Grand Center Arts Academy’s Class of 2017 is set to graduate on Sunday, May 21.

Seniors at Grand Center Arts Academy are ready to experience a moment they’ve dreamed of since they enrolled in a school designed for academics and creativity – graduation. As the second class in school history, the Class of 2017 continues to set the path for students to follow. Grand Center Arts Academy will celebrate commencement on May 21 at 3:00 p.m. at the Sun Theater with 95 students – 91 seniors and four juniors who are early graduates. Read more at the Confluence Website . . .

GCAA’s Brandon Riley Nominated for Best Performance Award by Arts for Life

GCAA's Matt Frederickson & Lisa Kaczmarczyk received the following letter from Kimberly Klick, who is on the Board of Directors of Arts for Life:

ARTS FOR LIFE is recognizing Brandon Riley with a nomination for our 18th BrandonRiley-Theater-212x300AnnualBest Performance Awards for Community Musical Theatre.  This year’s nominations have selected Brandon for his award worthy achievement of Best Direction of a Youth Musical Production for the musical Oliver! by St. Louis Summer Players. Over 1,338 participants were eligible for nominations this year.  ARTS FOR LIFE is dedicated to recognizing, supporting and promoting community theatre in the Metro-St. Louis area.  We salute these volunteers and encourage their talent that only enriches our community and our culture.

We would like your help in congratulating Brandon on this outstanding accomplishment.  If you have a newsletter, please consider an article about his artistic endeavors.  A portion of our press release follows below.  You may check our website for information about our organization:

The awards event is open to the public, and production numbers from many nominated shows will be presented to showcase the “Best of the Best” from last year’s musical theatre productions.  We would love to have Brandon’s associates present to show support.

Please also consider purchasing an advertisement in our program to congratulate Brandon on this outstanding achievement. Rates are listed on the enclosed flyer. Deadline is May 9th. Your advertisement would reach 650+ arts patrons/performers at our event and over 1200 through our newsletter, website & social media campaigns. We are very proud of all the people who volunteer their time to bring the Arts to the St. Louis community, and hope that you will help us recognize their efforts.  From this collaborative endeavor, we all win in the long run—and it is, indeed, a fun run!

Thank you for your consideration.


Kimberly Klick

AFL Board of Directors

AFL provided this information about the 18th Annual Best Performance Awards, to be held June 11, 2017. Arts for Life Describes itself as follows:

As we watch music education and theatre programs rapidly die in our schools, the need to keep community theatre alive is more important now, than ever. ARTS FOR LIFE, a non-profit organization with the mission of “Making A Dramatic Difference”, is passionate about the healing power of the performing arts, and is proud to salute, support, and serve the theatre groups in the Metro-St. Louis area. ARTS FOR LIFE is dedicated to promoting public awareness of local community theatre, encouraging excellence in the arts, and acknowledging the incredible people who are a part of it. ARTS FOR LIFE is also committed to supporting charitable programs in helping children, the under-served, and the community.

Each year, ARTS FOR LIFE conducts a special event, The Best Performance Awards for community musical threatre. This event is to recognize the incredible talent we have in St. Louis community theatre, and honor the passion and dedication of those who build this amazing, and unique theatrical community.

Arts for Life Sponsorship Form

We’re hiring teachers and leaders! Spend a Day with Confluence, March 15

Confluence Charter Schools is hiring certified teachers and administrators for the coming school year. We are looking for those who are committed to public education and who want to work in our school community. Interested educators are invited to spend a day with us on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The day includes tours at Confluence Preparatory Academy, which includes Elite Academy at CPA, Aspire Academy and Confluence Academy-South City; lunch, conversations with staff, and the opportunity for an interview. Transportation to the schools and lunch will be provided by Confluence. You can choose one of three options for Spend a Day with Confluence: Full Session, School Tours, Lunch, Interviews, 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. School Tours Only, 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Interview Session Only, 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. To participate, you must register to attend – Spend a Day with Confluence is open to those who are not currently employed with Confluence Charter Schools or Grand Center Arts Academy local education agencies. To learn more about public charter schools in our area, review facts and resources from the Missouri Charter Public School Association. To learn more about public charter schools and their impact on education across the country, review facts and resources from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

