Providence Day School

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Providence Day School
Charlotte, North Carolina
United States
Type Private
Established Sept. 28, 1970
CEEB code 340687
Faculty 143 (on FTE basis)[1]
Enrollment 1558 (as of 2015–16)[1]
Average class size 12-20
Student to teacher ratio 11.1[1]
Color(s) Red, White and Navy Blue
Athletics Football, baseball, softball, golf, lacrosse, tennis, basketball, field hockey, wrestling, track and field, volleyball, cross country, soccer, cheerleading and swimming
Athletics conference NCISAA
Team name Chargers
Average SAT scores 1940
Average ACT scores 30
Newspaper The Charger

Providence Day School is an independent Transitional Kindergarten through Grade 12 school located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

As of the 2011–12 school year, the school had an enrollment of approximately 1,550 students and nearly 180 classroom teachers (on a FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 9:1.[1]

Awards and recognition[edit]

During the 1986–87 and 2003–04 school years, Providence Day School was recognized with the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education,[2][3][4] the highest award an American school can receive.[5][6]

In 2012, Providence Day School was recognized for the ninth consecutive year as one of North Carolina's 50 most family-friendly employers by Carolina Parenting Inc. for its initiatives in helping parents balance work and home life.


In July 1970, James Williams, Thomas Ridenhour and Gilbert Bell began discussing the idea of starting a school. On Aug. 30, 1970, they held the first organizational meeting at the home of James Williams. Present were Gilbert Bell, Reid Caldwell, Joe Conrad, Charles Graves, Charles Harper, William Hester, John Locklear, Wilton Parr, Charles Reed, Thomas Ridenhour, Preston Sizemore and James Williams. These men formed the Southeast Community Corporation for the purpose of beginning an independent school. They also became the school’s first board of directors. In September, a meeting was held to enlist interested parents. By the end of the night, 112 children from 108 families had registered to attend the new school.

Several days later, potential property for the school had been located. The board of directors, led by David Raphael, borrowed $200 from each family who had enrolled a child, purchased 7.6 acres (31,000 m2) of land for $75,000 on Sardis Road.

After the deed to the land was signed, parents went to work converting the house that was on the land into a school. On Sept. 28, 1970, Providence Day School was born. There were 180 students in fifth and sixth grades.

In February 1971, the State Department of Public Instruction approved Providence Day School as a private school. In the summer of 1971, William T. Townsend Jr. was hired as the first headmaster and the late Gil Murdock was hired as the first coach and physical education instructor. At the time, Murdock was the longest serving faculty member in school history before retiring in 2006. He died three days later of a heart attack. The next year the school had its first (annual) Gil Murdock Turkey Trot in his memory, which collects donations for local charities.

The 1974–75 school year brought the school’s first state championship in sports (golf), the addition of a two-story building (later named Overcash Hall) and accreditation from the Southern Association of Independent Schools. 1975 also was the year of the school’s first graduating class.

In 1982, adjacent property was purchased for an athletic complex to accommodate football, track, baseball, softball, and tennis. The gymnasium was dedicated and named the Thomas L. Ridenhour Athletic Center in 1983. In 1985, the wing between the Williams Building and Providence Hall was enclosed and three classrooms were added.

Eugene Bratek became the school’s third Headmaster in 1986. Bratek retired from the school after the 2007 school year, and was replaced by Dr. Jack Creeden. In December 2010, Dr. Glyn Cowlishaw was selected as the new Head of School. His tenure began July 1, 2011.

In 1990, the McMahon Fines Arts Center was dedicated and the school purchased adjoining property and a house for the Extended Day Program.

In 1998, the Dickson-Hemby Technology Center opened and now houses math, science and computer classes. The Thompson-Jones Library and the Mosack Athletic Center were dedicated in 2001 at the conclusion of the “Tomorrow Begins Today” campaign. The Dining Hall in the McMahon Fine Arts center was expanded in 2005. This expansion also included a black box theater and more space for the band program.

In October 2012, the school celebrated the dedication of the newly renovated Overcash Stadium during Homecoming. The dedication celebrated the completion of Mosack Field, Compton Track, the Charger Pavilion and the new student section named the Stampede. The 6,000-square-foot field house and Nix Family Press Box were completed in December 2012.


The school is divided into Lower, Middle and Upper School divisions, each led by a Head of Division and a Dean of Students. In December 2010, Providence Day School’s Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Glyn Cowlishaw, Ed.D., as the new Head of School. His tenure began July 1, 2011.

Providence Day School has established a Global Studies program through which high school students may obtain a Global Studies Diploma after fulfilling course, extracurricular and travel requirements as well as completing a global research project.

Providence Day School participates in the ABC (A Better Change) Program and holds memberships in the National Association of Independent Schools, Educational Records Bureau, National and Southern Association of College Admission Counselors and the College Board. PDS complies with the NACAC Statement of Principles of Good Practices.


Providence Day sports teams compete in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A classification. Sports are available to all students in grades 7-12.

The girls' basketball team continues to be one of the most dominant programs in the state of North Carolina. In 2011, the team won their ninth state championship and their 6th championship in the last 7 years. In 2006, the team was ranked by Sports Illustrated as the third best in the nation.

In 2007, the varsity lacrosse won its first ever NCISAA state championship.

In 2010, the golf, girls' tennis, girls' basketball and boys' cross country teams won NCISAA state champions. In 2010, the boys' tennis team were CISAA champions.

In 2009, for the second straight year, a Providence Day School team won the state title in Physics Lab at Science Olympiad.

In 2009, the boys' track and field team won the state title for the first time since 1998. They went on to win three more titles in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

In the fall of 2011, the Men's Cross Country team won the NCISAA state championship for the 5th time in school history.

In 2013, the Girls' Track and Field team won their first State title and went on win state titles in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Also in the fall, the Varsity Football team won their second NCISAA state championship in school history with a home win over rival Charlotte Country Day School. It was the first true state championship for the Chargers as their first title in 1986 was won by forfeit. The football program is led by Coach Adam Hastings. Coach Hastings previously coached for Ardrey Kell High School.


  • McMahon Fine Arts Center
  • Providence Building
  • Williams Building
  • Ridenhour Gymnasium
  • Wrestling Gym
  • Dickson-Hemby Technology Center
  • Overcash Hall
  • Mosack Athletic Center and surrounding fields
  • Thompson-Jones Library
  • Counseling Center
  • Extended Day House
  • Facilities House
  • Institutional Advancement Office
  • West Wing1

Note 1:This facility replaced former relocatable classrooms known colloquially as "ReLos."

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Providence Day School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed November 6, 2007.
  2. ^ Wong, Debra. "Providence Day earns blue ribbon", News 14 Carolina, October 7, 2003. Accessed November 6, 2007. "This year, the Queen City is boasting one of those jewels in her crown. Providence Day School became Charlotte’s only Blue Ribbon School of Excellence .... Providence Day won the blue ribbon in 1987 as well."
  3. ^ Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982–1983 through 1999–2002 (PDF), United States Department of Education. Accessed May 11, 2006.
  4. ^ U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 2003 through 2006 (PDF), United States Department of Education. Accessed May 11, 2006.
  5. ^ CIBA cited as one of the best by Education Department, Journal Inquirer, November 16, 2006. "The Blue Ribbon award is given only to schools that reach the top 10 percent of their state's testing scores over several years or show significant gains in student achievement. It is considered the highest honor a school can achieve."
  6. ^ Viers Mill School Wins Blue Ribbon; School Scored High on Statewide Test; The Washington Post. September 29, 2005

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°09′38″N 80°46′52″W / 35.1606°N 80.7810°W / 35.1606; -80.7810