Welcome Messages from the Administrative Team of GCAA
Welcome Message from Ms. Ashley Olson, Interim Head of School.
Dear GCAA Community,
It is my distinct pleasure to introduce myself to you as the Interim Head of School at Grand Center Arts Academy. I feel both honored and fortunate to have the opportunity to lead a dynamic school with such a positive, relational community.
I graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Drama and a clear focus on a performance career. When my daily work with students became more exciting and fulfilling than my audition schedule, I realized a new passion and earned my Master’s in Educational Theatre from NYU. In New York City, I worked as a literacy specialist, a special programs coordinator, and a teaching artist. In 2010, I joined a non-profit organization called Global Empowerment Theatre (GET) which utilizes social justice theatre and playwriting techniques to facilitate literacy through theatre workshops in Zanzibar and India.
I am coming to St. Louis after six and a half years of work in the international sphere. I designed summer curriculum in Myanmar and grew a small play group into a 4 room school house utilizing a progressive, community based model of multi aged classrooms in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Most recently, I was the Head Principal at a k-12 American School in Fes, Morocco where I refined policies, improved teacher support systems, and coached a champion middle school speech and debate team. I love to travel and immerse myself in different cultures because I believe it helps us to connect to others on a fundamental level. With US experience limited to the coasts, I see St. Louis as an exciting new city and culture to explore - your recommendations are most welcome!
I have a lifelong personal investment in the arts and believe whole heartedly that arts education can change lives. Our society is becoming increasingly more difficult to navigate and the empathy, confidence, and collaborative skills built through arts education is more important than ever to future success. I look forward to exploring existing systems and opening new opportunities for our GCAA students to experience art as spectators and creators both in the classroom and beyond.
I am excited to meet the GCAA community and get to know everyone.
Welcome Message from Ms. Gina Bell-Moore of the Principal Upper Academy.
Hello Upper Academy Families!
On behalf of the dedicated staff at Grand Center Arts Academy, I want to welcome you to the 2018-2019 school year! As the principal of the Upper Academy, representing grades 9-12, I’m excited to be part of the GCAA family. I bring years of experience in secondary education, and we have hired highly qualified teachers who bring a wealth of experience and expertise. We look forward to working collaboratively with each one of you to carry out the mission of Grand Center Arts Academy.
Every summer, we were busy preparing for our students. Most importantly, we have conversations focused on student achievement. As a result, our teachers engage in ongoing professional development in research-based instructional strategies and Missouri Learning Standards, and will routinely analyze student achievement data. We also will engage in professional development that emphasizes establishing and maintaining positive relationships with students.
We have examined ways to encourage our students to pay close attention to their tardiness. Arriving to school on time ensures that students will be present for instruction, and being on time minimizes the disruption that being late to class can cause. As a school community, we must work together to minimize being late to school. Please share any ideas you have; your input is valued.
Parents, we welcome you to become involved at GCAA in some capacity, such as being a volunteer, attending events, visiting classrooms, etc. Research shows that when parents and guardians participate in their child’s school, children are more likely to earn higher grades, enroll in higher level classes, have better social skills, attend school regularly, and graduate and go on to post-secondary education.
Grand Center Arts Academy is a unique place where students have the opportunity to demonstrate their academic abilities and showcase their unique gifts and talents. Let’s work together to help them become the best students and citizens they can be. To do so, we must communicate with each other; I am a firm believer in communication, which is vital to creating partnerships. With that being said, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Principal, GCAA Upper Academy
Welcome Message from Ms. Tennille Peeler of the Principal Lower Academy.
Greetings GCAA Community!
It is with great pride and excitement that I write this letter of introduction to you as the newly appointed Principal of Grand Center Arts Lower Academy. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead a school with such a rich tradition of arts education! I have been dedicated to the field of education for more than eighteen years and though I have worked with a variety of schools, my passion has always been middle school. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with my Master's of Art in Teaching, I relocated to Philadelphia, PA where I began working with middle school students as an 8th grade math teacher. In 2010, I decided to try my hand at Educational Leadership and completed my Master’s of Education degree with a focus on school leadership. Since then, I have served in several leadership capacities ranging from an Instructional Support Officer, Principal of a K-8 charter and Director of Educator Effectiveness for the School District of Philadelphia. I am excited and eager to bring my skills as an educational leader to GCAA’s Lower Academy and work with you as a partner in education to ensure your child's success.
Along with the teachers and staff, I will work hard to restore the legacy of success established at GCAA by building strong relationships with parents, students and community partners. We will focus on an arts-integrated approach to learning, the use of data to drive instruction, and to provide consistent implementation of the curriculum in a rigorous manner so that we can continue to increase all of the students' achievement.
All of us at Grand Center Arts Lower Academy are eager and excited to begin what promises to be the best year ever. This year is going to be amazing as we continue to provide academic experiences for our students that are rigorous, relevant, and help them build relationships while making real-world connections. As your principal, it is important to me that everyone who steps through our doors-teachers, students and parents-are excited to be here! This attitude enables us to meet the challenges of academic excellence in a positive, fun, and nurturing environment. My is door is always open, and I welcome your input. Please feel free to call or email me to discuss any concerns you might have throughout the school year.
I look forward to working with you as a team to help each student at GCAA meet their goals and have a successful school year!
Ms. Tennille Peeler
Lower Academy Principal