All posts by Dede

The Wood Acres School – Academic Excellence in East Cobb

Quick Facts about the Woods

  • Wood Acres was founded in 1969 as the Wood Acres Country Day School. Originally located on the corner of Johnson Ferry and Roswell Roads in East Cobb County (yes, it was once just a beautiful forest!), the school provided unprecedented educational programs for Early Childhood students.
  • Wood Acres moved to its present location in 1983. A multi-million dollar campus renovation was completed in 2007 in preparation for program expansion and growth into the middle school years.
  • The Wood Acres logo, the oak leaf and acorn, comes from the original campus oak still seen on Johnson Ferry Road in East Cobb. With the addition of Turner Hall, Wood Acres adopted its mascot, Navi-Gator. The compass rose, found in the school plaza, provides the school community a daily reminder of the importance of direction and purpose in all that we do.
  • Many schools, both public and private, tout low teacher-pupil ratios (TPR) but embedded in the numbers are additional non-homeroom teachers and support staff. Wood Acres’ TPR is a true representation of the importance we place on small class size and personal attention to a student’s learning. The Twos average TPR is 7:1, Threes, Fours, and Kindergarten average is 8:1, Grammar School (first through 4th grades is 16:1 and Upper School (5th through 8th grades) is 18:1. These TPR averages include applicable teaching assistants as they directly impact instruction. Toss in all our specials teachers (i.e. music, art, etc) and our TPR drops to an amazing 5:1 in the Early School, 8:1 in the Grammar School, and 8:1 in the Upper School!
  • For the discerning family who compares both educational value and expense, The Wood Acres School has no competition. Our tuition is not just competitive; it consistently ranks on the top of lists comparing quality vs. tuition. Wood Acres firmly believes that a first class private school education should not cost more that college tuition! Specifics concerning tuition and fees can be obtained during your on-campus tour or by calling the Wood Acres Financial Accounts Manager.
  • Leadership at Wood Acres ascribes to the tenets of 30 years of research on effective schools. Hence, The Wood Acres School focuses on a clear and focused vision, high expectations for student achievement, strong instructional leadership, a safe learning environment, close monitoring of instruction and time on task, a positive school climate, and close home-school-community partnerships. Through these lenses leadership and teaching teams constantly evaluate themselves for continuous improvement.
  • Wood Acres is accredited by the Georgia Accrediting Commission. Founded in 1901 this commission accredits both private and public schools in the state.
  • Wood Acres does not ascribe to any one teaching methodology, any one curriculum approach, or any one academic mindset. The programs and adopted curriculum are strongly research-based, geared to national standards, and represent myriad approaches that have proven successful for student achievement and academic success.
  • Although an independent school, Wood Acres students do not wear school uniforms at this time, although a smile is a prerequisite throughout the school day! Spirit wear is popular and available through this website.
  • Choice in education can be both an invigorating experience as well as a challenging one to implement. The Wood Acres School works closely with prospective families in hopes of making a great educational match between student and school. One visit to our campus will help you shape your child’s educational journey.

New Student Housing For Georgia State

A little publicity for my husband for the sale of this downtown Atlanta property that will soon be new student housing for Georgia State.

Ambling affiliate buys downtown site for student housing

Atlanta Business Chronicle   by Douglas Sams, Commercial Real Estate Editor

Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 1:42pm EST

An Ambling University Development Group affiliate will redevelop an abandoned downtown hotel into a new student housing project.

Ambling is planning the project in two phases, the first opening next summer after a renovation of the old 200-room Ramada Hotel into about 138 units and 291 beds. A new tower featuring about 108 student-housing units and 424 beds will open in summer 2014. A new parking garage will also open then.

In August, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported Ambling University Development Group was planning an 18-story student housing project in downtown. The Valdosta Ga.-based company had submitted plans to the city of Atlanta to redevelop the abandoned hotel and service station at Courtland Street and John Wesley Dobbs Avenue.

The development would serve nearby Georgia State University, whose freshman enrollment this fall is expected to reach record levels and total enrollment should top 32,000 students.

Ambling’s affiliate recently closed on the $7.9 million purchase of the almost 1.5-acre site, just 100 yards from the future location of Georgia State University’s new business and law schools. John DeYonker, vice president of land and developer services at Bull Realty, represented the seller, Legacy Palms LLC, in the transaction.

