SAE School To Open In August

After more than two years of dreaming, innovating and planning, a group of local educators, community volunteers and parents are making preparations to open the doors on a new independent Preschool-12th grade school in southern CobbCounty.

The SAESchool will begin classes on August 13, 2013 at 6688 Mableton Parkway with a first year student body of approximately 150.  The building selected formerly housed the Imagine International Academy of Mableton.  The SAESchool will lease the building from Imagine Schools, but will have no other affiliation with the company.

Employing a Project Based Learning approach and a year-round, 200-day calendar, the school is the first of its kind in the region.

“From the moment that I was introduced to the school’s founders and learned about the school’s unique teaching philosophies, I knew that I wanted to be part of such a profound teaching movement,” said SAE science teacher Taryn Steen.  “I’m very visual when I’m working with children, so the project based learning and hands on teaching methods already align with my teaching style.  So much thought, educational research, care, passion and attention to detail has been put into account when the founders created The SAE School.”

Founders Jimmy Arispe and Janet Rau have significant history in furthering education in the region.  Arispe served as a teacher at Brown Elementary,  Assistant Principal at Campbell Middle School, and Superintendent of Schools in Cherokee, NC.  Rau opened the ViningsAcademy preschools and also founded St. Benedict’s Episcopal Day School.  The pair recruited a group of more than 100 parent and resident volunteers over the last two years, formed a Board of Directors and put into place all of the requirements to launch this new independent school.

“This part of CobbCounty has a critical need for better school options,” said SAE School CEO/Head of Schools Arispe.  “Everyone involved with designing and building The SAE School has children who will attend the school, and so every single decision we make has to pass the test:  ‘Is this what I would want for my own child?’.  We are super attuned to all of our enrolled families as well, and we will always govern the school with open lines of communication with all of them,” he said.

The SAESchool received over 500 applications from teachers wanting to be part of this innovative new school.  It plans to open with about 20 teachers to serve the first year student enrollment.  Explaining what attracted him to the school, music teacher Chris Barry said, “It did not take long for me to fall in love with a school as innovative and cutting edge as The SAE School.  Not only do their beliefs and values align with my own, I know The SAE School will be where I want to send my own children.”

School staff reports that the most challenging task in opening the school has been gaining governmental clearance for a location.  The final hurdle before the August 13 launch is to obtain approval from the Cobb County Board of Commissioners for a Special Land Use Permit to move into the school building on Mableton Parkway.  “We have leased an existing school building with an amazing infrastructure and traffic flow that will allow us to grow in that location in the coming years,” said Arispe.  “The school asks that you contact your Commissioner on our behalf and encourage them to pass this.”

The school’s first year tuition cost ranges from $7,850 for preschool, $8900 for Kindergarten and $9,400 for 1st grade and up.  Families enrolling in the inaugural year will be guaranteed that tuition schedule through 12th grade.   The 2013-2014 school year will accommodate students through 8th grade.  Each year the school is open, it will add another grade level between 9th and 12th, anticipating the first graduating class in the year 2018.   For more information on the school, visit

From the June 2013 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton and Austell, GA.