Bethesda Academy President Receives Esteemed Betty B. Disher Educational Innovator Award

Dr. Michael Hughes accepts the award on behalf of faculty, staff and students.
(SAVANNAH, Ga./ORANGEBURG, S.C.) South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) presented Dr. Michael Hughes, President of Bethesda Academy in Savannah, Ga., with the prestigious Betty B. Disher Educational Innovator Award.

Established to recognize a Head of School that exhibits an outstanding commitment to implementing innovative teaching methodologies into their unique independent school setting, the Betty B. Disher Award was presented at the association’s annual Fall Heads’ Conference meeting, held virtually.

“This is a team win, and I accept this esteemed award in the name of all of the professional educators and administrators at Bethesda Academy,” Dr. Hughes said. “We are building a new Bethesda, and this honor reflects the progress our team has made towards that goal.”

Bethesda Academy is a private day school for young men in grades six through twelve. The diverse student body is served by a staff of 35 dedicated employees, with 70% of teachers holding a Master’s degree. Bethesda offers small class sizes, a structured environment and a strong sense of community.

SCISA is a nonprofit, voluntary association of over 130 independent schools serving more than 40,000 teachers and students. Founded in 1965, the State of South Carolina incorporated SCISA as an exclusively educational organization with the responsibilities of establishing accreditation standards, coordinating academic and athletic competitions and providing professional development for member organizations.

SCISA Executive Director, Dr. Spencer A. Jordan, stated, “Dr. Hughes is renowned for his commitment to a school mentality that promotes leadership initiatives throughout his school.” Bethesda does this by instilling positive adult relationships and peer modeling while advocating for personal excellence and community involvement.

The Bethesda staff matches Dr. Hughes’ devotion to the success of the academy. “The school’s commitment to the well-being of the students and families they serve sets Bethesda apart. For this reason and many others, Dr. Hughes defines an outstanding and innovative educational leader,” Jordan added.

Founded in 1740, Bethesda Academy is the oldest child-care institution in the United States. Now it is a private day school for young men in grades six through twelve and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The 650-acre campus features a variety of athletic teams, a wildlife management and organic farming program and a college preparatory curriculum. Through its “Lead The Way” initiative, students have access to exclusive integrated learning and leadership opportunities. For more information, visit or call 912.644.4376.