Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs: ‘The Idea That the President Is Just Making Laws on His Own Should Really Bother Everyone’

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs: ‘The Idea That the President Is Just Making Laws on His Own Should Really Bother Everyone’


Live from Music Row Monday 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 Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs to the newsmaker line to discuss his recent letter to President Joe Biden in response to the vaccine mandates that infringe on American’s freedom and liberty.

Leahy: We are joined now by the Mayor of Knox County, our very good friend, Glenn Jacobs, who broke some news on Thursday with us at The Tennessee Star. Headline. Knox County will not Comply with Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Mandate. Welcome to The Tennessee Star Report Mayor Jacobs.

Jacobs: Morning, Michael. Thanks for having me on.

Leahy: We always are glad to have you on here. You are always interesting, entertaining, and a supporter of liberty, which we love here on The Tennessee Star Report. So tell us what you told President Biden and what’s happened since you put that out.

Jacobs: Sure. Well, first of all, it’s ironic because this morning I’m actually on my way to read to an elementary school about the United States Constitution. I’m wondering if President Biden is going to be there because he can certainly use a primer himself. (Leahy laughs)

I understand he’s vacationing at the beach in Delaware, so probably not. But last week I read a letter to President Biden about his vaccine mandate that he was implementing through an emergency rule with OSHA and the Department of Labor.

I feel many other folks do as well that something of this magnitude impacts so many people, this is not just like saying, hey, your toilet can only use so much water or some of the other kind of ludicrous things that the federal government does.

This is a big deal. And it’s going to impact tens of millions of people. And I believe that it requires literally an act of Congress. It should have been a legislative action instead of the President just signing a decree and making it the law of land. And like many other folks, I have a lot of issues with that.

I also have issues with the President saying this is not about freedom. It’s always about freedom in the United States. He took an oath to uphold the Constitution just like I did that is what the Constitution is therefore really. To protect the Liberty of the American people. And it just really bothers me when politicians forget about that.

Leahy: Yes.  And in your letter, you were direct and you said this. You said finally, as an American, I’m appalled President Biden by your statement, ‘this is not about freedom or personal choice.’ On the contrary, you Glenn Jacobs, Mayor of Knox County write, in America, it is always about freedom. I like that line.

Jacobs: Thank you. But, I mean, it is and that’s what separates us from the rest of the world. We’re a nation founded on the idea that individuals have God-given rights. The government’s job is first and foremost to protect those God-given rights, not to trample all over them.

And we have processes in place that are designed to make that happen. The whole idea is that we give up a little bit of our freedom and our liberty in order for the government to have laws that can make society work in civilization work. That’s government’s primary job.

And that’s certainly the federal government’s primary job. It’s not to micromanage our lives. And President Biden might think it’s a good idea and thinks that everybody should get vaccinated.

And this is not about the vaccine either. I think the vaccine, there’s a lot of benefits to it. I really do. This is about the process. This is about the President of the United States usurping congressional power.

Usurping legislative power. If the President does that, if the executive takes on legislative power, he’s no longer President. He’s a King. And we’re not living in a Republic, we’re living in a Kingdom.

Leahy: Yes. And not a good King. A bad King. You close your letter, Glenn Jacobs, to President Biden. You say the following, ‘In Knox County, we know what we stand for. We stand for freedom.

We stand for the rule of law, we stand for the Constitution. And you, Mr. President, can rest assured that we will stand against your blatant and egregious executive overreach.’ What has the President said in response to that letter?

Jacobs: (Laughs) The President hasn’t said anything. I don’t know if he’ll actually read it. We did send him a hard copy. We also sent it to the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs. I’ll share something else with you, Michael.

When President Trump was President, even though the President didn’t speak directly to the counties, there was a lot of communication with the counties. We actually went up to Washington, D.C., and met the folks at the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The day that we were there, the Secretary of Agriculture spoke. This was county executives, staff, and commissioners from three states in the Southeast. And we were all invited to Washington and see kind of how things work up there.

