October 22, 2022

Sherri Davidson

Local Parents and Community Members to Open Classical K-12 Charter School

The new classical school is affiliated with Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative as a candidate member academy and plans to open in 2024

HILLSDALE, Mich. — A group of Hillsdale parents and community members are developing and plan to open a new classical charter school in Manatee County in the fall of 2024.

Bradenton Classical Academy, as it will be called, will open as a K-5 tuition-free public charter school, adding one grade each year until it serves all grades K-12. Through an affiliation with Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative the school will offer a classical education.

“We believe that a classical liberal arts curriculum is the best way to achieve the purpose of public education, which is to develop a citizenry capable of personal and political self-governance,” said Sherri Davidson, chair of board of the Bradenton Classical Academy founding group. “Nearly all education was classical until recent generations, and it served our nation well. We want to offer an option that restores education to its original purpose, methods, and subject matter, and believe that parents in our county will embrace it.”

Before it can take concrete steps toward opening the school, the Bradenton Classical Academy founding group must go through a rigorous charter application process that examines proposed timelines, budgets, operations plans, and curricula.

“Hillsdale’s classical model has already been implemented at more than 20 charter schools throughout the country, with remarkable success,” Sherri said. “Most have long waitlists—proof that this model has found favor in local communities.”

This curriculum covers language, math, science, history, literature, and philosophy. Bradenton Classical Academy will also put an emphasis on music and art and begin implementing Latin courses in the sixth grade.

“The Barney Charter School Initiative stemmed from the realization that there are many schooling options for families, but few public ones that are built on a foundation of classical liberal arts learning,” said Dr. Kathleen O’Toole, associate provost for K-12 education at Hillsdale College. “Hillsdale College has created an excellent academic program, and we’re excited to help to bring that offering to Manatee County.”

The Bradenton Classical Academy founding group is presently working on its charter application, which it plans to submit to the Manatee County School Board in a couple of weeks.

About Bradenton Classical Academy

Bradenton Classical Academy is a classical K-12 public charter school founded by a group of parents, grandparents, and business leaders in 2021.  It combines a content-rich course of study with the strong conviction that classical and civic virtues are necessary in the formation of the American citizen. It hopes to serve more than 300 students in grades K-5 and plans to add one grade each year until it serves grades K-12. Learn more at