Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcasting live from Music Row on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Leahy was joined on the newsmakers line by all-star panelist and Thales Academy-Franklin Principal Rachael Bradley.
Leahy: We are joined now by our very good friend and the newest all-star panelist, and the Principal of the new Thales Academy in Franklin school. High quality and affordable K-3 school, Rachael Bradley. Good morning Rachael.
Bradley: Good morning Mike, how are you?
Leahy: I am delighted that April is over today. (Laughter)
Bradley: You are not kidding. I second that.
Leahy: Now you will start your second month as a resident of Tennessee. You moved here in early April and are opening up Thales Academy-Franklin. Tell our listeners a little bit about Thales Academy-Franklin for those that aren’t familiar with it.
Bradley: Thales Academy is an independent private school. We started in 2007. We have eight campuses in North Carolina. This is our first campus in Tennessee. And we chose Franklin, a booming beautiful small town. We are so excited to be here. As you mentioned in the intro Mike that our mission is to provide an excellent high-quality education at an affordable cost for families.
Leahy: And you use a teaching methodology called direct instruction which is different than most of the styles of teaching and methodologies used around in public schools and elsewhere. Tell us a little bit about direct instruction.
Bradley: Direct instruction is a researched-based teaching methodology with approximately 50 years of research behind it. It’s data-driven and it’s a mastery-based program. We are teaching to mastery. And two of the key components that are really important to understand that with direct instruction we are able to maximize student engagement and maintain high time on task. So all of our children are engaged and learning all of the time.
Leahy: The other thing I thought was very interesting was your schools in North Carolina for a couple of weeks have been doing online learning. And you’ve made that available to kids in Williamson County. The way to find out about that is to go the tennesseestar.com and click on the Thales Academy blue banner and it will take you right to the information about how to contact Rachael and get set up for that. You are going to open up July 20? Is that the date you’re going to be opening up?
Leahy: Before this crazy pandemic came about you were doing some parent information meetings. I went to the first couple of them. A lot of people were interested in the facilities located at Carothers Parkway in Franklin. We had talked last time about the possibility of doing a socially distant gathering following all the social distance guidelines sometime this month. Where are you on that if parents have an interest in learning more?
Bradley: We’re ready to do that Mike. We are fully capable of hosting that in a safe way. As you mentioned with all the necessary precautions and following the recommended guidelines. The Gate has a really large sanctuary and we would easily be able to spread out and make use of that space in a safe way. I’m excited to host that. I plan to be doing that Tuesday, May 12.
Leahy: Tuesday, May 12. OK. So here’s what we’ll do. It’s going to be safely set up. Is there a limit to the number of participants on this or is everybody just going to be spread out? There’s plenty of room there.
Bradley: There’s plenty of room. I don’t anticipate an issue but we’ll be prepared to deal with that. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have so much interest? I can look into that and see if we might want to create a way for families to sign up but I also don’t want to deter people. We’re prepared to handle the group in a safe way.
Leahy: There will be a parental informational meeting on May 12th. Starting at 6:30 p.m.?
Bradley: 6:30 p.m.
Leahy: By the way, go to the tennesseestar.com, click on the Thales Academy banner and you can find out how to sign up for this. It’s 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. And this is at The Gate Community Church which Thales Academy has purchased. And that’s where the school will be. It’s at 3835 Carothers Parkway in Franklin?
Bradley: Yes. It’s very easy to find right off of I-65.
Leahy: If you are coming from the south just before you get to Highway 96 intersection, look to your right and you can see The Gate Community Church sign. There will be very soon a Thales Academy sign there I think. At least by the time you open up in July so people will be able to know where you are.
Bradley: We are working on those. I’m excited. We’re making some progress. In fact, there was a bucket truck there yesterday and so I’m excited to head up there today and see if the new sign is installed.
Leahy: Oh! That would be kind of fun.
Bradley: It would be fun. And that would be visible from I-65. So keep your eyes out.
Leahy: Yes. Exactly. Now your personal family transition, I mean you moved from North Carolina here. I think you arrived on April 1?
Bradley: Yes. (Chuckles)
Leahy: Right in the middle of this pandemic. Nobody was there. (Chuckles) Was that the weirdest move you’ve ever had in your life?
Bradley: Um, yes. (Laughter) It was.
Leahy: Oh boy…
Bradley: It was. But it might have been like strangely calm because we were all home. Typically when we’ve moved I am the one who does most of the packing and unpacking. Picture hanging and my husband is working. But he has been home as well so it has been a whole different world at the Bradley house.
Leahy: You have a young son who’s going to be in the third grade at Thales Academy-Franklin. What has he been spending his time doing at this time?
Bradley: A lot of bike riding and walking around our new neighborhood and exploring. Our road dead-ends into the Harpeth River and there is a canoe launch and it’s amazing. So we’ve walked down to the river. And he has been able to continue his fourth quarter at Thales Academy thanks to the online courses. So he is online Monday thru Friday doing his math lessons and language arts lessons with his classmates and teachers from North Carolina.
Leahy: I think a lot of parents in Williamson County would say, I want that!
Leahy: I want my kids occupied. And it’s available by the way if you want to go to the tennesseeStar.com and click on the Thales Academy banner and talk to Rachael and sign up for the online learning. They can send you an email at
Leahy: Wow! That is fantastic! Again, parents, talk to Rachael if your kids need something to do.
Leahy: It’s free.
Bradley: It’s free! Even a couple of hours a day to have them engaged in something constructive is awesome. (Chuckles)
Leahy: I’m excited about kind of getting back to normal here. And if you are thinking about putting your kids back in school you’ll be able to get them back in school right now if you will be talking to the folks at Thales Academy-Franklin. Public schools won’t’ open up until August. And it’s a long time between now and August.
Bradley: It’s a long time.
Leahy: Rachael, I’m delighted to be there on May the 12th.
Bradley: Oh good.
Leahy: That’s a Wednesday?
Leahy: Tuesday, May the 12th. I will be there at Carothers Parkway. If there are too many people inside I’ll stay outside. But you know, I want to actually get out and do something. And this is a great thing to do. The parents’ information meeting for Thales Academy-Franklin. 3835 Carothers Parkway. Thanks, Rachael. Have a great week.
Bradley: OK. Thank you, Mike.
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Rachael Bradley” and Background Photo “Thales Academy School” by Thales Academy.