Jimmy Cunningham '18 Works with the Peopoly Moai 3D Printer

Contributed by Mr. Bill Quinn.


Jimmy Cunningham '18 is pictured standing next to the new Peopoly Moai 3-D printer that Middleburg Academy now owns.

This printer works by pouring resin in a tank inside the printer (the red liquid in this photo). Lasers moving across the resin build the new 3-D object on the building plate in the printer (note the special glasses on Jimmy's head which must be worn when the laser is in use and the printer doors are open). Once the object has completely printed it should be moved under UV lights to harden the material.

This was a kit and required Jimmy to spend about 8 hours to solder the wires and circuit boards together. He spent a number of days talking to engineers in China, India, and the United States in order to work out some imperfections he saw in the first products. These imperfections required software fixes. 

Jimmy received a lot of notice in his ability to solve our printer problems and helped many others around the world, so much so that the Peopoly company has given him a special status as a development tester. He gets to beta test their new software. This is a privilege this company has only given to six people around the world! Jimmy has also given this company several design improvements that enable this printer to work more effectively. 

We are currently the only educational institution in the world with this printer.  Currently this printer is in research and development areas in corporate and government locations around the world.

Middleburg Academy Hosts the Hunt

Middleburg Academy was pleased to host the Middleburg Hunt on our beautiful 90-acre campus on Thursday, November 16th.

Below, in front of our historic Mary House, huntsman Richard Roberts speaks with students about the tradition of foxhunting in Virginia. Students served apple cider to the mounted riders, as the hounds mingled and made new friends.

Joining the action for the day were: Salem Twiggs ('20) and her father, MFHA Executive Director David Twiggs; sisters Beverly ('20) and Nancy ('18) Alcock with their dad Graham; Robin Peterson ('18); Sophie Horn ('18); equestrian coach Jennifer Lee; and faculty member Kasey Morris.


Middleburg Academy Forging a Collaborative Curriculum


By Leonard Shapiro, Middleburg Life
Earlier this fall, Middleburg Academy Head of School Colley Bell wanted to see for himself exactly what all the student buzz was about when he decided to walk over to the cam­pus's latest innovative "classroom." 
He'd heard many of them anima­tedly chattering about the experience they'd had working with art instructor Stephen Rueckert on one of two forges set up in a large converted storage area. 

Rueckert was teaching his charges how to manipulate a glowing hunk of metal that had been heated to 1,500 red--hot degrees on one of two forges-one coal-fired, the other fu­eled by propane. The students would learn how to bend it, twist it and eventually shape it into something that might even be used on another building project at the school. 

"The kids were all talking about it," Bell said. "And after I tried it my­self, I knew why. When you feel that metal bend, something really hap­pens to you. It's quite amazing. Now all the students want to try it. They want to start a forge club." 


Rueckert, now in his second year on the Middleburg Academy faculty, learned how to use a forge many years ago when he was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. He spent his first 20 years after college as a full-time artist living in Brooklyn before he went back to school at age 40 to earn a Masters of Fine Arts de­gree from Brooklyn College. 

A widely-acclaimed sculptor, his work can be found in the permanent collection of Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and The Brook­lyn Museum and has been featured in publications such as Art Forum, the New York Times, Washington Post and The New Scientist. 

New York City school system before moving south, where he taught at St. Albans in Washington before chang­ing venues to Middleburg Academy. He was brought on board to help Bell and other faculty members figure out a way to boost the school's STEM programs (science, technology, engi­neering and math) with a healthy infusion of the arts and humanities. Make that STEAM, with an equal emphasis on the A, as in arts. 

The school also is implementing another acronym - MOCHA - which stands for Make One Con­nection Happen-Arts, Academics, and Athletics. The primary goal, ac­cording to the school's description of the program, "is to encourage every teacher to reach out across the cur­riculum to partner, collaborate and make at last one teaching connection happen every semester." 

Rueckert is heavily involved in helping to coordinate that effort, and he's also a firm believer in employ­ing a hands-on approach to his own teaching. 

"If you're going to be an engineer," Rueckert said, "you should know what it takes to bend a piece of steel. It helps you understand how things get made. Many engineering schools are getting the bright kids., but many of them don't have that hands-on ex­perience, which to me would seem to be so important." 

