08/11/2017 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

The Best Towns and (some of) Their Best Schools

Seattle skyline and harbor

CS&A works with schools and educational organizations all over the world—from the rural Northeast to major cities to international metropolises—and while we serve hundreds of schools across the country and abroad, we always encourage our candidates to be as geographically flexible as possible in their job search. Why? It’s pretty simple: the more cities and states you are willing to consider, the more opportunities we can send you which increases the likelihood of us matching you with that perfect job.

Deciding to relocate isn’t always easy, as there is often a lot of uncertainty that accompanies such a big change. It can be a big risk, but sometimes big risk equals big rewards. Knowing a bit about a city helps in terms of deciding to add it to your geographic preferences, whether you have a friend or relative who visited or lives in an area you are considering or you spend some time crawling the web and reading about new locations.

Outside Magazine recently published its list of “The 25 Best Towns of 2017.” Its nominees were included by way of a Special Advisory Council and more than three decades of research. While the list is by no means the only of its kind out there, we were struck by the number of locations on the list in which we have client schools. Check out the full list and town descriptions yourself. In the meantime, we’ve featured just a few of the schools we work with that are located in these top towns.

Austin, TX

St. Gabriel’s Catholic School– St. Gabriel’s is a Catholic, coeducational day school for grades PK-8 serving around 450 students in impressive facilities on 33 acres. It is the only PK-8 independent Catholic school in Austin. St. Gabriel’s educates children in a Christ-centered environment that fosters character formation through scholastic excellence and physical, emotional, and spiritual growth. The school develops each child’s potential through the process of differentiated learning, where teachers use a variety of instructional strategies based on student readiness levels, interests, and preferred mode of learning. Teachers at St. Gabriel’s also use an evidence-based approach to teaching and learning—called Social Emotional Learning (SEL)—to help students develop healthy emotions and strong social connections. St. Gabriel’s was named Favorite Private School by the Austin Family Magazine Reader’s Poll in 2014 and 2015, and a Top Workplace in 2015.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal School– An Episcopal, coeducational day school for grades K-12 on two campuses, SAS enrolls more than 900 students. Students benefit from dedicated faculty, a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities. The school thrives on the curiosity, enthusiasm, and diversity of its students, and the curriculum revolves around four main pillars: scholar, artist, athlete, and servant. Woven throughout the community and culture is a strong sense of Episcopal identity, which guides and challenges students to build lives of genuine meaning, purpose, and service. As part of the academic requirements for graduating from the Upper School, students must complete a Junior Experience, spending at least two weeks in an environment that is dramatically different from their daily surroundings. To this end the school offers trips every summer to destinations including Italy, Spain, West Virginia, China, The Galapagos, New Mexico, and France.

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School– This Episcopal, coeducational, boarding and day school educates around 690 students in grades 6-12 on a beautiful 370-acre campus in heart of Texas hill country. Students come from 29 different Texas cities, eight states, and 14 countries. St. Stephen’s has a rich history of teaching students of all backgrounds and cultures to live together in peace and of promoting social justice within its community and beyond. It was the first coeducational Episcopal school in the U.S. and the first integrated boarding school in the South. The campus offers a unique setting: the best of life in a small, dynamic city with easy access to the outdoors and a strong commitment to environmental awareness.

Headwaters School– Founded in 2001, and formerly known as the Khabele School, Headwaters is a coeducational day school serving around 530 students from early childhood (18th months) to grade 12. Beginning with a Montessori foundation and progressing to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, the school cultivates identity formation, fosters empathy, and embraces diversity to bring more peace to the world. IB schools share a common philosophy—a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that Headwaters believes is important for its students. Incorporated into its philosophy is a commitment to the further development of Peace Education. Headwaters desires to create a school community supportive of the family that models health, mutual respect, creativity, cooperation, and diversity.

Birmingham, AL

Highlands School– Highlands School is a coeducational, 4K-grade 8 school with around 275 students. Located on 12 beautiful acres in Mountain Brook, a suburb of Birmingham, the school seeks to educate the whole child, with a commitment to academic excellence, creative expression, and leadership development that prepares students for the best high schools and colleges and for the changing world of the 21st century. The school’s culture embraces the living principle that children learn and grow best in a supportive, close-knit community, where each student is inspired and motivated by a successful and meaningful early education experience. The academic program provides a seamless approach to learning that systematically builds on one success after another. As students move through the grades, they are joined on their journey by a partnership of teachers, parents, and administrators working to develop increasing degrees of initiative, integrity, and self-confidence.

