About Us

Pat Seery 1943 – 2017

Pat and A.S. Neill at Summerhill 1970
Pat and A.S. Neill at Summerhill 1970

From his first reading of Summerhill, Pat was entranced by the description of A.S. Neill’s unique school in England. He vowed to shake Neill’s hand if he ever got the chance to visit that non-compulsory, non-graded, democratic school. He got such an opportunity in 1970.

During one of his visits, Pat asked Neill if he could teach at Summerhill. Neill responded that the real need was for people to start new schools that would benefit other children.

Once back in Tallahassee, Pat shared his enthusiasm for the Summerhill free school model with some families who were intent on starting an alternative school. Together, they created the Grassroots Free School in 1972.

Pat’s remarkable leadership for the following forty years was filled with such generosity of heart and effort that it is beyond measure. Our love and appreciation for him is too.


Freedom and Democracy in Education

The principles of individual freedom and democratic government are fundamental to the function and philosophy of the Grassroots School. Students choose their own activities throughout the day as long as they are not hurting or bothering others. The school’s rules (except those pertaining to safety and state and federal regulations) are created at our weekly meetings (PowWow) by the students, staff, and volunteers with the each individual’s vote carrying the same weight regardless of age.