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Upper School

Finding Your Way, Guided by Wisdom

When you walk around our Upper School campus, you'll feel like you're on a college campus, and that's intentional.

Our beautiful facilities and wide array of curricular and cocurricular opportunities will prepare you to confidently navigate your future. With a student to teacher ratio of 7:1, you’ll get close attention from dedicated teachers who inspire, challenge, and support. You will learn from peers who bring fresh perspectives and new ways of thinking and develop lifelong friendships. At Woodward, you can dive deeply into the subjects that inspire you, build the confidence to make a difference, and discover strengths and qualities that only you bring to the world. Whatever your passions—in academics, the arts, or athletics—you can follow them. You can find your way.

Respecting ourselves, each other, our school and our world is the Woodward Way.

 

Academics

At many schools, the courses are all at the same level of academic rigor, which means you might get bored if the pace is too slow, or you could become overwhelmed if it’s moving too quickly. At Woodward, we recognize that students need added challenge in areas where they excel and extra support where they need reinforcement. You can mix and match the rigor levels of your classes by taking advantage of the four different academic “tracks” we offer. If you’re strong in sciences, we’ll make sure you’re in a class that requires greater depth, analysis, and critical thinking skills. Maybe you need extra reinforcement in English? We’ll provide more structure and guidance so you can master skills while building self-confidence in the subject. It’s a balancing act to get it right, but at Woodward, we’ll meet you where you are and give you the tools to succeed in school and in life. 

Learn more by exploring our interactive curriculum guide.

 

 

 

upper school student works in art studio

STEAM

In the Upper School, you'll engage in truly world-class STEAM experiences led by top-notch faculty like Tommy Ehrensperger ’78, who teaches Physics, Astronomy, and Meteorology. “We have quite an array of opportunities, ranging from core courses to AP courses to Robotics and Computer Science, arts, and all kinds of interesting electives,” he said. You’ll have access to state-of-the-art labs, an electron microscope, a greenhouse, and even a planetarium. You’ll be taught by passionate, engaged faculty members who will inspire, challenge, and support you. Our STEAM curriculum is chock full of challenging and interesting courses like Analysis, Anatomy and Physiology, Criminal Investigation, Forensics, and Biotechnology, Discrete Mathematics, and Independent Science Research (ISR). ISR partners advanced science students with professors from colleges and universities including Georgia State and Emory University, to perform authentic independent scientific research. It’s an unparalleled opportunity to do college-level work while still in high school.

physics

“My leadership  in the Woodward community ranges from my role as a board member of Woodward Equality Alliance to a captain of the varsity girls soccer team to a summer camp counselor, where I discovered my love for kids and teaching. My time at Woodward has developed me into the person I am today.” Upper School Student

Respecting Ourselves & Others

While we are one of the most diverse private schools in Atlanta, even the nation, we believe that it’s not enough merely to be diverse in our demographics. You’ll learn alongside classmates who represent diversity in all its forms—racial, ethnic, religious, and geographic as well as differences in learning style. You’ll engage in service projects to give back to others with partners including the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Jesse Draper Boys & Girls Club. You can join affinity groups like the Equity Alliance, Black Student Union, Yad B’Yad, and the Interfaith Council. As a senior, you’ll complete a Compassion Capstone project that will allow you to explore, from multiple perspectives, a complex subject that inspires you. You’ll go into the world understanding how to engage in dialogue with others who think differently and to work together to make the world a better place.

Arts

If you’re a visual artist, you can take advanced painting, fiber arts, jewelry-making, film photography, and art history; some in year-round classes. Musicians can study the violin, guitar, trumpet, or percussion, or create your own pieces in our digital lab. You can sing and act in spring musicals like “Mamma Mia” or dance in the Young Choreographers Series. Whether you’re marching with the award-winning band under Friday night lights or touring Europe with our choral group, you’ll find your way and your passion while learning from teachers who are working artists, in studios and classrooms that rival college spaces.

Learn more about our Visual & Performing Arts programs.

Cocurriculars

With more than 100 student clubs and organizations, opportunities abound for Woodward students to pursue their passions and interests on a deeper and more meaningful level. Whether you are interested in the environment, religion, a world language, government, art, or film, Woodward has something for everyone.

Learn more about our vast cocurricular offerings.

