Building on:


Building on:


Building on:





We envision a physical campus that outwardly reflects the academic excellence of what goes on inside our classrooms. We have great expectations for the future of PBDA.


The Great Expectations Campaign supports a strategic plan of campus improvements at PBDA that started with the successful completion of the Matthews Center for Performing Arts and Smith Family Theater on the Seaview Campus in 2013. The campaign continues now to raise support for an Education Center and an Arts and Athletics Building on the Flagler Campus.

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The Education Center will include:
  • Cutting-edge STEM program
  • Integrated virtual exploration
  • Fresh indoor/outdoor learning centers
  • Nurse’s office and health and wellness center
  • Intracoastal views
  • Three new classrooms
  • A new Media Center
  • Enhanced flag commons
  • Large atrium for academic exploration
  • Experiential art spaces
See F.A.Q.


We continue to set the standard for excellence in education, and we have great expectations for the future of PBDA.

  • Gail Coniglio

    Gail Coniglio

    “The 95-year history of Palm Beach Day Academy is the legacy that creates the roots that strengthen our community as the children grow and then return.” – Parent and grandparent of PBDA alumni, and mayor of Palm Beach

  • Dr. Edwin Gordon

    Dr. Edwin Gordon

    “The mission of the school is to challenge our students academically in the most deliberate way…but it’s also about developing character.” – Incoming Head of School

  • James Patterson

    James Patterson

    “This school really prepares the kids. It’s a wonderful, wonderful environment. I can’t say enough good things about this school.” – Parent of PBDA alumnus, “New York Times” best-selling author and sponsor of Masters Program for PBDA teachers

  • Linda Soper

    Linda Soper

    “We did our homework when we were looking at schools. And when it came right down to it, this school was like a community. Our kids came to visit, and it was like coming home.” – Parent of two PBDA fourth graders

  • Julie Cummings

    Julie Cummings

    “PBDA's outreach and community service projects…play a key role in the lives of its students and families.” – Community Ambassador Circle Chairwoman

  • Lori Gendelman

    Lori Gendelman

    “It is an honor to support and encourage others to take an active and meaningful interest in the future of PBDA.” – Community Ambassador Circle Chairwoman

  • Barbara Close

    Barbara Close

    “There is no better place to teach in Palm Beach County -- in fact, I think, in the world. I grew up here, and my parents taught here, and there’s such a love and sense of family here.” – Math teacher at PBDA for more than 30 years and author of book on PBDA history


We welcome families to discover Florida’s first independent school. We build on this legacy together with great expectations for the future of PBDA.

  • Sophie Gochman

    Sophie Gochman

    “I really like it here. People were so nice and welcoming when I came. It’s a challenging school, but I like a challenge.” – 7th grade PBDA student

  • Sue Patterson

    Sue Patterson

    “I loved the teachers here. That was a really important thing for us.” – Parent of PBDA alumnus

  • Sarah Kemeness

    Sarah Kemeness

    “The learning environment is really everything, especially at the lower school level. Students want to walk into a space where they can be inspired, where they are engaged and where they can be creative.” – Head of Upper Campus

  • Lourdes Fanjul

    Lourdes Fanjul

    “My husband’s entire family has gone through PBDA, and they had great experiences here. … The traditions that go on at Palm Beach Day are really important to carry on in a family.” – Parent of PBDA alumna and PBDA student, and wife of PBDA alumnus

  • Harrison Fisher

    Harrison Fisher

    “The Lower Campus is already a great place, and it’s really fun. The new things that they’re building are going to make it even better.” – 6th grade PBDA student

  • Evan Levi Barron

    Evan Levi Barron

    “I have a lot of favorite subjects, but I really like math, language arts, reading, library, music and art.” – 2nd grade PBDA student

  • Caroline Christu

    Caroline Christu

    “It’s a fun school. I like the enrichments. I also like recess, which everyone does.” – 2nd grade PBDA student

