OSZ Influencer of the Week: Sarah Reynolds, of Foundation Academy

Sarah Reynolds is the principal of Foundation Academy's Tilden Campus.

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Foundation Academy administrators say Sarah Reynolds, principal of the Tilden Campus, is the epitome of a servant leader. She makes it her mission to get to know all 550 students by name and their personal stories. She wears her heart on her sleeve — she is the first to celebrate a student’s accomplishment, uses humor to reach their hearts and is the first to walk alongside a student in his or her time of need. She has cultivated a culture of balance by working hard but also playing harder.

There is no bigger cheerleader for her students than Reynolds.


What brought you to your school?

I started at FA 24 years ago after enrolling my two children because the school had such a great reputation as a Christian school. I just wanted to be a part of such an awesome group of people.


What do you love most about your school?

What I love most about FA is the family feel. It doesn’t matter which campus you visit — you feel it. Everyone is friendly and welcoming and willing to help each other.


What is your motivation?

My motivation has to be the students that I get to work with every single day. I am the one who just cannot wait until summer is over so I get to be around my teenagers again. They just fill me with joy every single day, even when they do ridiculous things.


What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is to watch students grow in knowledge and love for the Lord. My favorite thing about working with this age group is to see them start to realize what they want to do with their lives. I thoroughly enjoy talking with high school students as they go through the college application process. I think I sometimes stress more than they do as they wait to hear about acceptances! I love celebrating their good times and walking through their hard times with them.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to spend time with my husband and adult children. They bring me great joy. I also love to read. I do love a good walk with my little dog, Poppy.


Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?

My favorite teacher had to be Mrs. McNab in second grade. She really was instrumental in my love for reading. 


When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I always wanted to be a teacher. I had so many great ones who encouraged me to always do my best. Teachers don’t get enough praise for how hard they work and the difference they make in children’s lives every single day.


What is your favorite children’s book and why? 

My favorite children’s book, hands down, is “Love You Forever." As a parent, it is a serious tearjerker, but reading it to children teaches them that a parent’s love for their children lasts forever.


What are your hobbies?

Reading is my top hobby, but I have a small butterfly garden that I like to putter around in.


If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I would love to be able to fly. I think it would be amazing to be able to just take off and go anywhere I want to go and not have to worry about traffic or plane rides. There are so many places I would love to get to super quickly.


If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?

Crowder, Mercy Me and Casting Crowns — all of their music is positive and just encourages me to keep my eyes focused on the Lord.


What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? Any favorite snacks or special treats you remember?

PB&J sandwiches are my go-to forever. I still enjoy them! I still love Cheese Doodles as well.  


What is your favorite holiday and why?

I love Thanksgiving the most. The day is all about food and being thankful for what we have been given. It is always so much fun at our house when all of us are together.


Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch? 

My best friend was Dawn. We have been through so many ups and downs throughout our school years and even now. We still get together at least twice a year for our birthdays.


What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?

I was a competitive swimmer from elementary through high school. I once held a Florida state record for backstroke for a short time.


How long have you been at your school?

I am starting my 24th year with Foundation Academy.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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