Joseph Bailey has been the headmaster of Pinnacle Classical Academy for the course of this year as well as in the founding year of the school. As we continue to look forward to what the Lord is going to do in the coming school year, we wanted to take a moment to highlight the life and perspective of our leader for the benefit of current and prospective students and their families.
Q: What are some differences between being a Classical School Headmaster and being the Principal of a public school?
That’s a tough question to answer since I have never worked in the public school system. However, I was educated K-12 in a public school and have talked to many teachers and administrators. I would think the most substantial difference in leadership would be the direction and destination toward which we are leading our schools. As a Christian educator, my goal is to provide the means by which the head, the heart, and the hands grow to their full maturity. We are not a specialty school where a select few excel and the rest are equipped for a narrow area of expertise. We do not base our success on standardized test scores or acceptance to a great college. We have a much larger view in mind. It is my job to give these students the tools of learning and the ability to handle those tools with excellence and with grace.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a Classical School Headmaster?
Well, I didn’t even know what classical education was until after our first child was born. We were searching and praying for how we were going to educate her. That’s when I stumbled upon the essay, “The Lost Tools of Learning”, by Dorothy Sayers. I quickly fell in love with the concept of teaching to the whole student in the way God created them to develop and grow. Through a series of providential circumstances and meetings, I found myself involved in starting a classical Christian school and serving as headmaster. It has been one of the great joys of my life.
Q: What courses do you teach?
I currently teach integrated humanities, classical composition, logic, and kindergarten math from time to time.
Q: Which of them is your favorite to teach and why?
The integrated humanities is a lot of fun to teach. I get to take my seventh and eighth grade students through some of the great books throughout history and weave history, literature, and theology into one course called Omnibus. Once a student reaches seventh grade, he is challenged to think analytically about the subjects we are studying. No longer are they simply required to memorize and recall information. Now they must digest it, understand it, and make sense of it. I love it!
Q: What is your guiding principle for leading the school?
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious.” It is this idea of serious joy that drives my own life and I hope the life of our school. The world is too great for us to remain splashing in the shallows. The God who created the world is too great to be ignored and marginalized in our lives. When we begin to see all of life through the gospel story– where God sends His Son into the world he created, to rescue a faithless bride who had rebelled, to give up His life to ransom her from bondage, to secure the happily ever after by crushing the dragon’s head, and rising from the grave to a crown and a glory as King of the Universe– when that story gets deep within us, then by His grace we will see amazing things from our children. Education is discipleship. The mind and the heart cannot be separated.
Q: What is your vision for the future of the school?
I think Little Rock and the surrounding communities are hungry for something more. I think there are many out there who want more than just a good transcript or impressive resume for their children. It’s not that I think Pinnacle Classical does everything right. Far from it! We are still growing and learning. The difference is that we are growing on a very good foundation. We are more interested in reformation than innovation. I would love to see our school be known in this community as the place where students and teachers are very serious about learning and that seriousness is overflowing with joy.