August, 2012 represents the official opening of the Arts Academy Charter Middle School. However, prior to that time a great deal of formative and legal work had to be accomplished.
The Arts Academy Charter School was founded by Dr. Thomas S. Lubben. Dr. Lubben used his vision for an arts-based education to establish the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts (now known as the Charter Arts High School for the Arts), which opened its doors in 2003.
LVPA, as the school was known, offered a vigorous education centered around six arts: Theater, Dance, Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Visual Arts and Figure Skating. Its growth was testament to the interest in, and need for this kind of educational approach.
Having completed his tenure with LVPA, Dr. Lubben looked into the possibility of expanding this educational model to a younger group of students who also manifested a passion for the arts. In 2010, Dr. Lubben began working with local developers to identify a venue in which a middle school could housed.
Having located a vacant, former 30,746 square foot school building in Salisbury Township, Pennsylvania, the work to establish an acceptable charter began. With the creation of a founding board, the Arts Academy prepared the necessary documentation to submit to the Salisbury Township School Board for charter approval. This approval was given in February, 2012.
Then came the task of hiring the administration and teaching staff necessary to operate the school. William M. Fitzpatrick was chosen to serve as executive director; and Jan Labellarte as principal. They created the basis for the business model for the operation of the school.
Over the ensuing spring and summer, interviews were conducted, and all teaching and administration positions were filled. On August 27, 2012 the Arts Academy Charter Middle School opened its doors to roughly 350 student artists from more than 20 participating school districts. An official dedication was led by Representative Charlie Dent in August, 2012.
Since that first year, the Arts Academy has grown to near capacity in its student population, averaging roughly 390 students/artists in grades five through eight.
In June, 2015 the Arts Academy Charter Middle School's charter was renewed by the Salisbury Township School District.