There's also another useful benefit to the forge work, along with other practical skills Smith is teaching his students, including welding and glass making. 

Middleburg Academy is embark­ing on a project to restore a stable complex built in 1910 that hasn't been used in years and nearly had its roof collapse in a major hail storm in May, 2016. Students will be using the forg­es to make replicas of original handles on the stable doors, and they're learn­ing basic woodworking and how to etch glass windows that also will be used in the stable renovation. 
The stable's eventual residents­horses-will also be part of the first S in STEAM, as in the science cur­riculum. 

"To me, it's all about the balance between science and the humani­ties," he said. "It's a collaboration across the whole curriculum-Latin and and science, math and science, art and engineering. There are just so many possibilities. You want to show them how to use the tools and use their imaginations. 'Il1at's my joy-getting them to use their cre­ativity and their imagination." 

Chloé Loufield '21 in the News


Former Washington Post reporter Lenny Shapiro interviewed our very own Chloé Loufield '21 for the local paper. Piano is but one reflection of her passion for all things performing arts. Thank you to the photographers at Middleburg Photo for the fun photoshoot and the staff at Salamander Resort & Spa for the use of their space.

Please click the following link to read the article about Chloé: http://www.fauquier.com/special/page-t/page_dd6a8302-44c0-5ea8-8ead-bd1e0effc102.html


Something's Brewing at Middleburg Academy...

MOCHA: Making One Connection Happen in Arts, Academics, and Athletics

An exciting new effort is underway to reinforce our S.T.E.A.M. program and energize interdisciplinary teaching and learning at Middleburg Academy. We call it ONE CONNECTION, or MOCHA for short. Our primary goal is to encourage every teacher in the school to reach out across the curriculum to partner, collaborate and make at least one teaching connection happen each semester. It is our way to keep ideas fresh, new, exciting, interactive and applied for both faculty and students.  All aboard! No stone left unturned. Leonardo DaVinci approved!

Lady Dragons Volleyball Ranked 4th in DC Area

Middleburg Academy is excited to announce that according to the Washington Post, their Girls’ Varsity Volleyball team has been ranked 4th in the D.C. area.  For the past two years, the Lady Dragons have won the Divison II State Championship and are looking for another one this season.  Coach Maureen DiClementi states: “We are looking forward to this high school season and anticipate some growing pains along the way, but the Lady Dragons are up to the challenge!  The core returning group consists of competitive student athletes Lilly Reilly ‘18, Emma DiClementi ‘18, Lauren Greminger ‘18, Chelsea Penfield ‘19, Lilian Vargo ‘19 and Kennedy Bryant ‘20.  They are dedicated, energetic and work very well together.  We also welcome some new players: Sheila Carr ‘18, Allie Heissenius ‘21 and Fiona Steinour ‘21.  We are setting goals as a team and hope to improve as each week passes.”

Clink on the following link to read the entire article by Michael Errigo from the Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/recruiting-insider/wp/2017/09/06/volleyball-top-10-loudoun-county-holy-cross-northwest-lead-first-rankings/?utm_term=.29715d044a9e

Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead at Middleburg Academy

Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead at Middleburg Academy

An independent school established in 2009 and now serving grades 8-12, Middleburg Academy is on a mission to meet the needs of students living in a changing world. You may have heard of the acronym S.T.E.M., the latest buzzword in education and part of an initiative to bring science, technology, engineering and math to the forefront of student learning.

Middleburg’s Turner Smith brings excitement to the academy’s fencing program.

Middleburg, VA (Feb. 28, 2017) – For the first time in Middleburg Academy history, Fencing is a winter varsity sport.  A sport of grace, speed, and reflexes, fencing is a sport in which two competitors fight using swords with dull tips, winning points by making contact with their opponent.

Middleburg Academy fencers were extremely grateful to have had two outstanding coaches this season in Rolando Tucker, a former Olympian and World Champion from Cuba and Turner Smith, a former Ivy League fencer, from Princeton, and who has been featured in publications such as Middleburg Life.

Coach Turner Smith, a retired environmental attorney, now devotes much of his time to Virginia land conservation. Smith, the athlete, returned to the sport five years ago, at age 70 and almost 50 years after he competed as a varsity fencer at Princeton. Smith decided not only did he want to take up the demanding sport once again,  but also to coach.