An early rendering of the new Ambling student housing project in downtown Atlanta.

Enlarge Image

An early rendering of the new Ambling student housing project in downtown Atlanta.

Real Estate Recovery Run around The Westminster Schools

Last weekends Real Estate Recovery Run was an 8 mile run to gear up for the upcoming half marathon season that took place with my friend Julie through the neighborhoods along West Paces Ferry at I-75 and behind The Westminster Schools.  As a loan officer in a bank, Julie can certainly relate to the downfall of the real estate market and upheaval of the financial system.  She’s logged in hundreds, maybe thousands of miles on foot and her bike in search of sanity over the last few years.

Sunday was a beautiful morning with a touch of fall in the air.  We met at the West Paces Ferry shopping center near Starbucks, which is a popular hangout place for the students that attend the private schools in the area.  Passing the beautiful estates mixed with more modest homes that possess the blue chip addresses on West Paces Ferry took our mind off of the long gradual incline. The sharing of war stories of the market and hopeful recovery we are seeing kept our adrenaline flowing.

After a refreshing downhill break we crossed Northside Parkway toward The Westminster Schools.  Years of carpooling memories came back to me, warming my heart as we plodded deeper into the quiet neighborhoods with estate sized properties and rolling lawns surrounding the campus.  The few For Sale signs along the way were a reminder of the declining inventory of available homes. Eight miles seemed to pass rather quickly as we soaked in the serenity of our peaceful surroundings.

See below the available homes for sale within close proximity to The Westminster Schools and other Buckhead private schools.

[idx-listings zip=”30327″ minprice=”500″ maxprice=”10000000″ propertytypes=”230″ orderby=”DateAdded” orderdir=”DESC” count=”488″]

Woodward Academy to do random drug tests

This should stir some interesting debates…….

Woodward Academy to test students for drug use

Atlanta Business Chronicle    

by Carla Caldwell, Morning Call Editor

Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 6:40am EDT

Woodward Academy plans to perform random drug testing for grades 9-12 beginning next year.

Woodward Academy plans to perform random drug testing for grades 9-12 beginning next year.

Woodward Academy in College Park will next year become the second school in  Georgia to enforce random drug testing on its students, reports Atlanta Business Chronicle broadcast partner WXIA-TV.

The station reports that the decision comes on the heels of a new national study from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University that says drug use among teens is as prevalent as ever – and has increased at private schools.

The study says 60 percent of teens believe their high school is “drug-infected” – which is relatively consistent with previous years, WXIA said. But in private schools, the number has increased from 36 percent to 54 percent, the report said.

Click here to read more about Woodward’s plans for testing students in grades 9 to 12, and to read comments from Dr. Stuart Gulley, president at Woodward Academy.

Real Estate Recovery Runs


It’s September and I’m tired of the heat and tired of feeling scattered by the lack of structure that I enjoyed for most of the summer.  I’m reviewing my new year’s resolutions to see how they can be revived as we head into the final quarter of the year.  I’ve committed to a sales coaching course at my office, an accountability partner to share my progress with, and a new “To Do” list provided by my most efficient husband. It’s not digital or viral or accessed by computer or smart phone, but just a good ole sheet of paper with “TO DO” at the top, several lines for notes, and check boxes for me to fill in when complete.  Why does it feel so good to fill in that little box?

I’m looking forward to cooler weather and excited to line up a few half marathons for the fall, although my running life is also in need of a coach, accountability partner, and to do list.  Having run through many of Atlanta’s neighborhoods over the years, most of my runs lately have been around the grueling hills of Chastain Park.  I’ve decided my body will be found one day on East Conway Road either flattened by a carpooling mom, texting teen or big yellow school bus if I don’t find a new route.

Inspired by a mom from my children’s elementary school days, I’m exploring ideas to add a new dimension to my real estate business and my running.  When Lisa Weldon faced an empty nest last year, she put plans in motion to live out a dream of living in New York City.  I’m sure her month long stay as documented on her blog,  inspired many others to revisit their dreams.  While not as exciting as a month in New York or Paris (Lisa’s current location), I’ve decided to energize my running while learning new areas of the city. I can’t think of a better way to get an up close and personal take on areas in and around Atlanta that I can share with my clients, burn a few calories, and soak up some sanity along the way.

