EDUCATION GUIDE  learning for everyone


Cross Schools

Address: 495 Buckwalter Parkway, Bluffton
Type: Independent
Grades: Ages 12 months to 9th grade
Head of School: Pete Laugen, M.Ed.
Director of Admissions: Kate Brown
Phone: 843-706-2000
Website: crossschools.org
Student Population: 640

About the School: Established in 1998, Cross Schools provides a Christian-based education for children ages 12 months through 9th grade. Cross Schools helps students develop a passion for learning through small classes, rigorous academics, various enrichment courses, and faith-based learning. Students attend weekly chapel, participate in community service projects, and can join various clubs. Its athletic program — which includes cross-country, basketball, golf, soccer, volleyball, sporting clays, softball, football, and baseball — encourages teamwork, discipline, and physical fitness. The guiding principles of the Cross Schools community are academic excellence, Christian values, and community service.

What’s New: The 2021-2022 school year will welcome the addition of Phase VI: The High School Auxiliary Building that will house performing arts, visual arts, and a workout center for athletes and students. The 2021-2022 school year also brings a new athletic director, DeLeon Johnson and a new football coach, Cleophus Lane.

First Presbyterian Day School


Address: 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island
Type: Preschool
Grades: Ages 2-5
Head of School: Amy Dungan
Director of Admissions: Amy Dungan
Phone: 843-681-3695
Website: fpdshhi.org or facebook.com/FirstPresbyterianDaySchool
Student Population: 58 children capacity

About the School: The First Presbyterian Day School was established in 1984 and serves working parents. It is open year-round from 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with the school year beginning each August. Tuition includes two healthy snacks and a nutritional, well-balanced lunch each day. The Day School is licensed by the South Carolina Department of Social Services and holds an A+ ABC Quality rating through South Carolina’s statewide quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) for early care and education providers. Applications are being accepted for the 2021-2022 school year.  

Heritage Academy

educationguide4Address: 11 New Orleans Road, Hilton Head Island
Type: Private
Grades: 6th-12th grade
Head of School: Amanda Williams O’Nan
Director of Admissions: Sandy McGuire
Phone: 843-842-8600
Website: heritageacademy.org

About the School: Heritage Academy, a private coeducational school for grades 6-12 on Hilton Head Island, is fully accredited by SCISA and COGNIA. Heritage Academy has students from all over the globe who enroll to take advantage of the school’s unique academic program and philosophy. Heritage Academy is also a member of the National Association of Independent Schools. Their students are actively engaged in learning as accomplished scholars, artists, and athletes whether in the classroom or pursuing extracurricular activities. The curriculum is designed for students seeking a U.S. college preparatory diploma. The academic expectations and level of instruction at Heritage Academy exceed SCISA/COGNIA guidelines, university admissions criteria and NCAA Eligibility Center standards.

Hilton Head Preparatory School

Address: 8 Fox Grape Road, Hilton Head Island
Type: Private
Grades: Junior Kindergarten-12th grade
Headmaster: Jon Hopman
Director of Admissions: Sarah DeMaria
Phone: 843-671-2286
Student Population: 420

About the School: Hilton Head Prep is an accredited independent school with exemplary faculty who strive to create students of character, integrity and responsibility in a safe and welcoming environment. With class sizes among the smallest in the area, Hilton Head Prep uses an innovative college preparatory curriculum that includes courses in liberal arts, science, technology and ethics, as well as rigorous Advanced Placement and honors courses. The school is continually ranked among the top K-12 independent schools locally, regionally and nationally, and 100% of Hilton Head Prep graduates are accepted to college. Hilton Head Prep also offers numerous opportunities for participation in athletics, the arts, after- school clubs and community service. 

John Paul II Catholic School


Address: 4211 N. Okatie Highway, Ridgeland 
Type: Catholic 
Grades: 7th-12th grades
Principal: John McCarthy 
Phone: 843-645-3838 
Student Population: 250
Website: johnpaul2school.org

About the School: John Paul II Catholic School offers students of all faiths an exceptional education in a safe and secure Christ-centered environment. Students are well prepared to succeed in college through their rigorous Honors, Advanced Placement and Pre-AP programs. Beyond the classroom, an extensive athletic program, clubs and activities, and a growing performing arts program offer students the opportunity to learn valuable teamwork and life skills. Community service learning is embedded in their curriculum, allowing students to understand how their Christian faith calls them to be joyful servants to those less fortunate in their community. Their graduates are truly scholars with a soul.

