Tuesday, September 12, 2000

Episcopal school director appointed

By Andrea Tortora
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio on Monday named an experienced private school director to head its new Cincinnati school, and announced receipt of a $500,000 gift.

        Carolyn D. Blackburn, now head of Cincinnati Country Day's lower school, will lead the Cincinnati Episcopal school. It's to open next September in the former Museum of Natural History building on Gilbert Avenue.

        The school received $500,000 from Bishop Herbert Thompson, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio. The money is for the creation of a school chapel and financial aid for urban students during the school's first year.

        The gift comes from a fund established in the 1950s in the will of William Cooper Procter. Bishops propose grants, which must be approved by diocesan trustees.

        The Episcopal school is the first of four the Episcopal Church wants to open in the diocese. Others are planned in Columbus, Dayton and Lancaster.

        Ms. Blackburn, who is creating the school's curriculum, has more than 10 years' experience in private school administration. She started at Cincinnati Country Day in 1996 and previously worked as lower school director at the Lexington School, from 1989 to 1996.

        She said she is excited about developing a new school in a city that values its heritage and history.

        “(The school) will contribute to the continuation and development of our values and character in young children, connecting our past achievements with our future dreams,” Ms. Blackburn said.

        Church officials made a deal with the Cincinnati Museum Center to swap a building on Gest Street for the Gilbert Avenue building. That trade is nearly final.

        The church hopes to open the school with 125 students from preschool to third grade. Eventually, classes would extend to eighth grade and enroll 350.

        Enrollment will be at least half inner-city students. Tuition likely would run $7,000. Officials said at least 25 percent of students will receive full scholarships.

        The diocese estimates renovations to the building will cost $11 million. School coordinator the Rev. Bob Hansel said more than $2 million has already been pledged.

        “We have enough to get ourselves started,” he said. Renovations will take place during the next three years.


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