|966 W. Paces Ferry Rd.
|Motto||To Have the Courage to Strive for Excellence|
|Head teacher||Fred Assaf|
|Number of students||1080|
|Color(s)||Navy Blue, Columbia Blue and White|
Pace Academy was founded in Atlanta 1958 by an interfaith group of local community leaders. They envisioned a community open to fresh ideas and debate in the great liberal arts tradition. Although the school is not affiliated with a specific church or religion, it adheres to Judeo-Christian values and places a major emphasis on character development. 1958 is also the year that the Atlanta Public School system's segregationist policies were successfully challenged in federal court; Pace Academy and other nearby private schools such as Lovett School and the Westminster Schools were all white and refused students of color for their early history while receiving a surge in applications and corresponding growth; it is not listed when Pace Academy desegregated, but it was likely in the late 1960s or early 1970s, many years after the lauded if mixed success of Atlanta Public Schools' integration in 1961, and the same as its peers.
Pace Academy is situated on 37 acres in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood. The school's landmark building, the Castle, was constructed as a private residence in 1932 for the Ogden family. Pace Academy was incorporated on June 30, 1958, with an initial enrollment of 178 students, for the purpose of “training and educating children and operating a school and kindergarten.” Frank Kaley was hired as Pace's first headmaster in 1959. During the period from 1958 to 1962, the Ogden house was renovated to accommodate administrative offices and classrooms, and a playground was developed for the younger children. In 1961, a building was added housing classrooms, a cafeteria, and a library. Athletic fields were established during this time. During this time period, Pace allowed the First Montessori Class of Atlanta (now Springmont) to establish itself in an empty classroom.
In 1964, Pace graduated its first class, with 13 students receiving diplomas. Further improvements to Pace’s athletic facilities were made in 1966 when the school constructed a gymnasium and enlarged the athletic field. This facility was dedicated to the memory of William T. Boyd, who had served as an outstanding president of the Pace Parents Club. In 1971, Bridges Hall was constructed and named in honor of Russell Bridges, who had served as chairman of Pace’s Board of Trustees for 10 years. It housed the Lower School, some Upper School classrooms and the present library. Improvements to the athletic facilities included the addition of a swimming pool and tennis courts.
In 1972, George G. Kirkpatrick assumed leadership of the school. Further additions to classroom facilities were made in 1973, along with a new driveway system and additional parking. With the help of Anne and Mills Bee Lane, the gardens were restored in that year.
Although from its incorporation, Pace was accredited by the Georgia Accreditation Committee for its educational programs, 1973 saw the accreditation of Pace by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
In 1976 the Randall property adjacent to Pace became available and a fundraising drive was launched to purchase the property. First used to house Pace’s Fine Arts programs in art and music, the Randall House offered Pace the possibility of providing separate classroom facilities for the Upper and Lower Schools. With the concurrence of the Atlanta zoning commission and the input of Pace neighbors, a long-range plan for the further development of the Pace campus was approved by the Board of Trustees. This plan called for major facility improvements to be undertaken in three phases: an addition to the Randall House to house the Lower School in one facility, construction of a fine arts center and auditorium, and construction of an additional gymnasium.
In 1981-83, the Keep Pace with Progress campaign was conducted to achieve the first phase of the Pace campus development plan. Almost $3 million was pledged to build the Lower School addition, build a playground adjacent to the Lower School, and to renovate the classrooms vacated by the Lower School program for improved science facilities, computer labs, and an expanded library for Upper School students.
With the completion of this project, the Board of Trustees updated its long-range plan and focused on three priorities for the Inspiring the Best campaign: construction of a fine arts center, expansion and improvement of athletic and parking facilities and increased endowment. This campaign was approved by the Board of Trustees in 1987 and raised $7.2 million.
The opening of the Fine Arts Center on September 18, 1990 inaugurated a new stage in Pace’s development. More than 2,000 people attended the opening celebrations and Pace received great public acclaim for the excellence and beauty of these new facilities. As part of this recognition, the Atlanta Chapter of the American Institute of Architects named the Fine Arts Center as one of ten outstanding architectural additions to the city, featuring it in its 1991 “Architecture in Atlanta” tours.
