for personal reasons.
In July 2001, James D. Withers became the next Head of The Friends School of Atlanta. Jim Withers is a long-time Atlanta educator, President of Withers Consulting Services and former Academic Dean at Pace Academy. Upon taking the helm at FSA, Jim left his consulting business where he worked with public and private organizations in mediation, conflict resolution and team-building. Jim stepped aside as Head in May 2003, and Waman French returned as Interim Head for the 2003–04 school year. Waman was subsequently chosen by the Head Search committee to continue as Head of School. Under his leadership, the Board of Trustees began a search for a possible new location to relocate and grow the school.
In 2007, The Friends School of Atlanta began a capital campaign to purchase and renovate a new school site at 862 Columbia Drive. The school moved to its new home in the 2008–09 school year. The new location is much bigger, and is enhanced by two playgrounds and an enclosed gymnasium.
The Friends School of Atlanta occupies what was formerly the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. On the first floor are the administrative offices, the art classroom, and the middle school lunchroom. On the second floor are the elementary school classrooms, the elementary Spanish classroom, the music room, and the Community Meeting Room. On the third floor are the middle school classrooms, the media lab, the middle school Spanish classroom, and the library. Behind the school is a playground and a gym.
A curriculum guide and other information can be found on the school's website, under "Programs." Click on "Elementary School" or "Middle School" in the drop-down menu.
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- "School Detail for Friends School of Atlanta". National Center for Education Statistics.