Larissa American School History

Opened: 2000
Closed: 2003

Larissa American School opened in mid-September 2000. The school went from project conception through design & construction to opening in only one year. Construction started in May 2000 with the pouring of the foundation while the building was being fabricated in Saudi Arabia. It arrived in the port of Athens on 1 July and was assembled as soon as it arrived in Larissa.

The students who attended the school were from the NATO nations stationed at the new NATO Joint Headquarters (SOUTHCENT), Larissa: the US, England, Italy, Turkey, and Hungary. Non-US students from NATO nations attended the school tuition free as a result of a DoD waiver while the Command researched a NATO-supported international school.

The school opened with two teachers, Colleen Badidis teaching grades K–3 and LuAnne Behrle grades 4–8 with James McNeil as the administrator. In November 2000, Kristy Johnson came onboard as a 3–5 teacher and Cassandra Davis as the school nurse. ESL support was provided by Sharon Lythgoe who was hired by the Turkish parents. Paul Badidis provided a physical education program. Ms. Janie Page was acting administrator from Nov–Dec 2000 while Mr. McNeil was on leave.

The second school year the staff expanded to five classroom teachers. Colleen Badidis taught K–1, Kirk McKenzie 2–4, Kristy Johnson 5–6, and LuAnne Berle 7–8. Cassandra Davis was the nurse, Sharon Lythgoe EFL, Billie Cline and Vicki Warner were Aides, Ditas Christensen was the Admin Asst/Supply Tech, and Don Christensen was Principal.  Paul Badidis provided a physical education program. There were sixty-seven students: twenty in K–1, twenty in grades 2–4, sixteen in grades 5–6, and eleven in grades 7–8.

The third year Kirk McKenzie taught K–1, Kristy Johnson 2–3, Andrea Gerding 4–5, and Kathy Swartwood & Rhonda Anderson 6–8. Caprice Knight was the nurse, Bridget Leaney the EFL Teacher. There were two aides: Marilyn Perez and Vicki Warner. Ditas Christensen was the Admin Asst/Supply Tech and Don Christensen was Principal. Mr. Jacobs provided a physical education program. The student body grew to eighty-seven students: twelve Kindergarten, nine grade 1, fourteen grade 2, twelve grade 3, nine grade 4, five grade 5, sixteen grade 6, six grade 7, and four grade 8.

Larissa American School closed in June 2003 and the remaining dependents transitioned to the International School of Larissa (The American School in Switzerland, TASIS Hellas), now The International Community School of Larissa.


Information provided by Don Christensen, Principal

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