His return to fencing first began at a Harper’s Ferry Club, and he now fences at clubs in Manassas, Front Royal and Fairfax. He practices with fencers of all ages, including teenagers.  Smith said, “It’s three-dimensional chess at light speed. As you get older, you want to keep the blood flowing to the brain. You still have muscle memory, and you can pick it up, although I found much of my muscle memory was wrong because the sport has changed so much.”

Coach Smith found a home this past fall here at Middleburg Academy. Having coached in the past, coach Smith was excited and “a little nervous,” heading into this fencing season. Now a varsity sport, both Coach Smith and Coach Tucker had to develop a varsity program with fencers who for the last three years were mostly self taught. Through their knowledge and enthusiasm, together they have expanded the skills of the fencing team exponentially in a short amount of time and are looking forward to many great years ahead.

“They were both amazing! I don’t think we could’ve asked for anyone better to be our coaches,” said senior Alan Salacain.

Last week Middleburg Academy held its first competition on campus facing a familiar foe, the Royal Swords Fencing Club, based out of  Front Royal, VA. The event not only marked the first tournament held on campus, but also Senior Night, acknowledging  two senior fencers for all their hard work over the last four years. Congratulations to Alan Salacain ’17 and Niketh Vellanki ’17 for all they have accomplished. Niketh took home 3rd place, while Alan finished 4th overall in their final fencing event.

Age of Innocence Comes Alive, March 2

Middleburg Academy and the Middleburg Theater Department are pleased to bring you an exclusive showing of the Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece, The Age of Innocence (1993), with guest appearance by Patricia Hess, Assistant Production Manager, Thursday March 2nd @ 4:00pm. The seminar will begin at 4:00pm in the Mary House’s ballroom. There will be snacks and refreshments.

Patricia Doherty Hess
Producer/ Production Manager

Patty has been in the motion picture business since 1979, working primarily on feature films and dramatic television.  She has had the privilege to work with many distinguished directors including Martin Scorsese, Alan Pakula, Mike Nichols, Oliver Stone, Stephen Frears, Adrian Lyne, Robert Benton, Chris Columbus, Shawn Levy, Betty Thomas and the Coen Brothers to name a few. 

She started her career in Tucson, after graduating from The University of Arizona where she met Leslie Marmon Silko, a MacArthur Fellow, who was making her first film, set in New Mexico. Now a member of The Director’s Guild of America, Patty has been a production manager and producer for over twenty years.

Some of her credits include the upcoming HBO film, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks with Oprah Winfrey, Philomena  (Judi Dench), Red Oaks (Amazon), Jack Reacher, Percy Jackson, Safe House, Bourne Ultimatum, Breach, Angels in America (HBO), Night At The Museum (2), Eagle Eye, Glen Garry Glen Ross, JFK, Lolita, The Pelican Brief and Raising Arizona.  (Full list on ImDb)  Patty currently resides with her husband and two children in Waterford Virginia.  She is an avid equestrian 

The Age Of Innocence
Director: Martin Scorsese    Cast: Daniel Day Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder
Genre: Drama, Romance    Year: 1993

The 1993 film production of The Age of Innocence was directed by Martin Scorsese and is a film adaptation of Edith Wharton's 1920 novel of the same name. The story is set the “Gilded Age” (1870’s), portraying New York's high society. The film was released by Columbia Pictures, stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Winona Ryder and was shot largely on location in New York City, Philadelphia, and Troy, New York. The film won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, and was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Winona Ryder), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Art Direction.

The novel and the film tell the story of Newland Archer, played by Daniel Day Lewis, who intends to marry the respectable May Welland played by Winona Ryder. May's cousin, the Countess Ellen Olenska  portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, has returned to New York, which raises eyebrows in the New York society circles as she had unwisely married a Polish Count, who mistreated her while squandering her fortune. She then left him to return to New York.

Middleburg Academy is an independent school serving grades 8 through 12, with small classes, dedicated faculty, full STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) curriculum, excellent athletics, and a remarkable record of graduates 

Equestrian Team goes Regional

To those of you who are unfamiliar with the equestrian world and more specifically the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), regionals are the equestrian version of states. For most high school sports teams, the goal of the regular season is to go to regionals. Whereupon winning regionals, one goes to zones {Interstate) and then nationals. Therefore, our team getting
into regionals in their first year as a varsity sport is a great accomplishment. Middleburg Academy riders scored very well for being a team of five, where most of the other schools competing had over 15 riders.