 

Athletics 

Camaraderie. Teamwork. Winning with grace and integrity. When you’re a student-athlete at Woodward, coaches guide you with these philosophies as they give you the skills to succeed. At Woodward, you’ll be able to choose from 18 varsity sports and compete at the state and regional championship levels. You’ll be challenged to do your best in athletics and academics while being supported by coaches, trainers, teachers, and teammates who care about you. And who knows? You might become one of the many Woodward grads who go on to play college sports at every level.

Learn more about Athletics.

Diploma Distinctions

You can pursue your passion by earning a diploma distinction in Global Studies, Sustainability, or Service Learning. Apply by the end of your 10th grade year to graduate with a distinction, and you’ll gain an advantage in college admissions and future career opportunities in one of these areas that are truly vital to the future of our world.

Learn more about Diploma Distinctions.

Maymester

As an Upper School student, you will participate in Maymester during the last week of the school year and choose from a variety of unique courses that provide real-world learning opportunities. Designed as a short-term enrichment program, Maymester is anchored in the philosophy of experiential education to prepare you for life beyond the gates of Woodward. You can choose from cross-disciplinary courses—from Zoology, to Service Learning, to Outdoor Education, and much more—where you’ll be exposed to different ideas, cultures, community, and relationships through a memorable hands-on learning experience.

Learn more about Upper School Maymester.

College Counseling

During your Upper School journey, you’ll benefit from the wisdom and guidance of our College Counseling team who will empower, advise, and support you through your transition to higher education. Starting with college awareness in 9th grade and continuing through personalized college planning during junior and senior years, you’ll have access to a wide array of resources. Our comprehensive four-year program matches your talents and aspirations with top colleges and universities for the next stop on your educational journey. 

Learn more about College Counseling at Woodward.

Student Publications

Student Publications includes a variety of classes and cocurricular activities to learn new skills or strengthen the ones you have–all while creating and publishing your work and the work of your peers. These opportunities include student-run media outlets, such as The Phoenix (Academy-wide yearbook), The Blade (student magazine), the butterknife (website and weekly newsletter), and Silent Voices (literary arts magazine). If you’re still exploring journalism as an interest, we also offer an Intro to Journalism course that focuses on building foundational skills and techniques. Whether you want to report the news, critique classmates' poetry, build a website to host student work, and much more, there’s opportunity for you to explore journalism in Woodward’s Student Publications program.

Check out The Butterknife

 

 

Faculty Focus

upper school science teacher holds a photo of himself

Tommy Ehrensperger's passion for physics is unmistakable and unwavering

An alumnus who graduated in 1978, he returned to teach in 1985, passing up a research career (including a possible job at NASA) after earning his physics degrees at Georgia Tech. He’s as gleeful as the proverbial kid in a candy store when he’s teaching Upper School physics, astronomy, and meteorology. Ehrensperger continues to be inspired by his students and colleagues, and loves teaching at Woodward. “I deeply appreciate the autonomy I’ve had. I collaborate with colleagues teaching common courses, and I’ve been allowed to play to my strengths, which I believe gives the students an optimal experience,” he said. “I was a science nut from an early age, and getting to teach it (for an actual living!) truly amounts to a joyful way to share my passion.” 

Read about Tommy Ehrensperger and his Woodward experience.

FAQs

Our Stories

Hear from our students about finding their Woodward Way.

"Every time there's a new holiday, big or small, we always talk about it and how to include other cultures."

Class of 2031 - Woodward North

Keira

Class of 2031 - Woodward North

Keira, a fifth grader at Woodward North, said one of her favorite things about her school is the wide variety of activities and clubs available to students. "We have all these different clubs for all different interests, different grades, and different levels of what you're good at. It's really fun here!"

Woodward's dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion also appeals to Keira, especially the way in which different cultures and religious traditions are explored and celebrated: "Every time there's a new holiday, big or small, we always talk about it and how to include other cultures."

Keira believes that the Woodward Way is all about respect and creating a safe environment where students can freely express themselves. "The Woodward Way means we should respect each other. But I think it also helps create a safe community where people can speak their mind freely."

In her free time in and out of school Keira enjoys running, singing, playing her violin, learning Bollywood dancing, and spending time with her friends. She said she values the friendships she has formed at Woodward. "Being with my friends, I've learned how to trust everybody and that I am able to speak my mind with them. And I’ve learned if I'm having trouble with something, they are there for me."

