16 Jan Springdale Preparatory School Head of School Named Person of the Year by Carroll Magazine
(New Windsor, MD) – Johnny Graham, Springdale Preparatory School’s founding head of school/CEO, was named person of the year by Carroll Magazine. The magazine credited Graham for his ambitions that brought economic growth and cultural impact to Carroll County.
Graham had a vision for an independent, international boarding and day school that would “marry a unique culture with rigorous academics to meet the demands of today’s complex world.” That vision became a reality in August 2017, just a year after choosing New Windsor over sites all over the country, when the first students stepped onto campus. Initially, Graham secured MSDE approval for grades 5-11, and in fall 2019, the school will welcome its first lower school students as part of the fully certified K-12 program.
Graham orchestrated the purchase the grounds of the former Brethren Center in New Windsor, previously the campus of Blue Ridge College. In addition, he successfully negotiated a contract to assume operations this school year at the former New Windsor Middle School, and avails the school facilities and grounds to county recreation program activities. Today, Springdale is home base for 60 students, 23 of whom are boarders.
Springdale affords intensity and focus starting in kindergarten and the program stresses college preparation beginning in middle school. The curriculum is based on providing real-world applications to equip learners socially, academically and emotionally through its values of respect, lifelong learning and innovation. Graham’s nearly three decades of independent secondary school experience laid the foundation for Springdale Preparatory, but his vision also included establishing a community partnership to grow the organization. The New Windsor and Carroll County communities have embraced Graham and the growing school (and its summer camp program), which currently employs 38 faculty and staff members, many from the county.
Graham is a fall 2020 Ed.D. candidate in organizational leadership from the American College of Education. He holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in history and Afro-American studies from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He grew up in the small town of Lemon Springs, North Carolina, and is the product of a Tennessee boarding school education. His roles at various public and private schools include teacher, dean, coach and head of school.
Building on his independent school experiences as a student, faculty member and administrator, Graham aims to provide a setting where students will demonstrate growth in academic environments, interpersonal communications, and life skills. He’s brought athletic competition to Springdale, fielding a baseball team in its first year and junior varsity and varsity boys’ teams this winter. Lacrosse is scheduled for spring, and girls’ basketball teams will follow next winter. His ambitions include growing the student population to 300 and building a free-standing performing arts center, indoor athletic field house and state-of-the-art science lab facility in the next 10 years.