Thales Academy Franklin’s Principal Rachael Bradley Talks the School’s Successes and the Next Open House August 5

Thales Academy Franklin’s Principal Rachael Bradley Talks the School’s Successes and the Next Open House August 5


Live from Music Row Thursday 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 the newsmaker line to discuss the continued successes of Thales Academy-Franklin and their open house Thursday, August 5 at 6 p.m.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line, our very good friend, a great educator, Rachael Bradley, the principal and administrator of Thales Academy-Franklin. Rachael, welcome to The Tennessee Star Report.

Bradley: Good morning! I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

Leahy: We first met two years ago. Do you remember that? You came here with Bob Luddy, the founder of Thales Academy, and we held a presentation, and we talked you into coming and setting up a school here.

Bradley: And here I am, a volunteer in Tennessee. (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: And you opened up a year ago. You started out with K-2 and I think maybe K-3 with 100 students. And now you’re opening up this year K-5, and you got a grand opening for everyone to come and look at the facility on Thursday, August 5. Tell us a little bit about where Thales Academy is today.

Bradley: So I want to back up just a bit further, because when I moved here last April, in the height of COVID, and we had about 20 kids enrolled. And it was a real challenge to spread the word about Thales and recruit new students. And then by the end of the summer, we had 100 kids and that was kindergarten through third grade. And now we are Pre-K all the way to fifth with just around 200 students.

Leahy: Wow.

Bradley: We had a really big first year.

Leahy: Pre-K to fifth grade. That’s great. And now tell our listening audience what is unique about Thales? Tell them about direct instruction and the very affordable tuition.

Bradley: Absolutely. So a couple of things. We offer a classical education. Our campuses were founded in North Carolina, go from Pre-K all the way to 12th grade.

And in the K-five level, which is my wheelhouse, we use direct instruction, which is a phenomenal teaching methodology. It’s over 60 years of research.

It’s data-driven, it’s mastery-based. And really, the two key components are: all of the children are engaged and learning the entire time. So it makes for a really nice learning environment.

Leahy: I’ve seen you teach and the classes at Thales Academy-Franklin, and what I notice is typically you go into a K-5 classroom and there are some kids sitting in the back looking at the ceiling, daydreaming. I don’t see any of that with Thales Academy.

Bradley: No. And that’s exactly how I describe it. In a traditional classroom model, a teacher will say a question and wait for children to raise their hands.

We all know from when we were children, the same few children raise their hand every time. And just what you said, we’ve got 10 or 12 kids in the back counting butterflies. (Leahy laughs)

So it’s really not an effective model. And the way we do it, it’s very teacher-led. Everything is very explicit and purposeful so that we can maximize learning in the classroom. It’s a thing of beauty to watch.

Leahy: It really is. And you’ve got to go see it. Tell us about your open house on Thursday, August 5. What time will it be? Where will it be?

Bradley: It’s going to be at our new campus in Franklin 3835 Carothers Parkway at 6 pm. I have it as Thursday, August 5. We have fully renovated our building.

It’s beautiful. Top to bottom. That was a big project over the last year. We finally completed it and we are ready to show off our campus.

So anybody who’s interested in finding a really great high-quality education for their children in Pre-K through fifth-grade levels, please come out and visit us. You can go to the classrooms, talk to our wonderful teachers. You can review our curriculum. I will be there, of course, happy to answer any questions. So we would just love you to come out and see our school.

Leahy: One thing that really impresses me about the way you run the school, Rachael, is it’s like a project management par excellence to watch how kids come in in the morning and how they go out.

Describe the safety and security and the process that you go through to make sure that the kids get in and get out safely and in a timely manner.

Bradley: Yes, it is like a well-oiled machine. Admittedly, we started school on Monday. That’s another important feature for me to point out – is that we use a year-round calendar, which is phenomenal so we don’t have time lost learning.

It’s the same amount of school days as a traditional model, but our breaks are spread out through the year. So we started school on Monday and we’ve had a great first week.

It does take a little bit to get all the children and especially the adults, who might have to be trained.

Leahy: Just as you trained me here. (Laughs)

Bradley: (Laughs) That’s right. But then we are rocking and rolling. So it is just everybody pulled up. It’s just synchronized opening of car doors, safely escorting the children in. And we get everybody in the building in about 20 minutes.

Leahy: And you don’t have that big, like two and a half month summer off where kids forget about stuff and you’ve got to reteach them. That’s a key premise. A key idea of the Thales Academy model, right?

Bradley: Yes, exactly. We pick up right where we left off from quarter to quarter. It’s essentially four quarters, nine weeks on, three weeks off, in the fall, winter, and spring.

And then summer is five weeks, which is just enough time. And all the parents out there now, by then they’re ready to send them back and the children are ready to go back.

