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February 24, 2014

Current, future headmasters speak at Brookwood Annual Meeting

THOMASVILLE — At the Brookwood School Annual Meeting on Feb. 18, parents heard good news about the current academic year as well as optimistic plans for the future. 

Interim Headmaster Tom Johnson recounted many of the new programs, activities and achievements of the current year — from new music classes to a butterfly-tagging project to guidance and character-education programs.  Brookwood’s summer camps in 2013 were so popular, the number and variety of short-term camps for this year has increased.

Johnson reminded the audience of Brookwood’s outstanding SAT scores, National Merit Semi-Finalists and Finalists, and the College Board Advanced Placement scores.

“Our students are required to take the AP exam for accountability,” Johnson said. “Look at the history of AP scores at Brookwood and the universities where Brookwood graduates have been accepted.

“Take a look at Thomasville. Brookwood School graduates hold corporate positions, political and government positions, religious positions and they work in legal, law enforcement, education and medical professions. This has not just taken place. Its record of sustainability of leadership hasn’t been for five or 10 years. It has been for more than 40 years. This is sustained exceptionalism.”

Dr. Randy Watts, Brookwood’s headmaster-elect, was again introduced at the meeting, along with his wife Nadia. He announced the new Science Technology Engineering and Math initiative for the independent school.

“This will involve the construction of a state-of-the-art STEM lab serving the Lower School,” Watts said.

“It will have the components of Lego Education Solutions, Everyday STEM — a professional development program that integrates STEM into all aspects of classroom learning — and integrated science missions in the lab. STEM education emphasizes using creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration to solve real-world problems or issues. Students will have the opportunity to learn in an engaging and stimulating manner. In short, this new lab will be an educational playground for students.”

Watts added that, after the initial STEM lab in in place in fall 2014, the plan is to add two additional labs to serve the Middle School in successive years.

Among other new initiatives, Brookwood and Thomas University agreed to partner to leverage the strengths of each institution.

“This summer, we intend to offer a Chinese Culture Camp at Brookwood taught by a Thomas University student,” Watts explained. “We are looking into additional ways to collaborate in the future.”

Watts said "When I look to the future of Brookwood School, I think about tradition and innovation. On the one hand, Brookwood is a place rich with beloved traditions in a town that prides itself on its unique culture. At that same time, Brookwood has the opportunity to develop in innovative approaches to education, including the new STEM labs, as well as an increased focus on instructional technology. Where these elements of innovation are not already in place, the seeds are firmly sown for this to occur. I want Brookwood to be known as exceptional in tradition and innovation at the same time."

Board Chairman Bill Hodges conducted the meeting, which also included reports from Treasurer Tom Simmons and Director of Advancement Kelly Campbell.

Following her fundraising update, Campbell reminded everyone that the 34th Annual Brookwood School Auction is scheduled for March 8. Proceeds will benefit the new STEM lab.

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