Pinecrest Academy, a PreK3-12 Catholic School in Forsyth County Georgia, has been educating children since 1993 thanks to the vision, perseverance, and love of Catholic education demonstrated by a handful of dedicated families.
Founded on strong faith and humble beginnings, Pinecrest Academy opened its doors on September 8, 1993 at a former elementary school in Crabapple, GA, with a student body of 29. At that time, Pinecrest was the first independent, private Catholic elementary school established to serve Atlanta’s expanding Catholic population.
In the early 1990’s, the Atlanta area had few Catholic schools and long waiting lists with them. During that time, a gentleman named John Gannon received a job offer to the area but in order to take it, he wanted to be sure his children would have a Catholic education. After sharing his concern with a priest, the seed was planted, “you can start a new school” and he took the job transfer to Atlanta. At the same time, a priest named Fr. Martin, LC, also encouraged John’s wife, Arlene Gannon, with the same idea, “you can start a new school.” In February 1993, Mr. Gannon participated in a retreat. During that retreat, God had placed on his heart to have a school open by September.
Shortly after their move, Arlene met Judy Guilfoil at church and she and her husband Bill joined their efforts along with Cathy and David Hanson, long-time friends of the Gannon’s. Cathy located a vacated school building in Crabapple, Georgia. Quickly after the find, David and John negotiated a lease for use of the property to house the first 29 students of Pinecrest Academy. Pinecrest’s founders received their lease confirmation on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15.
Pinecrest remained at the Crabapple location for two years, and then Archbishop Donoghue prepared the way for Monsignor Kiernan, Pastor of All Saints Catholic Church, to open their activities center to the young Catholic school for the next three years where classes were held in the parish’s activities center. By 1997, the 153-member student body had outgrown its temporary facilities, and because of continued dedication and the generosity of friends, Pinecrest acquired its present location in south Forsyth County which was originally on 53 acres.
Our current location in Cumming, GA was found by Pinecrest parent, Bruce Carlisle, and a providential change in plans brought the school on the east side of the 400 corridor with more land than the founders originally planned for.
After receiving accreditation by the Georgia Accrediting Commission, Inc. in 1995, Pinecrest Academy appointed its first headmaster, Dr. Brian Tierney, in 1998. Fifteen additional acres of land were donated to the school in 2001. And currently, Pinecrest comprises of three separate Lower, Middle and High School buildings on a 68-acre campus, along with a beautiful main chapel and two additional smaller chapels, two gymnasiums, a turf athletic field, a dedicated baseball field, an additional athletic field, a cross country trail, and an outdoor Stations of the Cross.
Pinecrest is a member of RC Education, a network of 154 schools and 13 universities in 19 countries across the globe. Pinecrest Academy’s first graduating high school class was in 2007 and it boasts a proud legacy of forming Christian leaders who transform society, one community at a time.