Champaign’s new independent high school will open its doors this fall under the leadership of an experienced school leader. The Board of Directors for Academy High has announced Darren J. Pascavage, Ph.D. as its Founding Head of School. Dr. Pascavage will begin his work for Academy High immediately, traveling monthly to Champaign beginning in January to oversee student admissions, hiring of faculty, program development, and facility design. “Dr. P.” will relocate with his wife, Andrea, and children to the Champaign/Urbana area this summer.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Pascavage at the helm of Academy High during this important time in our history,” said Academy High Board Chair Lisa Libman. “His passion for innovative, student-centered education transcends his career in independent schools.”
Most recently, Dr. Pascavage served as Headmaster of Valwood School in Valdosta, Georgia. Prior to that appointment, he led independent and charter schools in Georgia and San Pedro Sula, Honduras. He earned his B.S. in Physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology, his M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Georgia, and his Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education from Georgia State University. Since 2001, Dr. Pascavage has taught in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University, teaching graduate courses in educational research methods and quantitative analysis.
Dr. Pascavage began his career as a science and mathematics teacher. He has taught a broad range of academic disciplines, including courses such as Advanced Placement Calculus, Advanced Placement Statistics, Advanced Placement Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Physical Science, Astronomy, Philosophy, Computer Science, Mythology, and Latin. Furthermore, he has served as a class advisor, student government advisor, club sponsor and has coached soccer and basketball.
In 2003, Dr. Pascavage was selected as a National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) E.E. Ford Fellow; in 2010 was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS); and in 2015 was elected as a member of the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) Board of Directors.
“Darren brings impressive credentials in educational administration, a passion for improvement in secondary education and an innovative spirit to his role as the Founding Head of Academy High. Darren’s ultimate desire is to build a foundation for the students’ long-term success, which is acutely aligned with the Board’s mission” said Academy High Board Member Duane Nelson. “That is one of the many reasons we are extremely pleased to have Darren on board.”
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to lead Academy High as Founding Head,” remarked Dr. Pascavage. “During my visit last fall, I was impressed with the passion and commitment of the Founding Board and Search Committee; with the enthusiasm of prospective parents and students whom I met at community meetings; and with the wealth of resources available in the beautiful and vibrant Champaign/Urbana area. The fact that the school already has applications in hand speaks to the demand for additional educational options for families and students. The next few years will be remarkably exciting for Academy High, and I am thrilled to be a part of bringing this school into being!”