The riders, results:
• Open Varsity Over Fence Sarah Haene ' 17 - 6th
• Intermediate Varsity Over Fences Jacqueline Lee '20 - 7th
• On the Flat - Madeline McDermott '18 - 2nd
• On the Flat - Amber French '20 - 5th

"As a senior, I am reflecting back to when I first arrived at Middleburg Academy in the fall of my freshman year, and there was no equestrian team," said Madison Busey. ~With a shared passion between me and two other students, as well as a very qualified and enthusiastic coach, we are able to bring a team 10 life. We may have started off with only three members, but throughout each year the team grew bigger and stronger."

Middleburg Academy is an independent school serving grades 8 through 12, with small classes, dedicated faculty, full STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum, excellent athletics, and a remarkable record of graduates excelling at top universities. The campus in Middleburg, Virginia, is set on a 90-acre estate. More than 20 percent of the student body comes from abroad, and students benefit from an eight-to-one student to faculty ratio. There are 16 sports teams. For more information, visit middleburgacademy.org. ML

"Project Lead the Way" Leads the Way

Physics goes outside for a hands-on lesson.  A very normal matter at Middleburg Academy.

Physics goes outside for a hands-on lesson.  A very normal matter at Middleburg Academy.

An independent school established in 2009 and now serving grades 8-12, Middleburg Academy is on a mission to meet the needs of students living in a changing world. You may have heard of the acronym S.T.E.M., the latest buzzword in education and part of an initiative to bring science, technology, engineering and math to the forefront of student learning. "By 2020, 80 percent of jobs will be S.T.E.M. -related; said Colley Bell, the head of the school. "We want students to be nimble as they navigate through life, and that means preparing for a world that is constantly changing."

Faced with apparent limitations. However, S.T.E.M. wasn' t proving to be the complete package for Middleburg Academy students. "The feedback we were getting from engineering colleges and universities was that students were coming to them mathematically sound, but they did not play well together; said, Colley. "They couldn't collaborate or express themselves. That's great for sitting in a cubicle, but the new world order is demanding much more from them." It. seems that this missing component the ability to collaboratively solve complex problems in a real-world setting - is solved simply by converting S.T.E.M. to S.T.E.A.M

“The three questions that guided us were, ‘Who are we, where are we going, and who is going with us?”‘ 

The 'A' stands for the arts, which complete the package by wrapping creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration into the benefits of S.T.E.M. "There are no noted collaborative elements in S.T.E.M., no arts, no humanities said, Colley. "To us, S.T.E.A.M. is about preparing kids for the real world by integrating hands-on-collaborations.  Merely dropping a laptop in front of an Art teacher and calling it S.T.E.A.M. misses the essential point of what this is all about." 

Dragon Video attended the Inauguration to document people in the crowds. 

Dragon Video attended the Inauguration to document people in the crowds. 

S.T.E.A.M. was launched at Middleburg Academy in 2014, shortly after Colley took over as head of the school. Middleburg Academy had recently made the transition from a Catholic school known for its sports program to an independent school focused on a balance between sports and academics. Colley, along with the school board, staff, and students, was challenged to make decisions about Middleburg Academy 's new direction. "This was at a point when education was really changing and transforming," said Colley. "The three questions that guided us were, 'Who are we, where are we going, and who is going with us?"' 

The promise of reinvention was exciting, and Colley met with students to discuss what could be done to prepare them better for higher education and beyond. Low college completion rates on a national scale forced the consideration of developing traits like cooperation, self-advocacy, pas­sion, grit and adaptability to ensure success in any environment. The main question became: How can students develop these traits while preparing for a world driven by technology? 

The answer came a year later, when Dave Gillis, the school's director of computer sci­ence and technology, brought in a program called Project Lead the Way (PLTW). This national curriculum was developed through a partnership between Johns Hopkins Univer­sity and engineering firms and folded seam­lessly into the school's computer science and engineering curriculums.
Middleburg Academy is the only inde­pendent school in the region working with the PLTW program. "We're in our second year of S.T.E.A.M., and it's continually being built upon said Director of Advancement Edwina Bell. "Now PLTW is unfolding and evolving as well as our students take courses and discover their interests."