So what should this new adventure be called?  If it has a name I feel like it will be more important and I’ll be more committed.  My sister once thought if she had a laundry dress and artfully decorated her laundry room she’d  feel excited about doing laundry somewhat like going to a party.  The Running Realtor is an obvious choice but I’m not feeling it.  Home Runs, Real Estate Recovery Run, maybe an acronym?   Hmmm…hopefully something will come to me while I’m out on the road.


Where is the Shadow Inventory?

For the past several months the media has been reporting about all of the shadow inventory of homes that is going to hit the market like a tsunami wrecking havoc on the gentle recovery we are beginning to see, or producing big opportunities for investors ready and waiting to snatch up a deal.  This report from Freddie Mac downplays the possibility of shadow inventory having a noticeable impact on the current inventory.

Freddie Mac: Threat of shadow inventory subsides, home prices rise

by: Kerri Ann Panchuk

It’s often feared a shadow inventory of homes will flood the housing market derailing the fragile recovery that some now believe is under way. But a new report from Freddie Mac says this view may be too pessimistic given today’s rising home prices and falling REO levels.

While the real estate market has its share of distressed loans and assets looming on the sidelines, the nation’s excess supply of vacant properties continues to fall, simultaneously making room for more REO absorption, Freddie said in its August “U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook” report.

“This continuing shrinkage in excess vacant stock is important because it means that in most markets the REO homes on the for-sale market are not competing with an oversized vacant housing inventory,” the government-sponsored enterprise asserted in its report. “Thus, REO homes may be more attractive to investors and first-time buyers because fewer vacant homes are available, and REO sales will have less effect on other home sales or home values.”

The rental vacancy rate alone fell to 8.6% in the latest Freddie report, its lowest point since 2002. The for-sale vacancy rate also declined to 2.1%, a six-year low. The market also is seeing fewer REOs with CoreLogic’s sales database revealing that REO sales made up only 13.5% of all May sales, their lowest share in four years.

The good news is a smaller supply of REOs can buoy home prices. That trend is already occurring with Freddie’s home price index rising 4.8% from March to June, the largest quarterly increase in 8 years. The national index also posted a year-over-year gain of 1%.

Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia saw home values rise during the 12-month period leading up to June 2012, the largest number of states with positive annual appreciation in five years.

Just a few years ago, the nation faced an “unprecedented oversupply of housing stock,” Freddie said. But with homebuilding suppressed for years and more households finally forming, a great deal of that excess inventory has already been absorbed, the GSE said.

See the article here on Housingwire

Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty is Powerful Force in Atlanta Real Estate

It’s so exciting to be a part of this outstanding company and it’s success.

High School Football begins in Atlanta

Football season is upon us.  As the mother of ball loving sons, I often feel like my life can be categorized by what ball was being played with at that particular time.  We sold our house during baseball season, my grandmother passed away during football season, etc.  I confess I prefer the beautiful spring days of baseball season and the fast paced roar in the gym of basketball season to the late and often cold Friday nights of high school football season. My long lean sons don’t possess the stature required for an injury free football season so the sound of crashing helmets can cause me great stress.  I’ve learned to watch the game by just scanning the field so as not to focus on the intricacies of each play or see which player ends up on the bottom of the heap.

Growing up in small town Georgia I do get the enthusiasm and pride that goes along with supporting the local team.   The star players in those small towns often go on to run for mayor, own the local sporting goods store, or coach a team of their own and continue to relive their championship season and the play by play of each game well into their senior years.  The marching band, twirling majorettes, and pom- pom shaking cheerleaders set the tone each Friday night as the town fills the stadium.  My enthusiasm for high school football waned when I attended my children’s Buckhead private school games.  High school football without a marching band is like the Dallas Cowboys without the cheerleaders.  With the private schools priority being placed on academics and other extra-curricular activities like chess club or debate team, the marching band slowly became extinct.   I’m sorry, but a few beatnik type musicians playing their instruments in the stands does not compare to the stadium rocking sensation of the marching band.

Since my younger son has decided to retire his cleats and shoulder pads this year, I will no longer be regularly attending Friday night games.  My husband on the other hand will still be in the stands so I will look forward to a season of girl’s nights with Georgia, our chocolate lab.  Someone was looking out for me when we happened upon a lab that cares nothing about a ball.

Go Team!