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Where Passion Meets Purpose


Nestled in the North corner of the Crossnore campus is a special place where passion meets purpose for 125 students – Marjorie Williams Academy. Founded in 1999, Williams Academy is a K-12 public charter school serving both residential students and the local community. Approximately 60% of the student population live at Crossnore while 40% are community students.

Located on 85 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Williams Academy teachers are encouraged to use the Crossnore campus as an “outdoor classroom.” From excursions gathering plants and creek critters to visits to the horse stables, students are able to observe and learn from the lush landscape surrounding the school.

Williams Academy’s motto is “Dream It, Believe It, Achieve it – failure is not an option.” With this in mind, faculty members seek to provide an emotionally supportive and engaging learning environment where students are empowered to achieve their full potential.

Dream It! Believe It! Achieve It!

“We believe that no matter what your past circumstances are if you have a dream you can achieve that dream. At the heart of any dream becoming a reality is the belief in yourself,” explained Dr. Cyndi Austin, Principal of Williams Academy. “At Williams Academy, we believe in our students. We work everyday to encourage and support all students to achieve their dreams, but they have to believe in themselves as much as we believe in them.”

As a charter school, Williams Academy doesn’t receive funds from commissioners for capital projects. Rather, teachers write their own grants and cut box tops for money to spend in their classrooms. Through private donations, a new high school was constructed in 2015 to provide the high school-aged students a learning space of their own.

Dr. Austin cites the school culture and the focus on the “3 R’s” (Rigor, Relationships and making school Relevant to life) as her proudest accomplishment. “We work to set students up for success no matter where they may go. Whether they  transfer to another school, go to community college, or to a 4-year college or university, they are academically prepared to compete with their peers,” she said. “We build relationships with students and let them know that Once a Williams Academy Student, always a Williams Academy student.

Please come for a visit on our campus to experience the vibrancy of the Sanctuary Model and the Crossnore community firsthand!

passion purpose

Here’s what a few members of the Class of 2017 have to say about Williams Academy:

“I love this school because of the extra help from the teachers.” -Devin Lee

“I enjoy attending school at Williams Academy because of the small, individualized classes.” -Maura O’Hagan

“I love this school because the teachers are funny, wonderful, and respectful.” – Cole Bentley

“Marjorie Williams Academy’s wonderful teaching staff truly care for their students. Every student can reach their true potential here.” -Chloe Smith

 “I love this school because of the small classrooms and the teacher/student relationships.” -Emily Houck