Live Streaming at Middleburg Academy is where the school goes beyond the ordinary in program production.  A game commentator is here at work in the Dragon's Nest.

Live Streaming at Middleburg Academy is where the school goes beyond the ordinary in program production.  A game commentator is here at work in the Dragon's Nest.

PLTW's problem-based learning model present students in computer science and engineering classes with hands-on activi­ties that build strong foundational skills in these areas. From there, students progress to choosing a creative group project aimed at making a difference in the computer science or engineering fields. The next step is a na­tional competition where teams present their project to a learning community made up of peers and judges. 

This national competition is the culmi­nation of, and undoubtedly the reward for, a year of collaboration, trial, discovery and problem-solving. On April 28, 2017, teams from Middleburg Academy hope to travel to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to present their projects at the Conrad Spirit of ln.no­vation Challenge. The Conrad Challenge is a multi-phase competition that chal­lenges participants to develop solutions to real-world problems. 

Though S.T.E.A.M. is part of the school curriculum, the Conrad Challenge is vol­untary, which Dave Gillis says is by design. "When you volunteer for something. you're more committed," he said. "To me, this is a great opportunity for the students to step out of their curriculum and dream big." 

And dream big they do. Engineering stu­dents competing in the aerospace engineering category are working on developing a project that will aid in enhancing the transportation, navigation, and communication on Mars. Another group, motivated by the illness of the team leader's great-grandmother, designed a pair of augmented braces intended to speed up the recovery of those with leg infirmities. Both teams have spent the year coordinating schedules, avidly researching, experimenting, and consulting with their mentors and with each other to refine their ideas. 

These young people are excited about their futures and confidently dream about being inventors, aerospace engineers, and doctors. The future will certainly need the talents of those who can solve questions relat­ed to these fields. Because these students have fallen in love with a creative curriculum de­signed for deep learning, it seems likely they will be among the ones to do it. ML

Outstanding Middleburg Academy Student Selected to Perform at Carnegie Hall

Blythe Condon, a student at Middleburg Academy, has been selected for the 2017 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall.  She will perform Soprano 2 in February with the Womens Choir.  Participation in one of the five Honors Ensembles is limited to the highest-rated high school performers from across the world.

Earlier this year, Blythe auditioned for the Honors Performance Series and was accepted after a review by the Honors Selection Board. Acceptance to the elite group is a direct result of the talent, dedication, and achievements demonstrated in her application and audition recording. Blythe will join other performers from all 49 United States, Guam, two Canadian provinces, and a number of foreign countries for a special performance at world-famous Carnegie Hall, a venue that marks the pinnacle of musical achievement.

According to Morgan Smith, Program Director, “Being selected to the Honors Performance Series is something each Finalist should be extremely proud of accomplishing. We processed more than 18,000 nominations this year and had selected nearly 750 of the most talented student performers from around the world. Working with these conductors and performing at Carnegie Hall is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that these musicians never forget”.

Blythe Condon has studied music for <7 Years> years with Mrs. Karen Chase and is a member of The Middleburg Players, The Loudoun Centre Theater Group and the Fauquier Community Theatre  This is her second time performing at Carnegie Hall. In response to her selection as a Finalist, Condon said, “I’m thrilled.  The music that we will perform is challenging, and I’m working very hard to learn it well.  I can’t wait to get back up on that stage!”

Finalists will come together in New York City for five days in February 2017. They will have the opportunity to learn from world-renowned conductors, work with other Finalists, and get a taste of New York City. Two performances, an Honors Choral Performance and an Honors Instrumental Performance, will take place Sunday, February 5, and are open to the public. Tickets can be purchased beginning 60 days before the performance through the Carnegie Hall box office.

The Honors Performance Series was created to showcase accomplished individual high school performers on an international level by allowing them to study under master conductors and perform in the celebrated venue, Carnegie Hall. The Honors Performance Series is proudly presented by WorldStrides, the nation’s leading educational travel organization. Learn more by visiting www.honorsperformance.org and www.worldstrides.com.

Fencing established as a Varsity Sport

Dragon Video live-streams and replays on the big screen in The Dungeon.  Here, a Dragon is interviewed for the fans.

