Cary Academy

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Cary Academy
Cary acamedy logo.png
1500 North Harrison Avenue


United States
Coordinates35°49′12″N 78°46′9″W / 35.82000°N 78.76917°W / 35.82000; -78.76917Coordinates: 35°49′12″N 78°46′9″W / 35.82000°N 78.76917°W / 35.82000; -78.76917
Motto"A learning community dedicated to Discovery, Innovation, Collaboration, and Excellence"
Established1996 (25 years ago) (1996)
CEEB code340601
Head of schoolMichael Ehrhardt
Teaching staff83.0[1] (on a FTE basis)
Enrollment764 (2017–18)[1]
Student to teacher ratio9.2[1]
Campus size52 acres (210,000 m2)
Campus typeSuburban
Color(s)Blue and gold   
Athletics conferenceNCISAA – TISAC
AccreditationSACS, SAIS
YearbookThe Legacy

Cary Academy is an independent, coeducational, nonsectarian, college-preparatory secondary school located in a 65-acre campus in Cary, North Carolina established in 1997.[2] The school places an emphasis on the use of technology in the classroom,[3][4] with tablet computers issued to all students.[5] In the 2019–2020 academic school year, Cary Academy had 774 enrolled students, 46% of whom were students of color.[6]


Cary Academy's main quad, highlighting the neoclassical architecture, modeled after the University of Virginia.

Cary Academy was founded by Ann and James Goodnight and Ginger and John Sall in 1996,[7] though the first classes were not held until 1997. (Goodnight and Sall are co-founders of SAS Institute.)

As a school established by the founders of SAS, the school has placed a heavy emphasis on the use of technology.[8] From 1997 until 2006, the school had desktop computers located in every classroom.[4]

In 2003, the Sports/Education Annex was completed, allowing more space for both athletics and Foreign Language classes with a second gym and additional classroom space.

In September 2004, the United States Department of Education named Cary Academy one of 255 public and private schools that had won its No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon award since the inception of the program.

Starting in the 2006–2007 school year, the school transferred from desktops to a Tablet PC program for all students.

Architecture for the school buildings is neoclassical, with ornate columns at entrances. It was modeled after the University of Virginia, and was designed by Cherry Huffman architects of Raleigh, North Carolina.[9]

In July 2011, Head of School Don Berger announced his stepping down after the 2011–12 school year.[10]

In January 2019, the Center for Math and Science was completed, providing a makerspace, expanded study spaces, an environmental laboratory and greenhouse, two new physics labs, two new biology labs, and two new chemistry labs for the Upper School.[11]


From its inception, Cary Academy has placed a heavy emphasis on technology.[4][5] From 1997 until 2006, Cary Academy featured desktop computers in every classroom, as per the "one-computer-per-student" policy in use at the time.[4] For the 2006–2007 school year, these were replaced with Tablet PCs issued to every student.[12]


The demographic breakdown of the 764 students enrolled for 2017–18 was:[3]

  • Asian – 19.4%
  • Black – 5.8%
  • Hispanic – 4.3%
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific islanders – 0.1%
  • White – 58.5%
  • Multiracial – 11.9%

Extracurricular activities[edit]


Cary Academy is a member of the Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference (TISAC) and the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA). Cary Academy has seventeen different athletic teams participating in a diverse range of sports, which include:

Boys: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Track and Field, Wrestling

Girls: Basketball, Cross Country, Cheerleading, Field Hockey, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball


In 2005, the Varsity Girls Cross Country team won the State Championship, and the Varsity Girls Basketball team were runners-up.[13]

In 2008, 2009, 2014, and 2015 the Varsity Boys Tennis Team won State Championships.[13]

The Varsity Boys Cross Country Team won State Runner-up honors in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013.[13]

In 2009 and 2010, the Varsity Volleyball team was State Runner-up.[13]

In 2012, the Varsity Girls Track & Field and the Varsity Girls Cross Country teams won State Championships.[13]

In 2014 and 2016, the Varsity Women's Soccer Team made it to the state championships.

In 2020, the Girls Swim Team won their fourth NCISAA State Championship in a row.


Cary Academy has a diverse Arts Department. In the Middle School, arts offered are visual arts, band, orchestra, chorus, drama, and dance[14] The video production class is offered to a small number of 8th graders every year as well. The Upper School offers a much wider range of fine, performing, and computer arts.[14]

Speech and debate[edit]

Cary Academy features a Speech and Debate Team in the Upper School. The school participates in competitions of the National Forensic League, the National Catholic Forensic League, and the Tarheel Forensic League. Main Speech and Debate events offered at Cary Academy include:

The Cary Academy Speech and Debate team was founded during the 1998–1999 school year. In the fourteen years since its inception, the team has grown to become the largest speech and debate program in the state of North Carolina. During that time the team has won a state championship (2004), multiple district championships (2003 & 2004), and qualified students to attend the National Speech and Debate Tournament for 12 consecutive years running. (The longest active streak of any school in its district.) In that time Cary Academy has had 59 national qualifiers, including qualifiers in all but two of the eleven events offered at the national tournament. Cary Academy students have earned awards for advancing to the elimination rounds of the National Tournament in 8 of the last 9 years, including twice placing in the top six in their respective events. Cary Academy students have also won individual championships at the national/regional level competitions hosted by Wake Forest University, the University of Florida, Columbia University, Princeton University, and Northwestern University. In 2007, the Cary Academy chapter of the National Forensic League received the Leading Chapter Award for the Tarheel East District, and in 2012 Cary Academy's NFL Chapter was the 129th largest in the entire nation, including both public and private schools.


  1. ^ a b c "Search for Private Schools - School Detail for CARY ACADEMY". Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  2. ^ "About Cary Academy". Cary Academy. Retrieved 14 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b "Investing in the Future". Archived from the original on 22 December 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b c d "Cary Academy Instructional Technology Outreach Program". Archived from the original on 13 August 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Cary Academy: Technology". Archived from the original on 11 September 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Mike Ehrhardt (8 August 2019). "Campus Updates". Retrieved 12 August 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Policy, Law and Public; Podcasts; Africa, Middle East &; America, North. "SAS Institute CEO Jim Goodnight on Building Strong Companies - and a More Competitive U.S. Workforce". Knowledge@Wharton. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Feature: SAS in School". Archived from the original on 22 December 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Cherry Huffman Architects - Cary Academy". Retrieved 29 March 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Head of School Stepping Down". Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "C(MS): Building for Community". Retrieved 12 August 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Technology in Action: Examples from the Classroom - Cary Academy". Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Athletics". Archived from the original on 11 September 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ a b "Cary Academy: Arts". Archived from the original on 11 September 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.

External links[edit]