I can’t tell you how excited the kids have been this week to get back to school and back to learning and seeing their friends and being engaged instead of hanging around on the couch watching YouTube.

Leahy: Yeah, exactly. Apparently, your parents are very grateful for the schooling you provided. They went out and they bought a big thank-you billboard right outside the school, didn’t they?

Bradley: They did. They sure did. That was one of our best teacher appreciation gifts. They bought the billboard behind the school to thank all the teachers and staff for a great year.

So they really were thankful. And I get it as a parent and seeing how the last year was so challenging for friends and family and neighbors who didn’t have a classroom to send their children to. We’re just really fortunate we were open in person all year.

Leahy: So you’re located in Franklin, Rachael. But I hear that people from all around Middle Tennessee bring their kids there. I know folks from Wilson County. What’s the range of student locations and residences?

Bradley: I would say we’re primarily Franklin residents, but we have students from Spring Hill, Nashville, Nolensville, Columbia, and Chapel Hill.

People are really driving from all around to get to our school because we were kind of what a lot of people were looking for, which is an amazing education.

But the key is that we’re affordable and that’s our mission. Excellent, high quality, but affordable because we want to educate as many children as possible.

Leahy: Now, when you say affordable, what’s the tuition for a full year?

Bradley: So, Mike, most private schools in this area are around the $20,000-$26,000 range. Thales Academy is $5,300 for the year.

Leahy: $5,300 for the year?

Bradley: Yes. Now, to me, that’s something that I think any middle-class family that budgets can probably afford for a child.

Bradley: I agree. It’s really a no-brainer. Once you get in and see the program and what we’re able to offer and do for the children. You’re looking at about $500. a month.

And I know as a mother again, I paid more than twice that for preschool for my son. It’s really a very certain niche that we’re feeling that I don’t think anybody else is offering right now.

Leahy: I’m going to be there Thursday, August 5 to see how direct instruction works. I’m the poster child for today’s lesson in direct instruction. Thank you, teacher Rachael Bradley. (Chuckles)

Bradley: My pleasure.

Leahy: 6 p.m. I’ll be there. You can meet Rachael. It will be great. Thales Academy in Franklin.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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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.














All-Star Panelist Roger Simon: ‘I Don’t Think Money Has Much to Do with Education at All’

All-Star Panelist Roger Simon: ‘I Don’t Think Money Has Much to Do with Education at All’


Live from Music Row Thursday 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 Senior Editor-At-Large at The Epoch Times Roger Simon in studio weighed in on the indoctrination of children through Critical Race Theory implemented in Williamson County public schools and the need to cut federal funding.

Leahy: I am in studio with the newest all-star panelist and good friend Roger Simon. My former boss at PJTV, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, a refugee from Los Angeles, California, and Editor-At-Large for The Epoch Times.

Roger, you’ve been following Williamson County and the Critical Race Theory curriculum that’s been apparently involved and taught in the schools. Mom’s For Liberty, a Williamson County group that, you know well, has documented that.

A big meeting last week. They invited school board members, and they invited Jason Golden, the director of schools. He didn’t attend that meeting.

Simon: Well, you know what I call Jason Goldman? The Fauci of Williamson County.

Leahy: Jason Goldman, the pouchy of Williamson County. Oh, that is so cruel to Fauci. (Laughter) That’s pretty good. Now, why do you call Jason Golden the director of Williamson County schools the Fauci of Williamson County?

Simon: Because he’s interested only in himself and not in the children.

Leahy: He’s interested only in himself and not the children.

Simon: Also, he gets a prohibitive salary, very similar to Anthony Fauci, who is the highest-paid member of our federal government.

Leahy: The highest-paid member of our federal government. The only other thing is that if you listen to Jason Golden, you get the impression that they’re not teaching Critical Race Theory at all. You get the impression they’re not teaching Critical Race Theory, Roger Simon.

Simon: Well, and when you’re teaching four-year-olds the essence of Critical Race Theory, which is that the color of your skin is the most important thing about you, you’re just doing a bad thing. Critical Race Theory is a fancy word for that. Who cares?

Leahy: Yeah, exactly.

Simon: The whole system is racialized to such a degree that all these children don’t even know who they really are or what’s going on. It’s terrible. Basically, there’s a simpler word for the whole thing, and it’s called child abuse.

Leahy: That’s what we got going on. Jason Golden, we had this guy before him named Mike Looney. Looney was aptly named. He’s gone. He introduced the training back in 2019. We did a big story of White privilege that was being taught to teachers there. We exposed that. Look at how fast this has moved.

Simon: The reason we talk about Williamson County, of course, it’s local here. And I’m sure Williamson County can hear what we’re saying now. But it’s a national problem. And Williamson County is an interesting example of what’s happening because it’s a Republican County where theoretically, this kind of thing should not happen at all.

