FDA approaches new school year with stable enrollment, financial foundation

Published 3:48 pm Monday, July 26, 2010

With a solid financial foundation and student body numbers expected to remain steady, Fort Dale Academy is anticipating another good school year. Headmaster David Brantley, who was recently re-appointed for another four years at the helm of the school, said he and the FDA board of directors remain “encouraged” in spite of the economy.

“People are still choosing to make the sacrifice to send their children to our school, and I think that speaks volumes for Fort Dale,” Brantley said.

The student enrollment for the 2010-2011 school year is an estimated 475, “the same as last year,” the headmaster, who is beginning his 15th year with the school, said.

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“Our financial situation is good. We are not in any jeopardy of facing a financial crisis as some other independent schools in our state have faced.”

According to Brantley, a number of teachers and coaching staff that have served ten or more years will be returning to FDA when school begins on August 19.

A former FDA teacher and championship coach, Reggie Mantooth, will be on the courts again to assist with basketball, with Clint Lowery coming on board to join the football program.

Calvin Poole, chairman of the FDA board, applauded the school’s faculty and staff at the school for their commitment to their students.

“We know they could likely make more money employed elsewhere, and we appreciate the sacrifices they obviously make to provide a quality education for our children,” Poole said. “We are pleased we are going to be able to give them a slight increase in pay this year.”

According to Poole, the school will have a small increase in tuition for the 2010-2011 year, but still offer lower than average tuition costs within the Alabama Independent School Association.

“I think that indicates the good value of an education at FDA, even as we continue to try to keep costs as low as possible,” Poole said.

He said that the reappointment of Brantley as headmaster indicates an appreciation for the longtime administrator’s leadership and guidance and a continued confidence in Brantley’s abilities to helm the school.

“We look forward to keeping him in place and the additional stability he brings to our school,” Poole said.

Changes for the coming year include new technology offerings such as “smart boards,” now in place in several classrooms, promoting the “best sort of classroom technologies we can make available ot our teachers and students,” the chairman said.

Poole said additional emphasis of preparation for the ACT will also be seen in the new school year, including changes in curriculum, with special courses on test-taking strategies and review courses on the agenda.

“For many students, their college entrance and scholarship monies are determined by ACT scores,” Poole said. “We need to do all we can to help them gain acceptance to their chosen schools and to compete effectively for scholarships.”

Brantley said his tenure at FDA has been “a great experience.”

“I look forward to continuing my work with faculty, staff and students within the community and the Fort Dale family for several years to come,” Brantley said.

“I should add we greatly appreciate our wonderful, caring parents. They have supported our school for more than 40 years and they continue to do so.”