And there were constant updates from the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs specifically to my office. I’ve heard nothing from the Biden administration. I don’t know what other county mayors and county executives are seeing, but President Trump, for all the criticism that he got from a lot of people one of his initiatives was to have communications with the counties, because in the end, the counties and the cities, you know we are the ones on the front lines in many cases.

And President Trump was very good about that. President Biden has done nothing in his administration that I know of up to this point. But he hasn’t said anything. Of course, there’s been a lot of reactions, both positive and negative from other people.

Leahy: Tell me about some of the negative reactions to this letter from other people.

Jacobs: Of course it’s simple partisanship at this point, and that’s the problem overall now, with where this country is going. COVID-19 is a public health crisis, but it’s morphed into a political issue as well. It’s been completely politicized.

And I can literally tell you, based on a comment that someone leaves on social media, I can tell you what their profile is going to look like. I can tell you if they’re Democrats or Republicans. I can tell you if they’re liberal or conservative, and it’s no longer about thinking about ideas.

What’s really scary is no matter where you are in the political spectrum, the idea that the President is just making laws on his own should really bother everyone. I don’t care if you are liberal or conservative.

It doesn’t matter that that’s not how this country works. But it’s all based on partisanship. Joe Biden did this, that’s good. Donald Trump did this, that’s bad. And that’s how people think. And that’s a horrible place for this country to be. But unfortunately, that’s where we’re at.

Leahy: You said something very interesting that the Biden administration is not communicating with your county at all and that the Trump administration was communicating with you frequently.

This is a theme that we’re seeing about the Biden administration. I call it the ‘Biden Bigfooting’ problem. They basically are bigfooting everybody’s counties and state governments that don’t agree with them. Foreign countries like France.

This is very troubling to me and I think this is an indication that the Biden administration doesn’t care and is attempting to exercise absolute power over everyone else. What are your thoughts?

Jacobs: I do not disagree with you. I think for the Biden administration, everything’s political. I think this vaccine mandate was actually designed to get other things off the front page. Look at the debacle in Afghanistan.

We look at the crisis on the border. The FAA just ordered no drone flights over the Southern border in places so that the news can’t get up there and see what’s going on. I absolutely don’t disagree with you at all.

I think that there’s a lot of politics at work, and I think it’s very strong arm, too. I think that it is. And then, of course, we’ve also heard now that it’s becoming harder to get the monoclonal antibody therapy, which I’m not a doctor, but I think that’s a great treatment for COVID-19. And I think that’s something that should be readily available and that’s becoming harder to get.

Leahy: Particularly in red states.

Jacobs: Exactly. It seems to me that there’s a lot of strong-arm politicking going on. If you don’t like what the administration is doing, they shut you down. Of course, we see this on social media as well, not from them, but from the kind of gatekeepers of social media. There’s no free discourse anymore. If they don’t like what you’re saying, they shut you down. But I agree with you on that.

Leahy: You told us you were literally in the car on the way to meet with some elementary school kids to talk about the Constitution?

Jacobs: Yes, sir. Of course last Friday, September 17 is Constitution Day. The constitution and was signed on September 17, 1787. I’m on my way over to talk to some young people about the Constitution.

And I believe that that’s what makes America an exceptional country is the idea that we have a government that’s there to protect our rights as opposed to one that uses us as a resource.

Leahy: Always entertaining, always enlightening. Thanks so much for joining us today. Come back again soon, if you would, please.

Jacobs: Yes, I sure will. Thank you so much.

Listen to the 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.














Speaker Cameron Sexton Weighs In on Parent Centered News Conference Monday with Lee and Schwinn

Speaker Cameron Sexton Weighs In on Parent Centered News Conference Monday with Lee and Schwinn


Live from Music Row Tuesday 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. –  guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton to the newsmaker line to further illustrate his position from Monday’s press conference where he, Governor Lee, and Penny Schwinn stood firm on getting children back to class with parents at the wheel.

