Thomas Academy welcomes new principal

August 13, 2020

“We are pleased to welcome George Ward III as our new principal at Thomas Academy,” said Vice President for Education Tom Simmons. “George comes to us with a lot of experience and we are really excited to see what he can do to help Thomas Academy continue to grow.”

Ward comes to Thomas Academy from Pine Springs Preparatory Academy having previously served as the Director of the NC STEM Teacher Education Program. He has also served in school leadership positions for the Wake County Public School System. He holds a B.S. in Education from North Carolina State University and a M.S.A. in School Administration from Western Carolina University. He also received Educational Specialist certification from North Carolina State University in Educational Leadership and Administration.

“I appreciate being at a small school where there is an opportunity to get to know each student and develop relationships throughout their educational experience,” said Ward. “I enjoy working with middle school and high school students and Thomas Academy provides that opportunity. I enjoy watching the transition middle school students go through as they begin exploring and moving toward the focused high school experience.”

Ward officially began his tenure at Thomas Academy on July 27 to begin preparing for the year before the teachers returned at the beginning of August.

 “As a career educator, I am always looking to do different things in order to be where I am needed the most,” said Ward. “Thomas Academy is a unique school with its structure and connection to the Boys and Girls Homes.

“I have already seen the close working relationship between B&GH and Thomas Academy,” Ward continued. “I am also incredibly impressed by the community support of the school. The donations of supplies and materials that have come from the community demonstrate that people see a program worth investing in. They know that the school is doing something good not only for the students, but also for the community.”

Ward is preparing for this academic year with an understanding that this will be a year unlike any educators have experienced.

 “This year’s first goal is finding a way to overcome all the obstacles related to the pandemic to provide all of our students with a quality experience,” Ward said. “We don’t want our students missing out on anything from the educational to the social whether we are working virtually or behind masks and shields and six feet apart. We are going to meet each student’s needs to allow them to do their work safely.”

As part of determining how to make that happen, the start of the school year has been delayed until Aug. 24. An orientation session for middle school students and families will take place on Aug. 18 with a similar session for high school students and families on Aug. 20. In the meantime, Ward has been communicating with the students and families through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the REMIND app.

“We are making sure every student has quality educational experiences,” said Ward. “That may mean that we have to change the way we are doing things and improve other things. I find it very important to get input from the students and to make sure that their voices are heard throughout the school in all aspects of their educational experience.”

Following the recommendation of option two, Thomas Academy will reopen with a hybrid of in-seat and virtual learning. To help accomplish this and ensure all students are having an equal educational experience, Chromebooks are being provided to each student.

“We are dealing with the unknown,” Ward said. “To be honest, we don’t know the impact or the outcomes for any of our students from this shutdown. We don’t know what will be seen in six months or a year or years from now. The ramifications since March are still unknown. These are the challenges we have to figure out and do our best to get right. We don’t have all the answers, but we are doing everything with safety in mind. There will be adjustments along the way.”

Ward has an open door policy for students, families and staff. He can be reached at 910-646-2237 or


About Thomas Academy

Thomas Academy is a North Carolina Public Charter School that educates middle and high school students. Located in Lake Waccamaw, the academy provides a tailored academic experience to students who are oftentimes in need of a more specialized, integrated curriculum. Thomas Academy was founded on personalization in education, unique offerings and educating through purposeful design. Enrollment is open to any student in grades six through 12. For more information, visit our website