  • Amy Middleton

    Amy Middleton

    “There’s no question in my mind that Palm Beach Day Academy has changed the trajectory of my children’s lives. It’s just a fact.” – Parent of PBDA alumna and 4th grade PBDA student, and President of PBDA’s Parent School Council

  • Andrea Kosoy

    Andrea Kosoy

    “Palm Beach Day is really a special environment. It’s a mixture of the teachers and the students and the parents. … The school comes together to make it a really happy place for our kids to be.” – Parent of four PBDA students

  • Grayson Costa

    Grayson Costa

    “Palm Beach Day Academy has prepared me for high school because of the academic rigor, especially in fields like English and math, and also in the foreign language program.” – 8th grade PBDA student

  • Van der Grift Family

    Van der Grift Family

    Fritz Van der Grift: “Investing in something like the building campaign is just a testament to extending the legacy that we have built on. … It’s a solid investment. You’re going to get more than a hundred percent return on your money.” – Alumni and current PBDA student From left: Jason Briggs, Clara Urbahn, (Jason’s son, Charlie Briggs), Mimi Van der Grift, Paul Van der Grift, Joanie Van der Grift and Fritz Van der Grift

  • Lyanne Azqueta

    Lyanne Azqueta

    “The new building will change everything. We’ve already witnessed that with the building of our Matthews Center for the Performing Arts and Smith Family Theater on the Upper Campus. That’s become a center of life for our school.” – Alumna and parent of PBDA student

  • Charles Schumacher

    Charles Schumacher

    “The faculty and staff are quite caring and nurturing.” – Parent of PBDA student

  • Amanda Schumacher

    Amanda Schumacher

    “We’re all building a fabric of education for our children.” – Parent of PBDA student

  • Dede Merck

    Dede Merck

    “With every person who has the vision to give, no matter how big or small, you’re investing in a child’s life. ... It’s a blessing for people to be able to give into it.” – Alumna and parent of PBDA student


We invite you to make your mark on a Palm Beach institution as we realize our great expectations for the future of PBDA.

$250,000 more to complete The Education Center!

Several naming opportunities are still available.  Please contact Cynthia Kanai

Director of Development at 561.832.3308 or for more information.

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We’re attracting attention, support and donors because we have great expectations for the future of PBDA.


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Front Row

Allyson Mashek, Julianna Gendelman, Laura Anthony, Phatavanh Olsen, Lisa Avila, Mae Ferguson, Valerie Frost, Katie Alexander and Christina Macfarland

Back Row

Amy Bridger, Cynthia Kanai, Nicole Munder, Andrea Kosoy, Ruben Avila, Kenlynne Mulroy, Paula Martin, Missy Savage, Wendy Bieneman, Todd Savage, Tory Willard, Frances Fisher, Adrienne Arp and Amy Middleton

Not Pictured

Lyanne Azqueta, Vanessa and Tony Beyer, Dorothea Cvelbar, Lourdes Fanjul, Anastasia Georgas, Andrea Huainigg, Scott Johnson, Sarah Kemeness, Jessica Koch, Matt Lorentzen, Tiffany Marks Isaacs, William Matthews, Michelle Miller, Dr. Cassandra Onofrey, Ruby Patterson, Afsy Pottash, Caroline Rafferty, Katy Thompson, Donna Tobey, Linda Soper, Lori Younessi, Dr. Becky van der Bogert and Maura Ziska


Cynthia Kanai, Director of Development

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As you know, the Board of Trustees approved last spring to begin preliminary site work in preparation for construction of a new proposed Education Center on the Lower Campus.

