St. Lillian Academy and Hope Academy Announce Decision to Combine

St. Lillian Academy students in a group picture.

Baton Rouge, La (February 10, 2022) — ST. LILLIAN ACADEMY and Hope Academy announced the two schools will become one.  

After extensive discussions and an in-depth review, the boards of St. Lillian Academy and Greater Baton Rouge Hope Academy voted unanimously to combine Hope Academy into St.  Lillian Academy to continue their mutual mission of providing a transformative learning environment for students with learning support needs.  

Both schools believe this combination advances the passion and commitment each school has for educating students with unique learning needs in a rich, nurturing environment where they can grow to their fullest potential while also benefiting faculty and staff and the greater Baton   Rouge community.  

St. Lillian Academy was founded in 2011 through generous support from donors Gary and Martha Solomon, who were inspired by the work of Sister M. Lillian McCormack, the founder of   St. Michael Special School in New Orleans. St. Lillian Academy partnered with McMains   Children’s Developmental Center to determine the needs of Baton Rouge families and envision a school that could provide the individualized support needed to meet their unique needs. The school currently has 62 students ages 5 to 20.  

“We are excited to welcome the Hope Academy community to our family,” said Elissa McKenzie,   head of school and one of St. Lillian Academy’s founders. “All students at each of our schools will have a seat in our new school. This combination will allow us to expand our mission of providing our deep expertise and uniquely holistic model of providing education, therapeutic intervention, and behavioral support in one place to even more students,” she said.  

Hope Academy, which has 67 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, was founded in   2007 to provide an inclusive, supportive education for those with unique learning needs. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to become one with St. Lillian Academy. The combination of the two schools reflects our commitment to providing students with learning support needs the very best educational experience possible, and we believe combining the schools will allow us to provide an exceptional education to all our students,” said Rachel Totaro, Board of Directors   Chair for Hope Academy.  

 The combination will take effect for the 2023-2024 school year, and the schools have created a   joint transition task force to ensure a successful transition for all students, families, and staff.  


About St. Lillian Academy 

St. Lillian Academy, a Christian school, educates children with communication and learning challenges in an integrated, holistic environment of teachers, support staff, and therapists. Our mission is to offer all students the opportunity to maximize their potential, lead rewarding and fulfilling lives, and be independent, active members of our community. For more information, visit 

About Greater Baton Rouge Hope Academy 

Greater Baton Rouge Hope Academy is a private, non-religiously affiliated school providing a welcoming environment for students with specialized education needs. Our mission is to meet the unique needs of students who typically have social and academic difficulties in conventional school settings by providing individually-tailored instruction. For more information, visit 


St. Lillian Academy Contact 

Elissa McKenzie 

(225) 771-8173 

[email protected] 


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