All students eligible for enrollment in a North Carolina public school are eligible to enroll at Lake Lure Classical Academy, a tuition-free public school serving students from four counties!

 Now in its tenth year in Lake Lure, LLCA conducts an annual admissions lottery for any opening in every grade. Once enrolled, the student may attend through the 12th grade without applying again as long as North Carolina residency is maintained. 

  In a lottery system, parents submit an application to the school by March 31st, 2020, after which all applications are placed into a lottery pool. On the date of the lottery, (April 9th at 4 pm) student names are drawn from the pool, and those students are assigned open seats at the school. Our Board of Directors has approved a lottery that results in a random selection of applicants. Our lottery is weighted to give siblings, and employees’ children preference.

  Before the lottery opens, the school determines the number of available seats in each grade level. This is based on several factors, including the number of current students moving to the next grade and available classroom space. According to the law governing charter schools in North Carolina, all new students who wish to be part of the Lake Lure Classical Academy lottery must complete an application for admission.  The school is tuition-free and serves students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

If you’re interested in enrolling your child, or you know someone who might be interested in enrolling their child at LLCA, give us a call at (828) 625-9292 or enroll online at

 In other news, the school board is actively working together with the staff and an executive search firm toward selecting a new school director to replace the current director, Tom Keever. Mr. Keever recently announced his plans to retire in June.

The board is working with the same search firm that led to the hiring of Mr. Keever in 2016.

“It is a comprehensive process that works well in that it gives our staff and select members of the community an opportunity to weigh in and provide input,” said Mark Hamann, Chairman of the School Board.

 While replacing the strengths and attributes that Mr. Keever brought to the school will be no easy task, the board is committed to selecting the ideal candidate to take the school to the next level in its impressive success.  

  “Though we were all saddened by the news of Mr. Keever’s retirement, it occurs during a time of considerable strength, growth, and stability at our school, thanks in large measure to the efforts by Mr. Keever and his team,” Mr. Hamann said.

 Since joining the school in 2016 the following achievements have been made under Mr. Keever’s leadership:

  • The construction of a state-of-the-art gymnasium & auditorium
  • The completion of new athletic fields and the dramatic growth of  an athletics program with more than ten athletic programs
  • A successful partnership with Isothermal Community College which affords students the opportunity to earn an Associate of Arts or Science Degree
  • LLCA is fully accredited through AdvancED 
  • Ten-year charter renewal, (anticipated during the February State School Board meeting)
  • Enrollment increased from 385 to 518
  • A full-time school resource officer, a full-time school nurse, and a remote telehealth program in partnership with Blue Ridge Health and the Hickory Nut Gorge Foundation
  • LLCA has earned the grade of a “B” School from a “C” School through  the State of North Carolina Department of Education

  Of the school’s achievements over the last four years, Mr. Keever said, “It has been only through the teachers, staff, parents, and the community as a whole that we have accomplished so much.” 

  “I’m fully confident that as I make this life change with my family to explore new opportunities that the school is perfectly positioned to reach even greater heights.”

 Mr. Keever came to Lake Lure Classical Academy in 2016. As a tuition-free public charter school open to all North Carolina residents, LLCA has over 500 students representing four Western North Carolina counties.

  Mr. Keever’s career spans nearly 40-years in public and private education. He has served as a principal in the Buncombe County School System at Enka Middle School and Valley Springs Middle School. During his tenure at Valley Springs, the school earned the state’s highest academic honor, N.C. School of Excellence and an N.C. School of Distinction. 

  In 2007, he was named Buncombe County Principal of the Year and later Western North Carolina’s Principal of the Year. In addition to his work in North Carolina, Mr. Keever has also served in teaching and leadership positions in five international schools, including Poland, Myanmar, Chile, Venezuela, and Syria. Mr. Keever and his wife are residents of Black Mountain.

Submitted by Valerie A. Hoffman