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
Potomac Begins New Academic Year, Honors Outstanding Teachers

The Potomac School began the 2022-23 academic year on September 7, with a record 1,069 students enrolled in grades K-12. On Friday the 9th, the Potomac community gathered outdoors for the school’s annual Opening Assembly, an event that sets the tone for the year ahead.

The celebration began with a procession of the school’s oldest and youngest students, as the members of the Class of 2023 escorted the kindergartners into their first Potomac assembly. Inspiring remarks followed, with Head of School John Kowalik reflecting on the meaning and importance of generosity of spirit, and Student Government Association President Yabby Maelaf ’23 urging her fellow students to follow their passions and persevere as they pursue their goals.

A highlight of the assembly was the presentation of Potomac’s 2022 Bill Cook Award for Excellent Teaching. Named in honor of beloved teacher and assistant head of school Bill Cook, who passed away in 2016, the award is presented annually to teachers “who exemplify the commitment to excellence and love of learning that define a Potomac School education.” This year there were two honorees: Shefali Sardar and Nick Hanson.

In nearly 25 years at Potomac, Shefali Sardar has held a number of classroom and administrative positions. She began as a Middle School (grades 4-6) teaching intern, then served as a sixth grade teacher, a language arts resource teacher, and the Middle School’s language arts and humanities coordinator. In 2016, Ms. Sardar was named the Middle School’s first academic dean; she continues in that role today, while also serving as a language arts specialist, working primarily with sixth graders.

John Kowalik observes, “Shefali Sardar is known for her incredible work ethic and uncanny ability to address specific student learning needs. She devotes time before, during, and after school to work with students who need extra support, talk with parents, assist her colleagues, and strengthen our Middle School curriculum. She leads by example, consistently going above and beyond to support our students’ learning and our teachers’ success.”

He continues, “Ms. Sardar embodies the Potomac ideal of lifelong learning, both in her efforts to expand her own knowledge and skills and in her focus on helping her fellow teachers grow and excel. She is a dedicated teacher, a collegial leader, and a tremendous asset to our school.”

Nick Hanson joined Potomac’s Music Department in 2006. Through his efforts, the school’s handbell program has grown to include five ensembles, featuring 139 students in grades 5 through 12.

John Kowalik says, “Mr. Hanson is a passionate, engaging, and very talented teacher. Thanks to his expert instruction, Potomac handbell performances showcase the most advanced and current techniques in ringing. And, to the delight of student performers and audiences alike, the music often includes chart-topping popular songs that Mr. Hanson has arranged himself.”

In addition to leading Potomac’s program, Nick Hanson has spoken at music conventions and conducted at handbell festivals throughout the United States and in England, China, and Singapore. Many of his handbell compositions and arrangements have been published.

John Kowalik concludes, “Along with his work as a music teacher, Mr. Hanson serves as a seventh grade advisor and sponsors our Intermediate School (grades 7 and 8) Anime Club. He is an enthusiastic educator, respected by students and colleagues alike for his skill, generosity, and unwavering dedication to excellence.”    

Doodle for Google state winner poses with artwork

Kennedy Ferguson, a senior at The Potomac School, has been selected as the Virginia state winner in the 14th annual Doodle for Google contest. Her artwork is now eligible to be included on the Google homepage for hundreds of millions to see. Doodle for Google is an annual contest where K-12 students create their own versions of the Google logo, and Ferguson is one of the 54 state and territorial nominees whose work was selected. This year the theme for the competition was "I care for myself by..."

Ferguson explains, “My Doodle represents the ways I care for myself. My self-love language is self-expression, pampering, and indulging in things that make me the most happy and hopeful version of myself.”

A student in Potomac’s selective Visual and Performing Arts Concentration program’s fine arts track, Ferguson shares, “I have been fascinated with art since I was a child, and my passion has pushed me to always study, watch art tutorials, fill sketchbooks, and make insultingly bad crayon portraits of my family. This recognition means so much to me, and I am thankful for the opportunity to share my art with a larger audience.”

The judges for this year’s Doodle for Google contest are the 2021 National Teacher of the Year, Juliana Urtubey; director, model, and mental health activist Elyse Fox; and artist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Selena Gomez.

The national winner will take home a $30,000 college scholarship, and their school will receive a $50,000 tech package toward the establishment or improvement of a computer lab or technology program.

Google has postponed public voting because of the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. Once it resumes, this link ( will direct voters to all the state and territory winners. Five national finalists will be announced once the voting closes, and the winning Doodle will be featured on the Google homepage for one day.

Students and parents pack rice and bean meals for displaced Ukrainians.

On April 26, Convoy of Hope, an international relief agency, picked up more than 21,000 meals that were assembled by members of the Potomac School community the previous weekend. The relief agency will distribute the rice and bean meals to displaced Ukrainian families throughout border countries. 

This service initiative was organized by Potomac’s Parent Association Service Learning Committee (PASLC) and Upper School students in the school’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 lead the meal-packing event in partnership with The Outreach Program, a nonprofit organization. 

Potomac’s director of K-12 service learning, ACE Everett, observes, “Our volunteers spoke about feeling a sense of community and purpose in being able to play a small part in addressing the critical needs faced by the Ukrainian people.” She adds, “It was also wonderful for everyone to see the sophomores and juniors from the GPAC program serving as such terrific role models for our community.”

Potomac’s two-year Global Perspectives and Citizenship concentration is a selective program that enables motivated Upper School students to take a deep dive into global issues, ultimately helping them understand the dynamic relationships between communities, cultures, and civilizations worldwide.

“This event is particularly meaningful for those of us in GPAC because we have examined case studies about food insecurity and researched transnational organizations such as NATO and the UN, often seeing things from a statistical perspective. But this event gives us an opportunity to think about the people behind the numbers, the people this food will help,” reflects Ali O’Brien, a junior at The Potomac School.

We thank Potomac parents Kristin Jensen, Katy Moser, and Gretchen Speigel and GPAC students O’Brien, 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. View photos here.