Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Thales Academy Franklin’s Principal, Rachael Bradley, to discuss the rapid growth and success of the school and plans for campus expansion.
Leahy: On our newsmaker line right now, our very good friend, the Head Administrator and Principal at Thales Academy, Franklin, Rachael Bradley. Good morning, Rachael.
Bradley: Good morning, Mike. Great to be with you.
Leahy: Lots of news going on at Thales Academy. It’s a private school here. How long have you been here in Franklin? Is it two years now? Two and a half years?
Bradley: We just completed our second year.
Leahy: Wow! I remember when. (Laughter) I remember when we went to Raleigh and talked with Bob Luddy about trying to get a Thales Academy here. And then two years ago this summer, you came here and you were working in North Carolina running one of the elementary schools there and made the presentation. And you sold us on Thales. And I think we kind of sold you on Franklin and Nashville.
Bradley: You sure did. That’s exactly right. (Chuckles)
Leahy: We’re so delighted that you’re here. Tell us how many kids are currently attending Thales Academy and what your plans are for the next several years.
Bradley: Absolutely. We’re really proud of the growth in our school in Franklin. We started out our first year with around 100 kids. This year we had 211. And for the upcoming school year that starts on July 18, we will have over 300.
Leahy: Wow! And you’re adding a 6th grade. And then will you be adding a grade every year thereafter?
Bradley: Absolutely. We started kindergarten through third. We are now pre-K through 6th for the upcoming school year. And we will add the next consecutive grade each year.
Leahy: So for parents out there who have rising 6th graders, they can be assured that if they go to Thales Academy for their 6th grade, they will be able to go for their entire high school career to Thales Academy because you’re apparently going to be adding a high school campus and lots of other interesting things going on.
Bradley: Yes, it’s a K-12 program. Our high school graduates are really amazing and our established high schools in North Carolina.
So we will have the same opportunities here in Franklin. We’ve already purchased land in Franklin to build our new campus so that we can continue growing.
Leahy: That is fantastic. And of course, when you build these elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools, they all have a certain look to them and certain characteristics.
Tell our listening audience what the 10 schools in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, and Tennessee look like. What does the campus look like?
Bradley: They’re really top-notch facilities. We call it first-class. It’s floor-to-ceiling windows, wide hallways, high ceilings, beautiful finishes, and really, really nice learning facilities. And all of our campuses are standard. And we continue to update them with the latest technology available. It’s a beautiful place.
Leahy: And since Bob Luddy, the founder of Thales Academy, owns and operates Captive Air, the leading provider of commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment for commercial restaurants, you’ve got really great HVAC equipment at every school, don’t you?
Bradley: We do. We have the latest development from Captive Air, called DOAC. It’s a dedicated outdoor air system so it’s like 100 percent fresh filtered air from outside. It’s the best air quality you could have in a building. So we’re really fortunate to have that.
Leahy: The other thing about this which is always astonishing to me, is the tuition here for this outstanding private school that uses direct instruction to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic is very low. How much is it going to be for this next school year?
Bradley: For K-5, our tuition will be $5,500, which is really a steal when you look at what you’re getting for full-time independent private school education in Franklin, Tennessee.
Leahy: $5,500. That’s like less than half of other private schools. Actually, maybe 25 percent of some. And yet the quality of the education is so good.
I was looking at the colleges that the graduates of the high schools in Thales Academy in North Carolina are attending and it’s just top-tier schools. Princeton and Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech is the very best school out there, of course.
Bradley: (Chuckles) Exactly.
Leahy: Since you’re a graduate of Virginia Tech – go Hokies. But the performance of these kids in terms of college acceptance is very high indeed.
And then the actual measurements of reading, writing, arithmetic, and then more advanced subjects, high performers in every school. Has that pretty much been the case?
Bradley: Completely accurate. It’s remarkable. I love that list of colleges and universities. It’s so impressive and it’s just a product of our curriculum and our instruction.
Leahy: Your teachers are great, and the kids. You just have ended this session. You’ll be back after a three-week break, a four-week break until you get back in July. I saw the pictures posted on the Facebook page. Looks like the kids are having an awful lot of fun.
Bradley: So much fun. I’m a former kindergarten teacher, Mike, so that’s where my heart is. Fun is an important part of that educational journey. So it’s a really well-rounded program.
Leahy: Are there slots available now in pre-K through sixth at Thales Academy for the academic year that will be starting July 18th?
Bradley: We have a few slots left. We have a few slots in kindergarten, first, and sixth grade. So if you’re looking for an alternative to the big, bad middle school experience that’s looming on the horizon, we’re a great option.
Listen to the interview:
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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.