Guiding Principles

St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School’s Guiding Principles support our Mission Statement

To be an inclusive Christian community in which the Episcopal heritage is central.

  • The school is the evolution of a tradition of Episcopal secondary education on the Mountain dating from 1868. The school honors that heritage and affirms it within the school community and in the greater community.
  • The school works to create an environment that consciously establishes structures and standards that are at the heart of the Judeo-Christian tradition and recognizes the nature of human sinfulness. Redemption is a primary objective in the life of the school.
  • The school believes that it is important for students to understand that life is a religious journey and that it is healthy to raise fundamental questions about life and faith.
  • The school is committed to employing a full-time chaplain who is a priest and whose principal function is to serve as pastor to the school community.
  • The school requires attendance by faculty and students at regularly planned chapel services based upon the liturgy of the Episcopal Church.
  • The schoolʼs graduation requirements include a one-year religion course for 12th graders.
  • The schoolʼs policies and procedures, while welcoming people of other faiths, reflect our Judeo-Christian foundation.
  • The school believes that it is important to encourage students to serve their community so that they begin to develop the habit of service and learn how they can benefit from interaction with people beyond the St. Andrew’s-Sewanee campus.  

To provide superior preparation for college.

  • To prepare students for college, the school provides a rigorous academic program and helps students develop the necessary personal skills to function well in a college setting.
  • The school serves students with a wide range of academic abilities; therefore, the emphasis in college counseling is to guide students toward a selection of colleges appropriate to their abilities, skills, and interests.
  • Students are expected to master essential skills in a learning environment that emphasizes the student as worker. The school’s curriculum is based on the traditional liberal arts with active, experiential learning as its foundation.
  • Our curriculum is dynamic and will continue to develop. It is the school’s responsibility to develop a strong curriculum for all our students; in particular cases, courses at the University of the South are a valuable resource.
  • The school recognizes that standardized testing is useful in evaluating a studentʼs individual progress, but greater weight is given to more personal methods of evaluation.

To provide educational opportunities for those students for whom such experiences might not otherwise be available. 

  • The school is committed financially and theologically to having and supporting a socio-economically, religiously, and ethnically diverse student body and faculty.
  • The school is committed to a strong financial aid program.
  • The school is committed to continually examining our community life, our curriculum, and other programs to enable the community to live with its diverse components.                                  

To bring all members of the community to a richer spiritual, intellectual, social, physical, and aesthetic awareness, so that they might lead lives of honor and loving service to God and to others. 

  • The schoolʼs primary concern is the growth of each individual in the community. In addition to the pursuit of excellence, students’ participation in the arts, athletics, humanities, math, outreach, physical education, religious life, and science are all integral to the school’s mission.


Guiding Principles for Community Life

  • The school is a boarding and day school which offers a comprehensive education focusing on the development of the whole child. Optimum enrollment is 250-265 students, with a balance between boarding and day students in the Upper School.
  • Ours is a close-knit community whose inherent nature is informal. Administration and faculty strive to uphold clear boundaries for the safety of students while recognizing that flexibility is sometimes necessary to maintain a caring and forgiving community.
  • The school believes that a school-parent partnership provides the most effective education for students and continually looks for ways to develop and strengthen school-parent relationships.
  • The school accepts that in order to live creatively it must often operate in tension: for example, the tension between justice and mercy, individual life and community life, the public arena and the private arena, the secular and the sacred.
  • The school will exercise responsible stewardship of its resources. It shall operate in a fiscally responsible manner and shall develop and maintain its facilities to appropriately reflect and support its mission.
  • The advisor system, which aims at establishing close relationships between faculty and students, is a vital support for student growth.
  • The school believes that short-term and long-term planning necessarily involves as many members of the community as possible.
  • The school believes it is essential that all programs and personnel be evaluated on a continuing basis and that the school find the ways and means to encourage improvement of programs and faculty and staff performance.
  • The school will hold students accountable for their actions and help them understand, and overcome their problems.
  • The school is aware of the ways in which students change as they mature. A student’s freedom and responsibilities increase as they demonstrate growing personal responsibility and maturity.
  • The school recognizes that change coming voluntarily from within the individual is more beneficial than imposed change.



As we develop any aspect of our program, we must keep the Mission and Guiding Principles in mind. To that end, as we plan our curriculum and daily work with students, our objectives are to;

  • Strengthen our studentsʼ skills in listening, reading, oral, and written expression, computation, and critical observation and to develop creative thinking and intuitive and logical reasoning.
  • Encourage and foster thought and reflection.
  • Provide an atmosphere in which intellectual activity is valued and promoted.
  • Recognize and provide for individual differences in learning styles and academic interests wherever possible within the framework of a curriculum that reflects a strong foundation in the traditional liberal arts.
  • Offer opportunities that prepare and encourage students to become informed and concerned world citizens.
  • Develop an understanding and appreciation of the founding principles of this country and its system of government.
  • Provide a variety of opportunities for participating in and developing an appreciation of the arts.
  • Encourage our students to develop and maintain good health and physical fitness.
  • Help our students develop the ability and discipline to work independently and collaboratively in pursuit of academic and personal goals.
  • Guide our students through the college selection and admissions process.
  • Promote personal responsibility by holding our students accountable for their actions and by insisting that they meet their obligations to themselves and to others.
  • Provide opportunities for the learning that takes place in healthy athletic competition.
  • Help our students develop skills for responsible leadership.
  • Increase understanding of issues and problems facing the world today.
  • Seek positive interaction with surrounding communities.
  • Give students the experience of serving others in and beyond the SAS community.
  • Be aware of each individual's needs in all aspects of our community life.
  • Promote tolerance and respect for all peoples, starting with members of our community.
  • Help our students to be courteous to others and to develop a sense of responsibility for their words as well as their actions.
  • Respect one anotherʼs property and be good stewards of our campus and our environment.
  • Strengthen awareness that a spiritual dimension is integral to the daily life of the individual and the community.
  • Promote an understanding of Episcopal history, tradition, liturgy, and beliefs.



Main Number 931.598.5651*
Teacher-in-Charge 931.636.1377
Administrator-on-Call 931.636.4720

*Links to dial-by-name option

Geoffrey Smith
Dean of Students 

Jana Barnett
Academic Administrative Assistant

Kelley Black
Associate Head of School/Academic Dean

Rachel Malde
Middle School Coordinator 

Derek Perkins
Director of Admission & Financial Aid

Rob Zeitler
Director of Athletics

Melissa Gilliam
Director of the Health Clinic

Molly Short

Sherri Bergman
Director of Communications & Marketing