A Proud, Leading-edge Tradition
In 1996, Chris Maxey received the Joukowsky Fellowship from The Lawrenceville School where he was a teacher allowing him to work towards his Masters in Marine Resource Management at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami. During this year-long sabbatical, Chris began his research in sustainable aquaculture. He formed the US non-profit Cape Eleuthera Marine Conservation Project (now the Cape Eleuthera Foundation, Inc.) and began to set the framework to build a school and research station at Cape Eleuthera in The Bahamas — having visited the island many times at his parents home in Cotton Bay.
Prior to the founding of The Island School, Chris hosted student groups on Eleuthera. Some were middle school students from New York, others were from Eleuthera, and some camps were both. Lawrenceville teachers gathered in July 1998 at Cape Eleuthera to design The Island School curriculum at the first ‘teacher conference’ (now Educators Conference) — a tradition of experiential education technique practice and sharing that has continued each summer since.
On March 15, 1999 Pam and Chris Maxey welcomed 22 students and 6 faculty from Lawrenceville School to launch the first Island School Semester — an opportunity to share his research and engage students in a powerful, place-based educational experience. The organization grew rapidly in the following years, all the while staying true to the founding vision of education, research and conservation. Today, The Island School welcomes over 500 students each year ages 3 to PhD.
Chris and Pam Maxey remain intimately connected to the organization and own a home on Cape Eleuthera where they continue to explore and enjoy the Cape, host students and gatherings, and Chris regularly participates in run-swims and other community events on campus.
The Island School Stories
The Island School has a tradition of being at the front edge of education—since our first semester we have been committed to a progressive view of education that challenges students to work collaboratively, live responsibly, develop confidence, and approach tough problems with critical awareness and genuine resiliency.