Evergreen's Story

Our school is the result of many long hours spent over the course of 18 months by its founding members. Evergreen would not exist without the unswerving perseverance and love of these people and of the many others who have since joined us. 

1998: Maureen Motley called a meeting of educators and parents to discuss the notion of starting a charter school committed to hands-on learning, parental involvement, and community-based education. Teachers Dori Drachman, Robbie Spiegel, and Lisa Garrett stepped forward to begin that journey. The summer of 1998 was spent reviewing “best practices” and creating the charter application that is the backbone of our school. We were joined by parents Bob Williams, Eleanor Ashton, Mary Ann Watjen, and community member Deborah Buchanan.

1999: We received our final approval to open a charter school for up to 400 students in grades K-8 in Buncombe County. The school began with a faculty of 20 teachers operating under the leadership of Executive Director Maureen Motley and the oversight of a fifteen-member Board of Directors.

2001: After two years of operation, Evergreen adopted a school design called Expeditionary Learning Schools Outward Bound (now called EL Education) because this philosophy provides a framework that guides our efforts.

2003: Evergreen expanded into a permanent 10-acre campus in the Haw Creek Valley. That fall, Dr. Jackie Williams started as Executive Director. Evergreen was designated by the state as a "School of Distinction.”

2003 to 2007: The board and faculty built an infrastructure to support our school and established a number of new programs. Highlights from these years include: strategic planning and an action plan for school improvement; improvements in literacy programs; the acquisition of new technologies and software for diagnostic assessment of and intervention for students with learning/language disabilities; additional enrichment and elective programs; a library; EverAfter clubs and care; and an Environmental Education Coordinator to lead our sustainability efforts.

2007: With the retirement of Jackie Williams, Dr. Susan Mertz became the Executive Director. In the ensuing years, the Program for Advanced Learners and the Crew Program were implemented. Evergreen became a founding member of the Green Schools National Network.

2009: The school achieves full SACS CASI accreditation through AdvanceEd, an organization that advances excellence in education worldwide. We were re-accredited in 2014.

2009: Evergreen's charter was renewed for ten years. We became a national model for EL Education by hosting Site Seminars for participants across the country.

2010: Evergreen receives the Exceptional Environmental Education Center Award from the Environmental Educators of North Carolina for our commitment to creating an environmentally-literate student body.

2009-2012: The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction awards Evergreen the designation of Honor School of Excellence for superior academic performance.

2012: Evergreen is awarded the first ever National Green Ribbon School recognition, an honor bestowed on only 78 schools across the nation for excellence in environmental education and green practices. Evergreen unveils its outdoor classroom and climbing wall in the fall.

2013: Awarded the U.S. Green Building Council Charlotte Chapter Sustainability Award in the K-12 Schools and Higher Education category for being on the forefront of sustainability education. We also became an EL Mentor School.

2015: Evergreen is named one of the 41 most innovative schools in America by Noodle. We also became an EL Credentialed School and opened our ropes courses.

2016: In line with adventure programming, we began our mountain bike program.

2017: Evergreen is named a North Carolina Green School of Excellence

Today: The school continues to thrive on research-based methods and innovative community partnerships that prepare students for successful lifelong learning, environmental responsibility, and service.