Cunningham: My name is Ben Cunningham and I’m sitting in for Michael Patrick Leahy at the big Tennessee Star microphone this morning while Michael is away. He is expanding an ever-expanding media empire and getting more and more outlets for us conservatives.

And we have this morning we have an extraordinarily special guest on the line this morning. Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton is with us this morning. Speaker, good morning.

Sexton: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

Cunningham: Yes, thanks so much for joining us. You had a pretty amazing press conference yesterday and kind of threw down the gauntlet on behalf of students and parents in Tennessee.

And it was really an amazing assertion of let’s get back to school. Let’s get kids in school. Let’s get them in the classroom and let’s teach them in the classroom. Please tell us how that all came down yesterday.

Sexton: Yes. Yesterday the governor and Commissioner Schwinn were announcing the TCAP results which was not good. Basically, we’ve lost a lot of the ground. We’re back to around where we were in 2015 and 2016 on proficiency. It’s all across the board. All subjects. All grades.

It was not a good day on TCAP. And the interesting thing is, there were individuals in the session who is trying to tell us, oh, learning loss is not an issue.

Well, it really is. And when you don’t have kids in school and you have them doing remote work or you have them do virtual education or you just close down the schools as some did, you see what the results are.

And now they’re trying to use COVID as a reason why they maybe need to close down schools, require mask mandates, maybe segregate kids on who’s vaccinated and who’s unvaccinated. And the data doesn’t point that that needs to happen with the children and that they actually need to be in class. It needs to be in person. I think the majority of teachers agree with that as well. And so basically what I said, you know what? Schools if you want to shut down, if you want to require a mask, if you want to segregate kids based on who’s vaccinated or not, I’m going to ask the governor for a special session. And we’re going to go in and we’re going to make some changes, and that may be going in a direction called school choice. And let parents decide where they want to send their kids if the school system there is not doing what’s needed to get done to get their child educated.

Cunningham: Well, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of myself personally and all the folks that I talk with around Tennessee, this is an amazing measure and press conference. I think many people in Tennessee would like to have the option to choose their school if the school that they’re going to is not performing. Can you tell us what would be the next step? What would trigger your action at this point?

Sexton: If the school system shut down, if the school system moved all their kids to remote learning or gave them hybrid remote learning, or if they started requiring kids to wear masks, I mean, all those things or segregated kids in the classroom. Those things would get me to ask the governor for a special session. And we’ll come back in and take a look at it. There are schools right now debating whether or not our kids will wear masks and the data doesn’t point to that direction where that should happen. All data says is that children are less likely than anybody else to have severe COVID or to be hospitalized. And the survival rate for anyone below the age of 20 who gets COVID even with the new Delta variant is 99.99 percent. And so let’s just talk about the facts. Let’s talk about the data, and then let’s have that conversation. But kids need to be in class, and we can’t accept the second year of TCAP numbers to go down.

Cunningham: And that’s got to be music to the years of parents across Tennessee. And you were at the press conference. The governor was there. Senator Johnson, our education secretary. All those folks were there. And you guys are showing a very unified front.

Sexton: Yeah. I mean, I think we’re all on the same page. We want what’s best for the children. And the data doesn’t lie. I know there’s a lot of people out there who think that kids need to wear masks eight hours a day, every single day down to the age of two. I mean, I have a hard time figuring out why they’re so angry about allowing parents to make the choice. You have people out there who are so mad when you say what the parents should make the choice. If they want their kids to wear a mask, let them wear a mask. If they don’t want to, then they shouldn’t have to wear one. And there are people losing their minds out there because you’re saying the parents have a right to decide what’s best for their kids. It tells you where the left is in our world today.