As for her future aspirations, Keira's career interests continue to evolve. While she said she knows she wants to be a doctor and had previously considered becoming a neurologist, she is now leaning toward a career as a therapist.

Whichever path she ultimately chooses, she cited the inclusive methods of instruction employed by her teachers as key to her academic success. "All the teachers here are really fun. They know when you're at a different level of learning, whether it be higher or lower, and they're there to accommodate you. And they adjust to make sure that you're learning the way you need to. And if you have trouble, they're there to help you."

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"The Woodward Way also is a continuous reminder, in the midst of caring for others, that I also need to care for and respect myself."

Class of 2028 - Middle School

Elijah

Class of 2028 - Middle School

Eighth grader Elijah entered Woodward Academy in kindergarten, and he’s a big believer in the Woodward Way.

I am always proud to say that I attend Woodward Academy because I know what that means,” Elijah said. “The Woodward Way is all about respecting others, the world, and ourselves. It means doing the right thing at all times, even when you think no one's watching. The Woodway Way also is a continuous reminder, in the midst of caring for others, that I also need to care for and respect myself. Woodward has ingrained the core value of respect into my life, and it’s a large part of who I am today.”

Elijah is a student-athlete involved in football, golf, and track and field.  He’s a Peer Leader and member of the Athletic Council as well. “Woodward is an excellent school when it comes to academics, but it also has a great athletic program. I consider myself an athlete but I'm a student first, and Woodward makes sure I keep that in perspective.” 

The Academy has helped Elijah excel intellectually and develop his social skills and confidence. “It’s the type of school that really seeks to prepare you for life. It takes a forward-looking, holistic approach,” he said. “With the confidence Woodward has given me, I can take risks such as speaking in front of large crowds and challenging myself to be great in personal, academic, and athletic situations.”

His teachers are dedicated, and they really care about and engage with students. “I feel very lucky to say that I have had great teachers since kindergarten. They all really care about their students and really engage with us,” Elijah said. 

He also feels lucky to be surrounded by wonderful friends. “My friends at Woodward taught me what it feels like to have true friends—people who will have your back no matter what and will allow you to be true to yourself. It feels special to have friends that I’ve been able to grow alongside. Some of my best friends here at Woodward have been with me since kindergarten. They are like family.”

Reflecting on his Woodward journey, Elisah considers how much he’s grown and how much Woodward has shaped him. “I can’t say I've had ups and downs throughout my journey. I'm fortunate to say I've only had ups. I’m looking forward to my next and final chapter here at Woodward in the Upper School,” he said. 

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“The first healthy student-teacher relationship that I ever made was at Woodward,” she said.

Class of 2028 - Middle School

Rowyn

Class of 2028 - Middle School

Rowyn went from struggling academically and feeling isolated at her previous schools to academic success, connecting with her teachers, and engaging passionately with debate, art, and other activities at Woodward Academy. 

An eighth grader in the Middle School, Rowyn came to Woodward in fifth grade for the Transition Learning Support Program. “I had attended a few different public schools; however, education had always been extremely difficult for me. Every year I just barely passed. I was extremely quiet and went weeks without ever uttering a word in school. No teacher ever took notice of me because I was complacent.”

Rowyn said she began to compare herself to her peers; learning seemed easy for them and was laborious for her. “At the start, I failed—not for lack of effort, but when you think you hit rock bottom, you no longer see the point of grappling for a piece of twine 50 feet above you,” she said. “I knew that if elementary school was strenuous middle school would, by no stretch of the word, be torturous. I had admitted to myself that college was out of the question. That was until I was diagnosed with dyslexia.” 

Because her elementary school didn’t provide adequate support for students with learning disabilities, her parents started to look into different schools. “That’s when they found Woodward Academy,” she said. “When I first toured the school, I thought that my parents must have taken a wrong turn somewhere because there was no way this was elementary to high school. It looked like a college campus.” 

When she entered Woodward as a Transition student, she immediately started to excel. “The first healthy student-teacher relationship that I ever made was at Woodward,” she said. “I went from barely passing every single grade level to being on the honor roll. I am now in eighth grade with a GPA above 4.0. I’m in advanced art, and I’m participating in cocurricular activities such as debate, which I absolutely love. I cannot express how thankful I am for this opportunity and how much I wish that all kids who struggle like me could share this experience.”

Rowyn loves her teachers. “I feel that I have a very close and personal connection to each one of them. They are always the ones in the corner cheering you on. They know how to push you to your potential.” 

