MC, Clayton Center announce partnership with Clayton-Bradley STEM Academy

March 5, 2014

Maryville College, the Clayton Center for the Arts and the Clayton-Bradley STEM Academy announced today that they had formalized a new learning partnership that will create exciting new educational opportunities for both Maryville College and Clayton-Bradley students.

The announcement was made during the academy’s morning assembly, attended by K-6 students, teachers and family members. Dr. Don Bruce, chair of the Board of Trustees for Innovative Education Partnership, Inc., and Kevin Clayton, president and CEO of Clayton Homes, offered opening remarks, reminding those in attendance how much had been accomplished for – and at – the Academy in the last 14 months.

“Just 11 months ago, we were moving some dirt around where this building now stands,” Clayton said, adding that soon afterward, several “all-star faculty” were hired and a “first-rate curriculum” was developed. “Now, we’re sitting here today with more than 100 [new] families showing interest, and 35 have signed up [to enroll].”

Clayton announced the opening of seventh, eighth and ninth grades for the 2014-2015 school year before announcing that the Academy would be partnering with Maryville College and the Clayton Center for the Arts.

“This is going to do many things for you students,” Clayton said of the learning partnership, enumerating benefits such as access to college facilities and classes and collaboration with MC faculty, staff and students.

Patricia Bradley, executive director of the Academy, said the school was excited about the educational opportunities.

“Just as [Maryville College founder] Isaac Anderson and Maryville College laid the foundation for education here in East Tennessee in 1819, Clayton-Bradley Academy will extend this legacy of academic excellence and tradition for future generations of our area’s children,” she added.

Opened in the fall of 2013, the Clayton-Bradley STEM Academy is an independent K-12 STEM school located near Pellissippi Place in Blount County. Its operation is a joint effort of the non-profit organization Innovative Education Partnership, Inc. and Clayton Homes.

According to Maryville College President Dr. Tom Bogart, the learning partnership will support the mission and goals of CBA through a range of experiences for Academy students on the Maryville College campus, and it will engage Maryville faculty and students in teaching, learning and student life at the Academy.

A new Clayton Homes Outreach for the Arts Program, coordinated by the Clayton Center for the Arts, will benefit CBA students and the larger education community, and procedures will soon be in place that outline the usage of the Clayton Center and other MC facilities by Clayton-Bradley students and faculty.

“Maryville College’s strategic plan calls for the College to be a ‘vibrant, sustainable institution joining the liberal arts and professional preparation in partnership with others,’ and I am pleased that this learning partnership will mean numerous ‘win-win’ scenarios for our students as well as Clayton-Bradley’s,” Bogart said.

“The College benefits from a strong partnership with public schools, and we are pleased to extend that collaboration to private schools when it makes sense.

“And here’s why Maryville College-Clayton-Bradley makes sense: Like Clayton-Bradley, Maryville College strives to create a positive, challenging environment in which all students achieve their personal best.”

In her address to the assembly, Bradley read from statements written by Academy students Cailey Martin and Shelby McNeal.

Martin called the partnership “awesome.”

“[Maryville College] probably has genius teachers, and they have a great arts program,” Bradley read from Martin’s statement. “Other students will be able to visit their college and be more interested in learning.”

The executive director said that McNeal, a fourth grader, is looking forward to learning in “new and different ways.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, four Academy students unrolled two large banners that will hang in the school’s Family Center, signifying the partnership between the College and the Clayton Center for the Arts. Students and teachers were given vinyl Clayton Center backpacks filled with information about the College and upcoming performances at the Clayton Center.

During the ceremony, Bogart announced that the Clayton Foundation had committed another $3 million toward the construction costs of the Clayton Center.
Opened in 2010 and constructed through a partnership of the College, the cities of Maryville and Alcoa and state and federal governments, the $47-million Clayton

Center for the Arts was envisioned to celebrate the art and culture of the Appalachian region by serving as a venue for local musicians, performers and artists. Its name recognizes the support given the project by the Clayton Foundation.

“We are extremely grateful for Clayton’s $3 million commitment, which is a major step toward raising all of the construction costs of this important asset,” Bogart said. “Money from the Clayton Foundation already represented the largest private gift to Clayton Center, so this additional money is incredibly generous and a vote of confidence in the operations of the Clayton Center.”

For more information please contact Karen B. Eldridge, Marketing & Communications, at 865.981.8207 or karen.eldridge@maryvillecollege.edu.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 1,168.