Cunningham: It does. And I noticed several questions at the news conference to the governor or about that. Why don’t you listen to this group of experts? Why don’t you listen to this group of experts? The state government is there to serve the citizens and the parents initially, most of all. And thank goodness you guys are putting the citizens at the top of the priority list. I for one – thank you for doing that. The news conference was really amazing yesterday, and I think it puts educators and everybody else on notice that parents have got to be the major decision-makers in this process.

Sexton: It’s their children. They know what’s best. They’re going to do what’s best for them and their kids. And people who think otherwise, I just don’t understand that capability. And the other thing is they’re wanting to make examples of people being hospitalized. Well, the people who are hospitalized in Tennessee, I’ve talked to hospitals all across the state and 96 percent of the people in the hospital are unvaccinated people, and they’re the age brackets of 35 to 50. And what I say is, stop listening to the CDC. Stop listening to the national media people and just go have a conversation with your physician, your pediatrician, and your pharmacist and ask them what’s best for you and your family if you’re unsure. But talk to the experts who know about your health and have a conversation. Quit listening to the Washington bureaucrats and the state bureaucrats and the school systems. Have a conversation with the people who know about your health. And then you all make a decision that’s best for you and your family. It’s pretty easy.

Cunningham: Yeah. Absolutely. And so many people have tried to politicize this issue and have a political agenda behind all the press releases that come out. The scare tactics and everything. But I, for one, want to thank you very much for coming out. That was pretty extraordinary. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a press conference like that where you had unity of the legislative and the executive branch. And everybody was saying parents should be the ones who are making these decisions. That’s an extraordinary statement in this day and time.

Sexton: It is. It really is. And I’m glad to be a part of it. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Lee and Commissioner Schwinn and members of the General Assembly, the House and Senate, and listening to the people in our district. And overwhelmingly the people in the district and people across the state of Tennessee believe kids should be back in school. That should be in person. They shouldn’t be doing remote learning. They shouldn’t be doing virtual, and schools should not be shut down. You shouldn’t be requiring a mask. That’s what the people in Tennessee want. But you have people out there, as you said, trying to scare people into believing something that the data does not support.

Cunningham: What is the next step in your decision? What would trigger you to call a special session and what are you monitoring at this point?

Sexton: We’re watching Shelby County looking at requiring mask mandates. I think Williamson County has something coming up where they’re looking at it. So we’re watching that. Davison County’s looking at it. Wilson County had a meeting last night. So we’re just watching. We made our statement. We put it out on record of what we expect, and we’ll see what happens. If people start going in different directions then we’ll go back here and I’m going to ask the governor for a special session. And hopefully, we’ll be able to get that done. And it might be three to four weeks later because by the time you get it organized and set. But I’m curious. If we need to go in, it’s a big enough issue for us to go on a special session to solve this really quickly.

Cunningham: And you can act within 30 days. 45 days. That certainly is a reasonable time frame. Is that correct?

Sexton: It is. You could act within seven days, but the problem is you would have members who might not be in town. People have work. And so you try to give enough time for them to clear their schedule and to be able to have a special session. But yes, you can call a special session within 30 days if you need to pretty easily.

Cunningham: Speaker Sexton, thanks so much for joining us this morning. I know you’re busy as a switch engine this morning with all the press and everything. But that was an amazing news conference there yesterday. And I personally cannot thank you enough for coming out and asserting this parent-centered agenda. I think that’s what so many people in the state want. And thank you so much for being bold and coming out yesterday and very positively asserting that agenda around parents and students.

Sexton: Well, thank you. You’re very kind. And I hope you have a wonderful day. I hope to see you soon.

Cunningham: Great. Thanks so much.

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














Nolensville Town Manager Victor Lay Discusses Challenges of Growth

Nolensville Town Manager Victor Lay Discusses Challenges of Growth


Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 Town Manager of Nolensville, Tennessee Victor Lay to the newsmaker line to talk about his move from Spring Hill administrator to Nolensville and the experience he brings to the town.

