American Hebrew Academy

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American Hebrew Academy
Greensboro, NC
Type Private, Boarding
Religious affiliation(s) Jewish
Established 2001
Head of school Alex Troy[1]
Faculty 51
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 137
Average class size 12 students[2][3]
Student to teacher ratio 3:1
Campus Gated, 100 acres (0.4 km²)
Color(s) blue, white, and red
Athletics 16 Interscholastic Sports
Mascot Eagle
Tuition $24,000 (day students)
$40,000(boarding students)[4]

The American Hebrew Academy (AHA) is the only international Jewish college preparatory school in the world for boarding and day students between 9th and 12th grade.[5] The coeducational school is located in Greensboro, North Carolina with a 100-acre (0.4 km²) campus designed by Aaron Green, protégé of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.[6]

The Academy is nationally accredited in the United States by the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).[7] The Academy is also a member in good standing of The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) and the only Jewish school awarded the Green Ribbon by the U.S. Department of Education.[8]


The academy was founded in 2001 by Maurice "Chico" Sabbah, a Sephardic Jew and Zionist in the international reinsurance business. A longtime resident of Greensboro, Sabbah wanted to create a high school option for the city's Jewish teens and to draw a critical mass of students from other regions of the country where Jewish day school was not a feasible option.[9]

Sabbah’s nephew, Glenn Drew, has served as the school’s CEO and General Counsel since the Academy’s opening on September 10, 2001.[10]


Operating on a trimester calendar, the unique curriculum at AHA is based on a 'dual-curriculum' model in which the general studies (Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Languages, Honors Level, Advanced Placement and Early College) courses are taught together with Jewish Studies which include Jewish Philosophy, History, Zionism, Religion and Culture).[11] Unlike most Jewish schools in the United States, the Academy does not identify itself with any one particular movement or denomination of Judaism and therefore affiliates itself with and grants admission to students of any and all Jewish backgrounds.[12]

The primary language of instruction is English and students are required to show a substantial progression with Hebrew language prior to graduation.[13]

Due to its large percentage of international students, AHA has an ESOL (English as a second language) department that prepares foreign students for the American university system.[14]

Many faculty members (24%) are also international or come from a dual-language background. The faculty includes 32% holding doctorate or equivalent degrees and 67% holding master's degrees. The Academy is home to 29 National Merit Scholarship Award honorees and 3 Bronfman Fellows.[15]


The American Hebrew Academy is situated on a one-hundred acre campus, including a 22-acre lake. Following a national architectural competition to design the campus, Frank Lloyd Wright’s associate architect, Aaron Green, was commissioned to create the master plan for the campus and building designs for every building the Academy would eventually need for the immediate future and for years to come.

In addition to 16 single-sex dormitory houses and 34 staff resident apartments, the Academy has 32 buildings including an 88,000 square feet (8,200 m2), $18 million athletic center and natatorium. The athletic center includes two basketball courts, rock climbing walls, a racquetball court, an exercise gym and an eight-lane pool.[16]

AHA has the largest closed-loop geothermal exchange well field in the United States to heat and cool its campus. In 2016, the Academy dedicated the new Dr. Charlotte K. Frank Center for Plant Science & Ecology which provides a state of the art research and experimentation facility for advancing the study of hydroponics, aquaculture, soil and water conservation and Israel’s leadership in the development of agricultural technology.[17]

All students are issued Surface Pro 3 tablet computers.[18] Classrooms have SMART Boards, projectors and cameras and microphones. Classroom seating is at a Harkness style table, teardrop-shaped that facilitates the socratic method. The maximum class-size for most classes is 12 students, allowing for one-on-one interaction with peers and instructors.


In addition to the 88,000 square foot athletic center and natatorium, the Academy also has playing fields including: a soccer stadium, baseball fields, softball fields, multiple all-purpose fields, and a rubberized track constructed of recycled materials. As a member of the Triad Athletic Conference, AHA offers baseball, basketball, cross-country, soccer, swimming, track and field, and volleyball. The Academy also hosts a number of intramural and club sports including racquetball, tennis, softball, golf, Touch Football, Ultimate Frisbee, Yoga, Aerobic and Weight Training, Kayaking and Sailing, Karate, and Rock Climbing.[19]

Since 2010 the grounds of AHA have been host to 6 Points Sports Academy,[20] the first-in-the-nation Jewish sports summer camp, part of the Union for Reform Judaism's family of summer camps. Open to young athletes ages 9 to 17 from all over North America and abroad, 6 Points Sports is a sleep-away camping experience that offers intensive training in the individual's chosen sport as well as cross-conditioning electives.[21]

