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Principia School
Sharing the Good at NAIS



For the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)—a nonprofit that provides services to schools across the country and world—the “I” may stand for Independent. But when the group visited Principia’s campus this past February, the “I” stood for Inspire

When NAIS announced St. Louis as the location for their annual conference, Principia School knew it had a lot of good to share. The School was chosen as a local example of educational excellence that conference attendees could tour, and the turnout was astounding—the highest of any school on the conference roster. Leaders and educators from schools across the country—and the ocean—toured Principia’s 360-acre campus, attended classes, and spoke to teachers, principals, and Head of School Dr. Merry Sorrells (C’79). “As early adapters to educating for the future, we were able to showcase our vast and beautiful campus, our progressive and impressive facilities, and our adaptive and evolving pedagogy,” says Dr. Sorrells.

What stood out most to the visitors was Principia’s dedication to educational innovation. Many took a special interest in the School’s integrated studies program, noting with amazement Principia teachers’ capacity to collaborate with one another to enrich student learning. Another topic of interest was Middle School Theatre Week, in which students and teachers work together to create a musical production in just one week. While some had never seen this model, others have been working to replicate it and were eager to get some tips and tricks from Middle and Upper School Principal, Sam Dry. Principia’s dedication to—and integration with—sustainability also piqued the interest of many, allowing the Impact Challenge and gardens to take center stage. 

Of the experience, Dr. Sorrells says, “Our hope is that our visitors took away a sense of urgency to prepare students to be ethical thinkers and problem solvers, and the assurance that these are attainable goals if we act decisively and intentionally. …A group approached me, tongue-in-cheek, to ask if we were hiring. It was a great experience for our team and our visitors alike.” She adds, “If we are willing to change and adapt, a bright future awaits.”