School History

The 2017-2018 school year marks St. John’s Episcopal Parish Day School’s 67th year of educational excellence.

The School was founded in September 1951 by Father C. W. Brickman, then Rector of St. John’s Parish, making St. John’s the oldest Episcopal school in Central Florida and the second oldest in the state. In 1954, Father George Burchill became the School’s first full time Headmaster. He retired in December 1992, after 38 years of service.

During the long Burchill tenure, the School became widely known for its academic rigor. School facilities at the Orleans Avenue campus were expanded and enrollment increased accordingly. In the mid-1970s, a small campus on Rome Avenue was purchased and remodeled, providing a separate place for four- and five-year-old kindergarten students (Forms I through II) — the Primary School.

In 1999, when it was determined that expanding the existing main campus on Orleans Avenue would be difficult at that time, the St. John’s Parish Vestry purchased a substantial land parcel on Plant Avenue with two buildings in order to create a separate Middle School campus. A successful capital campaign brought in over $4 million — enough for the land purchase and nearly all the expenses of reconstructing the existing buildings, as well as adding a new gymnasium and classroom annex. The remodeled buildings, including a new chapel, were opened to 5th through 8th grades (Forms VII through X) in August 2001. The gymnasium and classroom annex, including a science laboratory, were opened in the fall of 2002. During the summer of 2004, the Primary School was completely refurbished and doubled in size to accommodate an additional class in Forms I and II.

Early in 2000, steps were taken to create the School’s first Board of Trustees. The new Board of Trustees began its service in July 2000. During the ensuing school year, a comprehensive Strategic Plan was developed and adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees and ratified unanimously by the Parish Vestry.

Gordon R. Rode was appointed Headmaster on July 1, 2005. During the 2008-2009 school year, the Board of Trustees developed a new five-year Strategic Plan which took into account the growth in enrollment from 400 to nearly 600 students that began in 2001.

Robert S. Stephens was appointed Head of School on July 1, 2014, and under his leadership, the School continues to move forward creating excellence in education. In September 2015, the School purchased the property adjacent to the Middle School and plans a renovation and expansion project to take place over the next five years.