She has a degree in philosophy and little time for the term ‘average’ especially when it comes to education.

“Five 20 year olds, five 30 year olds are standing in a room: average age- 25. Real  number of 25 year olds?” Sharon Holzscherer pauses for effect, “zero. So why is our educational system built around so-called ‘average’ students.

 Holzscherer, a one-time college instructor in California who moved to Carleton Place with her family in 1995 and dedicated the next eight years of her life to a private school centred on precepts of encouraging potential and individual student growth through broad based, varied education is back.

 After guiding thirty children, including her own (4) through to senior matriculation, Holzscherer consulted a career counselor. 

“She asked me to describe my ideal job. And what I ended up doing was describing what I’d been doing for eight years,” she laughs. “So the woman told me she wasn’t going to find me a job, I already had one.”

The Mississippi School for the Arts will open in the historic MacArthur Woolen Mill (circa 1871) between what are locally known as ‘the back bridges’ on Mill Street in Carleton Place in September.

Holzscherer and a faculty of certified teachers are seeking a minimum of fifteen students. students at Grades 7,8 and 9 levels. The school, which is NOT a co-operative, will provide a provincially sanctioned curriculum (Grades 7-12) including Math, English, Science, French, Art (2) visual and performing, physical education and history-social studies. All courses are mandatory.

Holzscherer has also made tentative arrangements to hire artists, performers and others to conduct workshops.

Tuition fees have been set at $16,000 annually to ensure long term viability, secure rent and cover salaries.

Holzscherer can be reached at 613-261-6249 or