An independent K-12 school on a beautiful wooded campus, 3 miles from Washington, DC

The Spangler Center for Athletics and Community 

A Potomac School education integrates academics, arts, and athletics, challenging students to develop their interests and talents in diverse areas. Physical education and athletics are an important part of the overall picture, reflecting Potomac's commitment to health and well-being, sportsmanship, teamwork, and the development of leadership skills. 

The Spangler Center, opened in November 2019, supports Potomac's robust athletics program, which fields 71 teams at various levels (intermediate, junior varsity, and varsity) in 25 interscholastic sports. The facility also offers resources to promote health and wellness, including a fitness center, a strength and conditioning room, a multipurpose studio, and an indoor jogging/walking track. 

The Spangler Center's flexible spaces can be configured for a variety of academic, athletic, and social events -- and its gymnasium is an indoor space large enough to accommodate the entire Potomac community for K-12 assemblies and other gatherings.

At Potomac, school spirit and a strong sense of community are important. The Spangler Center is an amazing resource that brings the campus community together and fuels our PANTHER PRIDE!

Spangler Center for Athletics and Community
Spangler Center
Thanksgiving Assembly

The Center includes:

  • a gymnasium with two full-size competition courts for basketball and volleyball, and divider curtains that allow for three full-size cross-court practice spaces
  • an indoor jogging/walking track
  • seven squash courts with spectator seating
  • a fitness center, strength and conditioning room, and multipurpose studio, all outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and technology
  • a team meeting room, athletics offices, and conference room
  • the "Panther Den" student lounge
  • flexible gathering spaces that can be configured to accommodate a wide variety of academic, athletic, and social events
Students and parents pack rice and bean meals for displaced Ukrainians.

On Saturday, April 23, a sense of purpose filled the air in the Spangler Center as members of the Potomac community worked together to support Ukrainians in need. The meal-packing event, attended by more than 100 people, was spearheaded by the Parent Association Service Learning Committee and Upper School students in Potomac’s Global Perspectives and Citizenship (GPAC) program who have been studying food insecurity around the world. With events in Ukraine top of mind, the parents and students took action to organize this meaningful service initiative in partnership with The Outreach Program, a nonprofit organization. 

Convoy of Hope, an international relief agency, picked up the more than 21,000 meals that were assembled at the event and will deliver them to displaced Ukrainian families. We thank Potomac parents Kristin Jensen, Katy Moser, and Gretchen Speigel and GPAC students Ali O’Brien ’23, Nuna Endale ’24, Arya Kumar ’23, Madeline Magielnicki ’24, Grace McMiller ’23, Alex Meek ’23, Ayanna Nayar ’24, Clay Turner ’24, and Abigail Woldgebriel ’24 for their leadership. It was wonderful for everyone involved to learn about GPAC and see the sophomores and juniors from that program serving as terrific role models for our community. View photos here.

Students pose with head of school

In April, the school honored nine Potomac Speech and Debate Academic All-Americans at a special lunch hosted by John Kowalik and Doug McLane. The four seniors and five juniors were presented with their certificates. For Potomac to have so many Speech and Debate Academic All-Americans is an impressive achievement: only about 1.5% of the 150,000 student members of the National Speech and Debate Association are named Academic All-Americans during their high school careers.

Pictured above: (front row) Shelby Willcox ’23, Samira Abbasi ’22, Olivia Eads ’23, Isabel Brittin ’22, Pippa Westland ’23, and Coach Kayla Williamson; (backrow) Mr. Kowalik, Ben Joel ’23, Connor Rooney ’22, Natalie Roots-Nowakowski ’23, Genevieve Evans ’22, Mr. McLane, Head Coach Harry Strong, and Coach Jeremy Metz

Maria Ressa Nobel Laureate

Journalist Maria Ressa, recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, visited The Potomac School on March 31, one day after testifying to the U.S. Senate about the state of freedom of expression in Asia.

Ressa spoke to students, faculty, and staff at an Upper School assembly and met with a Global Perspectives and Citizenship class.

She covered a wide range of issues, touching on freedom of the press, social media manipulation, moral integrity, surveillance capitalism, and emergent human behavior. Her remarks included candid stories about her experience moving from the Philippines to the US as a child, an interview that she conducted with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and the 10 arrest warrants outstanding against her in her native country.

Discussing ethics and journalism, Ressa spoke about the importance of “holding your moral line.” She told the students, “As you all move on to take leadership positions, situational ethics will make it seem harder. Know where your integrity lies, and where your North Star is.”

Maria Ressa was one of two journalists awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2021, in recognition of her “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.” In addition to her work as a journalist and author, Ressa is the CEO of Rappler, a digital-only news site that is leading the fight for press freedom in the Philippines, where she now resides. In 2018, she was named to Time Magazine's “Person of the Year” list. The themes of her work – integrity in journalism, courage in the face of disinformation and authoritarian rule, the fight for democracy, freedom of expression, and the push for human rights – provide compelling fuel for thought and action. 

Head of School John Kowalik notes, “Ms. Ressa’s presentation was an incredibly exciting and enriching learning experience for Potomac’s Upper School community. We are grateful to her for sharing her time and insights with us.”