CEO Search Update

The CEO Search Committee and the Confluence Board of Directors has selected three finalists for the role of chief executive officer. The search committee was established in September to identify potential candidates for a permanent CEO. Finalists will be interviewed by panels of staff, parents and students on October 17 and October 19. The finalists are: Candice Carter-Oliver has served in the roles of chief academic officer, assistant superintendent of schools and assistant superintendent of support services with Normandy Schools Collaborative in St. Louis. Carter-Oliver is an adjunct assistant professor at University of Missouri-St. Louis, and has experience as an elementary principal, learning coach and classroom teacher in Riverview Gardens, Saint Louis Public and Normandy districts, and she’s attended professional development at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Carter-Oliver earned a master’s degree, educational specialist and doctoral degree from UMSL and a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Ramon Dourado has experience as a chief executive officer and chief operating officer with Halstrom Academy/Futures in Education, Inc., a network of private schools in grades 6-12 in California. He is a former senior vice president of a tutoring services provider in New York that served low-income students, and has worked in operations and development roles with Edison Schools, Inc., a charter school management company. He has been an investor in charter schools, and has served on the board of directors for several charter schools. Dourado earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Clarion University. Steven Gast is an area superintendent with Responsive Education Solutions, and is responsible for 50 schools in both Texas and Arkansas. He is a former superintendent of Nome Public Schools in Nome, Alaska, and served as director of human resources and special programs in the same district. He has 17 years of experience as a principal and 11 years as a classroom teacher. Gast earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a master’s degree from Tarleton State University.
In winter 2016, the board hired an interim CEO, Dr. Peter Kachris. This summer, Kachris asked the board to begin looking for a permanent CEO to replace him before January 1, 2017. He’ll work with the new CEO for a smooth transition in leadership.

The Photography Department at GCAA needs your support!

The Photography Department at Grand Center Arts Academy needs your support! We are kicking off a fundraiser and we need to raise $2,500 to purchase DSLR cameras for our photography students. Our department is thriving and with your help, the purchase of new cameras would only enhance our curriculum and increase student learning tremendously. This year, we are taking orders for GCAA Tervis Tumblers.  The fundraiser will end on November 4th and products will be delivered December 9th (just in time for the holidays)!   Order form attached here!
Please find a photography student to place an order or contact Mrs. Munguia at
We truly appreciate your support and coming together in community for our student's education!

Update on the search for the new Confluence CEO

Since February 2016, the Confluence Charter Schools has been fortunate to have Dr. Peter Kachris serving as our interim chief executive officer. Dr. Kachris is a retired school superintendent with years of experience in education, including assisting schools and boards This summer, Dr. Kachris asked the Board of Directors to begin a search for a permanent CEO to replace him before January 1, 2017. He has agreed to provide assistance to the permanent CEO for a smooth transition in leadership. For complete memo, see the attached.  

Grants to Teachers, Opportunities for Students

The Friends of Confluence, a non-profit foundation that provides support to Confluence Charter Schools, awarded more than $75,000 in grants to teachers and staff to impact student experiences. Teachers and staff submitted grant applications in the spring to fund projects and opportunities in 2016-2017. The grant program encourages teachers to think of project ideas that provide an education opportunity not covered within the general school budget; integrate technology into curriculum; promote parent involvement initiatives; foster collaborations; and demonstrate creative approaches to boosting student achievement. In its first year for the Friends of Confluence grant, 39 applications were submitted; 26 were funded. Entries were reviewed based on criteria and a scoring guide; the grants were awarded on a merit basis. Projects and opportunities range from creating science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classrooms to bilingual libraries to books for staff professional development and more. Congratulations to the 2016-2017 Friends of Confluence grant recipients (Way to go Michelle Oyola, Matt Naes, and Andrew Goodin!): Check out the announcement on the Confluence website - Matthew L. Frederickson, PhD Head of School Grand Center Arts Academy 711 N Grand Blvd, St Louis, MO 63103 (314) 533-1791

#DropTheSuit Update – Judge says charter school parents can’t join suit, July 21, 2016

Today’s update on the legal actions between Saint Louis Public Schools, the state and public charter schools isn’t what we wanted to hear, but it’s important that we give you the information – whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. The upside is that Confluence Charter Schools’ is getting ready for another school year because we have work to do on behalf of our students and families. The first day of school is Wednesday, August 17. It’s a full day for all students at each of our schools – Aspire Academy, Confluence Academy-Old North, Confluence Academy-South City, Confluence Preparatory Academy, Elite Academy at CPA and Grand Center Arts Academy.
[Follow this link for entire article]

Bill considers transfer to charter schools from unaccredited districts. Additional news regarding search for permanent chief executive officer for Confluence

Included here are links to two article of interest to those in the GCAA community: 1. Missouri’s Senate Bill 638 would allow students from unaccredited districts to transfer to approved charter schools. Grand Center Arts Academy meets the requirements of an approved charter school, so it’s possible that families from Normandy and Riverview Gardens, the only unaccredited districts in the area, might be eligible to enroll at GCAA. The article is a Q-and-A format that explains what we know right now. 2. Announcement of the board’s decision to search for a permanent chief executive officer. Dr. Peter Kachris will remain with Confluence as interim CEO until the position is filled. A search committee will be formed as part of the process to find a CEO.