Dragon Video live-streams and replays on the big screen in The Dungeon.  Here, a Dragon is interviewed for the fans.

Middleburg, VA - For the first time in Middleburg Academy history, fencing is now a varsity sport. A sport of grace, speed, and reflexes, fencing, also called Olympic fencing, is a sport in which two competitors fight using swords, with dull tips, winning points by making contact with their opponent. It takes people years to master such a craft, but luckily for the Middleburg fencing team our new varsity coach Rolando Tucker, knows all too well what it takes to be a world-class fencer.

Rolando Tucker
For three years Rolando was ranked first in the world for foil (a type of sword used in fencing) from 1995-1997. Named in “Cuba’s Top 10 Athletes” in 1994, he has won gold medals at National Tournaments, Central-American Games, Pan-Am Games, World Cups, and World Championships. A former Olympian, his team, took home the bronze medal at the Atlanta games in 1996.

Middleburg Academy is an independent school serving grades 8 through 12, with small classes, dedicated faculty, full STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) curriculum, excellent athletics, and a remarkable record of graduates excelling at top universities. The campus in Middleburg, Va. is set on a 90-acre estate. More than 20% of the student body comes from abroad, and students benefit from an eight-to-one student to faculty ratio. There are 16 sports teams. For more information, visit www.middleburgacademy.org.

Colley Bell has the Right Answers at Middleburg Academy

When Colley Bell first took over as Head of School at Middleburg Academy three years ago, he posed three questions to his faculty, his students and the board of directors. He said he wanted to know “who are you, where are you going and who’s going with you?”

“As much as they look to the head of school as a change agent,” he said, “it’s really got to be a collective enterprise. I had key people in the school and on the board to push the conversation. And at the end of the day, it was about serving the students. It’s about preparing them for the world they’re going to be living in, and every school is trying to answer what that will be like.”

At Middleburg Academy, Bell inherited a school he firmly believes had several critical ingredients already in place— character, integrity, parent responsibility, and academic excellence, among others. He also made it a point to canvas a number of past graduates to ascertain what they thought was important going forward.

“They all said ‘keep it vigorous, keep expectations very high and push technology,’” Bell said, adding that like many other independent schools, Middleburg Academy is now very much involved in the STEAM approach to educating its 130 students from eighth to 12th grade.

That would be science, technology, 

engineering and math, with the A standing for Arts. Bell said it quickly became apparent his students wanted much the same, including more sophisticated computer training, instruction in programming and learning how to use 3-D printers. At the same time, plenty of class time is devoted to art, music, ceramics, literature, writing, language and history, with Bell even teaching an advanced placement history course himself.

“I did not want to do (STEM) just for marketing purposes,” Bell said. “When you look at STEM programs, you only have six percent of public school students in those classes. And we’re told that 80 percent of the opportunities for children in the future

will be STEM-related.”
The school also has

competitive inter-scholastic sports programs. Anyone who tries out for a team makes that team, including fencing and equestrian teams. Within the next 18 months, there will be a riding program centered at renovated stables dating back more than a century, one of only two day schools in Loudoun County with its own stables.

Bell is particularly proud of his highly-credentialed faculty, which he said, “also has humility. They’re allowed to say I might not do this as well as I used to, and they listen to their students. It’s not

that they’re kowtowing, but it is important to listen to them.”

And parents are always a huge part of the equation.

“When we interview students, we probably interview their parents even more robustly,” he said. “We need parents who are really with us. If they’re not on board, we’ve got a problem. We have parents who are sending us their children from as far as 40 minutes away from the school. Our parents know they can trust us.”

Bell and his staff also trust their own student leaders, as well as its board of directors.

“It’s robust,” he said of student

leadership. “They’re involved in everything that goes on here. And what I love about our board is their focus on the quality we have. They let us frame the school in a careful, thoughtful way for the future.”

That future seems limitless. There are now more applicants than spaces in the student body. Classes remain small— perhaps a dozen or less—which allows more individual attention. At some point, the student body might increase to 150, though that might be a stretch for the current physical plant.

And the biggest disciplinary problem? Late homework.

Bell, who grew up in Versailles, Kentucky, has been a teacher and administrator at nine different independent schools over his long career. His specialty has always been to be what he described as “transformative” in reshaping academic programs. He and his wife, Edwina, an administrator at the school, also believe this will be their last stop, if only because, he said, “we just love the Middleburg area.”