Peter Cobb was named headmaster in 1994, the same year the Castle was officially named Kirkpatrick Hall, in honor of George G. Kirkpatrick, who had led Pace through its greatest growth.
Following Mr. Cobb’s resignation in 1996, Michael A. Murphy, who had served as head of Lower School for seven years, served as Interim Headmaster until February 1997 when he was named Headmaster.
In the spring of 1997, following a gift of $2 million by the Hugh M. Inman Foundation, the Educating for Life – Pace 2000 capital campaign was launched, with a goal of $16 million. This goal included $7.8 million for the Inman Center, a student activity center with state of the art athletic facilities, a new cafeteria, faculty offices, and additional parking. The Inman Center was opened in January 2000. In addition, the campaign funded new athletic fields and tennis courts, renovated classroom space in the Upper School, and established an endowment supplement of almost $4 million.
During Mr. Murphy’s tenure Pace embarked on a campaign to build a new Middle School building, and out of that the Explore, Connect, Excel, the Campaign for The Middle School was born. After only 16 months the school had raised the necessary $16 million to build the new facility, which houses grades 6, 7, and 8. Additionally, the Board completed a 5-year strategic plan.
In the fall of 2005 Pace welcomed its fifth Head of School, Fred Assaf. Mr. Assaf was installed at the opening of school and Mayor Shirley Franklin was the guest speaker. The Board of Trustees embarked on an ambitious long range plan and master campus plan. These documents, called for in the Strategic Plan, outlined the commitment of Pace to remain a small, family school which educated the whole child.
In 2007 the school resolved longstanding issues with the neighborhood association and entered into an historic agreement which provided for both preserving the small family feel of Pace and expanding the facilities to accommodate a moderate increase in enrollment.
As a part of this plan, Pace realized its need to acquire expanded athletic facilities and acquired two parcels, an eight-acre baseball/softball complex on Warren Road and a 23-acre tract on Riverview Road in Cobb County, which will be built into a track & field facility, a new stadium for soccer, lacrosse and football with seating for 2000, an additional soccer/lacrosse/football field, and a new varsity baseball field.
The Board also authorized SHINE, The Pace Capital Campaign for $32 million that will help build the new athletic facilities, refurbish and add onto the Lower School, and enhance the endowment for faculty.
Institutions, like individuals, are challenged to attain the highest standards of achievement. Just as the school encourages its students to reach their greatest potential, it can also be said that Pace Academy, for more than fifty years, seeks to reach its greatest potential. In this, Pace, like its students, is led by the school’s motto “summum nitens confide,” to have the courage to strive for excellence.
During the summer of 2012, Pace Academy launched "Aim High," a new capital campaign with a purpose of building a new high school. The campaign was led by Elizabeth Richards and Robert Sheft, and had an objective of raising a little over $32,000,000. The campaign's lead donor was Arthur Blank, who was both the owner of the Atlanta Falcons and a Pace parent. It will be named The Arthur M. Blank Family Upper School.
Preparation for the new high school began during the summer of 2012. The building will open in August 2014.
Awards and recognition
For most of its existence, the school has been best recognized for two of its programs. Pace's debate program is renowned throughout the country and has won the Georgia High School Association's State Debate Championship each year since 1988. The program also captured the national title in 2002. In 2004, the team captured its sixth-straight Richard B. Russell All State (All Classification) Debate Championship.
Pace is also widely recognized for its Fine Arts program. In particular, the school's theater program has received wide accolades since the 1970s and produces musicals and dramas on par with professional theater groups.
Pace Academy also has a robotics team for both Middle and Upper School, the Roboknights. The Middle School team participates in the FIRST Lego League, while the Upper School team participates in the FIRST Tech Challenge.
Pace has a notable Policy Simulation Program, which includes Model UN, TUFTS EPIIC Inquiry, and Model Arab League. The program is led by Helen Smith and was started in the early 1990s.
