Brookstone Schools

Sowing Seeds of Wisdom

aka Brookstone Schools   |   Charlotte, NC   |


The mission of Brookstone Schools is to glorify God by equipping under-resourced students academically, socially, and spiritually for future lives of leadership and service.

Ruling year info


Head of School

Mr. John Andrew Murray

Main address

PO Box 30696

Charlotte, NC 28230 USA

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NTEE code info

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Cultural, Ethnic Awareness (A23)

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Across the nation and in our own city, there is a considerable discrepancy between the educational outcomes of the inner city poor and the more affluent suburban population. The dropout rate for urban black and Hispanic youth can be as high as 30% and only 29% of this population ranks even close to “proficient” in national assessment tests. Over the years money been poured into large systems of education to tweak schools and create programs with little success. There is a pressing need to identify and support innovative high poverty schools, public or private enterprises, both large and small, whose efforts lead to increased student productivity, proficient test scores, and positive life changes for this at-risk population. For the past twenty years, our school has been giving students from poverty access to educational opportunity and the resources they need for upward mobility.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Brookstone Schools - K-8

All teachers expect the best performance from students and set clear goals for improvement from one year to the next. Outcomes in math and reading are measured annually through administration of the IOWA standardized test. We are committed to excellence in education, Biblical truth, and character development focused on leadership and service. Teachers are dedicated and well-trained in classical, subject-specific curricula.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
Children and youth
People of Asian descent
People of African descent
People of Latin American descent

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

NCAIS 2022

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of free participants on field trips

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Brookstone Schools - K-8

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Field Day

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our mission is to glorify God by equipping low-income urban students academically, socially and spiritually for leadership and service.

To achieve these goals, our education program and school culture offers under-resourced students life-changing advantages: rigorous academics, opportunity for life-affirming relationships, and the traditional values of honesty, responsibility and respect for others.

Closing the achievement gap begins the moment a student enters Brookstone. We empower students to work hard, set goals and achieve their best in academics. From kindergarten onwards, teachers give children the tools they need for self-determination and hold them to high expectations throughout their elementary/middle school years. Equipped with a strong foundation, our graduates go on to excel in some of the best high schools in our city. Many are first generation college students.

Over half of the student population come from fatherless, single-parent homes. Sadly, too many children are growing up in neighborhoods and often isolated from strong adult role models. They lack opportunities for acquiring the social skills for building relationships with others. A close-knit community, such as the one Brookstone offers, can be transformative for these students. Many of our students are ‘lifers’. That is, they have been with us since kindergarten. By the time they graduate in eighth grade, their social skills will have blossomed because of their being embedded in a nurturing community.

We seek to glorify God by influencing our students to affirm their identity and faith in Jesus. We aim for students to know the importance of loving others as image-bearers of God. Years from now, we expect to see many of them pursuing Christ-centered justice, actively serving as ‘change makers’ within their own families and communities.

Lastly, our goal ahead is to grow our annual fund that would allow us to serve 300+ students. With COVID-19, racial discord and social upheaval in our country today, we believe our mission is more vital than ever. Erasmus’ words still ring true: “The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth.”

Rigorous academics: Brookstone is committed to excellence in year-round educational programming. The following strategies are producing excellent, sustainable academic results:
• small class size in K through 5th grade (12 to 1)
• consolidated curriculum tied to the Classical model of K-8 education Core Knowledge & Singapore Math, Great Books etc.)
• consistent requirements for classroom management & academic standards
• coaching for teacher development
• summer literacy & mathematics program

Teacher performance and an effective reading recovery system are producing excellent reading outcomes in the elementary grades. Students who fall behind are placed in one of three different levels of remediation to ensure they catch up with their peers. We see solid gains. For example, winter 2020 DIBELS reading assessment showed that 94 percent of third through fifth graders were reading at grade level. This is a stunning outcome for the population

Social Growth - Surrounding under-resourced students with a network of caring adults - teachers, donors, lunch buddies and tutors – helps us meet the many academic, social/emotional, and spiritual needs of children. These adult-child relationships are vital.