Academic Growth: The curriculum at JPII is a demanding and diverse program providing learning opportunities for students of all abilities in accordance with their Catholic mission. JPII continues to expand its rigorous and quality coursework in a growing AP program preparing students for postsecondary education. Along with providing 16 AP courses and the AP Capstone Diploma, JPII offers Pre-AP courses, enabling middle school students to earn high school credits, that deliver grade-level appropriate instruction through focused course frameworks, instructional resources, learning checkpoints, and collaborative educator workshops. Pre-AP courses offered include English, math, science, history, visual arts and theater.

Lowcountry Day Christian Preschool & Camp

Address: 357 Red Cedar St. and 285 Red Cedar St., Bluffton
Type: Private
Grades: Ages 6 weeks to pre-kindergarten and pre-kindergarten to 3rd grade (camp, after school)
Directors: Alana McBride and Lindsay Marshall
Phone:  843-815-2271 or 843-815-2273
Website: lowcountryday.com
Student Population: 400

About the School: Established in 1997, Lowcountry Day schools are privately owned, state-licensed Christian preschools. Lowcountry Day provides the world-renowned The Creative Curriculum for Preschool Program, welcoming families from all denominations and encouraging learning through the creative arts by providing a ballet and music room on campus. The schools’ mission is to provide a safe, nurturing environment and the highest quality care to meet the needs of every child.

What’s New: Lowcountry Day preschools, under new private ownership, implemented the world-renowned The Creative Curriculum for Preschool Program in January 2021. Soccer Shots of Savannah is on site at both schools weekly to provide new monthly sessions for ages 2 to 5.

May River Montessori

Address: 60 Calhoun Street, Bluffton
Type: Private, Non-profit Montessori
Grades: 24 Months to Grade 8
Head of School: Michele Quigley
Director of Admissions: Gail Daunt & Sarah Stone
Phone: 843-757-2312
Website: mayrivermontessori.com
Student Population: 200

About the School: May River Montessori has proudly served the children and families of the Lowcountry since 1987. Their mission is to nurture each child’s natural development; to inspire curiosity, creativity, and imagination and to foster academic excellence. They cultivate an environment rich with warmth, kindness and respect. The school is committed to the development of the whole child, enabling each to celebrate individual gifts and reach his or her greatest potential. In addition to a rich academic learning environment, there is a strong emphasis on the arts and environmental and community stewardship through their unique whole-campus Organic Gardening Program.

What’s New: Beginning Fall 2021 it will welcome eighth-grade students to the campus. The unique Adolescent Program will center on a microeconomics experience. In addition to an individually customized daily academic and humanities curriculum, adolescents will operate their very own organic, agricultural/artisan-based business together in the heart of Old Towne. Through these rich and authentic experiences, the students will learn trade skills, financial planning and budgeting, human resource, and general management skills along with so much more.

Sea Pines Montessori Academy

Address: 9 Fox Grape Road, Hilton Head Island
Type: Nonprofit, private
Grades: 12 months to 8th grade
Headmaster: Susanna Myburgh
Phone: 843-785-2534
Website: seapinesmontessori.com
Student Population: 145

About the School: Mary Stone Fraser founded Sea Pines Montessori Academy in 1968 as a children’s house — the desks, windows, and tables were at eye level so that they were truly owned by the children. Today, Sea Pines Montessori Academy includes 10 classrooms, a library, multipurpose room, a Suzuki piano and violin studio, an outdoor green space and other amenities. Sea Pines Montessori instills a love of learning, an emphasis on strong social and problem-solving skills, a positive work environment, and respect for the community. In addition to offering golf at The First Tee of the Lowcountry and Sea Pines Resort, tennis with Van Der Meer Academy, and a thriving athletics program, the school offers numerous activities and clubs for all ages.