Apparently, there is mutual admiration from some very important people involved with Middleburg Academy.

“I had a great compliment when our board chair was sitting in my office and we were just chatting,” Bell said. “At one point, he said ‘we never envisioned the school would be this good, this quickly.’”

Remember those three questions? So far, Colley Bell has provided all the right answers.

Cross Country was off and running in last Friday's VISAA State Championship at Fork Union Academy

Press release:

(November 17th, 2016)

The Boys’ and Girls’ Cross Country Teams had an amazing season overall. Both Boys and Girls finished in the top 5 of all invitationals they participated in this season.  Both teams had great showings over the weekend at the VISAA State Championships. The Girls in particular had an extremely great showing for this being the team’s first year with a full girls team, finishing 8th of 21 teams. The Boys also had a great showing finishing 17th out of 31 teams.

Leading the Lady Dragons throughout the year, Senior Tori Kahler ‘17 came up big again for the team this past weekend, finishing 8th of over 200 runners with a time of 20 minutes and 54 seconds, and earning first Team All-State, her second state title in two years of running. She finished 16th last year, showing big improvement over her stats from last season.

Junior Josh Kay ‘18 continued to lead the boys team returning with great talent and even greater goals from last year’s campaign. Josh lead the team in the State meet with a time of 19 minutes and 51 seconds, with a close second on the team going to Junior Mason Price ‘18, with a time of 19 minutes and 59 seconds. Senior Alan Salacain ‘17 had a great race and took third for the team, moving ahead three team slots, and helping the boys’ team do well overall.

The Girls’ team had some great highlights throughout the year taking 1st at the first home meet of the season. Eighth grader Jenny Chen ‘21 lead the way for the Dragons with an impressive finish of 25 minutes and 32 seconds. Also emerging as a force to be reckoned with this season was Senior Lotta Dierschke ‘17 having a personal best of 22 minutes and 32 seconds.

Both teams took 2nd place finishes overall at the second home meet of the season.  The team saw its first hardware midway through the season, bringing home their first plaque at the Spire Invitational. Boys took 3rd with strong showings from Freshman Colley Bell ‘20 having a time of 20 minutes and 7 seconds and Junior Jimmy Cunningham ‘18 finishing in 2o minutes and 4 seconds.  Both times were their personal bests for the season.

When asked what this season has meant to Coach Myers and the Middleburg Cross Country Program Coach Myers believes,

But all of these accomplishments and accolades are really a minor piece of what it means to be a member of the Middleburg Academy Cross Country team. In my life, the decision to run was life changing one that continues to influence me each day. I now have the pleasure to witness this same process taking place in the lives of my runners, who surprise me with their constant dedication to a sport that they do not always love. Seeing this level of commitment from young people is truly incredible, and has been humbling for me as a coach.  They are, as they say, a family: they watch movies together, laugh together, encourage one another, and work together through the hard times as a team. That is the accomplishment of which I am most proud of.

Coach Myers also wanted to give a personal shout out as well to Jenny Chen, “She brought home over 8 metals this season, which was our most decorated athlete on either team this season… and she is only in the 8th grade!”

Middleburg Academy is an independent school serving grades 8 through 12, with small classes, dedicated faculty, full STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) curriculum, excellent athletics, and a remarkable record of graduates excelling at top universities. The campus in Middleburg, Va. is set on a 90-acre estate. More than 20% of the student body comes from abroad, and students benefit from an eight-to-one student to faculty ratio. There are 16 sports teams. For more information, visit www.middleburgacademy.org.


The Middleburg Academy Girls' Varsity Volleyball Team Wins the 2016 VISAA State Championship, their second title in the last two years!

Press release:

(Middleburg, VA - November 17th, 2016)

Middleburg Academy repeated as State Champions in the Virginia Independent School State Championship (Division II) defeating Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, 3-1.

Middleburg Academy Lady Dragon's Volleyball team played in more matches than any other high school in the State of Virginia, 43 matches with an overall record of 40-3.  Considering this is a team of 10 players, the results are highly impressive.  The Lady Dragons, finished the season ranked #7 in the State and 310 Nationally.  That would place this little team in the top 1% in the country.

