Welcome to Columbus Academy
A Message from Head of School Melissa Soderberg
The hearts of Academy students are the soul of our school community. Their wide-ranging interests and efforts – and deep character – lead them to invest in service projects, win state championships and participate in wonderful theater productions and art exhibitions throughout the school year.
Our commitment to character and ethics is represented throughout our campus, from our new 3-year-old classroom to our junior speeches and commencement. In each stage of their education at Columbus Academy, our students engage with a carefully crafted curriculum that invites learners at every age to both challenge and mastery.
Since its earliest days on Nelson Road in 1911, the core to our experience at Columbus Academy has been the relationship between each child and his or her teacher. We have long cultivated excellent and experienced faculty and staff who are dedicated to fostering compassion and integrity while they reward effort and accomplishment among the students with whom they teach, lead and coach.
And while our history roots us in those steadfast values, we are committed to preparing students for the joyful and challenging complexities of our diverse world by shaping our community through actions of inclusion, equity and justice. We pledge to "foster compassion, respect and moral courage" as tenets in our students' lives so that they can be the best possible citizens in a pluralistic world.
Stepping into an excellent school is like breathing fresh air.
Come see our playful young students sorting math tables, 12-year-olds mastering pieces on the cello and teenagers learning to express themselves with clarity and grace. There is sanctity in the sense of community and a reverence for learning at all ages.
I invite you to visit our 231-acre campus and see our passion, our industry and our mission at work – we can't wait to meet you!
Head of School
Mission & Leadership
Columbus Academy – an independent, coeducational college preparatory school – enriches its academic tradition of excellence by valuing a broad diversity of students as it seeks to develop the complete person: mind, body and character. The school rewards rigorous effort and accomplishment, fosters compassion, respect and moral courage, and insists on integrity, fair play and community service. Academy strives to develop and sustain a community of thoughtful, responsible, capable and confident citizens eager to engage in a pluralistic and ever-changing world.
Melissa Soderberg, Head of School
Erich Hunker ’81, Assistant Head of School for Development and External Relations
Dan Olexio, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs
Maggie Koerner, Chief Financial Officer
Cory Izokaitis, Head of Upper School
Shaka Arnold, Head of Middle School
Mark Hansen, Head of Lower School
John Wuorinen ’80, Director of Admissions and Tuition Assistance
Pascal Losambe, Diversity Consultant
2022-23 Board of Trustees
Sandy Doyle-Ahern P’20 ’22, President
Tanisha Lyon Brown P’20 ’22, Vice President
Susan S. Williams, Ph.D., Secretary
Christine Freytag P’18 ’20 ’22, Treasurer
Jonathan Kass ’85, P’19 ’21, Immediate Past President
Kimberly Allison P’26 ’28
Kevin Barney P’21 ’27
Ted Carlin ’89, P’17 ’22
Beth Fisher P’09 ’19
Ronda Gaiser P’19 ’22
Ching-chu Hu P’25 ’30 ’32
Karen Jennings P’22
Ramon Jones P’22 ’23
Paul Judge P’33 ’35
Kevin Malhame P’28 ’30
Jessica Chi Nimjee P’29 ’33
Niles Overly ’69
Bill Porter ’74
Jennifer Salopek P’24
Michael A. Schlonsky ’84, P’17 ’19 ’25
Dr. Pankaj Tiwari P’22 ’25
Patti Zettler ’98, P’32 ’35
Dr. Scott Gurwin ’82, P’14 ’25 (Alumni Board representative)
Jennifer Nester P’21 ’25 (PACA representative)
Columbus Academy teaches careful thought, creativity of imagination and the habit of excellence. The school’s strength has been predicated on careful planning, a robust imagination about its future, and living by its Mission as it nurtures students for a global community. A Strategic Vision adopted by the Board of Trustees of Columbus Academy imagines the future with student learning at the center of all aspects of school work. In carrying out the Strategic Vision, we will determine the best ways to infuse innovation, service, creativity and stewardship in students’ daily lives while the school seeks partnerships in research and collaborative work to prepare them for our pluralistic world.
The Vision is to imbue Columbus Academy’s excellent academic tradition with critical thinking, creativity and reflection by pursuing these strategic goals:
- Curricular Innovation: Innovating the way we teach, learn and play while reasserting Columbus Academy’s most sound programs both inside and outside our classes.
- Ethics and Character Formation: Elevating students’ insight into difference, ethics and character formation through reflective discovery about self and others and active implementation of cultural competencies.
- Student Flourishing: Honoring the way our students achieve and flourish by emphasizing determination, creativity, sense of play and iteration as important and healthy components of their success.
- Service Learning: Fostering compassion, respect and moral courage through the intentional practice of sustained service work beyond the school’s walls.
- Campus as a Living Classroom: Instilling a sense of stewardship and wonder of our campus as a living classroom.