Wesleyan Through the Years

Wesleyan School was established in 1963 as an integral part of Sandy Springs United Methodist Church. Originally known as Wesleyan Day School, the school began as a preschool dedicated to providing a nurturing, educational experience guided by Christian principles. For the next 24 years, the school was housed at the church and led by various pastors and lay directors as its curriculum expanded to include elementary school and a middle school.
In 1988, Barbara Adler, a former Wesleyan parent, teacher and assistant head, became Head of School. Her vision was the catalyst for Wesleyan to become an independent, Christian, college preparatory school, offering a curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade. Under her leadership, and with the support of the Board of Trustees, the church agreed to add a high school curriculum. In 1994, Wesleyan offered its first 9th-grade class.
With the addition of a high school, it was apparent that the school needed a new campus to continue its desired expansion. In the fall of 1994, a new corporation, Wesleyan School, Inc., was formed, and in the spring of 1995, a divestiture agreement from Sandy Springs United Methodist Church was finalized. After an extensive search for property by the new Board, coupled with a generous land equity donation by Dan Cowart, a 53-acre site in Peachtree Corners was put under contract in the fall of 1995.
That same fall, the Board was faced with the challenge of naming a replacement for the retiring Ms. Adler. In the winter of 1996, after a deliberate and time-consuming search, the Board hired Zach Young, a graduate of the University of Virginia and Harvard University and the former Vice President and Assistant Headmaster at The Westminster Schools. Under new leadership, Wesleyan School opened the 1996-97 school year with 556 students on its new campus. That year, the facilities consisted of 15 modular units, a soccer field, and the school’s first permanent structure - Marchman Gymnasium.
In August 1997, Wesleyan added the high school building, Cleghorn Hall, which was named after long-time Atlanta educator, Wesleyan principal, and community leader, Gwen Michael Cleghorn. Under her leadership as a consultant and later as the first principal of the middle school and high school on the new campus, Wesleyan secured accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Another milestone of the 1997-1998 school year was the graduation of Wesleyan’s first senior class of 17 students.

By the grace of God and the generous support of family members, foundations, and friends, Wesleyan added Hoover Student Activities Center in August of the 1998-1999 school year, and its enrollment increased to more than 860 students. Other additions to the campus that year included Henderson Stadium and Robinson Field, which hosted the school’s inaugural varsity football season. Modular units for a high school and middle school cafeteria were added along with units for the music department. In the spring of 1999, the Curley Tennis Courts were dedicated, and a baseball field was added.

Wesleyan School completed the "Raise the Goal Campaign," which raised $45 million, in December of 2003 and the money raised from that campaign was a milestone in the development of the campus. In the fall of 2000, the school purchased twelve acres of adjacent land, which adjoined the campus along Peachtree Parkway to be used for physical education, soccer, football, cross country, and lacrosse. In addition, 163 much-needed parking spaces for visitors and students were added to the campus.

Construction of Wesley Hall, the largest facility on campus, was completed in the fall of 2001 to house the entire middle school and several high school classrooms, a 467-seat theater, a dining hall for middle and high school students, a library for both middle and high schools, a prayer chapel, science and computer labs, and office space. Directly in front of Wesley Hall is the Barbara F. Adler Plaza, a beautifully landscaped mall, where Commencement is held each spring.
    • 102; First graduating class

    • 293; Powell Theater Construction, Clark Taylor

    • 40 1st graduation

The lower school building, Warren Hall, was completed during the summer of 2002. The 73,000 square-foot building includes its own library, gymnasium, and a combination dining hall/auditorium. Specialty space includes classrooms for math, reading, Bible, and French. In addition, a kitchen/laboratory space also acts as a math and science learning center. Warren Hall has its own covered carpool drop-off area and one large playground. During its 40th anniversary year, Wesleyan celebrated the completion of its most recent building, Davidson Natatorium. This building houses a twenty-five yard, ten-lane, competition high school pool, seating for 240, locker rooms, and a concession stand.
    • Construction

    • Construction

The fourth building campaign, and the first major endowment campaign, known as "Complete the Campus," included a much-needed fine arts center (later named Sharon and Matt Cole Hall) completed in April of 2007, the Don and Ida Yancey Gymnasium completed in November 2006, and Gillfillan Hall completed in August 2007. Gillfillan Hall is attached to Marchman Gymnasium, the first permanent structure on the Spalding Drive campus. Also included in the campaign was a goal of $10.4 million for endowment, the largest portion of which is designated for financial aid. The total goal of the "Complete the Campus" campaign was $43 million.
During the Shared Blessings campaign, Wesleyan leadership targeted campus improvements and endowment growth. A second practice field was added at Hoyt Fields, the Brammer-Wilkinson Room gave the lower school additional meeting space, and four additional tennis courts and a brick pavilion were added at Strickland-Curley Tennis Courts. The centerpiece of the campaign was a renovation to Austin Chapel, increasing seating capacity to 625, which also created the opportunity to add a college advising suite and to expand classroom, meeting, and office space on the bottom floor of Cleghorn Hall. The community came to the table in an incredible way to support the school. Originally targeted to raise $16.5 million in three years, over $20 million was raised.

In late winter 2020, Wesleyan launched its sixth capital campaign, The Campaign for Students. Like no other campaign in school history, construction started a month before the world entered into a global pandemic. Instead of halting construction, the school pressed forward, trusting that God would provide through the generosity of the Wesleyan community.

The centerpiece of Phase I of this campaign was the Hoyt Family Athletic Complex. The project included the addition of a centrally located fieldhouse that provides necessary locker rooms, concession stand, training room, and public restrooms for softball, cross country, soccer, football, and lacrosse. The fieldhouse is also an additional event space for the community. In addition to the fieldhouse, the project also included relocating Wren Stadium at Agape Field for softball, new batting cages, a permanent lacrosse stadium, upgrades in lighting at both stadiums, a synthetic turf field, and 50 additional parking spaces in this area of campus. The campaign raised $26.016 million.

Phase II of the campaign will focus on the creation of Studie and Zach Young Hall, a new, two-story 42,000 square foot academic building that will house new middle and high school STEM classrooms as well as new, larger science labs and classrooms. The building will also include space for college advising, offices, student meeting spaces, and a prayer chapel. Additionally, the campaign includes plans to expand DuBose Dining Hall and renovate Wesley Hall and Cleghorn Hall. 

At the start of the 2023-24 school year, Wesleyan's total enrollment is 1,206. Wesleyan's endowment is over $28.2 million as of December 2023, and over $188 million has been raised since 1996.