Upcoming Eastminster event:
Night Owls Ride
Aug. 9, 6:30 p.m. kickstands up
Stone Mountain Harley Davidson, 900 Dogwood Dr SE, Conyers
Third annual motorcycle ride fundraiser for Eastminster School, police escorted, starting at and returning to Stone Mountain Harley Davidson for food, raffles, fashion show and a concert with ZZ Top tribute band Eliminator; started by Harley-Davidson enthusiasts Gary and Jenn Teal of Live Event Solutions.
For more information: nightowlsride.org
Blake Craft is the new headmaster of the Eastminster School, a private college prep school for students K-12 on Lennox Road in Conyers. Craft has a long history in local education, including as the longtime principal at Shoal Creek Elementary School. He started teaching in Rockdale County Public Schools in 1984 at Flat Shoals Elementary, where he won Teacher of the Year honors, and moved to the new Salem High in 1991 as a teacher and coach. He later became assistant principal at Memorial Middle School, then served eight years as principal at Shoal Creek, where he retired in July 2012. He continued substitute and part-time teaching and coaching in RCPS before being named Eastminster's headmaster earlier this year.
The News: What about Eastminster drew you out of retirement to run a school again?
My goal [in becoming an educator] was not to get into administration or be a headmaster. My goal was just to get back in the classroom and be with the kids.
The pull for me to come here was, when I visited two or three times, I found it to be an intriguing place and a special environment. Eastminster is a special place. It grew on me every time I came to visit.
The campus here is tucked away. It's a safe haven. It's a family atmosphere. The students in the classrooms were engaged and very on-point. The teachers in the classroom were engaged.
The News: What is your day like as a headmaster?
Right now, it's been a little bit of a whirlwind. The staff here is great. They're doing a good job of keeping me in line and steering me on the right path.
When school starts, we're going to find out [what it's like]. All summertime is, is planning for the school year.
What I like to do is get into the classroom. I'm going to be in the classrooms a lot with the kids. I'll be in every classroom at least once a day.
I'm a very hands-on [administrator]. I'll get in and play with them. If they're doing a play and dancing, I'll dance with them. If they're playing instruments, I'll pick up an instrument and try to play as well.
The News: You have now led both public and private schools. What are the differences?
I think every public and private school has its advantages. Every private school has something a public school doesn't have, and every public school has something a private school doesn't have.
Parents have to choose what's best for their children. We're here and our doors are always open. They're welcome to come visit. When people come and see Eastminster, they're going to see it's a special place.
The News: Eastminster focuses on the liberal arts and reading the traditional classics. What are the benefits of that for students going on to a modern college education?
We have the traditional liberal arts education. When it comes down to it, it's still teaching in the classroom makes this place special.
I think it's a lot more one on one. Class sizes are very small. Our [lower] classes have at most 14 students.
The lower school students have two to three special classes a day with music, arts, Spanish.
We require all students to be a part of band. They're getting a well-rounded education.