For Rowyn, the Woodward Way means accepting others and accepting yourself. “We all have our flaws and our differences, but that is what makes being human so incredible,” she said. “Woodward is the best school for me because of the opportunities, the acceptance, and how the school emboldens students to become their best selves. Woodward provides so many cocurricular programs and clubs that no matter who you are you can find your place.”

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Chance has learned so much even outside of academics—time management, how to adapt to change, and when it’s important to take breaks so he can self-regulate.

Class of 2029 - Middle School

Chance

Class of 2029 - Middle School

Chance is a seventh grader at Woodward Academy, and he’s already something of a Renaissance man. In one school year, he was the dance lead in “Matilda the Musical” and two-time Reading Bowl MVP while taking a challenging robotics course. Outside of school, he’s a fencer, a Black Belt in karate, and takes dance lessons six times a week.

Since enrolling at Woodward in sixth grade, Chance said he’s learned so much even outside of academics—time management, how to adapt to change, and when it’s important to take breaks so he can self-regulate. “I needed to adapt to a fast-paced environment to guarantee my success and happiness. Woodward helped me to brainstorm, plan, and take action to make my school life less stressful,” he said.

Chance said his teachers have been incredibly supportive. “They make sure to incorporate interactive, yet challenging, ways of studying and connecting with me and my peers. My teachers are great because not only do they prepare us for upcoming challenges, but they also adapt to their students' environment to ensure their success,” he said.

He’s particularly inspired by his Social Studies teacher, Da’Nall Wilmer. “He is patient, yet fun. I'm always prepared because of what he’s shown us in class. Mr. Wilmer also makes sure to incorporate Black history into our daily studies, making it clear that Black history shouldn’t only be celebrated in a month but the entire year. He was an Alpha which is my dream fraternity, and he led a mentoring program in Baltimore for boys of color. I think of him as the peak of Black excellence at Woodward Academy, and that’s why he inspires me most.”

So, why does Chance think Woodward is the best school for him? “Woodward challenges me. Woodward is a place where I can celebrate my accomplishments knowing I worked hard for them. Attending Woodard has skyrocketed my work ethic, making me a better person.”

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When I grow up, first I want to be a basketball player and then I want to be on ESPN, a presenter like Shaq and Charles Barkley..."

Class of 2032 - Lower School

Dove

Class of 2032 - Lower School

Fourth grader Dove has mad basketball skills. She’s also an accomplished dancer and loves to draw, make art, and hang out with her family. The meaning of her first name describes her perfectly: love and peace.

Dove started school at Woodward Academy in kindergarten. In Primary School, she was inspired when she met Walker Kessler ’20, then a Woodward senior and now a professional basketball player with the Utah Jazz who played college basketball for the Auburn Tigers and North Carolina Tar Heels. Dove wants to play basketball in college, too. “My top choices would be South Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, or Tennessee,” she said. 

She plays for an AA traveling church league team, along with two of her classmates, and hopes to play basketball in Middle and Upper School for Woodward. Her favorite college girls basketball team is the University of South Carolina. “I even have a poster of them. I like their coach, Dawn Staley. I literally have alerts on my phone to tell me which teams are playing, the score, and who has the most points.” 

When she’s not playing basketball, she’s often dancing. At the Lower School, she takes Ms. Dawn Axam’s dance class. Outside of school, she’s taken lessons for almost nine years at Tumble & Dance Studio. “Our competition was full of sadness and joy because first we didn’t place in one of our dances but we got first place for our other two. The medals were very big.”

Her favorite academic subjects are English and math. “I really like my math teacher, Ms. [Jennifer] Collins. She makes it so I can understand it. I used to have a really hard time with math, and now it’s really easy and fun.” 

She’s envisioning a future where basketball will continue to be a big part of her life. “When I grow up, first I want to be a basketball player and then I want to be on ESPN, a presenter like Shaq and Charles Barkley. I also want to be a nutritionist.”

She loves going to school at Woodward. “It’s diverse, fun, and unique. I’ve had really great teachers,” Dove said.

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He’s a high-energy, curious boy, and the Primary School has helped him channel that energy into learning.

Class of 2036 - Primary School

Sam

Class of 2036 - Primary School

Sam starts his days at school with morning meeting, followed by snacks, and, depending on the day, his kindergarten class at the Primary School will go to specials in science, art, or P.E. 