The Aquatic Department was run by Coach Trent Trees from 1983 to 1997. Per student request/interest, he was responsible for bringing the sport of Water Polo to the Atlanta Area Schools in the late 1980s. It paid off for the school and him when in 1995, The 1996 Olympics contacted him to work pool side during the events. He also coached Gymnastics, Swimming, Diving, Poll Vaulting, and Track.
Lead by Coach Ricks Carson, the boys soccer team won the final three Fall Soccer League championships (2002 to 2004), and finished second nationally in the final NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches of America) poll during the fall of 2003. In its first season in the GHSA Spring League in 2006, the team captured the Class AA/A State Championship and finished 19th nationally and 5th in Region II in the Final NSCAA poll.
The boys lacrosse team, coached by Tom Kates, has consistently contended for the GHSA All-Classification championship in its twelve years of existence. The team reached the state finals twice, and has played in three other state semifinals.
In 2006, the school announced plans to add a football team, with varsity play scheduled to begin in 2009. For most of its existence, the school focused on its soccer and baseball programs, opting to take part in a smaller fall soccer season to allow players to play baseball in the spring. However, the cancellation of the fall soccer season left the spring season the only option, encouraging the school to finally develop a football program.
The Middle School football team reached the championships of the Atlanta Metro Football League in its first year in existence. Matt Hall is the head coach of the Varsity football team, playing its first season in 2008. He is a former player on the Amherst College football team.
In the Fall of 2010, after a 9-1 regular season, the Pace Knights football team made its first GHSA playoff appearance. The team's Seniors were in the class of Eighth Graders that had been on the original Middle School football team.
On November 9, 2013, the Varsity girls' cross country team brought home a class 1A state championship title.
- Rich Middlemas (1993), documentary film producer, Undefeated.
- Michael Barrett (1995), major league baseball catcher.
- Clay Johnson (1995), technologist.
- Randy Harrison (1996), actor, Queer as Folk.
- Sarah-Elizabeth Langford (1996), Miss America and Miss USA contestant.
- Tyler Prochnow (1988), Team Owner, Sports Agent, Entrepreneur, Kansas City Command.
- "Atlanta Schools Named No Child Left Behind Blue-Ribbon School", Atlanta Inquirer, October 2, 2004. Accessed November 9, 2007.
- U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 2003 through 2006 (PDF), United States Department of Education. Accessed May 11, 2006.
- "RoboKnights". RoboKnights Wiki. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- "High School Boys Fall Rankings -- National, Nov. 24, 2003 - Week 11". National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- "High School Spring Rankings Boys, National Last Poll - June 13, 2006". National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- "High School Spring Rankings Boys, Region II Last Poll - June 13, 2006". National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- "Unknown title". Pace Academy. Archived from the original on October 8, 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- Pace Academy - Rich Middlemas '93 Wins Oscar
- "Barrett passes on Clemson, signs with Expos", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 10, 1995. Accessed November 9, 2007. "For most folks, the entire experience might be overwhelming, but when former Pace Academy shortstop Michael Barrett signed a professional contract Friday with the Montreal Expos, it seemed to his family like little more than the ordinary course of business."
- "SPEED READS", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 12, 2001. Accessed November 9, 2007. " Harrison, a 1996 graduate of Pace Academy in Buckhead, stars in Showtime's "Queer as Folk," which depicts the lives and loves of a group of gay men and lesbians."
- "FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 13, 1996. Accessed November 9, 2007. "Blessed with a lot of natural talent, a positive attitude and an unusual amount of inner strength, Pace Academy's Sarah-Elizabeth Langford used those qualities to become a two-sport standout for the Lady Knights."
- "Brigade getting warm K.C. reception - Sellout expected for squad’s first home game, scheduled for Sunday in Kemper Arena"
- Pace Academy
- KnightFlix (Pace Academy Webcasting)
- Knightly News (Pace Academy Newspaper)
- KnightFlix (Pace Academy Student Council)
- Roboknights Wiki