The Pilot School Celebrates Kathy Craven: 40 Years of Dedication

In the 60 years since The Pilot School opened its doors, only three have served as its director. The third and newest head of school, Alix Kokkoris, assumed the role just last year.

So it was fitting that last weekend, when The Pilot School hosted its 60th Anniversary Party, that they honored all three women who have served as its leader.  But parents, teachers and administrators paid a special tribute to Kathy Craven for her 40 years of dedication and service at Pilot, the last 20 as director. Craven knows well virtually all of the students who are currently enrolled and scores of families who have supported the school over the last four decades.

“Thank you so much for this very special evening and an incredible honor,” said Craven. “I am overwhelmed by the efforts of so many in creating such a successful celebration of our loved school.”


“Thank you so much for this incredible tribute tonight,” said Craven. “I am overwhelmed by the efforts of so many in creating such a successful celebration of our beloved school. My heart is full.”

The event was held at the school’s new campus on Woodlawn Road in Wilmington, where guests enjoyed an extensive silent auction, live auction and a paddle raise to support the Tuition Aid Fund.

The Honorary Committee consisted of Alix Kokkoris (Director of the Pilot School), Coo and Jamie Murray, Chip Schutt and Rod Scott. The Host Committee members were Beth and Rob Buccini, Kirstie and Mike Donohue, Avery Draper, Tonya and Cole Flickinger, Margaretta and Tad Hershey, Heather and Andy Jefferson, Tory Kitchell, Bette and Mike Purzycki, Bree and John Wellons and Tara and Rich Wood.


The Pilot School was founded in 1957 by Mary Kaye Carpenter with a mission to offer individualized, integrated and therapeutic learning for children experiencing language-based learning differences. The three directors of Pilot, Doris LeStourgeon (1957-1997), Kathy Craven (1997-2017) and Alix Kokkoris (2017-current) have continued to expand this mission over the last 60 years.

Two years ago Pilot moved into their new state-of-the-art 50-acre campus adjacent to 2,000 acres of state and federal parklands. The 82,000 square foot facility features indoor and outdoor stone amphitheaters, an indoor therapy pool, an interactive tree-top science lab, a vegetative roof, a two-story sliding board in the library and a recording studio for music and film. The small class sizes, with a student-to-teacher ratio of 5-to-1, allows added opportunities for development.

My grandmother, Mary Carpenter, would be overjoyed to see the school she created, along with a special team of educators, grow to become a one-of-a-kind program that draws students and families from all over the United States. As a former Pilot student, I can speak to the amazing opportunities this incredible school offers to so many.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LinkedIn

About the Contributor

Bree Wellons

Bree Wellons

In 2009, Bree launched Dilwyne Designs, a design studio born from her many travels, her eye for detail, and her knack for making her environment, no matter where it is, a place where friends and family are always welcome and comfortable. Her passion for combining old and new became a signature stamp on her own home and on the spaces she designs for clients.