Barnwell Academy welcomes new head of school

A former public school teacher has been chosen as Barnwell Academy's new head of school.
Deanna Grubbs comes to Barnwell Academy after previously working six years as a second grade teacher at Barnwell Primary School. After spending a couple years outside of the education system working part-time at F.H. Dicks Company and raising her children, Grubbs said she is excited about this opportunity.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back into the classroom," said Grubbs, who will also teach preschool students. She said their preschool program offers parents a choice in the number of days they wish to send their child to school and has a later age cutoff date than public schools.
While she never pictured herself as an administrator, Grubbs said she felt God opened the door for her to get out of her comfort zone.
As a Christian, Grubbs said she was drawn to the school which has weekly Bible lessons. "I love the fact that faith is part of this school," said Grubbs, the daughter of Hagood Avenue Baptist Church pastor Ken Catoe.
She also likes that "at a smaller private school you can focus on the individual student. That's what I want for my own children as well."
Grubbs' two-year-old son Chase will attend preschool at Barnwell Academy this year. Her daughter Laney, 5, will transfer to the school next year after finishing the Montessori program at Barnwell Primary this year.
Grubbs said she hopes to eventually incorporate the Montessori format into their classrooms. While they already have mixed grades - one part of Montessori - she said she wants to bring the teaching principles of Montessori as a way of helping students achieve even more academically. Grubbs is currently finishing her master's degree in Montessori education.
When asked what she loves about teaching, Grubbs said it's "seeing the light bulb go off and knowing they really got" what they were taught.
"I believe you can do that by having caring educators," said Grubbs.
While Lauren Croft is returning as the second and third grade teacher, the school has hired two new teachers for the 2014-15 school year. Angie Morris will teach kindergarten and first grade while Debbie McEwen, who taught at Barnwell Academy a couple years ago, will teach fourth, fifth and sixth graders.
"They will add a lot to the school," said Grubbs of the experience the new teachers bring.
Grubbs said she is looking forward to her new job and helping the school grow. The school has added grades over the years and currently serves students in 3K to sixth grade. They also moved into their own building last year, located at 10982 Ellenton Street, after using space at Barnwell Presbyterian for several years.
The school's first full day of school is August 18, but they accept registration all year long.
Anyone interested in learning about the school is invited to enjoy some ice cream and take a look around during an open house on August 4 at 6 p.m. at the school.
For more information, call 259-4465 or visit