Sam says his favorite thing about school is art. “I like drawing. I like to draw spaceships, boats, Godzillas.” He’s also interested in science, which he studies in a dedicated classroom with lab space. “It’s not really like potions and that stuff. It’s more just learning, like hibernation or migration.” 

Sam also loves lunch at the Primary School. His favorites? Yogurt, chocolate milk, hamburgers, and french fries. Although he’s only in kindergarten, he’s already looking ahead and mulling over what he wants to do when he grows up.‟I’m either gonna be a fireman, an engineer, a scientist, or a hunter. I’ve not decided yet,” Sam said. 

Sam’s mom, Erin Murphy, said both Sam and his older brother, John, a fifth grader, love going to school at Woodward. “Sammy has had teachers who cherish his unique personality, but also thoughtfully guide him to being the best version of himself. He’s a high-energy, curious boy, and the Primary School has helped him channel that energy into learning. He also has made wonderful friends. The Primary School is an incredibly kind place, which is reflected in how the kids treat each other.”

In the years ahead, Ms. Murphy looks forward to her youngest, Penny, attending Woodward as well. “I am very excited for all the opportunities that the kids will experience as they grow older. The expansive offerings in athletics and the arts are going to allow my kids to experiment with so much that this world has to offer and help them grow into well-rounded adults. Although I tremendously value the rigorous academics at Woodward, it is the approach to character and the development of the child as a whole that makes Woodward really special.”

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"My favorite place is the library because it’s so peaceful and quiet, and in my classroom we have a reading nook and our own little library full of books. I just love books."

Class of 2033 - Primary School

Indira

Class of 2033 - Primary School

What are third grader Indira’s favorite things about the Primary School at Woodward Academy? There are so many.

"Most kids say lunch or recess, but I don’t think it’s lunch or recess,” she said. “I like the learning because they teach you very well in different ways. I just love all the stuff about the Primary School. I think it’s a really good school. It pushes you. It teaches you a lot. It makes you feel at home. It’s so magical. All the teachers are very kind. If you don’t get it, they will help you.” 

Indira goes deeper into what she loves at the Primary School:

Books, books, and more books. One of her favorite things about third grade was doing the 40-book challenge. “You read 40 books in the whole school year, and I just love it. I’ve run out of books in genres that I like and I really like that because it’s pushing me out of my comfort zone. My favorite place is the library because it’s so peaceful and quiet, and in my classroom we have a reading nook and our own little library full of books. I just love books. I’m reading ‘The Hobbit’ right now. It’s my second time. It’s a really big book but I can read big books.”

Clubs and intramural sports. Indira has tried soccer, lacrosse, basketball, speed stacking, and cheerleading. She’s also a member of the choral group the Primary Singers. “I got to sing the national anthem with the Primary Singers at a Hawks game. The Primary School gives you a lot of options of what to do and you can see what you like the most by trying out new activities, and if you like it, maybe it will be something you want to be when you grow up.”

Art class. “I love art. It just lets creativity out to the world. Whatever you want to do, you can paint it and ‘boom,’ it comes out in the world—that blasting of colors and beautifulness. My grandmother loves art, too. I think that’s where I got my art and creativity sense.”

Collaboratory. “It tells us more about the computer. I’ve really gotten into this game that helps you learn what letters to type. We started it in the collaboratory and it was fun so I kept doing it at home, and now I know how to type.”

In summary? “The Primary School is so magical and fun and creative. I’m really sad that I’m leaving the Primary School, but I know it’ll be a new adventure to advance a grade level and see what Lower School is like. My brother’s in the Lower School so I know a lot about it already, but I just can’t wait to see for myself.”

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"Woodward has shaped me to become a better learner and to understand every aspect of a situation."

Class of 2025 - Upper School

Elliott

Class of 2025 - Upper School

Elliott, a sophomore in Woodward's Upper School, says attending Woodward has changed how he sees the world: "Woodward has shaped me to become a better learner and to understand every aspect of a situation. I have learned about the opinions and sides of different topics, such as NATO's actions in regard to the ethical uses of biotechnology."

"Woodward has helped me learn just how important education is and how far it can take you."

