The Jefferson School, Sussex Academy mulling merger

GEORGETOWN — Preliminary discussion is under way on a possible future merger of two Georgetown-area educational institutions — The Jefferson School and Sussex Academy.

Sussex Academy Director of Development Gina Derrickson said there is not a definite timetable on any potential merger, but no changes would occur for this coming school year.

“Honestly, right now, that is where we are — preliminary conversation,” she said. “Our (Sussex Academy) school year and their (The Jefferson School) school year will remain exactly the same for 2019-20, definitely. Then we’ll see what progresses throughout the year.”

Sussex Academy, a public charter/tuition-free school, currently serves middle school/high school grades six to 12. The Jefferson School is a non-profit, private school serving elementary-level grades PreK through five.

Sussex Academy opened as Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 serving 225 students in grades six through eight. In 2012 the middle school received approval for a major charter modification to add a high school.

In 2013, the school name changed to Sussex Academy, and the school moved from its Sussex Pines Road location to its current Airport Road location in Georgetown, which previously was home to Delmarva Christian High School (now Delmarva Christian Schools) in a facility swap.

At that time Sussex Academy’s first ninth grade class was enrolled. New high school grades were added in following years.

Founded in 1991, The Jefferson School, a non-sectarian, independent day school is located on 43 wooded acres on Wilson Road.

Stakeholders — families and staff of both schools — were informed of the preliminary discussion by heads of school and governing boards of both Sussex Academy and The Jefferson School.

“We released the information to our families because it is conversation and we didn’t want anybody to be blindsided by this,” Ms. Derrickson said. “But there are so many factors involved, with them being in preliminary stages of conversation. They are working all of that out. There is so many details that go into it.”

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