Bryan Stevenson School readies for first year

Ten classes for sixth- and seventh-graders will commence in 2023-24
March 10, 2023

After years of planning, the Bryan Allen Stevenson School of Excellence is readying for its first students during the 2023-24 school year.

The school will be housed in the former Howard T. Ennis School on the Delaware Technical Community College campus. The board is leasing the school from Del Tech.

The tuition-free charter school is named after Bryan Stevenson, who was born in Milton in 1959 and graduated from Cape Henlopen High School.

He is a lawyer, professor at New York University School of Law, and founder and director of the Equal Justice Initiative. He has assisted in cases that have saved dozens of prisoners from death row and was profiled in the hit movie “Just Mercy.”

Stevenson initiated the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala., which honors the names of each of more than 4,000 African Americans lynched in the 12 states in the South from 1877 to 1950. 

About the school

Applications for school enrollment are being accepted through Friday, March 17. For more information, go to or call 302-448-8343.

School leader Chantalle Ashford said she has been meeting with parents and students.

“They want sports, band and music, Odyssey of the Mind and classes in entrepreneurship,” she said. “This school will be new and different. We are excited for what it means for Sussex County and its students.”

Ashford, who taught in the Indian River School District, said the process of hiring instructors and non-instructional staff is underway, and work to get the building ready is taking place. She said the school was functioning until this past December, when the Ennis School moved to its new location south of Georgetown.

Plans for the sixth- to 12th-grade school include five classrooms each in the sixth and seventh grades during the first year, with the addition of a new sixth-grade class to continue each year until full enrollment of 700 is reached.

She said classrooms will be capped at 25 students and curriculum will be based on the International Baccalaureate model.

“We want to build deep connections so that students can operate in a global and local society,” she said. “We will support students to help them make those connections.”

Ashford said each student will have an individual plan with input from parents or caregivers and teachers. 

Service to the community will also be a strong component of the curriculum.

“We want to get students involved in the community and bring the community into the classroom,” she said. “Every student will do a community service project.”

Ashford said it has been important to the Stevenson family that Bryan has been involved in the planning.

“We want our students to be like Bryan. They can go out and be leaders; the sky is the limit,” she said. “We want to bring his story to life so they can see themselves in it.

“I love education and love working with students,” Ashford said. “I’ve always wanted to find ways to help every single student.”

She said there are available programs for high achievers and those who have special needs, but there are a lot of students in the middle who just get passed through.

“And many of those students are not connected to the community out of school,” she said.

She said the school will cater to every student to make sure they get everything the school has to offer. 

Ashford is a graduate of Dover High School who received her master’s from the Relay Graduate School of Education and is working on her doctorate in education leadership and policy at American University.


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