  •  Expected to be approximately 16,000 gross square feet and consist of two floors
  •  Located on the East end of the existing two-story academic building; linked by an enclosed skyway on the second floor, providing a beautiful view of the playground and other green space
  •  The Unity Building and the facility which housed administration and Pre-primary classes (aka “Bob’s Motel”) became  extremely limited and rudimentary
  •  Ensures our learning spaces will match our ever-evolving and ambitious academic programs
  •  Provides more flexible learning spaces for students to explore, discover and collaborate in creative ways
  •  Allows for expanded teaching and learning opportunities in STEM/STEAM education,  experiential and project-based learning, and problem solving
  •  Will serve as a “hub” on the Lower Campus where students, faculty and community can gather to address real-time, real-world challenges in education, professional development, the arts, literacy, and neighborhood revitalization, to name a few
  •  Architecture will inspire a sense of whimsical discovery, through openings and natural light with the type of spaces inside and outside of classrooms that are fluid, connective
  •  Landscape will create a series of destinations for creative teaching, learning and social interaction
  •  State-of-the-art classrooms with the latest technologies supporting collaborative and individualized learning
  •  STEM/STEAM Lab and Maker Space
  •  Media Center and Learning Commons
  •  Administrative offices and health clinic
  •  Green spaces for play and immersive learning experiences
  •  Designated commons for Flag Ceremony
  •  Amphitheater-like area for a small group of students and teachers to gather for outdoor education
  •  Harvard Jolly of Florida is recognized throughout the state and country for their work in K-12 building design (e.g., The Benjamin School, Bak Middle School of the Arts, and several colleges and universities), innovative use of materials, and environmentally sensitive approach to design
  •  Lead architects are Rene Tercilla and Mark Sechrist, who have worked on many projects for our school in the past including most recently Matthews Performing Arts Center
Our plan is to begin construction in mid-December 2016 or the early part of 2017, and once the schematic design is approved by the Board, and all approvals and permitting are granted by the City of West Palm Beach.  The goal is to open the building in 2017.  As is the case with any construction project, however, the schedule is subject to change and we will provide updates as construction progresses.
We asked for your help in making our vision of an Education Center a reality, and your response was a resounding affirmation.  As a result, we are nearly fully-funded and less than $250,000 of reaching our goal.  We are very confident that with your continued support, we can reach the finish line.  Because of you, our outlook will be as bright as our aspirations.

If you would like to make an impact and help us build toward the future, we would be happy to talk with you.  You may give online at or contact Cynthia Kanai, Director of Development, Palm Beach Day Academy, at 561-655-1188 or

The project is being funded through the generosity of many donors, including parents, alumni, parents of alumni, PBDA grandparents, faculty, staff, administrators, and many friends of the school.  To all who have contributed so generously to the Campaign in support of this building project and to those of you who will give in the future—THANK YOU for your vision and abiding belief in the continued excellence of Palm Beach Day Academy.
Following is a brief timeline of events that occurred at the site over the summer.  Site work activity will continue for the next few weeks and is expected to be completed in time for the opening of school in September.


Weeks 1 and 2 (June 6-17)

  • Unity Building and “Bob’s Motel” were closed and scaffolded
  • Security fence installed to seal off the construction site
  • Abatement work occurred and the area was off-limits to pedestrians and traffic.


Weeks 3 and 4 (June 20-July 1)

  • Demolition of Unity Building and “Bob’s Motel” began to make way for the Education Center and future growth; noise and dust mitigation measures were put in place.


Weeks 4 and 5 (July 5-15)

  • Excavating and removing rock occurred to prepare for the installation of underground utilities; noise and dust mitigation measures were put in place.


Weeks 6 and 7 (July 18-29)

  • Contractors installed 90% of the underground drainage and exfiltration system; sanitary system was tied into existing City of West Palm Beach system
  • Excavation began for site wall foundations along Flagler Drive


Week 8 (August 1-Present)

  • Excavation work will continue on site wall foundations along Flagler Drive
Yes.  We will hold informational meetings with all of our stakeholders throughout the school year to keep you engaged as the project progresses.  We will also provide updates on our website and through social media sites.  If you have any questions or wish to make a comment, feel free to send an email to