Suzanna Jemsby, Head of Galloway School

The leader of a local private school sprang a pop quiz on members of the Buckhead Business Association during its weekly breakfast meeting, held May 16.

Suzanna Jemsby, head of Galloway School, asked BBA members questions about the habits of teenagers.

One of the questions was: What food is most commonly consumed by teenagers?

If BBA members guessed pizza, they were wrong. It’s rice, actually, Jemsby said.

“Raise your hand if you’re guilty of thinking of Atlanta, or Georgia or the United States,” Jemsby said. Several BBA members raised their hands. “That’s old thinking. We’ve got to think about the world.”

Jemsby was the featured speaker, but standing in between rows of tables, she took on the air of a professor in a classroom. BBA meetings usually end with audience members asking the speaker questions, not the other way around.

The Galloway leader comes from a multicultural background. She holds a master’s degree in modern and medieval languages from the University of Cambridge, in England, and also holds diplomas in teaching and performance from the London College of Music. She’s a freelance cellist, a published author and speaks five languages.

Jemsby’s sharp British accent grabbed attention in a room full of people who give elevator speeches with a slight Southern drawl. Before joining Galloway, she was executive director of Center for the Advancement and Study of International Education and before that served as the head of the upper school at Atlanta International School.

Galloway School is located at Chastain situated on an 8.2 acre site with a view of the North Fulton Golf Course. The school’s landlocked geography contributes to its exclusiveness. Galloway turns away droves of applicants because of limited seating. It isn’t restricted to Buckhead students, however. Jemsby said Galloway’s 750 students hail from 71 ZIP codes.

“It’s diversity in its truest sense,” she said.

Jemsby said her goal and the goal of teachers at the school is to teach students not to accept anything at face value.

“You might look at something and make an assumption and you need to dig deeper,” she said.