Salisbury Academy starts school year with refreshed mission, expansion, upgrades

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 15, 2019

SALISBURY — Salisbury Academy welcomes the 2019-20 school year with a refreshed mission, programming expansion and grounds upgrades.

This mission, coming in light of the school’s upcoming reaccreditation cycle with the Southern Association of Independent Schools, reads “Salisbury Academy inspires a love of learning and prepares passionate leaders through discovery, stewardship, community and faith.”

The school will also expand its enrichment programming: choice-based offerings for students as they explore areas of interest to complement their school-day experiences. Enrichment offerings will now include travel for students, families and alumni families. An upcoming trip to New England is currently available for interested families, alumni and friends of the school and will provide both outdoor adventure and immersion in history. 

Several buildings and grounds upgrades have been completed over the summer. A new four-square court gifted by the graduating class of 2019 was added to the playground, a new phone system was installed and a drainage system at the front and back entrances was put in place thanks to a grant by the city of Salisbury. 

Salisbury Academy is a founding member of the new athletic conference, Foothills Association of Middle School Athletics. As one of eight schools in the conference, Salisbury Academy looks forward to offering a full selection of sports and to the addition of flag football to its existing offerings of tennis, golf, volleyball, soccer, cross country, track, basketball and cheerleading. 

Over the 2019-20 school year Salisbury Academy will continue to build upon its partnership with Horizons Unlimited and its offerings as an official STEM school. Activities in the year ahead will include regular visits by the coding bus and whole-school Horizons STEM immersion days both on the Salisbury Academy campus and at the Horizons center. 

Welcoming new faces

Along with its new mission, programs and upgrades, the school will also welcome five new staff and faculty members: Shannon Ellsworth, a fourth-grade teacher; Allison Doby, director of admissions and alumni support coordinator; Melissa Heilig, a kindergarten assistant teacher; Shonda Honbarger, a second-grade teaching assistant; and Kristen Leonard, a first-grade teacher.

Ellsworth earned her bachelor of arts in elementary education from UNC-Chapel Hill and her master of science in education from The Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. She most recently served Horizons Unlimited for six years where she developed and implemented programming and educational field trip opportunities for Rowan County students in kindergarten through 12th grades. 

Doby brings with her nine years of experience counseling and serving as department chair at Rowan-Salisbury high schools. She holds a bachelor of science in human child development from UNC-Greensboro as well as a master of arts in school counseling from UNC-Charlotte. In addition to serving on her school’s leadership team and enhancing the well-being of students academically, personally, socially, and mentally, Doby has served as a Rowan-Cabarrus Community College career and promise liaison as well as a Crosby Scholars liaison. 

A Salisbury Academy parent with experience serving in Salisbury Academy’s classrooms, athletics, and front office, Heilig holds a bachelor of arts in english from N.C. State University. Her more than 16 years of experience in the classroom and working with children includes her time teaching at the First Presbyterian Day School, directing the preschool Sunday programming for First Presbyterian Church, serving as an early childhood nanny, and assisting in Salisbury Academy classrooms of students in grades JK through 8. 

With more than 35 years of experience in the classroom, Honbarger attended Rowan-Cabarrus Community College for early childhood education and has experience both in the classroom and administrative capacities of a school. Most recently she taught at Christ United Church Preschool where she taught classes in all age groups, supervised staff, and planned and implemented curriculum, activities and programs. 

Leonard is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where she earned her bachelor of science in exercise science as well as a master of arts in teaching degree. She served as a tutor and student teacher over the course of her graduate program, and most recently she taught in the kindergarten classroom for a charter school in Wilmington. 

Back-to-school important dates 

Following the first day of school on Aug. 14, Salisbury Academy will host back-to-school nights at the following dates and times: Aug. 20 from 6-8 p.m. for junior kindergarten and kindergarten, Aug. 22 from 6-8 p.m. for grades first through fourth; and Sept. 29 from 6-8 p.m. for grades fifth through eighth.

The junior kindergarten through fourth-grade events are for parents only. For the fifth through eighth-grade event, parents and students are welcome.