Dear SouthLake Christian Families,

My first-of-the-month correspondence comes to you a few days later than normal because I know you don’t read emails during Fall Break, and I don’t blame you. Each Fall Break I go off grid and hike in the mountains, mildly disappointed when I return to technology. I hope you found an equally rejuvenating way to spend your days away from school.

Fall Break 2023
While we are on the subject, next year’s Fall Break will occur a week later than usual. Typically we break the first full week of October, which falls awkwardly just a few days before the close of our first quarter. Next year we will bring equity to our four quarters by scheduling Fall Break for October 9-13, 2023. We will keep it the second full week of October in future years.

School Board
We have new members to welcome to our School Board. In our quarterly meeting last month, the Board welcomed four new members – Kim Sailors, Ken Barna, Jed Belvin, and Hank Capps. All four have a long tenure of service to the Academy. Mr. Belvin and Dr. Capps both return to the Board after hiatuses of 2 and 3 years respectively. Dr. Amy Alexanian has been appointed to the role of Chair. The Session of SouthLake Church and the School Board have approved a new set of bylaws for the Academy which are set to go into effect next academic year. The new bylaws call for an expanded School Board to include between 9 and 12 members rather than 7 as it now stands. This Spring we will request nominations for new Board members, seeking those with outstanding leadership ability and a tenure of service to the Academy. Stay tuned for more information next semester.

Honor Chorus
This fall six students were selected from SouthLake to the North Carolina Elementary Honor Chorus, a choir of about 190 students selected among nearly 500 who auditioned. These students will have the opportunity to sing with the best vocalists in North Carolina, working with a nationally acclaimed choral conductor to prepare for a concert in Winston-Salem, NC the weekend of November 5-6. Congratulations to fifth-grader Julia Herring; sixth-graders Tony D’Ovidio, Gus Godfrey, and Ella-Rose Romero; seventh-grader Matthew Caputo; and eight-grader Jesse Smith. Incidentally, Ella-Rose tied for top score in her audition. Thank you to Mrs. Mary Ann Foltz for directing our increasingly impressive choral program.

School Counselor
This month we welcome to SouthLake our new school counselor, Caroline Conklin-Ortiz, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate who will join us full-time after her wedding this weekend. She comes to us from private practice, having worked previously in school settings. Her deep faith in Christ and compassionate approach to counseling will help us better care for our students, faculty, and staff. Stronger mental health support remains an important initiative of our school’s strategic plan.

New Athletic Complex
SouthLake has contracted with UDC Sports to begin design work for a new turf field and running track on campus, the exact location to be determined. A parent committee has formed to raise 100% of the funds necessary to complete the project without the school incurring debt. As you may know, 80% of our students in grades 6-12 play a sport, and 9 of our 35 athletic teams compete or practice on our existing turf field, which is scheduled for replacement in two years. Several additional teams use our existing field to train and condition, creating scheduling challenges that often keep students on campus late into the evening. Track and cross country combine to form our largest athletic teams and they must travel to train and compete. We often relocate PE and recess from our current field to prevent sound conflicts with standardized testing in our field house classrooms. A new athletic complex will meet a host of logistical, athletic, and academic needs. I look forward to sharing more details with you as they become available.

In closing, let me add that the weather is outstanding and campus is beautiful this time of year. Enrollment is at capacity and many exciting projects are underway. God has indeed been good to SouthLake.


Matthew S. Kerlin, Ph.D.
Head of School
SouthLake Christian Academy

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