Published: Aug 24, 2008 09:28 AM
Modified: Aug 24, 2008 09:27 AM
After 10 years, Woods Charter gets own building
A charter school that began 10 years ago with fewer than 100 students in a small, then-rural shopping center in Chatham County is opening its own building Monday with more than 485 students."We know, however, that a school is not a building," said Harrell Rentz, principal of Woods Charter School. "It is, instead, a community of people who create a setting where dreams and high ideals matter." The new K-12 school is near capacity even before opening. It is on Andrews Store Road, near Fearrington Village. Last year, seniors at Woods had an average combined math/reading/writing SAT score of 1640, the sixth highest for a public school in North Carolina. Woods is a college preparatory school."While we feel it is important to display just how good our numbers are, we also feel that it is equally important to remember the true measure of success: a well-rounded student who has more to offer than just numbers," Rentz said. "We equally strive to help our students develop in ways that are not measured by such tests. These traits include character, honor, responsibility, integrity and compassion."The 19 acres for the school were donated by Newland Communities of San Diego, which is developing the Briar Chapel project near the new school. The gift grew out of negotiations between Newland officials and the Chatham County Board of Commissioners. For the first time, Woods will have a gymnasium, a stage for music, theater and other school gatherings, and a soccer field as well as computer, biology and chemistry labs. Since it was founded in 1998, Woods has been located in Cole Park Plaza shopping center about three miles south of Chapel Hill on U.S. 15-501.Roger Gerber of the N.C. League of Charter Schools said Woods is providing children, regardless of income, quality education while demonstrating financial efficiency. "Because public charter schools receive no public funds for buildings, Chatham County is being provided with an excellent public school that is saving taxpayers' money," he said.Rentz, who joined Woods this summer, has a bachelor's degree in math from Davidson College and a master's degree in math from the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky. Most recently, he was dean of faculty and a math and computer science teacher at Bullis School in Potomac, Md. A native of South Carolina, Rentz grew up in Asheboro. He's also been director of Information Technologies at National Cathedral School, Washington, D.C., and supervisor of the Information Center at T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. in Baltimore, Md. Cotton Bryan, Woods high school director, continues this year as assistant principal.Woods' former principal, Simon King, recently accepted a job as chairman of the upper school mathematics department at Cary Academy.
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2008 The Chapel Hill News