New Charter Academy Coming to Panama City

by April 11, 2012 • 2 comments

The beach has been bustling, tourism has been up and the new airport has been performing better than expected the last couple years.  But, not much has been said about the old airport site and what activity was underway, lurking in the shadows.  We haven’t heard much in the last couple years, but it’s not because nothing has been happening – quite the contrary.  The savvy folks at St. Andrew Bay Land Company, regardless of their technical ownership status of the land, has been laying all the ground work to get the master planned community online in place of the old airport site.

The development of the old airport site.

Over the last couple years, the St. Andrew Bay Land Company (SABLC) has been quietly working to take possession of the land the old airport site was on.  If you remember, they were the ones that won the bid.  Their parent company, Leucadia, created the St. Andrew Bay Land Company in order to manage the development.  Working through a variety of complexities that come along with taking possession of an old airport site, they actually just closed in the last 60 days.

In a lunch meeting with Jacob Fish, with SABLC a few weeks back, he excitedly explained that they haven’t lost a beat and that the development was still on schedule for where it would be regardless if they had possession of the land.  He explained there are a variety of things they’ve been working on to get everything ready for development including some really neat advancements and improvements that have been helping from the state legislature, down.

Anyway, we owe you an update on what that development will entail, but that will happen on another day!

Details on the new Charter Academy that’s coming.

Concurrently with the new master planned community that is coming, the developer wanted to incorporate a high quality public school.

The University Academy will be a public K-5 charter school and will begin classes in August 2012 on the FSU Panama City campus.

“The University Academy will be focused on teaching that produces well rounded students who will be prepared to succeed in a rapidly evolving, connected world,” said academy founder and spokesperson, Kelly Forehand. “Naturally, the emphasis will be on the STEM curricula, but we believe it essential that students be equally strong in the areas of critical thinking, languages and the arts.”

A collaborative effort of Florida State University Panama City (FSU Panama City) and local community leaders to deliver innovative elementary education, The University Academy is founded on a strong comprehensive reading, expository writing and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curricula.

“This is one of the first and only schools in Florida where a public university provides the research-based curricula and teacher development and where the employees of the Academy are privately employed by the school board, giving optimal flexibility to the Academy and the teachers,” said Dr. Elizabeth Crowe, PhD, one of academy’s founders and a research faculty member at Florida State University. “This model ensures that the focus is on the success of the individual student, and that the student comes first. This will be a school where students can achieve their potential, regardless of background.”

Parents and Students Information Meeting

An information meeting will be held on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at the FSU Panama City Campus, Bayside Auditorium, located at 4750 Collegiate Drive, from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM. A model classroom will be set up for parents and students to experience.

More information can be found at, by writing us at, or by calling (850) 215-0137. For statements or interviews, the media should contact Academy founder Jacob Fish at (850) 624-3055 or

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1 Stephney May 11, 2012 at 3:24 am

Nice article. Development of a airport can boost tourism to a place.


2 Nicole Parker September 28, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Please email me information about your new Charter School for Kindergarten. My name is Nicole Parker, email is: Or, you can mail me the information to: Nicole Parker, 1320 Cincinnati Ave. Panama City, Florida 32401.
Thank you.