A new private school for kindergarten and first grade will open in the historic former Croft School building on Highway 115 south of downtown Cornelius. The founders of the new Pioneer Springs Community School include Randolph Lewis and Abigail Jennings, president of Lake Norman Realty, as well as Cheryl and Brian Demers, Erin McDonald and Erik Giles. The director of the new school, Cheryl Demers, could not be reached for comment. Lewis will be a music teacher at Pioneer Springs, while his wife, Jennings, is finance director.
Pioneer Springs Community School is a minimal-tuition private schoolrooted in the Basic School philosophy of Dr. Ernest Boyer, former president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The Basic School philosophy is the foundation of both the Community School of Davidson and Corvian Community School, two extremely successful area charters. The 3,500-plus students on these school’s waiting lists convinced Pioneer Springs’ founders that local demand for this type of school was not yet being met.
The Croft School first opened its doors in 1890 to serve the rural, railroad-centered business district of Croft in North Mecklenburg County. Now, almost 80 years since the school's closing, this historic schoolhouse returns to its original use as the home of Pioneer Springs Community School.
The community is invited to the Historic Croft Schoolhouse for at 4 pm Aug. 1 to mark the official opening of Pioneer Springs Community School. Festivities celebrating the historic structure’s past and future will include recognition of some of the school’s original alumni, a brief historic overview of the schoolhouse by Dr. Dan Morrill, consulting director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission and professor of history at UNCC, and an introduction to Pioneer Springs Community School by the school’s founders. Following the presentations, refreshments, games, and a live performance by Charlotte’s own kids’ music super-group, the Plaza Family Band, will provide fun for the whole family.
The official community celebration will conclude at 6 pm. At 7 pm, Pioneer Springs will hold an Open House, including a detailed presentation of the school’s philosophy by Lisa Humphries of the Community School of Davidson.
Cheryl Demers holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee and a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Communication. Her previous work experience has been as a yoga instructor, a Hospice social worker, and an Ombudsman to residents of long-term care facilities.
Pioneer Springs is currently accepting applications for enrollment in Kindergarten and First Grade. In each ensuing year a grade will be added. More info: www.PioneerSprings.org.
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