What’s New: SPMA is excited to announce the appointment of Susanna Myburgh as its sixth Head of School. Myburgh recently joined SPMA from Morrison Academy, an international school in Taiwan, where she served as principal for the past six years. She holds a BS in Elementary Education with a Middle School Endorsement and a Masters in Educational Leadership. Myburgh looks forward to meeting the school and island community, growing their Montessori programs, and continuing with the development of the school’s master facilities plan. 

St. Francis Catholic School

Address: 45 Beach City Road, Hilton Head Island
Type: Catholic
Grades: Pre-kindergarten-8th grade
Headmaster: Brian Pope
Phone: 843-681-6501
Website: sfcshhi.com
Student Population: 215

About the School: St. Francis Catholic School’s mission is “to nurture students’ spiritual and intellectual growth in an authentically Catholic community committed to academic excellence.” Children from ages 4 to 14 benefit from an integrated faith formation education approach through weekly Mass, religion curriculum and service opportunities. St. Francis offers students a well-rounded and challenging curriculum that provides foundation to be successful in high school. The school also has an exceptional parental and volunteer support system. St. Francis Catholic School accepts both Catholic and non-Catholic students; enrollment has increased more than 15% in the past few years. The increase illustrates the commitment to the spiritual and intellectual growth of their students by their faculty. 

What’s New: St. Francis Catholic School had a successful year last year with offering in-school instruction for the entire year. This year St. Francis Catholic School is excited to celebrate its 25th year of operation.

Technical College of the LowcountryTechnical College of the Lowcountry

Campuses: Beaufort, Bluffton, Hampton
Type: Two-year community college
President: Dr. Richard Gough
Phone: 843-525-8207

About the School: The Technical College of the Lowcountry is the region’s primary provider of post-secondary education and workforce training. The public, two-year, multi-campus community college serves approximately 5,000 students annually. The college offers a variety of curricular programs including university transfer options, career and continuing education, online learning, and dual enrollment for area high school students. The college graduates more than 300 students annually from programs in building and industrial; business; culinary arts and hospitality; health sciences; human services; law and criminal justice; and STEM. Fully 95% of TCL graduates either go on to four-year institutions or move directly into jobs here in the Lowcountry. TCL has served more than 85,000 students since 1968.

University of South Carolina Beaufort Island Ambassador Program

Address: Main campus in Bluffton. Specialized campuses in Beaufort and on Hilton Head Island. 
Type: Public university 
Chancellor: Dr. Al M. Panu 
Phone: 843-208-8000
Student Population: 2,100

About the School: USCB offers small class sizes and personalized instruction in 39 areas of study within 19 bachelor’s degree programs, two master’s degree programs, and two associate degree programs. In 2018, the university launched Beaufort College Honors with cohorts in Nursing, Biology, and Lowcountry Studies. In 2019, USCB launched its first graduate program: the M.S. in Computational Science. In 2020, it launched the M.Ed. in Literacy and expanded Honors with a Business cohort. Internships, community partnerships and international opportunities are hallmarks of USCB’s focus on experiential learning. The USCB Sand Sharks compete in baseball, softball, soccer, golf, cross country, and indoor and outdoor track and  field. USCB’s Beaufort and Bluffton campuses house students from 31 states and around the world in apartment-style residences.

New in 2021: USCB added concentrations in Marine Biology (as part of a B.S. in Biology) and Cyber-Security (as part of a B.S. in Computational Science).

University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for Event Management and Hospitality Training

Address: 1 Sand Shark Drive, Hilton Head Island
Type: Professional Development
Program Director: Keri Olivetti
Phone: 843-208-8320 

About the School: USCB’s Center for Event Management and Hospitality Training offers professional development for hospitality professionals, ensuring exceptional experiences for their Island guests. The Center is home to the Hilton Head Island Center, the Bluffton Center, the Education Center and the Research Center.  

The Hilton Head Island Center offers the Island Ambassador Program, which educates hospitality professionals about the history, culture and ecology of their beautiful Island. 

The Bluffton Center educates new Blufftonians and hospitality professionals about the rich history, eclectic attributes and unique culture of Bluffton.  

The Education Center offers educational resources, including videos on current trends and topics in the industry promoting best practices. 

The Research Center joined with the Low Country Resort Island’s Tourism Institute in January 2020, continuing its excellence in hospitality research.