Ann Arbor Academy began formally in the spring of 1997 as Knowledge Builders, Inc.. To build on its reputation for academic excellence, the non-profit corporation adopted the use of our city’s name to become Ann Arbor Academy. In the beginning, there was no building; there were no books; and there were only a few intrigued and brave parents. There were, however, two determined women: Nancy Brockbank, the frustrated parent of a child who was struggling in school, and Devon Beidler, a talented special education teacher.
The Beginning of a Journey
Nancy had become frustrated with her daughter's educational progress and chose to home school her in 1995. Devon had recently moved from Connecticut where she had taught in a private school for students with learning disabilities. Inspired by Devon's approach to education and her success in teaching Nancy's daughter and other students with learning disabilities, Nancy knew she had found a partner. Together they launched a three-year journey of researching and implementing the steps and procedures that culminated with the opening of Ann Arbor Academy in the fall of 1998.
Under Devon's initial educational leadership and guidance, the Academy developed a comprehensive academic program that focused on remediation and strengthening language-based processing skills. Students were placed in classes that taught to their abilities.
Nancy designed and implemented the administrative infrastructure of the Academy. This included facilities, finances, human resources, legal, marketing and development, and support systems. She also had a special interest in the fine and performing arts.
Through personal experience, Nancy witnessed again and again the restoration of self respect and a transformation of personality when a child participated successfully in creative activities.
As a result the Academy has had, from its inception, a strong fine and performing arts program. The curriculum seeks to balance strong academics with opportunities for students to discover and pursue individual talents and interests.
A New Beginning
In 2014 the school moved to its home at 1153 Oak Valley Drive, where it has grown and developed with the addition of new science facilities, a playground, playing field, and woods for the students to explore.
Looking Into the Future
Today we are a school for students in grades 4-12, as well as our 13th Year students. We have developed a Work Internship Program, a MakerSpace, and more, and we look forward to what the coming years will bring.