In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

December 2015

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A Strategic Look to the Future

Recently the Board of Trustees and Mr. Nicholson announced the beginning of a strategic planning process for George Walton Academy. Every five years the Academy goes through a similar planning process for our re-accreditation. The acquisition of an additional 9 acres to the campus over the summer has provided the opportunity for leadership to undertake this endeavor.

After meeting with several consultants, the Board of Trustees hired Mr. Bob Chambers as a facilitator for this process. Mr. Chambers served as head of Athens Academy for 30 years, from 1983 to 2013. Prior to that, Mr. Chambers was the assistant head of Pace Academy. Mr. Chambers has served on the boards of GISA, SAIS, NAIS, and the Georgia High School Association, among others, and he also chaired the SAIS Accreditation Committee. Headmaster William Nicholson was part of the selection process. “We selected Bob to work with us because he was the initiator and an instrumental leader in the process of combining SAIS (Southeastern Association of Independent Schools) and SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) for a dual accreditation process. His efforts had a tremendous impact on the accreditation process, making him a nationally recognized leader.”

Chairman of the Board, Michael Geoffroy explained the focus of the plan. “We are always thinking with long range plans in mind,” he said. “This new property opens up a world of opportunities for us to continue our tradition of providing our students the best education possible. As Mr. Nicholson considers his future at GWA, he wants to have a plan in place that continues his vision of excellence by aligning our facilities to reflect our academic excellence."

The strategic planning committee represents a cross section of the school stakeholders. The committee consists of Mr. Nicholson, Michael Geoffroy, Meredith Malcom, Darrell McWaters, Fei Rawl, Nathan Purvis, Loy Turner and Zack Farmer. This committee will identify school needs and evaluate goals. Currently two sub committees have been established, Visioning Committee (to create a vision for the future of the school) and Surveying Committee (to listen to constituents to position us so we continue to excel).

The projected date for the completion of the strategic studies is by the end of this academic year. “We are taking a patient and deliberate approach to create the plan that best fits George Walton’s needs,” said Geoffroy. “I am proud of our leadership and their dedication to this process. Ultimately we are doing this for our students and I am confident that GWA is forging a path for our continued success far into the future.”

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Blake Heard is the November Student of the Month

Senior Blake Heard was selected as GWA’s Rotary Student of the Month for November. Blake is an AP Scholar, served as a Junior Marshall and received the Georgia Certificate of Merit. As an active member in both the National Honor Society and National Beta Club, Blake is a Study Buddy and volunteers to help others in the community. He is also a student athlete, playing baseball and basketball throughout high school. Blake plans to attend UGA or Georgia Tech.

Blake has selected Mrs. Barrett as the November Teacher of the Month. Congratulations, Blake and Mrs. Barrett!

Technology Design Concepts Class Open House

Monday, Dec. 14th 2015 at 6-7pm

High School Technology Room (Rm. 115)

You are invited to see the work that the students have created in their technology class this semester. The students have worked hard learning about new technology including 3D printing, 3D modeling, and programming mobile apps. Come by and see the projects and the 3D printers in action. Light refreshments will be provided.

Please RSVP to Philip Peavy (

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GWA Students Undertake Community Service Project to Benefit Others and Honor the Legacy of Coach Mike Head

George Walton Academy was shocked and saddened with the unexpected loss of Coach Mike Head in October. Students in his class wanted to take on a project that would pay homage to his memory in a manner that reflected his loving spirit. They decided to support a charity that provides clean water in third world countries. These students feel that this is fitting as he was a history teacher for many years and taught not only the history of our world, but also our place in it. He would often say when he drank a bottle of water that “he was drinking water from a well he did not dig.” He was a man of great faith and this was a Biblical reference from Deuteronomy 6:11, “We drink from wells we did not dig, we are warmed by fires we did not kindle.” Those who knew Coach Head were fed by his spirit in some way. Now we want to give back and honor his memory. His classes have made their first donation of $100.00 to Just One Africa; an organization working to enable people in Africa to have access to clean water. The classes have bottled water available for a donation. The students have been excited to participate in this project and feel honored to carry on the wonderful memory of Coach Head.

For questions about the project, contact Mrs. Reagan at or visit the website of Just One Africa at

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A Christmas Tradition

30 years ago Class of 1985 Tab Bone helped start the Christmas tree tradition when he went into the woods and cut down a small tree for a younger student. Since that time the Senior - First Grade tree presentation has grown into one of our most cherished traditions. On Friday, Tab’s son Trey presented his tree to his First Grader! Pictured: Class of Class of 1985 Tab Bone, Class of 2016 Trey Bone, Class of 2005 Chase Rutledge (featuring the tree Chase gave to Trey in 2005).

An Opportunity to Give Back to the School You Love

Annual Loyalty Fund

This year the goal for the Annual Loyalty Fund is $750,000. To date we have raised $109,977. The Annual Loyalty Fund is the most important fundraiser for the school. It provides funding for excellent teachers, technology needs and exceptional programs while helping keep tuition reasonable.

The Development Office will be closed during Christmas Break. Year end gifts postmarked by December 31 will be deposited when we return and a 2015 tax letter will be provided.

GOAL Tax Credit

December 15 is the deadline to sign up to redirect a portion of your 2016 tax dollars to benefit George Walton Academy. Why give your tax money to the state of Georgia when you can receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit that directly impacts George Walton Academy? To find out more information, contact Jenni Cole at

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Merry Christmas from GWA!

We hope you have a wonderful and blessed holiday! Psst... Did you know that Santa shops at the Dawg Shop? Merry Christmas!!!


Important Dates at a Glance

December 7 – 11: Hour of Code Project

December 10: Robert Testa will be signing with Toccoa Falls College at 1:00 in the Upper School Library for baseball

December 11: Deadline for canned food drive for Empty Stocking Fund deadline

December 14: GWA can sorting night at the National Guard Armory (436 E. Washington Street in Monroe). Volunteers needed. 5:30 pm.

December 15: Deadline to apply for the 2016 GOAL tax credit.

December 18: Early Release

10:30 – 6th and 7th grade

11:30 – K4

12:30 – K5-5th grade

1:00 – 8th – 12th grade

Christmas Break is Monday, December 21st – Friday, January 1st

Return to school on Monday, January 4th.

Smash Box Camp: Aftercare program for lower school students kicks off January 8. Openings are still available! Contact Peggy Jordan ( for more information.

Visit for full calendar events.