Elliott arrived at Woodward in seventh grade as part of the Academy's renowned Transition Learning Support Program. Since then, he said he has learned the value of hard work in achieving his goals, be it in academics or athletics. He joined the Woodward swim team in eighth grade while moving into enriched prep level classes and playing soccer. Now in the Upper School, Elliott continues to challenge himself academically, taking Honors and Advanced classes. In addition to the swim team, where he serves as a swim captain, he participates in a range of cocurricular activities such as sophomore captain of Honor Guard, track and field, and debate team. He's also an Admissions Ambassador for the Class of 2025.

Elliott says he has learned from his friends at Woodward and his time in Transition that there is no one-size-fits-all mold for students. "Each individual is unique in their own way, with different thoughts, beliefs, interests, and learning styles," Elliott said. "Whether it's pursuing computer science, aviation, chemistry, or political science and law, Woodward celebrates the diversity of its student body and encourages students to explore their passions."

For his part, Elliott eventually plans to study political science and constitutional, criminal, and defensive law in college.

When asked what the Woodward Way means to him, Elliott says it means doing your best to become the best version of yourself. "Woodward gives you the opportunity to become whatever you want to be."

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"Woodward has supported my efforts to give back and we are planning a book drive at school to receive book donations to ship to Africa."

Class of 2024 - Upper School

Amirrah

Class of 2024 - Upper School

Amirrah, a junior in Woodward's Upper School, says that to her the Woodward Way represents a guided path toward success. It's a path upon which she's already traveled a fair distance. In her first year at Woodward, Amirrah was honored with a Distinguished Service Award for her work with the Child2Child Book Foundation, a nonprofit she founded in 2019. Working through her foundation she has shipped and distributed more than 20,000 books to young children in Ghana and plans to share 40,000 more books with children in Ghana and Togo. "Woodward has supported my efforts to give back and we are planning a book drive at school to receive book donations to ship to Africa," she said.

Before joining Woodward in the 10th grade, Amirrah lived in Nigeria and California attending French schools. "In Atlanta, I attended an international school, but it was not a good fit. The diversity of Woodward was very attractive to me and once I settled into the community, I knew I had found my tribe."

"Woodward brings together students of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences," said Amirrah. "As a person of color in a foreign country, Woodward’s diverse community made me feel comfortable and heard, and my confidence grew."

Moreover, Amirrah says Woodward helped make her dream come true when she was accepted for School Year Abroad in France. "My teachers were very supportive and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone by living in France for a year. This experience will prepare me for my next journey—college!"

As she looks to the future, Amirrah plans to continue her work with her foundation, while leaning toward studying International Relations and pursuing a career in foreign service. Her goal is to make a positive impact on communities around the world. In the meantime, Woodward has provided her with the foundation and support to pursue her dreams and aspirations.

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Austin's favorite thing about Woodward is the strong sense of community and camaraderie that he feels among his peers.

Class of 2030 - Woodward North

Austin

Class of 2030 - Lower School

Woodward North sixth grader Austin believes that the Woodward Way is all about respect and kindness: "You have to respect everyone and good things will come to you as long as you put good things out there in the world."

Austin said Woodward's diverse student population has broadened his horizons. "I've learned a lot of cool things about a bunch of people, and about different celebrations and different holidays too."

Similarly, Austin said his favorite thing about Woodward is the strong sense of community and camaraderie that he feels among his peers. He also spoke highly of his teachers, naming Cheri Mills as one of his favorites. "They’re nice to everyone and they make learning fun," he said.

When asked about his favorite place on campus, Austin mentioned the STEAM room, noting that there's "always something fun to do in there." 

Austin enjoys a number of cocurricular activities, including basketball and the math team. While he is passionate about basketball and dreams of becoming an NBA player, he admits math team was not initially his choice. "I didn't really want to do it, but my mom made me." Nevertheless, he is proud of the math team's accomplishments, with 10 members making the top 20 in a recent tournament, and eight of those in the top 10. He shared his excitement about the team's participation in upcoming state and national tournaments.

Asked to summarize Woodward in three words, Austin opted for "learning, fun, and creative!"

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"Even though I have only been at Woodward for a year and a half, I love everything about it and I am much more comfortable here."

Class of 2026 - Upper School

Sydney

Class of 2026 - Upper School

Sydney, a sophomore in the Upper School, said she has learned many important lessons during her time at Woodward. For instance: "I’ve learned that having a special allergy meal is a great way to skip the lunch line. Got to love being gluten free!" Beyond that tongue-in-cheek observation, Sydney said she has learned the importance of leadership and advocating for herself and her teammates, skills she plans to employ in the peer leadership program.

