About » History of PA

History of PA

Pillow Academy is an independent college preparatory school that serves approximately 800 students from Greenwood, Mississippi, and the surrounding five-county area. The school is located on Highway 82, three miles west of Greenwood, on a 58 acre campus with physical facilities that are modern and practical.

The Pillow family donated the land on which Pillow Academy is located. The school began modestly in 1966 in one metal building. Under the direction of Arthur Button, the school began with grades K through 8 and an attendance of 145 students and 8 full time faculty members. From 1967-1969 the Headmaster of Pillow Academy was Bill Davis. During this time, grades 9-10 were added. Mr. Davis then assumed the role of Associate Headmaster and served in this capacity until his death in 2005. In 1969, grades 11 and 12 were added along with the construction of the new high school building, Hardeman Hall. Serving as Pillow Academy Headmaster from 1969-1971, Seth Dillon oversaw the addition of the E.B. Stribling Gymnasium. A student activity/cafeteria building and a study hall were also completed during this time. While Hoyte Carothers was Headmaster (1971-1976), a band hall was constructed. Raymond Morgan (1976-1981) furthered Pillow Academy’s progress during his tenure. Headmaster Tommy Thompson (1981-1994) was instrumental in the addition of the Sandifer Library and a new Education Building. Today, the Education building houses 8 kindergarten classrooms, a kindergarten gathering room, a music room, and the ELS Learning Lab. Headmaster Termie Land (1994-2000) administered the building of the Stewart Patridge Weight Room. He also direct the plans for the construction and completion the Tol Thomas Library Media Center. A courtyard was also completed at this time in memory of deceased alumni Beth Roberson and Kathryn Pittman. By the end of Mr. Land’s administration, plans were completed for a new performing arts center. 

The next Head of School, Russell Robertson (2000-2006), oversaw the renovation of the old library into a study hall and also the construction and completion of the 600 seat Craig Performing Arts Center. Groundbreaking began in the fall of 2002 with the opening day in the spring of 2004. Also constructed at that time was a satellite building that serves as the K4-5th grades art classes. During the summer of 2002, the Student Activity Building receive an interior facelift with paint, new ceiling, and a new air conditioning system. Three of the entrances to Hardeman Hall were renovated during the summer of 2001. Upon the retirement of Russell Robertson, the girls fast pitch softball field was dedicated in recognition of his contributions to Pillow Academy. Former headmaster Termie Land returned to Pillow Academy in 2006. He remained at Pillow until 2011.

A major renovation of the elementary building was launched in the spring of 2011. The building was named Johnson Hall in honor of the extraordinary financial contributions of Mr. and Mrs. Harper Johnson. The changes included the addition of one teacher bathroom and two student bathrooms.

Pillow Academy athletic facilities were also improved and upgraded. The field house was completed and now houses the football, soccer, and baseball coaching staff offices, a weight room, and athletic lockers. Stribling Gymnasium dressing rooms along with the basketball and track coaches’ areas were revamped. Bill Davis Field also saw many changes under Mr. Land’s leadership. The football field was improved with a more effective drainage system and new sod was place on the field. The track surrounding the field underwent total resurfacing. Pillow Academy soccer program was enhanced when the Moor family donated land that was used to establish an on campus soccer field and adjoining parking lot. The field was named in honor of Chazzy Moor.

Under Jay Watts’ (2011-2017) direction, 23 SMART boards were installed, a new projector in the Craig Performing Arts Center and several new projectors in the high school and the elementary buildings. Mr. Watts oversaw the completion of the Johnson Hall renovations and expansion, including a science lab. In an ongoing effort to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff, an updated security system was installed in 2013 and more effective lighting was added in the parking lots. The Pillow Academy basketball program received a significant improvement when an air conditioning system was installed in Stribling Gymnasium. Concrete dugouts were built for both home and visiting teams for the softball and the soccer fields. Furthermore, two ticket booths were constructed at the entrances of Bill Davis Field. A new 4,200 square foot heated indoor baseball facility with three batting cages was completed. Ipad carts for the elementary buildings and Chromebook carts for the junior high and high school buildings were purchased. During his tenure, research on integrating STEM into the curriculum became an important goal.

In 2017, Rodney Brown became Head of School. Mr. Brown has over seen many improvements to our facilities and campus. The progress on PA’s campus includes renovations of the bathrooms in Hardeman Hall, new scoreboards for football and baseball, new metal light poles for football, softball, and baseball, and new fencing for softball field. Included in the Pillow Academy Strong Foundations, Future Leaders Campus Enhancement Plan will be the construction of a multi-purpose building, renovations to the kindergarten building, and construction of a new student walk-way. Plans are currently being developed and the start date for construction to begin is the middle of March 2019. Additionally, a STEM lab and curriculum has been implemented in the 4th and 5th grade and a separate STEM lab and curriculum has been implemented in the 6th grade. Technology upgrades include the addition of Wi-Fi access points and purchase of new computers and SMART boards/SMART panels for teachers, additional Chromebook and IPad carts, and new computers for student labs, library, and ELS.

In 2020, Pillow Academy welcomed Mr. Barrett Donahoe as the Head of School. Our school is in an excellent place, and Mr. Donahoe is more than ready to guide the school toward future growth.

Pillow Academy continues to strive for excellence in academics, campus aesthetics and athletics.