Leahy: We are delighted to welcome to our newsmaker line Victor Lay, who is the Nolensville town manager. Good morning, Victor.

Lay: Good morning. Glad to be here.

Leahy: Victor, this will surprise you, but we know each other because our daughters went to high school together. When you were the Spring Hill city administrator, your daughter and my daughter were good friends. So there you go. How about that?

Lay: That’s pretty interesting. I did not know that.

Leahy: I think we went to your church one time, too, down in Spring Hill. And it was a great experience. And we’re delighted to have you on here. You have an extensive record in management and public administration.

You were the city administrator in Spring Hill for some time. You resigned to become the town manager of Nolensville. Tell us a little bit about why you made that move, when you made that move, and what’s happened since.

Lay: So in January of this year actually, I had received a call from a recruiter, if you will, from Nolensville, asking me to consider that work. And after a considerable amount of thought and process, I decided that I would do that. And so I left in January. I started there on January 19 after having been in Spring Hill for 11 years.

Leahy: That’s a long time. That’s a long time. And during that 11 years, because I live down there. I live in the city of Spring Hill. Our mailing address is Thompson Station. But I live down there. What a lot of change we’ve seen in Spring Hill in 11 years.

Lay: Absolutely. It went from a town that was just about roughly 25,000 to – we think this federal census to 2020 census was going to show Spring Hill somewhere north of 45,000.

Leahy: Yeah, I’ve seen that. And the growth just seems to continue and continue. That is huge growth, isn’t it?

Lay: It’s really incredible growth for as long as it has occurred. The growth process in Spring Hill started in 2005, really 2003. And it’s just been at a blistering pace is what I usually call it ever since.

Leahy: 11 years of a strong track record as city administrator in Spring Hill, which has seen this tremendous growth. What prompted you to take the job with Nolensville, which is not a city but a town?

Spring Hill is one-third in Williamson County, two-thirds in Maury County. Nolensville is entirely in Williamson County. It’s smaller but experiencing perhaps even more growth than Spring Hill, as hard as that is to imagine. Why did you make that particular kind of a move, Victor?

Lay: I looked at it from a standpoint of being able to use all of the skill sets that I have generated in city and town management over the past 26 years, and it fit right there in the town of Nolensville.

It’s a small town, a smaller community, but they’re about to go through very similar things that Spring Hill has already gone through. And I felt when I sat and looked at them that Nolensville was probably about 10 to 15 years behind where Spring Hill was today.

It would give them opportunities to put some things in motion that could help maybe alleviate some of those growing pains during that process.

Leahy: Physically, the town of Nolensville, how does it compare size-wise just in the physical area to Spring Hill?

Lay: The town of Nolensville is roughly 10 square miles. The city of Spring Hill is somewhere around 30 to 35 square miles. So relative size, it’s about a third. Population-wise, the town of Nolensville is probably – with the 2020 census we’re hoping that number is going to be – around 14,000.

The official population is just north of 11,000. So it’s roughly about a quarter of the size population-wise. Is that the information you were looking for?

Leahy: Yes. But on a per-square-mile basis, it’s pretty close to Spring Hill in terms of population per square mile.

Lay: Very close. The density is very close to Spring Hill.

Leahy: What’s the difference between being a city administrator, which is a form of a corporate organization, versus a town manager? A town is different than a city. Tell us about those differences.

Lay: In Tennessee, municipalities can actually have a choice in the way that they incorporate if they want to call themselves a town or a city. And there’s not a lot of distinction between the two other than just the vernacular.

And there are a lot of people who want their area, their municipality, to be called a town just because of the quaintness of it (i.e. the town of Thompson Station) and things like that. Spring Hill used to be called a town. But back in the 90s, they decided that they would change their vernacular to city.

And so they made all of the necessary corporate adjustments and changed everything to the city because they wanted that idea that they were going to grow beyond the connotations that a town might be.