The Academy also serves as the host site for the Piedmont Triad Regional Special Olympics for over ten years.[1]

Student life[edit]

As the only international Jewish boarding school in the world, a large proportion of the AHA student body is foreign students. Forty-five percent of the students have come from 35 countries. American students come from 26 states across the U.S.[10]

The Junior year class studies abroad in Israel for ten weeks each fall trimester. Students live in Hod HaSharon, Israel and study at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel. This immersion program enables students to explore their interest in and strengthen their ties to Jewish history, Israel and the Hebrew language.

AHA students wanting to specialize in a particular area such as STEM, pre-med, law, business, technology, and the arts are able to enhance their studies through a formal partnership that AHA enjoys with The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the North Carolina Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering as well as early university studies in all offered subject areas at Guilford College.[22]


In October 2007, the Greensboro News & Record reported the order of arrest for Rabbi David Alan Stein, then the Dean of Jewish Life a the Academy, under the allegation of sexual contact with a 16-year old male student. The report alleged the abuses to have occurred during the 2006-07 school year.[23] Stein was charged with eight counts of felony sex with a student. These charges were later reduced to counts of indecent liberties with a student, in accordance with a plea deal. After pleading guilty to all charges, Stein received three years of supervised probation.[24]

On October 16, 2007, Executive Director Glenn A. Drew released a written statement regarding the incident and the termination of David Stein.[25]

In its profile of Stein, rabbinical sex offense watchdog The Awareness Center, Inc. said, "The administration at American Hebrew Academy deserves an award for doing all the right things in the handling of this case."[26]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "About Us - Quick Facts". American Hebrew Academy. Archived from the original on 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  3. ^ "American Hebrew Academy: The Academy at a Glance". Retrieved 2015-11-08. 
  4. ^ "Applying". American Hebrew Academy. Archived from the original on October 18, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  5. ^ "The Academy at a Glance - American Hebrew Academy". Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  6. ^ Slutsky, Carolyn (10/12/2008). "Room, Board — And 'Jewish Peoplehood'". The Jewish Week. Archived from the original on November 20, 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ "Partners and Affiliates - American Hebrew Academy". Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  8. ^ "2012 Awards -- U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools". 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  9. ^ Cone, Edward (2002-09-30). "Who Is Chico Sabbah?". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  10. ^ a b "Against The Odds, AHA Nearing 15th Year". Jewish Week. Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  11. ^ "The Dual Curriculum - TEMPLATE: New Client Site (Custom)". Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  12. ^ "North Carolina Boarding School Seeks To Bridge Religious Divides". The Forward. Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  13. ^ "School Profile 2009–2010" (PDF). American Hebrew Academy. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 22, 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2010. 
  14. ^ "ESOL - American Hebrew Academy". Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  15. ^ "American Hebrew Academy announces National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist Olivia Dweck". Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  16. ^ "Athletics - American Hebrew Academy". Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  17. ^ "CIJE Update – Journey to Israel, STEM Down South | Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education". Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  18. ^ Moffett Banks, Margaret (Feb 15, 2004). "Academy: Molding Future Leaders". News & Record. 
  19. ^ "Athletics - American Hebrew Academy". Retrieved 2017-01-12. 
  20. ^ "URJ 6 Points Sports Academy - Jewish Sports Camp - Home". Archived from the original on 2013-07-26. Retrieved 2015-12-17. 
  21. ^ "Home - URJ 6 Points Sports Academy | North America's Premiere Jewish Sports Camps". URJ 6 Points Sports Academy | North America's Premiere Jewish Sports Camps. Retrieved 2017-01-12. 
  22. ^ "Partners and Affiliates - American Hebrew Academy". Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  23. ^ Fernandez, Jennifer (October 17, 2007). "School rabbi charged with sexual acts with student". News & Record. Retrieved February 4, 2010. 
  24. ^ Fernandez, Jennifer (August 17, 2009). "Former rabbi sentenced to probation in student sex case". News & Record. Retrieved February 4, 2010. 
  25. ^ Rible, Maila (October 17, 2007). "Former School Rabbi Accused Of Sex Acts With Student". Retrieved February 4, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Case of Rabbi David Alan Stein". The Awareness Center, Inc. Retrieved February 4, 2010. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°6′43″N 79°52′17″W / 36.11194°N 79.87139°W / 36.11194; -79.87139