Middle School & Transition to High School - Brookstone’s Pathways program offers opportunity, access and support to middle students for transition to high school and beyond. Beginning in sixth grade, students receive information regarding the application process for select CMS high schools (e.g., magnet programs, charter, early college etc.) and independent schools. Eighth graders visit select high schools.
The support offered through Pathways has been pivotal in giving students access to opportunities that will help them reach their goals. In the last two years, 100% of our graduates have either attended magnet schools, charter schools or received full scholarships from independent high schools.

Pathways has shown us that Brookstone has a larger role to play in supporting students well beyond their eighth grade graduation. We are already doing this by giving alums access to tutoring in coursework or prep for PSAT. They can enjoy some of the benefits of Pathways through high school on to college. Students have a 98% graduation rate from high school.

Brookstone has strong leadership. Our Head of School, John Murray, has a vibrant faith and a vision for leading our school to the next level in term of mission impact and institutional excellence.
With twenty-five years as an educational leaders, John has a passion for encouraging Christian school communities to become more racially and economically diverse as they provide a Christ-centered, academically challenging education. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University and his Master’s degree from Dartmouth College. John has also had extensive experience in impacting the broader community through filmmaking, writing and speaking. His articles addressing education, history, politics, media, and youth culture have appeared in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Safeguarding our identity has always been a priority for Brookstone. We know who we are and why we exist. Our vision, mission and core values remain unchanged and we have been sharing our “story” in the community for many years. Strategies and timelines may vary over time, but our mission integrity has inspired loyalty among funders and friends.

We have strong board leadership made up of people with experience in finance, education, business and governance. They are committed to helping Brookstone realize its vision of serving more students. This growth plan serves as a road map that unifies everyone – the board, school management, faculty and donors – around a shared mission. We have projected what our funding needs will be in light of our growth trajectory and are setting our annual fund goals accordingly.

Solid processes are in place to monitor the financial health and well-being of our organization. The Head of School meets quarterly with the board’s financial committee to monitor costs and incoming revenue. We also rely on our annual audit to ensure that we comply with respect to our statements and accounting practices. Based on our auditors’ recommendations, we made any needed adjustments in our processes and records.
We have developed a long-range fundraising plan to maintain our sustainability. This plan ensures that we have annual operating funds as well as an ‘operating reserve’ that should be needed in the event of a downturn in the economy.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Brookstone Schools. For two decades, we have been building the human capacity of minority children by providing rigorous academics and the social capital needed for upward mobility.
In this difficult time of social and racial unrest, giving children access to educational opportunity is more vital than ever. Victories are possible! This is the promise of America – that all children – regardless of their race, social class and background – can rise through education and hard work. Their dreams are attainable. Brookstone bears evidence of that. Most of our graduates go on to achieve in academically rigorous high schools and college. We expect to see them one day participating as full members in the civic, cultural and economic life of our community.

Our goal ahead is to increase our fundraising capacity so that Brookstone can give more under-resourced students access to a transformational education. Typically, independent schools are tuition driven and may raise as little as 2% of their operating funds. Brookstone is radically different. While all under-resourced families pay some tuition (based on a sliding scale), we must raise 95% of our operating funds each year. The fact that we have been successful in achieving this is a testament of God’s grace and the generosity of our community.

Brookstone receives no government funding except for the annual amount received through the NC Opportunity Scholarship. We rely on the philanthropy of our community to sustain an enterprise that is impacting lives every day. According to one supporter, “There are few opportunities we have in life to have such a meaningful, lasting impact for good, so I continue to give annually. I consider any gift I make to Brookstone an investment, one with a very high rate of return in realized human opportunity and potential.”


Brookstone Schools

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Brookstone Schools

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Keith Trent

Retired Executive -Duke Energy

Term: 2023 - 2020

Board co-chair

Ms. Theresa Kasay

Dirk Johnston

Commercial Real Estate

Patty Gruce

Children's Ministry

Tom Coyle

Childress Klein, Partner

Carole Ardizzone

Brookstone Founder

Sara Byne

Brookstone Founder

Mollie Faison

Brookstone Founder

April Barnhill

Northland Investment Corporation

Beth Harvey

Aquinas Learning

Robert Huggins

Bank of America, VP Digital Banking

Greg Taylor

Johnson & Wales University, Retired

Melanie Winton

Community Advocate

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/5/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/01/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.