The School District of Collier County, a district of 50 schools—30 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, 8 high schools and one pre-K–12 school—serves the Eastern Collier County. In August of 2007, the district welcomed 130 students from a variety of grades, as Ave Maria was gifted land for an elementary school and a middle school.
The district is ahead of the curve where adult and continuing education is concerned, boasting a Career and Adult Education program, which serves over 12,000 students annually through the Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology, the Immokalee Technical Center and at various sites of adult education throughout the county.
In the 2009-10 school year, Collier County Public Schools earned an “A” grade from the Florida Department of Education, its second “A” in a row. Nearly 3,000 teachers are employed by the district, and 49 percent of them hold advanced degrees in their teaching subject. These teachers are of the best paid in the State of Florida.
For those seeking private or parochial education, there are several options in and around Collier County, including Steps to the Future Christian Academy, Corkscrew Christian School, St. John Neumann Catholic School and Royal Palm Academy, plus many more.
Higher education in Collier County earns good marks as well. Hodges University, Florida Gulf Coast University and the new Ave Maria University, which opened its doors the most recently in 2003, are all within a reasonable distance. Public, private and religious universities and community colleges are scattered throughout Collier County, making higher education easily attainable for students from all walks of life.Ave Maria University
Thomas Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza and chairman of the Ave Maria Foundation, had a dream to build an option in Catholic higher education for students in the southeastern portion of the U.S. No previous Catholic educational institutions had been implemented in over 40 years, the last being in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1963.
With the help of the Barron Collier Companies and an initial donation of $250 million, Ave Maria University opened its doors in August 2003 at its interim campus in Naples. The advent of the new university spurred the growth of a community aptly named Ave Maria; the university is now located at 5050 Ave Maria Boulevard. The community is around 5,000 acres, of which 20 percent is designated to the university’s campus. As one of the first modern towns to be developed alongside a burgeoning university, life, education and a shared sense of religion merge seamlessly in Ave Maria.
The university offers majors in Biology & Chemistry, Business, Classics/Early Christian Literature, Economics, History, Literature, Mathematics & Physics, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Music and Theology. There are also graduate programs in Theology and Pastoral Theology. www.avemaria.edu