As a teacher in Tampa in the early 1980’s, it became clear to Linda Lacey that gifted and high achieving children were not being adequately served by public and private schools in the area. While support was being marshaled for learning-disabled and struggling students, advanced learners were being given minimal opportunities to reach their potential. Starting with pre-school level children in 1983, Lee Academy for Gifted Education was founded to promote the emotional and intellectual growth of gifted and advanced learners. The following decade was formative, as Lee evolved into a full pre-K through 8th grade program, developed a three acre lakefront property as a non-institutional campus and established an innovative educational philosophy that includes small class sizes, free acceleration and no decisions based on chronological age.
The second decade was dynamic, with the introduction of a gifted high school curriculum, expansion of campus facilities and graduation of some wonderful young men and women who have since distinguished themselves in their accomplishments. Lee’s educational philosophy continued to progress with development of foreign exchange and group dynamics programs, inclusion of foreign language throughout the elementary levels and specialist teachers that stay with students for several years.
The third decade was equally vibrant, with recruitment of unmatched, collaborative faculty, significant enhancements to the quality and diversity of the curriculum, development of an excellent fine arts/theater program, geographical expansion of our field trip program (with purchase of bus), and the addition of an organic garden.
Well into our fourth decade, we have more than doubled the size of our lakefront campus, added athletic fields, developed an obstacle course, included a robotics program, created butterfly gardens, and set up a nutrition program. We consistently review and update the curriculum to incorporate the very best of current research into our teaching of gifted/high-achieving students. We view the coming years with excitement in the challenge of meeting the still underserved needs of gifted and high-achieving students in the Tampa Bay area.