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Quest School Closes Doors With Little Warning

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter


For the families of the more than 100 students at Quest Collegiate Academy in Crockett, the abrupt letter announcing the school would be closing at the end of this school year came as a complete shock. As it turns out, the news was a surprise to the school’s administration and teachers, too. 

Quest is a tuition-free charter school for students from pre-K to sixth grade. Campus Director Dr. Stacy Easterly is a 20-year veteran of school administration and wasn’t sure what to think when she was visited by Anthony Edwards, Executive Vice-President for the Office of Innovation and School Expansion for the school’s parent company, ResponsiveEd.

“He came in and asked to speak with me just handed me a letter and told me they were going to close the school due to a declining enrollment,” Easterly said. “But our enrollment, in fact, is up. And they had not checked any of our current numbers before making the decision to close the school.”

Easterly’s first concern, apart from the surprising decision itself, was the timing. Had the decision been made known earlier, students and families would have had more time to seek transfers to a school of their choice and the 18 members of staff would have had more time to seek new jobs in other local schools. Now, many of those doors may be shut, with most of the students set to be sent to Crockett Independent School District (CISD) in the fall. 

CISD Superintendent John Emerich said simply, “We welcome all students and look forward to them coming home to CISD.”

For Easterly though, the news hit hard. While she had already retired herself, many of her teachers have not been in the state teachers’ retirement program and in spite of years in the classroom, will have to start as first year teachers and begin earning points towards their retirement. 

“Closing the school is devastating for the community. I think it gives parents another choice of where to send their students and the more choices they have, the better off a parent’s going to feel,” Easterly said. “We had no forewarning for our parents and no forewarning for us. Teachers here need time to find other jobs and our students need time to find other schools where they might be accepted.”

The school had attracted students not only from Crockett, but other areas in Houston County and from as far as Palestine.

Edwards noted the school’s, “steadily declining enrollment” as the reason to close the school, although enrollment was healthy, with many grades being full. The Messenger contacted Edwards who declined to speak with us, sending us instead to a press representative for the company. As of press time, no representative had responded to our repeated requests for a comment or explanation for the closure. 

There had been speculation the closure would so quick, students and parents might not be able to get records and information to send their children to other schools. While teachers were already packing up classrooms and personal belongings, Easterly and key administrative staff will be on hand throughout the summer, facilitating records and anything else parents need. 

“Parents need to look at all local schools and see what the best fit is for their children. Go speak with the principal. If they decide on any school in county, we will send the records to that district. Other districts may need something like report cards, school records, anything like that – we’re happy to be able to make copies and send them or send them home with the students.”

Given the push from state lawmakers to support charter schools, Easterly is still hopeful another operator may come in and save the school. 

“This is prime real estate right here and it’s a beautiful campus,” Easterly said. “It needs some updating and a playground. But we I believe we are prime for another charter to possibly pick us up.”

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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