Sydney started at Woodward her freshman year after transferring from Atlanta International School. "Even though I have only been at Woodward for a year and a half, I love everything about it and I am much more comfortable here."

Expounding on the elements that have made her feel at home at Woodward, she highlighted the abundance of opportunities available. "I can fill my schedule with classes that are the right difficulty level for me while allowing me to pursue my interests. There is a club, sport, or organization for everyone at this school, and it’s easy to find things that fill me with passion and excitement, while supporting my growth as an individual."

Through founding and managing the school's equestrian team, Sydney has already had the opportunity to become a leader and make a positive impact on the school. This includes meeting with riders and coaches, taking lessons, and attending and hosting competitions. She also rides horses outside of Woodward’s equestrian team, attending competitions nearly every weekend. Additionally, she carves out time to work with various animal charity organizations. Sydney also is a member of the Spanish and French Honor Societies, and is a GSA ally.

Sydney intends to attend college and eventually become a veterinarian. She plans to study biology and world languages as an undergraduate before specializing in equines and animal dentistry at veterinary school. 

Asked who inspires her at Woodward, she cites Mr. Seth Meyer: "I am inspired by his kindness and openness. He is caring, accepting, and always thinking of the students' best interests. Even though he isn’t one of my teachers, he lets me study and hang out with my friends in his classroom, and he provides a safe place to be. He inspires me to be the kindest person I can be."

Similarly, she said Woodward has helped her strive to be a better human being: "The Woodward Way means to practice compassion and respect in everything I do. From my classes, to cocurricular activities, to my friends, the Woodward Way encourages me to show kindness to all."

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Byron is drawn to acting. He was chosen to play the lead in two school productions, “Shrek Jr.” in fifth grade and “Oliver and Annie” in fourth grade.

Class of 2030 - Lower School

Byron

Class of 2030 - Lower School

Lower School student Byron is drawn to acting. He was chosen to play the lead in two school productions, “Shrek Jr.” in fifth grade and “Oliver and Annie” in fourth grade. Outside of school, he appears in the 2023 TV movie, “A Nashville Legacy,” playing the younger version of one of the main characters.

Filming for the movie was done in Alabama over the summer of 2022. “I got to meet some of the actors, the director, and the executive producer. And it was fun being on camera and meeting people. My scenes were kind of funny so everytime I did it the whole place laughed,” Byron said.

So, what exactly does he like about acting? 

You can pretend. As a kid, I used to pretend a lot,” he said. “I like the different characters you can play. One character might be a really nice person, and then the next can be like a really evil person. Last year, I was Oliver, and I was in an orphanage. This year—almost a complete contrast—I was a big ogre in a fairytale land who didn’t like anybody. Both had happy endings. Shrek became nicer, happier, and a little more accepting, but not a lot.”

When he’s not rehearsing for a play or in front of a camera, Byron’s favorite academic subjects are math, science, and English. He likes to write in his spare time. “I write fantasies and small-moment stories. I’ve been working on this Harry Potter-themed book for awhile but I decided to take a break to focus on acting.” 

He’s also into music, playing saxophone in the Lower School band, and taking piano lessons since kindergarten. “I love playing instruments,” Byron said. “My piano teacher is one of the music teachers in the Primary School.”

Byron believes Woodward is the best school for him. “I like Woodward because of all the opportunities and the people here, because there are people from everywhere basically. Diversity also is why my mom picked this school,” he said. “My teachers help me, and they push me just enough but not too hard.”

When he grows up, Byron wants to be an actor or a music-maker. “If those don’t work, then I will probably want to go into stocks and, what’s it called, real estate, or I would want to be in the Air Force like my parents.” Meanwhile, he’s looking forward to what his Woodward journey holds in the future. He describes his school in just three words: “Fun, friendly, and I’d have to say exciting.”

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Meet Our Team

Jonathan Merrill

Titles: Principal

Ronda Zents

Titles: Assistant Principal

Stephanie Stephens

Titles: Academic Dean

Anthony Thomas

Titles: Dean of Students

Luke Underwood

Titles: Associate Dean of Students

Tonya Dedeaux

Titles: School Counselor

Chato Hendrix

Titles: School Counselor

Leigh Shelor

Titles: School Counselor

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Your child’s education is a unique journey of growth, enlightenment, and exploration as they find their way into the world. At Woodward, we provide the compass for that journey.