Landmark Florida Preparatory Academy Sold to California-Based Investment Company Newopen USA
By Maria Sonnenberg // December 15, 2017
'Newopen is an exceptional fit for Florida Prep'
FLORIDA PREP PRESIDENT JAMES DWIGHT: This represents a tremendous leap forward for Florida Prep and a great benefit for Brevard County.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – A new dawn has risen on one of the Space Coast’s landmark institutions with the recent sale of Florida Preparatory Academy (Florida Prep) to California-based investment company Newopen USA.
“This represents a tremendous leap forward for Florida Prep and a great benefit for Brevard County,” said James Dwight, the long-time president of the prep school his father, the late Jonathan Dwight, founded in 1961.
“Newopen is an exceptional fit for Florida Prep, for our students and for our community. They have an extensive background in education overseas and have been looking for the right opportunity to expand into the United States for some time. They looked at many schools before they chose Florida Prep and the selection was based not only on our rich history and track record in academic excellence, but also because of our amazing location on the Space Coast.”
“It’s no secret,” continued Dwight, “Brevard County is one of the fastest-growing technology hubs in the country, with an infrastructure and legacy second to none.
“Florida Prep offers Newopen an extraordinary opportunity to work with local institutions of higher learning such as Florida Tech University and Eastern Florida State College, with whom we already have a strong relationship, and the name recognition of the area to students from overseas – we had a lot to offer to the relationship.”
In his 27th year as President, Dwight will retain his position and be working with Dr. Marshall Willman, general manager of Newopen USA, in realizing the company’s new, three-year strategic plan which includes significant upgrades to the historic 11-acre campus and the creation of first-class, innovative learning opportunities for students at every level.
Florida Prep began life as Florida Air Academy, an all boys’ military, boarding high school housed in the retrofitted 1926 Lincoln Hotel.
The unique, sprawling Mediterranean-revival style main building, or “Hall of Flags,” continues to serve as the keystone structure on campus.
It includes dormitories for boys and girls in grades five through 12 from throughout Florida, as well as over 25 states and 30 countries.
It also houses the admissions and administrative offices, dining hall, library, wellness center and other student living and learning spaces.
“While we enjoy a rich legacy and collection of charming and historic buildings, major renovations are planned as well as new construction of state-of-the-art buildings. The improvements will be inventive and set new standards for secondary schools of the 21st century as we expect to completely transform the campus,” said Dwight.
“We share a strongly aligned vision for the future for global education and Newopen has the means to make this transition a reality in a relatively short period of time.
“Florida Prep already has a well-deserved reputation for faculty and staff excellence. Newopen plans to tap into that critical resource as our faculty and staff have been selected for their expertise, for the passion they feel for the subject matter and for their desire in helping every student achieve his or her highest potential, both in and out of the classroom. All of our staff members at Florida Prep serve as role models and our students’ “second family,” and these close relationships encourage academic success. As we expand we will be adding to our faculty; however, we will ensure we retain our current family-like environment and attention to each individual on campus,” said Dwight.
Expect Florida Prep to place additional emphasis on S.T.E.A.M., or Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, an integrated approach to teaching physical and social sciences, incorporation of technology, principles of engineering, English language arts and application of mathematics.
“We expect to develop Florida Prep into an exceptional prep school, recognized around the world for its remarkable, innovative, world class instruction and facilities,” remarked Dwight.
Florida Prep’s rich, diverse blend of boarding students from all corners of the globe and a strong local student population will not change.
“We have a very healthy mix of local, domestic and international students and we want to keep that mix,” said Dwight.
The school has already realized significant changes throughout its rich history. It became coeducational in 2005 with female students now making up nearly half the student body.
A middle school including 5th grade classes was also added so parents could tap into the benefits of its distinctive education even earlier. Beginning with the 2015-2016 academic year, the landmark institution became “Florida Prep” and launched a new, college-style academic schedule in order to better prepare high school students for college life.
It plans to continue to implement many cutting-edge programs in all areas of its curriculum including the fields of computers, robotics, artificial intelligence, green, sustainable technologies and reusable energies.
Florida Prep’s anticipation of excellence from each student continues to attract families. The school sets high expectations on academic standards, personal skills and values, which provide students many advantages when they enter demanding colleges and universities.
Florida Prep will continue to enhance its scope of competitive sports and extra-curricular activities, and has maintained its hallmark flight training and Air Force JROTC programs as options.
“Parents will see even higher returns on their educational investment for their children as they excel in top universities around the world and ultimately in their chosen career paths,” Dwight added.
For a person who literally grew up on the campus of the school his father created, Dwight sees Newopen’s association with Florida Prep as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both the school and Brevard County.
“I’m tremendously excited to be a part of this new chapter,” he concluded.
For more on Florida Preparatory Academy, call 321-723-3211 or visit flprep.com
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