Baes History in Brief

    In January of 1984, a small group of American parents formed the Banjul American Embassy School (BAES) because of a desire to establish a school for their children with an American-based curriculum. Previously the students had been enrolled at the Marina School where the tuition was three tiered – Gambian students, non-Gambian residents, and students from international agencies. The U.S. provided a grant to the school. The American expatriates found the school was becoming less an international school, the level of English was questioned, and they had no say in any matter of school policy i.e. curriculum even though they were paying top fees. Parents voted unanimously on the Articles of Association and By-laws in February 1984 and the US grant to Marina was discontinued. The first director, John Kotula, and his wife, Marcella, were hired in April 1984 and the Director’s Residence and School (Building A) were obtained in June.

    September 10, 1984  John Kotula, Director

    Started with 30 students from 10 countries, five teachers, with combined classes K/1, 2/3/4, and 5/6/7 team teaching, Calvert system used, two computers, limited software, no official library or science lab; no French, PE, music or art.

    January 1985  Ross Crowell, interim director

    1985 – 1988  Mike Adams, Director

    63 students, PK-Gr. 8; French, art and PE offered
    1986 Building B acquired. 1987 Music, included; generator donated

    1988 - 1991  John Higgs, Director

    Computer teacher hired, acquired Building C and building across the street; begin Accreditation, and work on curriculum development, Accreditation granted in

    1991 – 1994  Stephen Plisinski, Director

    100 students, 15 faculty members; fewer combination classes; 10 Apple Mac computers

    1994 - 1996  Stephen O’Donell, Director

    July 1994 coup, enrollment drops to 37, USAID closes; BAES registered as private company limited

    1996 - 2001  James Swetz, Director

    Steady growth in enrollment, Jan. 1997 PK for 3 year-olds started. Nursery class Initiated in 1998; a number of special events implemented, Internet capabilities, 80
    students, re-accreditation begins.  Accreditation granted.

    2001 - 2007  Earl Ballard, Director

    Land acquired in Brusubi and plans for building a new school facility begin: fence and maintenance facility built; first two overseas hire teachers are hired to begin September 2004; mid-term Accreditation visit 2007.

    2007 - 2012  Dianne Zemichael, Director

    Introduced new management systems, a 5-year curriculum cycle; consultants invited for curriculum and library; new classroom furniture, library shelves, computers and tables purchased along with upgraded textbooks and materials; academic activity days and special events implemented; enrollment issues continue; re-accreditation received 2009-2016. The school acquired a new facility to house the middle school, library, computer lab, and administrative offices in December 2010.

    2012 - 2014   Raymond Lemoine, Director

    Community building - Introduction of weekly community (children and parents) assemblies which enabled us to celebrate our successes; implemented a comprehensive and sequential school wide conflict resolution and anti-bullying program (Safe & Caring School program); re-introduced and support PTO.  Increased library inventory 3 fold (promote literacy); Lay groundwork for construction of primary building (3 classrooms); Helped develop a comprehensive user friendly school website; School enrolment increased by 25%

    2014 - present Sharon A. Sperry, Director

    2014-2015 has been a very busy school year. Although our numbers dropped this year due to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, we have managed to have a very busy year. In November we completed a new primary building, December saw the opening of our small but efficient multi-media center, and the end of April 2015 saw the completion of almost $90,000 in security upgrades. Thanks to committed teachers, students, parents and board members we began year one of our Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges self-study. BAES is the only fully accredited school in The Gambia.  We will welcome our visiting team in April 2015. Add to this a strong commitment to AERO Standards, technology upgrades, and hands on inquiry based learning and BAES is well on its way to becoming the leading small international school not only in The Gambia but in all of West Africa. It has been a wonderful year of growing and learning.