Typically, you think of a town as being smaller, but that’s not necessarily the case because you have the town of Smyrna, which is also, as you know, one of the larger municipalities in the region.

Leahy: I should have known that, but I didn’t know that. I think I’ve always thought of Smyrna as a city, but it’s a town.

Lay: It is.

Leahy: That’s very interesting. We’ll get to the challenges for you in terms of what’s ahead for Nolensville a little bit in our next segment. But I want to talk about how your job might be different because it’s a little bit smaller, a little closer to Nashville.

And the other part of this is, in Spring Hill, I’m largely removed from any significant city decisions. I think I went to a city council meeting once, perhaps, and it’s very intense. Everybody that’s involved in development has a lot on the line.

But for the average person, it’s sort of like, we’ll let them do what they’re going to do, and I’ll pay my taxes and I’ll do my job. (Lay chuckles) Which is not necessarily in Spring Hill. You’re laughing. Isn’t that the case?

Lay: That is the case a lot of the time. The individuals or rank-and-file citizens, basically, they’re not interested in necessarily getting involved in watching all of the minutiae with regard to the weekly and monthly decisions of the council.

They might complain about one aspect or another, but in general, they’re just really not engaged in that depth.

Leahy: My sense is perhaps that the job of being a city administrator in Spring Hill, although most of the people are sort of not engaged, those who are engaged, developers and builders and the like, are very intensely engaged.

My sense was that it was a highly politicized position, even though most people really weren’t paying a lot of attention to it. And perhaps that scale and that pressure were very, very significantly different from Nolensville. Do I have that right or wrong?

Lay: I would say that it was quite a bit more intense than maybe what’s existing in Nolensville at the current time. There were so many things that were going on. And you’re correct that it had a lot of political nature to it.

As much as we try to make the position of city administrator or town manager non-political – and I really, really work hard to be a non-political individual – There’s politics in almost everything that occurs with pressure from one side or the other.

Spring Hill – it was quite intense because you had a lot of different things that were happening and a lot of different players pushing one direction or another.

Leahy: Well, let me tell you something, to do that job for 11 years and to exit on a high note is a tribute to your ability to manage people and the processes and all the political forces. I don’t see how anybody could do it for that long and leave on such a high note. So a tip of the hat to you for that capability.

Lay: Thank you. I appreciate that.

Leahy: Stick with us through the break. I want to come back to get what’s going on in Nolensville and what the challenges are ahead there. If you can stay through the break with us.

Lay: Absolutely glad to be here.

Listen to the full first 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 “Victor Lay” by Victor Lay. Background Photo “Spring Hill City Hall” by Skye Marthaler. CC BY-SA 3.0.

















Nolensville’s Town Manager Victor Lay Talks Growth and Managing Expectations of Blue State Refugees

Nolensville’s Town Manager Victor Lay Talks Growth and Managing Expectations of Blue State Refugees


Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 Nolensville, Tennessee Town Manager Victor Lay to the newsmaker line to discuss the consequences of growth and managing expectations of blue state transplants.

Leahy: Our guest on the newsmaker line, town manager Victor Lay. Victor, I know it’s good to do this via the phone, but I’m going to invite you to come in studio sometime. It’s not too far away from Nolensville.

Lay: I would love to take you up on that.

Leahy: We’ll get you in here at a better time (Lay laughs) because only the crazy people show up in person at 5:00 a.m. or thereafter. Let’s talk about all of the challenges facing Nolensville.

By the way, I love Nolensville. It’s a nice quaint little town that’s now in the process of experiencing explosive growth. What are the biggest challenges that you see there Victor Lay?

Lay: One of the biggest challenges, obviously, is the traffic that’s generated by the growth. Nolensville has one major north-south route. That’s Nolensville Road, 31A, 41 A, that’s running right through it.

It’s a two-lane road up until you get into the Metro Davidson area where they’re working on it now to become a four-lane road. That’s the primary challenge for that growth.

