We are heartbroken to announce that due to circumstances beyond our control, Tulsa Classical Academy will now open in the fall of 2023 instead of the fall of 2022 as originally planned. We know that this one-year delay is extremely disappointing to the 400 families and 700 students who were excited to apply to Tulsa Classical Academy for next fall. Our board of directors worked tirelessly over the last two years and in the process met every milestone.
Tulsa Classical Academy Milestones:
- February 2020: Initial organizers visit Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy
- May 2020: Classically Formed Inc., incorporates to develop a network of classical charter schools in Oklahoma affiliated with the Hillsdale College Barney Charter School Initiative (BCSI)
- September 2020: Accepted via a competitive application process to work with BCSI to start Tulsa Classical Academy
- December 2020: Charter application submitted to Rose State College
- January 2021: Launched search for Head of School
- February 2021: Granted a charter by Rose State College (contract signed March 2021)
- April 2021: Awarded Charter School Program (CSP) grant by Oklahoma Public School Resource Center (OPSRC)
- June 2021: Granted 501(c)(3) status by the IRS
- September 2021: Head of School hired
- November 2021: Location for opening year approved
We interviewed 28 candidates for the key position of Head of School. These educators came from Oklahoma, nearby states, and across the country. Candidates were referred to us, attracted by listings on job search sites and classical education job boards, and supplied by ESI Works, a national recruiting firm that has experience staffing BCSI-affiliated schools. Our ideal candidate would have both experience as a classical educator and as a charter school administrator. As both the classical school revival and the charter school movement are barely a quarter-century old, each type of experience is rare on its own, and the combination of the two in one person is exceedingly scarce.
After an eight-month search, we hired a well-regarded educator from another state, with a Ph.D. in a relevant field and publications that confirmed his commitment to classical education. He was interviewed and endorsed by BCSI and unanimously confirmed by our board. He and his wife seemed enthusiastic about moving their family to Tulsa and undertaking the challenge of launching a new school. Unfortunately, as he begin to wrestle with the difficulty of the job he began to doubt his ability to achieve the desired results. Despite reassurances from us and BCSI, his doubts, added to family concerns, led him to resign.
The board has worked tirelessly to meet our target opening date of fall 2022. While this was always an aggressive schedule, early success in the process gave us hope of hitting the target. After a long search for facilities, we had just secured an agreement for our opening location; days later our Head of School quit. After taking counsel with BCSI, our charter sponsors at Rose State College, and leaders of charter school efforts in other states, we have reluctantly decided to delay our planned start until fall 2023. We have concluded that we do not have enough runway remaining for a successful takeoff, and so we need to taxi back. We need time to find the right leader to serve as Head of School, and to give that leader ample time to hire the teachers and other staff that will bring the vision of Tulsa Classical Academy to life.
On this week of Thanksgiving, we would be remiss if we didn’t thank Rose State College, OPSRC, BCSI, and the William S. & Ann Atherton Foundation for their continued support of this effort. We are also thankful for the many individual donors who supported us. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and grace in regards to the ups and downs of a project like this. We are also incredibly grateful to those of you who referred friends and family members and who hosted us in your homes, churches, community centers, backyards, clubhouses, etc. Your efforts led to over 700 intent to enroll form completions and grew our effort in a grassroots fashion in only six months. We remain as committed as ever to you, those students, and to the mission of Tulsa Classical Academy.
Nathan (President), Julie (Secretary), Andrea, Jon, Michael, Molly, Steve
Classically Formed Inc.
Tulsa Classical Academy