In the Spotlight:
WHAT: Woodlee’s Christian Academy
WHERE: 3195 Ga. Highway 162
CALL: (770) 788-2770
When John and Daisy Woodlee opened Woodlee's Christian Childcare Center on Old Salem Road in Conyers in 1970, they had no idea it would grow to be the school it is today.
The school has grown significantly over the years and is now Woodlee's Christian Academy, a school on Ga. Highway 162 in Covington with an enrollment of 130, from 3-year-old preschoolers to grade 12.
Their daughter, Terri Knight, took over in 1996. When she was in high school, she would head to Woodlee's to give her parents a hand. After she graduated in 1980, she became a full-time employee with the school. Knight loved every aspect of the academy and was proud to take over for her parents.
"I felt like my parents were my college educators," said Knight, who is the academy's executive director. "Between 1980 and 1996, I worked very closely with my parents. I feel like I've learned so much in the 16 years I worked with them.
"Children are just my life," said Knight. "It doesn't matter where I am, I can connect with children and pull a smile out of them. And that just warms my heart."
Ten years after Knight took ownership, Woodlee's outgrew its original facility as a result of her dedication to growth and expansion. The school eventually moved to a new multi-million dollar facility in Covington at 3195 Ga. Highway 162. That location allows the school to serve better Rockdale, Newton, Henry, Walton and Jasper counties.
Knight, with the support of parents, wanted the academy to transition from a childcare center to a full-fledged school. The academy continued to add grades in 1994 and saw its first graduating class of high school seniors in May. Its seniors are eligible for the HOPE scholarship.
The academy prides itself on the service it provides for the community. Every year, the school celebrates Others Day, designated for students to perform a variety of community service programs. The school also holds several fundraisers, such as providing roofs for schools in Haiti.
"It's a great feeling for the children," said Knight. "It gives them a sense of serving, which is something we really promote. We are forever giving back to the community. These children are givers ... We're very much about building a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, so that they can fulfill their calling. "
As the academy continues to adhere to its vision as a "calling-prep school that produces world changers for Jesus Christ," Knight is proud of how the school her parents built has grown.
"When we got the new facility, my mother sat in the new office across from me and said, ‘wow.' She was awestruck and couldn't believe how far we've come. She said, ‘I knew God had plans, but I just didn't know!'"