The Neighborhood Academy was founded in 2001 serving 8th and 9th grade students from under-served communities to provide them with the educational, spiritual, and emotional resources to succeed. The year-round school was established based on a feasibility study funded by the R.K. Mellon Foundation, and opened its doors in a renovated warehouse on Penn Avenue.
Over the next few years, the new school began to thrive, and in 2005, the first class of The Neighborhood Academy graduated with a 100% college acceptance rate, which is a feat that stands to this day. In 2007, five-year accreditation was earned from the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (PAIS), and the school began plans for a new facility. Construction began in the summer of 2010. The Neighborhood Academy moved to its current campus on North Aiken Avenue in 2011.
In 2014, The Neighborhood Academy achieved 10-year accreditation from PAIS. The success of the school led to thoughts of expansion. A feasibility study was undertaken to investigate the possibility of adding the 6th and 7th grades. In 2017, The Neighborhood Academy opened its middle school program, and began to admit 6th & 7th grade students.
The belief that immersing young students in year-round, caring environments with high expectations can lead to successful lives is a model that The Neighborhood Academy has followed, and will continue to use in its work with under-served youth.
About Our Founders:
Josephine B. Moore and The Rev. Thomas E. Johnson, Jr. founded The Neighborhood Academy after years of working with adolescents from at-risk communities. Both Tom and Jodie understood the effects of poverty on the mental and emotional development on youth. Together, they founded and ran a successful summer school for at-risk teens. By the mid-90’s, they began to discuss the possibility of a full-time school. Jodie started and led the Larimer Avenue Youth Club for inner-city youth, which was supported by five East End churches. As a board member, teacher, and coach for ten years at his alma mater, Shady Side Academy, Tom honed the skills and garnered the experience necessary to advance The Neighborhood Academy. Almost twenty years later, their dream has become a thriving, successful institution serving middle school and high school students.
Jodie Moore retired from The Neighborhood Academy in 2016. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Russian History and from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with a Master’s in divinity. Tom Johnson is Head of School at The Neighborhood Academy. He graduated from The College of Wooster with a B.A. in English and from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with a Master’s in divinity. He also holds an honorary Ph.D from Bethany College.