EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the complete Q&A with The Heiskell School's board of directors, with school spokesperson Rebekah DeRoco relaying those answers to Patch. See also: After 65 Years, it's Time for Others to Carry Out The Heiskell School's Mission
The board says this is the time "to complete our mission as a family owned and managed institution." What makes this the time? Is it a matter of finances?
65 years ago, the Heiskell School began as the answer to the prayers of James and Miriam Heiskell when their eldest son, Andy, was struck with polio. The Heiskell family is so grateful to have been called into this ministry and honored to have served God alongside extraordinary faculty and staff.
Our current students and faculty and staff are among the finest we have ever seen. We are having a spectacular year at the school – many have said that it has been our best. There is no precipitating factor that caused this decision. At this time, we simply feel that God has made it clear to us that this ministry should continue outside of any organization managed by the Heiskell family. It may not be common knowledge that The Heiskell School is not a non-profit and so cannot raise money the way that other schools do. We believe that the work that God is doing in our community is not dependent on the Heiskell family. In fact, there may be more opportunity for growth if the ministry and mission iscarried forward by others. We believe wholeheartedly in the mission of the school, and we believe that the ministry will continue and will thrive. We’re happy to talk to anyone who wants to continue that mission.
As far as the mention of "family owned and managed institution," was there any notion of selling the school so it could continue?
We believe wholeheartedly in the mission of the school, and we believe that the ministry will continue and will thrive. We are happy to talk to anyone who wants to continue that mission.
How many students are enrolled at Heiskell this year?
From what areas do your students come to school?
They come from a very wide area – essentially all over the metro area. We have students who drive an hour to get to school and students who live very close to the school in Buckhead.
How many people are employed as staff?
The school has approximately 38 employees.
In addition to the message on the school's website, how have parents been notified?
Parents were notified at a previously announced school meeting on Tuesday night, January 21. The announcement was posted on the school website and Facebook on Wednesday morning. Hard copies of the announcement were mailed to parents on Tuesday afternoon and handed out to them in the carpool lines on Wednesday.
Has the tuition charged kept pace with the costs of running the school? How would you say the tuition compared to other private schools in the area?
Consistent with the ministry and mission of the school, we have strived to keep tuition at a level that is significantly below many other area independent schools.
Buckhead Preparatory reached out – and notified me at Buckhead Patch – that it had places for some elementary students to apply. Have any other private schools done something similar?
We believe that our current students are among the finest we have ever had the privilege to serve. Since the announcement, we have been in touch with the heads of many area independent schools. Without fail, those administrators have offered their support and said that they would assist in any way possible.