In the State Tournament, Middleburg Academy had a quick start against Trinity Christian in the semi-finals and pushed until the final point of victory.  As a team, they mastered 49 digs and 6 blocks.  Junior Lilly Reilly ‘18 led the team will 11 kills and Junior Emma DiClementi ‘18 finished with 10 kills with set scores of 25-14, 25-13, 25-18.

Middleburg Academy entered the finals as the defending VISAA D2 State Champions and in the first two sets moved the ball quickly and hit hard.  The third set the tempo changed and it was clear some nerves were creeping in and the Lady Dragons lost the third set.  The fourth set was a point by point match and once again, this talented group came together and worked each point as a team.  Freshman Ashleigh Moffett ‘20 stepped up with very aggressive serving, including 3 aces.  Sophomore Chelsea Penfield ‘19 demanded attention with 19 booming kills.  Junior Lilly Reilly ‘18 continued to swing for a match total of 13 kills and Junior Lilian Vargo ‘19 dished off a total of 35 assists.  Defensively the team dug 96 balls with Senior Libero, Alison Thomas ‘17 anchoring the center for the Dragons to pull away with a consecutive state title. 25-12, 25-19, 27-25, 25-23.

Middleburg Academy, a small independent school located in southern Loudoun County, prides itself on the quality of the character in its students. For members of the girls’ volleyball team this was the character of their season.  Junior Lilian Vargo ‘19 spoke of a smaller team where “our practices had me touching every ball – and on every drill, that’s the privilege of playing at Middleburg.”  The absence of Senior Captain Meagan McDonald ‘17 due to a season ending injury in September, whom the fans affectionately called “Megatron” for the delivery of her powerful kills, meant the team had to reinvent itself over the course of the year. Junior Lilly Reilly ’18 noted, “that this year it really took every single one of us to win . . .we are really like a family.”

Middleburg Academy defeated Division I powerhouses Flint Hill School and Bishop O’Connell early in a regular season matches,  and would see their record extend to 34-3.  “We were new to this ‘defending champions’ thing . . . so we worked hard to stay focused – we learned a lot about ourselves, and much of that was not to take anything for granted,” said Vargo ‘19.

Jumping, literally, into the fray as new students and freshmen was Ashleigh Moffett ’20 and Kennedy Bryant ‘20.  “Kennedy had to be Meagan,” said Reilly ‘18 and the freshmen pair made their presence known.  “Ashleigh was her own weather system and a force anytime the ball came off her hand,” said Vargo.  Reilly added, “we were  sloppy and unfocused playing in the semi-finals having defeated that opponent 4 times before.  When we finished the game and watched Nansemond-Suffolk play a stellar game against Peninsula Catholic, we still had great confidence in our ourselves.”  Reilly paused, and added, “that’s who we are: confident, skilled and of great character.”


White House recognizes Project Lead The Way

Middleburg Academy serves as the region's only independent day school that partners with Project Lead the Way

We’re excited to share that the White House recognized PLTW as a partner in the CS for All initiative, launched by the President earlier this year to empower all American students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science. This recognition highlights our efforts to increase access to computer science education for students and teachers across the country.  

Additionally, we’re thrilled to announce our participation as a member of the CSforAll Consortium. This national organization was formed in response to the growing computer science education community, the broadly bipartisan support for computer science, and the President’s goal to provide every student with access to computer science education. 

We want to thank you for the continued commitment you have made to empower your students with opportunities to develop in-demand skills through computer science. As part of our ongoing combined efforts, we are:

  • Increasing the number of students with access to computer science by training more than 13,500 K-12 teachers in PLTW computer science courses this year
  • Engaging K-12 students in hands-on activities, projects, and problems that allow them to solve real-world challenges
  • Preparing students for long-term success and encouraging them to pursue CS degrees and careers through opportunities like AP + PLTW student recognition

Together, we’re making a difference in providing computer science education to more K-12 students across the U.S.  

For more information, read the White House announcement and press release on PLTW.org

Join the Conversation

This week, we encourage you to share on social media how your school is committed to providing computer science education to students. Please use the #CSforAll and #PLTWProud hashtags in your posts. 

We also invite you to share your computer science success stories with us. We’re always looking for inspiring PLTW stories to highlight on our blog.