BRIDGETON, N.C. – Leon Silber, the founder of a Raleigh school serving children with learning disabilities, died April 8. He was 68.
Before starting the Achievement School, now the Fletcher Academy, in 1981, Silber served as the chief consultant in learning disabilities for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
He used his retirement savings to start the school, which now has 25 teachers and serves 112 students in grades 1-12 who have learning disabilities or attention-deficit disorders, or both.
Silber led the school until his retirement in 2004.
“Leon Silber was cutting edge,” says Barbara Goodmon, president and executive director of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, a major funder of the school. “This was at the beginning of recognizing that learning disabilities and ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] were not mental retardation. He thought that wasn’t right, so he started the school.”
How the Fletcher Academy came to be, and how it evolved into its present form, is the result of the solid base Silber created, Goodmon says.
“He gave his life to it,” she says, “and he left a great legacy there.”