Accotink Academy to merge with Keystone Child Development Center


Accotink Academy By The Sea is merging with Keystone Child Development Center, adding Keystone staff and curriculum to the Ponte Vedra school.

Keystone By The Sea will officially open in the fall, as Keystone relocates its child development center and preschool to the Accotink campus located at 171 Canal Blvd. Keystone By The Sea will serve children ages 3 months to 8 years old.

“This is a child development and early learning center that focuses on preparing children for success in mainstream elementary school, “ Keystone Marketing Coordinator Karen Rieley said. “The primary school will serve those students who will benefit from having some additional time to develop fundamental skills needed for success in a traditional school setting.”

In addition to featuring small class sizes and a high staff-to-student ratio, Rieley said, the newly merged Keystone By The Sea will feature a variety of enrichment programs, including tutoring, yoga, health and wellness, dance, sports, art and music.

“I’m thrilled,” Accotink Academy Head of School Rebecca Bowersox said. “I really believe we are now going to be the premier preschool in all of Jacksonville.”

Bowersox said Accotink’s current staff of 40 will continue with the school, with the addition of Keystone staff. Bowersox will continue in her role as head of school, under the overall direction of Keystone CEO and founder Katie Falwell, Ph.D.

“We are very excited about the pending merger,” Falwell said. “Our newest educational endeavor will be our third school in the past four years to operate under the Keystone umbrella.

“The new paradigm of education and pediatrics creates a marriage of the two under integrated care,” Falwell continued. “Keystone By The Sea will offer all learning, health and wellness programs that a child could need under one roof.”

Bowersox agreed. “This is an amazing opportunity for us,” she said. “We’re going to take what’s awesome about Accotink and enhance it through the addition of Keystone’s incredibly professional staff and updated curriculum.”

For Accotink’s existing students, there will be no change or disruption to their schedule, Bowersox said. “We’re already gearing up for our summer programs, which begin June 6,” she said.

Open enrollment

Currently, Accotink Academy By The Sea serves 275 children ranging from 1-year-olds to 8-year-olds. Open enrollment for the new fall program will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Sat. April 9 in the multipurpose room at Accotink Academy by the Sea, 171 Canal Blvd. Registration for existing students and alumni families will occur today (Thursday) and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon. Registration packets have already been sent home with current students.

A town hall meeting for both current and prospective parents to ask questions about the merger will also be held at 6 p.m. April 14 in the school’s multipurpose room.

Bowersox noted that she believes school founder Elaine McConnell, who passed away in January, would have given the merger her blessing.

“This is exactly what she would have wanted,” she said. “It’s a match made in heaven.”