Secondly, it’s a county famous for its educational system which has been growing by leaps and bounds because of the educational system. And people who can afford it are moving there.

Leahy: (Laughs) Exactly.

Simon: And little do they know, they’re moving there to get their kids indoctrinated. It’s an incredibly crazy situation, but it’s national, too.

Leahy: You said something very important there. People are moving to Williamson County to get their kids indoctrinated to hate America in the public schools.

Simon: They don’t realize it.

Leahy: The key point, isn’t it?

Simon: They think they’re moving to Mayberry.

Leahy: They’re not.

Simon: Obviously not. They’re not. Look, I was in Franklin the other day having dinner, and I live in Green Hills, but I’m up in Franklin all the time. I was up there having dinner and you drive around Franklin, it is Mayberry. It’s like one of the most attractive towns in the United States.

Leahy: Franklin, Tennessee, is a spectacular city. I mean, it’s just a great place. Downtown Main Street, love it!

Simon: It’s right out of some Norman Rockwell meets modern times.

Leahy: A Norman Rockwell meets Modern Times movie. By the way, I’m delighted you mentioned Norman Rockwell. I love his paintings. In fact, I got for a Father’s Day a couple of years ago the Four Freedoms.

Of course one of them, freedom from want, is eh, that was an FDR thing. You may know this. I interviewed his son once and said Norman Rockwell, he thought was probably not that political, but was a sort of a John F. Kennedy type liberal way back when.

Simon: Makes sense.

Leahy: Makes sense doesn’t it?

Simon: Yes, totally. But he was an absolutely great artist.

Leahy: Oh, spectacular.

Simon: When I was younger, I used to think he was corny, but actually, he’s not.

Leahy: This is because you were a sophisticated guy from Manhattan. I was a chump from upstate New York. I was a yahoo from Upstate New York, so I always liked him. (Laughs)

Simon: Listen, give me credit. I got there. But back to Franklin itself. Franklin is a great town, and people really want to live there and it’s coveted because of this educational system. It’s the worst kind of bait and switch.

You’re being sold a junker and something’s got to be done and something needs to be done across the country. But the great thing is something is being done because this Mom’s for Liberty, which is a national group is not just local.

Leahy: Mom’s for Liberty is a national group and it’s a Williamson County chapter.

Simon: Exactly. It is a great movement because it wakes people up. It’s easy to go about your job and your kids going to a good school and you don’t know what is happening. It’s been happening for 50 years.

Leahy: Or even longer. John Dewey. It all started with John Dewey and Columbia University. He basically wanted to turn American kids into robotic lovers of the great state.

Simon: Yes. Trotski-ites.

Leahy: Unfortunately, now that’s kind of the system that K-12 public education is today.

Simon: Yes. Unraveling it is not going to be simple. One of the reasons it’s not going to be simple is there’s no curriculum left that’s any good. My wife has been involved with this.

You can protest these curriculums that they foist on six-year-olds but then you’ve got to have something to give the teachers instead.

But they don’t have anything left anymore. We’re in bad shape, and we got to wake up because we’re making it really easy for Xi Jin Ping.

Leahy: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I’d like to get your reaction to my idea. And I’ve talked to members of the Tennessee General Assembly about this and surprisingly they have become increasingly open to it.

Simon: Great.

Leahy: Part of the problem, Roger, in my view, is that 10 percent of K-12 public education is funded by the federal government.

Simon: That’s a big problem.

Leahy: 40 percent local, 40 percent state. Well, what the feds do is say, we’ll give you this money, but you got to do X, Y and Z. And you see what X, Y, and Z is. What they’re now trying to dis through the Biden administration is promote the teaching of Critical Race Theory. That’s what they’re trying to do. Here’s my idea. Are you ready?

Simon: Cut federal funds.

Leahy: The Tennessee General Assembly should send a very polite note to Joe Biden. Dear Mr. President, you can take that 10 percent and put it somewhere else. I’ve got another way to describe it, but put it somewhere else is a polite way to start.

Simon: I agree. You’re going back to Joy Behar. (Laughter)

Leahy: That is very funny Roger. Here is the thing about all of this. We are going to have to really work with the Tennessee General Assembly. I think the majority of them agree with us intellectually.

There’s pressure from the school districts and the teachers’ unions to keep taking that federal money because nobody turns down money. This is money with such bad strings that it’s leading to the propagandizing of our kids and it’s utterly destructive.

Simon: I couldn’t agree more.

Leahy: Are you with me on that?

Simon: 100 percent. And I’ll add to it. The add to it is, I don’t think money has much to do with education at all.

Leahy: You are exactly right.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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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.