Charleston, SC

Ashley Hall– Founded in 1909, Ashley Hall continues to carry on its original mission of preparing girls for admission to the nation’s best colleges. Situated on a five-acre campus located in historic downtown Charleston, Ashley Hall is South Carolina’s only girls college-preparatory school. This day school serves approximately 650 students from PK (the preschool is coed) to grade 12. Ashley Hall’s curriculum reflects a thoughtful and developmentally appropriate approach to the teaching and learning process. The Learning Spiral, as the school calls it, is a continuum of concepts and an interwoven, spiraling progression of academic mastery. The school’s academic program is particularly strong in the areas of technology and the arts, with art education beginning at the preschool level.

Porter-Gaud School– Porter-Gaud School was founded in 1867. An Episcopal, independent, coeducational day school with 950 students in grades 1-12, the school is located on a suburban 70-acre campus on the harbor and resembles a small college rather than a traditional big-box school. It is the only school in South Carolina to be designated a School of Character by the national Character.org organization. True to its Episcopal identity, the school affirms the value of the spiritual dimension of learning integrating faith and reason, while being grounded in academic excellence. The school’s new Upper School, which houses 24 classrooms, a computer lab, library, Student Lounge, student collaboration areas, conference rooms, and offices will open on the first day of school for the 2017-2018 school year.

Dayton, OH

Miami Valley School– Nestled within Washington Township of Dayton, The Miami Valley School sits on a 22-acre suburban campus. Founded in 1964, it is a coeducational day school serving students in grades PK-12. It is the only independent, college-preparatory school in the Dayton area and it offers a rigorous academic program to a diverse group of students from more than 34 surrounding communities. The school serves around 450 students. MVS has a strong focus in experiential learning: The Miami Valley School Immersion Method is based on the knowledge that learning is rooted in direct experience, which leads to engagement and the discovery of passion by each individual student. The school adheres to a demanding scholarship built on a foundation of integrity and grit, and teachers empower students to live life to the fullest every day, to discover their true passion and purpose, and then to responsibly pursue it with emotional and intellectual rigor.

Kansas City, MO

Pembroke Hill School– Located on two beautiful suburban campuses, this coeducational day school enrolls around 1,200 students from age 2 to grade 12. A merged school, the Pembroke-Country Day School for boys (founded in 1910) and The Sunset Hill School for girls (founded in 1913) joined forces in 1984 to become The Pembroke Hill School. PHS has first rate academics, and as the top school in Kansas City, it rivals the best schools around the country. One hundred percent of PHS seniors go on to college and more than 90 percent are accepted each year to their first or second choice college or university.

Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN

Breck School– This coeducational day school was founded in 1886 by pioneer missionary Reverend James Lloyd Breck. Today, the school, which enrolls 1,160 students in grades PK-12, maintains its affiliation with the Episcopal Church. Breck’s academic program includes accommodation for gifted students and those with learning difficulties, and an extensive language program. Worried about cold weather? The school’s beautiful 47-acre campus includes an indoor passageway which connects the entire school so that there is no need to go outside during the winter. Professional development is taken very seriously, and there is a tuition reimbursement program for teachers to go to a variety of conferences and workshops.

St. Paul Academy and Summit School– St. Paul Academy and Summit School was formed in 1969 by the merger of two schools: St. Paul Academy, founded for boys in 1900, and Summit School, founded for girls in 1917. The school is now a coeducational day school enrolling 930 students in grades K-12. The two campuses, one serving grades K-5 and the other 6-12, are located approximately two miles apart in urban St. Paul on 32 acres. Endowed funds for curriculum and faculty development and a sabbatical program support SPA’s commitment to professional enrichment. SPA boasts the oldest ice hockey program in Minnesota and has many notable alumni including F. Scott Fitzgerald. Because inclusiveness and community building is the highest priority for the school, there is a commitment to diversity of all kinds. Students matriculate at some of the finest colleges and universities in the country.

Portland, ME

Waynflete School– Waynflete’s mission is to engage the imagination and intellect of students, to guide them toward self-governance and self-knowledge, and to encourage their responsible caring participation in the world. The coeducational day school was founded in 1897 and consists of approximately 13 houses converted into classrooms and facilities, giving it a warm, friendly feeling. There are 550 students from early childhood to grade 12. Waynflete’s unique approach to learning combines all the rigor, breadth, and depth of the finest schools in the country with a school culture unmatched in its warmth and sense of community.

