In 1993, Dr. Rosemary Williams, a homeowner in Seaside since 1988, bumped into Seaside founder Robert Davis, who mentioned that a small group was meeting regularly to discuss South Walton’s school system. He recommended that she, an educator, attend. And she soon found herself immersed in a group of individuals who were trying to improve K-12 education in the area.
After several meetings over many months, it became apparent to Williams that the educational void in the area could only be filled with the foundation of a new school. At the time, there were no charter schools in Florida, but when Williams and Davis began discussing the possibility of a school in Seaside, they discovered that a group of senators in Tallahassee were working on the Charter School Bill. After a few trips to Tallahassee to meet with the senators and their legislative analysts, the two felt they had enough information to push the idea of the school forward.
The Charter Bill was passed in 1996. Beth Folta and Linda Dwyer, who were working with Seaside Community Development, joined the team to lend their expertise in development and financial planning. The school welcomed its first 36 students, along with two faculty members and one administrator.
The school’s first classrooms were located in two modular units, and the enthusiasm and dedication behind the project prompted Robert Davis to donate the land for the first building. Soon after, the location fees from “The Truman Show” were donated by the homeowners of Seaside to fund the construction of the building.