Hometown Heroes: Brenda & Scott Rhinehart


Brenda and Scott Rhinehart have a dream. They hope that Marco Island Academy, a school fueled by dreams, will be a place to foster creativity and quality education in students for generations to come. A contribution to this dream, a stage called The Rhine, is quickly coming to fruition as our school building reaches completion.

Before moving to Marco Island, the Rhineharts resided in Pennsylvania where Mr. Rhinehart was a member of the Board of Directors at York College. He liked being able to aid the success of their students.

Around 2011, the couple decided to permanently make the move to Marco Island. Once they had settled in, they started their search for a local cause to support. With the hopes of contributing an abundance of aid to their new community, the two were looking to help with both financial support and volunteer work. Instantly after meeting Jane Watt, the Rhineharts knew Marco Island Academy was the perfect opportunity.

With their pasts in education, the decision to help MIA was obvious. The two have always been interested in helping schools and “giving students and their families a choice in education.” Mr. Rhinehart, with his connections from Pennsylvania, helped gain an audience with the governor which would have been impossible otherwise with the size of our school. Watt’s meeting with Rick Scott gave MIA credibility.

The Rhineharts donated a large sum of money to the performing arts center at MIA’s new campus. Mrs. Rhinehart noted that they chose performing arts specifically as a result of their granddaughter’s involvement in theatre back in Pennsylvania. Their experience exposed them to how much a school’s theatre program can impact a child, which led them to hold it close to their hearts. Christopher Dayett, the performing arts director at MIA, tells us that he is “very grateful for their support of the performing arts and look forward to all of the future productions on ‘The Rhine.’”

Mrs. Rhinehart is on the board, and says that her biggest accomplishment was helping “up the game with fundraising.” She helped change the campaign from everyone working too hard with little results to the successful effort we see today. In addition, both Mr. and Mrs. Rhinehart have a part in the Capital Campaign. They know that the school is going to “do nothing but flourish” and Mr. Rhinehart added that the “new building is going to bring us credibility,” which is very important for a successful future.

COVID-19 has brought a lot of unexpected challenges, but the Rhineharts are proud of how MIA has shown resilience and work has continued on our permanent campus. They are also grateful for the new people that have come to this island and stepped up to believe in MIA’s mission. 

No longer will The Rhine just be a river in Europe. It will be an amazing performance space for generations to come.