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From Potential to Success


History of Palmetto Bay Academy: An interview between student, Amanda S. and founder, Mrs. Dimos.

Amanda: Please explain how and why PBA began.

Mrs. Dimos: PBA began as a homeschool in August 2000. I left an administrative position at a local college preparatory school to establish PBA. There were many reasons for starting the school, but the two most important were:

a. I worked with many intelligent and capable students who were uninspired and under performing in traditional schools.

b. I was bored and frustrated with the traditional model of education and knew that there had to be a better way to teach and reach students.

Amanda: How has the school progressed over the years?

Mrs. Dimos: PBA has changed profoundly since its inception, but the one thing that will never change is our vision and commitment to providing a top quality education for students who do not thrive in a traditional setting. We have grown from one room with one teacher and four students to a full time director, a part time administrator, five teachers, and almost 40 students!
We have over 100 graduates who have gone on to a variety of very fine universities and career preparation colleges. Our graduates range from fishing boat captains to Georgetown University educated lawyers. We encourage our students to follow their dreams and to use their gifts for a meaningful life.

Amanda: Where you think PBA is now?

Mrs. Dimos: PBA is experiencing a period of both growth and maturity that makes me very happy! Each year we establish at least two major school improvement goals which constantly keep us growing and improving. We are near capacity which is due to the quality of education we provide and the unique supportive atmosphere we offer even though we are now considerably larger.
Our curriculum and our teaching staff are outstanding, and compared to other private schools, we offer great value for the price. Few schools can match our low student to teacher ratio, which we have held constant in spite of our growth.

Amanda: Where you would like to see it in 10 years?

Mrs. Dimos: In 2013 year we opened a middle school which had long been a dream of mine, and it is already at capacity! Provided we could find more space, I would love to see PBA include a primary school as well.
Over the years I have had many requests for support services for our graduates in college. So, it would be wonderful to have a dedicated teacher to tutor and act as a life coach for PBA grads in local colleges. Perhaps we could even Skype with those who have moved further away.

The other opportunity for growth is in extracurricular activities, perhaps even sports. Our students don’t want to miss out on those aspects of traditional schools, so it would be a logical area for expansion.

Amanda: Were there any times throughout this process where you felt scared or uncertain? How did you overcome any fears?

Mrs. Dimos: From the moment I decided to leave my previous school, fear has been an unwelcome companion that I manage to keep at bay! Starting your own business is not for the faint of heart, and there are always plenty of peaks and valleys along the way. The economy has had some wild fluctuations but PBA has been blessed to thrive in spite of it all.

One of the most frightening moments was when I signed the mortgage loan for our property in Palmetto Bay. It was spring of 2003, and it was truly terrifying. The building was very distressed and I had to take out a personal loan to make necessary improvements, risking both my personal assets and the financial future of PBA.

Overcoming fear is not easy, but I have learned to rely on my faith. I pray about decisions and always try to be a good steward of our resources. Constantly, I strive to do what I believe is ethical and good for our school community including staff, students and their families.

PBA was founded for the express purpose of improving educational outcomes for our students. As long as we continually work toward that goal, we have nothing to fear!