Leahy: How do you deal with that? Because it’s currently a two-lane road. And on either side of the road, right next to the road there are houses and there are businesses. That’s a challenge I think.

It’s a little bit like you had on Duplex Road in Spring Hill, right? Which was an old kind of two-lane farm road that’s been widened. But that’s been a lot of work on that one.

Lay: That’s correct. That process started in 2006 and took 14 years roughly to get it to where it was opened as a nice, safe, wide road with good transportation opportunities, multiple transportation opportunities with the sidewalks and bike pass, and things like that.

Nolensville has already started working with TDOT with regard to Nolensville Road. Actually, that process started back in the early 2000s. There are designs out there that TDOT has put together for a bypass around some of the historic areas of Nolensville that you physically cannot widen in.

And so one of the pieces that I’ll be doing over the next few years is really working with TDOT closely to determine the best route and what is a good, viable plan for that north-south traffic.

And it’s not just the north-south traffic, but we’re actually right at the beginning of the process of updating our major thoroughfare plan. And we’re looking at all of our connections – east-west connections, north-south connections – so that we can make sure that as the town grows we are incorporating that growth inside the roadway.

We’re requiring right-of-way dedication so that we have the opportunities to widen those roads and make those connections so that folks have alternative paths as well as the main route.

Leahy: I think you said today you expect that the 2020 census will show that the population of the town of Nolensville, about 10 square miles just south of Nashville, is about 14,000. If we look forward 10 years from today in the 2030 census, what do you think that number will be?

Lay: Good question. If we continue to go through the same type of growth that we’re experiencing today, you’re probably looking easily at another 5,000 people. 3,000 to 5,000, maybe.

And that may even be a very conservative number. It could be closer to seven. So it’s very likely that we’re going to be in that 20,000 range. Somewhere between 20 and 25, I can safely say.

Leahy: Let me ask you this, how many of those new people moving into Nolensville are coming from California?

Lay: There is a significant amount that is coming in from California. We see California, New York, and Illinois. Just a tremendous amount of influx into that area.

Leahy: People from California, New York, and Illinois, do they have trouble adjusting to the way things are done in Tennessee?

Lay: (Chuckles) In some cases, it’s just different. Most of the time what we have found is that they appreciate some of the ways that we do things in Tennessee. It’s not as arduous. It’s not as complex.

As long as we are straightforward and letting them know the process, they generally don’t have too difficult of a time transitioning. It’s when people don’t understand the processes and they feel like that they’re not getting the best answers that usually generate the problems.

Leahy: Have you had any of those experiences since you’ve joined the Nolensville town manager in January?

Lay: Not specifically in Nolensville. To date, I’ve not had anyone that has moved in and said, well, this is the way we did it in our particular state. I experienced that once or twice in Spring Hill.

Leahy: You did? (Laughs) Let me just roll play with you here, Victor. If somebody is coming from, I’m guessing I’ll just say it’s a blue state, right?

Somebody coming from a blue state, do they ever say now, Victor, that’s not the way we did it back in my blue state. Did you have that kind of a question?

Lay: I did have that kind of a question. I have not had it in Nolensville. I did have that statement made in Spring Hill a couple of times.

Leahy: You know what my response, Victor, to that would be? My response would be, well, that’s great. Why don’t you go back to that blue state and leave us alone? Of course, you can’t say that.

Lay: I can’t say that. I don’t say that.

Leahy: But you might think it. (Chuckles)

Lay: I usually try to drill down with them to understand what it is that they have difficulty with or that they think is an error in the way that we are doing business.

Leahy: This is why you are so well suited to that job because you’ve got an understanding of human behavior and you have patience. Victor, thanks so much for joining us today, and come in studio sometime.

Lay: I would love to do that.

Listen to the first 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 “Nolensville Town Hall” by Skye Marthaler. CC BY-SA 3.0.















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.