About Our School
Fordham Early Learning Academy, the newest school in Marion County, targets the youngest learners in the community.
Fordham Early Learning Academy opened August 10 to four- and five-year-old students in Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) and Kindergarten. First grade will be added next year, and second grade in 2024. VPK students must be four years old on or before September 1 of each year. Kindergarten students must be five years old on or before the same date.
Named for Edmond Fordham, a career educator and leader in Marion County Public Schools, the Academy operates as a choice program, meaning any appropriately-aged student can apply to attend. As with any choice program, parents/families must provide their own transportation. If enrollment demand exceeds targets enrollment, Marion County Public Schools (MCPS) will use its established lottery system to determine enrollment selections.
Located at 4000 W. Anthony Road near Ocala, the Fordham Early Learning Academy focuses on developing strong literacy skills, social-emotional learning concepts, and music enrichment opportunities in early learners. Future expansion plans could include opportunities to serve three-year-old students.
The Academy’s namesake, Edmond Fordham, grew up in Marion County’s Fort McCoy area and graduated from Howard Academy. He served in the U.S. Air Force and later graduated from Payne College in Augusta, Georgia.
Fordham served Marion County Public Schools as a history teacher at Belleview-Santos School; assistant principal at Osceola Junior High School; and principal at Sparr Elementary, Dr. N.H. Jones, and Dunnellon Elementary Schools. After retiring, Fordham became the site administrator for NOVA Southeastern University, mentoring aspiring school administrators enrolled in the Early Education and Exceptional Student Education programs.
Community groups and organizations interested in partnering with the Academy can contact Early Learning Director Jennifer Beck, who serves as the school’s principal, at 352.671.4925 or Jennifer.Beck@marion.k12.fl.us.