Allen Horn retired more than a year ago from three decades in education as a teacher and sports coach in both public and private schools, mainly around the Charleston area. He spent much of the year after substituting in Sumter School District and …
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Allen Horn retired more than a year ago from three decades in education as a teacher and sports coach in both public and private schools, mainly around the Charleston area. He spent much of the year after substituting in Sumter School District and found he still had a dream to fulfill.
"After 30 years you realize what you've left," he said, "if you've made an impact on students. I've always wanted - at the end of my journey in public, private, large and small schools - to head a school that reaches children in a positive way."
Horn thinks he can do that as principal of the new Sheila E Academy, slated to open in Dalzell in August.
Named for Sheila E. Coplin, who offers tutoring through her 1-on-1 Plus business - she'll also tutor at SEA - the school is a faith-based, college preparatory private school. Coplin sought an experienced educator with the skills to lead the new school, as well as a similar philosophy of educational methods. Horn said meetings with Coplin and Cortez Burns, members of the school's board, proved their ideas for the school to be compatible.
SEA will be accredited through the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools, Horn said, with all teachers accredited, as well. The school will operate under the Abeka (Christian) curriculum, used by Sumter Christian Academy, led by Pastor Ron Davis, administrator.
The school will emphasize Christian values and will "have chapel at least once a week," Horn said. "We would like to teach a Bible class. We'll take the time to do the things we've lost (in schools) over the years. Teachers will also meet to fellowship and have devotions."
Horn, who has a Master's Degree in Education from The Citadel, said he wants "to reach children nobody else wants (to teach). We want to get past all the barriers - reach the ones that don't care. I was like that, getting into mischief. We're trying to get them up to speed."
Getting the parents involved is also an important part of the school's mission, he said. "I will call the parents personally to address any concerns, and we'll have a camera system in place so they can download an app and see what their kids are doing. We'll be completely transparent. My door is always open."
While a full academic program with low teacher-to-student ratios and up-to-date technology will be offered, Horn also plans to emphasize an athletics program with teams in several sports. As a former coach and athletic director, Horn said he's seen how participation in sports can build character in student athletes. With a small student body, he said, there will be opportunities for students to play against other teams from similar schools in the SCACS.
Sheila E Academy plans to open on Aug. 20 at 4107 Thomas Sumter Highway (U.S. 521 North) with grades pre-kindergarten through 12. The office will open Aug. 1. Tuition is $445 a month or $4,895 a year. Parents can apply for assisted tuition. Bus service will be available for an additional fee.
"We're obviously not here to make money," Horn said. "We want to make young gentlemen and young ladies. We're so in love with what we want to do; we're not going to overlook anybody."
Parents interested in learning more about Sheila E Academy are invited to meet with Horn and other staff at 6 p.m. Thursday at the school. Reach the school at (803) 883-5523 or Horn at (803) 840-6213.
Visit the Sheila E Academy Facebook page for more information and photos. Learn more about the Abeka curriculum and philosophy at www.abeka.com.
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