Eastminster School heralded the beginning of the school year with new leadership for students and faculty. Headmaster Roy Alexander’s tenure began July 1 when he succeeded Darren Pascavage at the helm.
Alexander, who came to private education by way of the world of business, has eagerly plunged into his new role and aims to advance the school by combining technology and proven traditions.
Alexander’s enthusiasm seems contagious as he navigates around campus. He delights in interacting with the students and shifts seamlessly from working out the kinks of a Skype stream in Latin class to asking first graders about their career dreams – which run the gamut from football player to neurosurgeon. “Eastminster’s niche is rigorous, learner-driven curriculum,” he said. Grades K-8 scored in the 99th percentile in the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and he estimates students are working two levels above their grade.
The arena of education was a shift for the former entrepreneur and father of four. “Sometimes second careers are when you find your passion,” said Alexander, “You’ve had a chance to be exposed to so much then you figure out what you really want to do.”
During a sabbatical studying theology for “personal growth” at Asbury Seminary, he was approached to take an assistant headmaster’s position at Mt. Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta. He had plenty of exposure to the independent school world when his children, currently all enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate schools, attended Deerfield Windsor in Albany.
At Mt. Vernon, his specific tasks were helping grow the K-8 school into a K-12 institution and overseeing a $40 million construction project – “a mission I thoroughly enjoyed.” He followed that job with a two-year stint as headmaster at Bulloch Academy in Statesboro.
Along with his unique credentials, board member Andrew Brown was impressed by Alexander’s methods and results. “Roy has set up a series of benchmarks by which Eastminster will measure itself against arguably the top ten independent schools in the nation,” he said, “The first graduating class of 28 students (at Mt. Vernon) went on to colleges like NYU, Harvard, Duke and UNC.”
This background should prove useful as Eastminster enters its seventh year with its first graduating class slated for 2014. Brown also points out Alexander has already assembled a middle and high school staff that includes three teachers with PhD degrees; the new headmaster will join them upon completion of his dissertation this fall.
One of those teachers is Dr. Helena Jeny, who began teaching her Latin students in Conyers via Skype from Croatia until she arrives on campus at the end of the month. “We got the best professor and developed a model for the remote classroom,” said Alexander, “It opens up a whole new world for us and students who are homebound or in other countries.” In the past, he’s worked with schools in Africa, Croatia and Ukraine to help bring up their education level. An ultimate goal is using remote classrooms to provide additional income to fund the building of the physical campus.
Another development at the school is the implementation of Georgia GOAL scholarships, a program Alexander became familiar with while serving as treasurer for the Georgia Independent School Association. As a result, Alexander said, at least 35 Eastminster students are on partial scholarship. The scholarships allow for a portion of personal and corporate state tax liability to be redirected to a designated private school.
With a growing student base and “out of bounds thinking” along with the commitment to “protect the core values of excellence in mind, body and soul,” Alexander predicts the school’s future is limitless.
For more information visit, www.eastminsterschool.org or call (770)785-6780 to arrange a visit. The school is located at 2450 Lennox Road in Conyers.