Reno, NV

Sage Ridge School– Founded in 1997, Sage Ridge School is Reno’s only nonsectarian independent college preparatory school, and serves students in grades 4-12. The campus is located in a suburban area on 44 acres of land. Sage Ridge has an enrollment of around 230 students. The school is committed to educating its students in a way that allows each student to enjoy personal fulfillment, while simultaneously preparing them to make significant contributions to a changing and challenging world. For over seven years, Sage Ridge has partnered with Washoe County’s Children in Transition (CIT) Program at Traner Middle School, holding multiple drives for school supplies, toiletries, and food for the families in transition at Traner.

Santa Fe, NM

Rio Grande School– Located on an attractive five-acre campus overlooking the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Santa Fe, Rio Grande School is a dynamic, thriving, independent school serving 160 students in grades PK-6. The school is coeducational and nonsectarian. The curriculum is a vigorous and vibrant program that stimulates each child’s intellectual, artistic, and social growth. Rio Grande School is one of the only elementary schools in Santa Fe that offers children daily experiences in the arts, physical education, and Spanish, taught by highly-qualified and passionate subject specialists. The school is surrounded by the natural beauty and rich cultural and artistic heritage of Santa Fe.

Santa Fe Preparatory School– Set in the picturesque adobe-clad city of Santa Fe, this coeducational day school for approximately 320 students in grades 7-12 occupies 33 acres in the city’s suburbs. The school’s two highest commitments are to academic excellence and active citizenship. A discussion-based approach to learning encourages and stimulates an engaging exchange of knowledge and perspectives and the cultivation of skills and attitudes necessary for success in selective colleges and universities across the country and in life. For nearly 50 years, Santa Fe Prep has dedicated itself to opening a world of possibilities for its students in the classroom and beyond. The school is dedicated to active discourse among teachers who love to teach and students who love to learn.

Seattle, WA

Holy Names Academy– Holy Names Academy, the oldest continually operating school in the State of Washington, is a private, Catholic, college preparatory day school for around 700 young women in grades 9–12 located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Established in 1880 by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Holy Names Academy has graduated over 10,000 young women. It offers a strong college preparatory curriculum and serves young women of diverse ethnic, economic, and religious backgrounds. The Academy has been recognized four times by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School, and was named one of Washington’s Best Workplaces by the Puget Sound Business Journal in 2014.

Northwest School– Founded in 1978, the Northwest School was founded by three teachers who believed that a great school must be built around great teachers. A coeducational boarding and day school, Northwest School boasts an enrollment of around 500 students in grades 6-12, and is the only independent school in Seattle with an international boarding program. A vibrant, intellectual home with a warm, inclusive community and a dynamic liberal arts education, the school prepares students to think critically, act compassionately, and discover their place in the world. The outdoor program offers one-day and weekend long trips throughout the year for all students, engaging them in sea kayaking, rock climbing, igloo building, hiking, skiing, and camping.

Seattle Academy of Arts and Science– Founded in 1983 and located on Capital Hill, this coeducational day school serves around 800 students in grades 6-12. The school’s philosophy aims to do four primary things: conduct learning in a Culture of Performance; educate students with a timeless and contemporary curriculum; build strong and trusting relationships; and facilitate character development. In a Culture of Performance, students are challenged to take risks while combining skills in moments of action in order to learn and communicate ideas. Seattle Academy is a leader in arts education and technology fields but the school also has a strong athletic program with 85% of the students participating in athletics. The school provides a unique Outdoor/Foreign Travel Program in which the teachers take students abroad to travel, learn wilderness survival skills, and gain a sense of responsibility and independence.

St. Petersburg, FL

Shorecrest Preparatory School– Shorecrest Preparatory School is an independent, nonsectarian, coeducational day school serving almost 950 students, PK-12. It is the oldest independent day school in Florida. The 28-acre campus is located in the heart of St. Petersburg on Florida’s Gulf coast. Shorecrest is a community of learners, combining challenging course work, personal guidance, and numerous extracurricular opportunities to develop students who are intellectually curious, socially responsible, creative, and independent thinkers. The school’s paramount aim is to prepare students, through increasing self-reliance, to contribute positively and significantly to a world in constant flux.

Do these top towns and schools pique your interest? Talk to your Placement Team today about re-configuring your geographic preferences or exploring some of the other unique and outstanding schools we work with across the country.

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