ATLANTA, Jan. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Atlanta Youth Academy (AYA) Board of Directors announced today the selection of Peter Rooney as its new president. Rooney will succeed current executive director Chuck Johnston who announced in August 2011 that he will retire effective July 31, 2012 after more than eleven years of service to the school.
Under Chuck's leadership, AYA has grown from a small start-up school with few resources to a thriving elementary and middle school. At its inception in 1997, AYA had nine students, one teacher and a $40,000 annual budget. Today, there are 120 students, 14 teachers and a $1.7 million annual budget.
Johnston expressed his confidence in Rooney, knowing he is the right leader for the school at this time. He believes finding Rooney is another one of God's miracles at AYA. Of Rooney, Johnston said, "Throughout his successful career in education, Peter has demonstrated a heart for the underserved. It's that passion that will make him love being at AYA and thrive in this role. He is my longtime friend, and I could not be happier for him and for the close community of school and supporters who make up our AYA family."
Rooney, 49, is currently the vice president for development and alumni relations of Oglethorpe University Atlanta. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes College and has spent the majority of his career in development at private, educational institutions. Prior to Oglethorpe, Rooney served as director of development and director of principal gifts at The Westminster Schools, Atlanta and the planned giving director and director of development at Rhodes College.
"I've visited AYA over the past decade as a friend and leader in the educational world, and on each trip to the campus, I've been moved by the eager students and dedicated faculty," said Rooney. "It is easy to see that lives of young people are being changed for the better each and every day, and I am humbled, honored and excited to join AYA to lead its future."
After an extensive search, Rooney was selected based on his proven leadership and tenure in development and fundraising; his ability to recruit, motivate, and lead volunteers; his understanding of AYA's target donor; his roots in the Atlanta community; and last, but certainly not least, his love of God – the basic premise on which AYA was built.
Larry Teem, founder of AYA and chairman of the Board of Directors said, "I witnessed God raise up Chuck Johnston at a time when a man of his experience was unobtainable for our fledgling academy. I now believe God's favor is upon us again by bringing us our next 'David' – a man after God's own heart to lead us in the coming years to the next level of ministry, education, and excellence."
Rooney revitalized the development department during his tenure at Oglethorpe, which had previously experienced record lows for giving. Under his leadership, Rooney directed a staff and volunteer team to complete five consecutive record annual funds. Since Rooney arrived at Oglethorpe in 2004, the school's financial picture is very bright, as Rooney's leadership and direction have helped attract philanthropic commitments totaling over $60 million. Rooney aims to bring his fundraising success to help move AYA to the next level.
"The whole of my experiences prepares me for what I understand the needs to be at this point in AYA's journey," Rooney said. "My fundraising ability will undergird the financial position for today and strengthen the outlook for the future."
Dr. Sivan Hines, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the AYA Foundation and a member of the search committee, is very optimistic about this appointment. "We are extremely fortunate to have found a new president who can build on the strong foundation already in place at AYA," she said "Peter Rooney is someone who has a long history of demonstrated excellence and philanthropy and who will bring passion, vision and innovative leadership to our school."
Rooney will begin his position at AYA on Aug. 1, 2012. Peter, a Marietta native and graduate of The Westminster Schools, is married to Elizabeth Lockerman Rooney and is the father of two children, daughter Mason, 14, and son Peter, 12. He and his family are active members of Northside United Methodist Church and live in Atlanta.
About Atlanta Youth Academy (AYA)
For students from pre-K through 8th grade, Atlanta Youth Academy (AYA) provides quality education on par with top independent schools. There is one big difference, however. AYA is designed for urban children and youth whose families believe in the importance of education but who do not have access, either financially or geographically, to excellent private schools.
AYA has graduated eight 8th grade classes, and their success is the real proof of its philosophy and methods. Thanks to solid academic preparation and development of strong social skills, AYA grads are doing well at Darlington, Holy Innocents, Lovett, Westminster, and Woodward nearby; and Blair (NJ), McCallie, Rabun Gap, as well as top public schools such as Carver Early College, Carver Arts, Douglas, Grady, South Atlanta, and West Lake. In college we have AYA graduates at Auburn, DeVry, Emory, Georgia Southern, Morehouse, Payne, Santa Clara, Wake Forest, and Winthrop, to name a few. Please visit AYA online at www.atlantayouthacademy.com. You may also be linked to our Facebook page from the website.
SOURCE Atlanta Youth Academy