Early in the spring of 2009, two Little Rock families met together to discuss the best way to educate their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Up to that point, David and Mary Peery had been home-schooling their children using the classical Christian method and were considering formal schooling as their son moved into the upper elementary grades. Marcus and Katie Moody were also considering their options as their oldest daughter was quickly approaching kindergarten. Both the Moodys and the Peerys were excited about the advantages of a formal, classical, Christian education, though this opportunity did not already exist in the Little Rock area.
After much discussion and prayer, the two families decided to visit Westminster Academy, a classical Christian school in Memphis, TN. During that visit, the two families met with teachers and faculty, walked the halls, and observed the average student at Westminster. The growing sense that God had something larger in mind for these two families than simply finding a school for their children began to take shape. After that visit to Westminster, inspired by what a classical Christian education might mean for both their children and others in the area, the Moodys and the Peerys began to seriously discuss the possibility of founding a school in Little Rock. In the summer of 2009, the name Pinnacle Classical Academy (PCA) was chosen for the school, and on August 5th, 2009, PCA was founded as a private corporation in the state of Arkansas. For Little Rock locals, “pinnacle” typically references Pinnacle Mountain, a popular hiking destination in west Little Rock. To PCA, “pinnacle” also testifies to the satisfaction and perfection found in Jesus Christ, the salvation He offers, and the work ethic and perspective we have as Christians (Colossians 3:1-2, 23).
As the founding board committed themselves to the work of creating PCA, they decided to hire a full time employee to help properly lay the foundation for Little Rock’s first classical Christian school. In September of 2009, Holley Peters began work as PCA’s Director of Development. A product of classical Christian education herself, Peters graduated from Westminster Academy in 2002 as a member of its third graduating class. She brought an enthusiasm and love for the classical Christian education model as well as her credentials in teaching, having served at a private Christian school previously. Peters’ hard work and dedication to her tasks are still bearing fruit at the school today.
On October 27th, 2009, the PCA board hosted its first public informational meeting at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Approximately forty-five families attended, and the board was encouraged by the interest shown. Another public informational meeting was held at Covenant Presbyterian Church on February 23rd, 2010, and the school continued to take shape. The school was granted status as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization by the IRS, and Mrs. Peters and the PCA Board continued work on many of the school’s foundational documents. The school’s official statement of faith was added to its mission and vision statements. PCA also hosted four Cottage Meetings, informal gatherings designed to encourage more discussion around the idea of classical, Christian education.
In the spring of 2010, PCA released its applications for employment and its first application packets for students. The Board also added another couple to the team, Joseph and Stephanie Bailey. The Baileys had relocated to Little Rock from Virginia where Joseph had not only served as pastor of a church but also as part-time Headmaster for Tidewater Classical Academy. Joseph would later serve as the Headmaster for Pinnacle Classical Academy in its first year.
Renting space from Rose Hill Nazarene Church, PCA first opened its doors for classes on August 18th, 2010. Holley Peters transitioned from her role as Director of Development into the classroom where she served as the Lower Elementary teacher. The coming years would see continued steady growth as additional students, teachers and administrators were added. PCA’s growth was also greatly facilitated by joining efforts with Covenant Presbyterian Church which began hosting the school in 2013.
Now spanning grades K-12, Pinnacle Classical Academy continues as Little Rock’s only classical Christian school and has seen the beginning of both the school’s Logic and Rhetoric programs in the upper grades. With gratitude for all that God has done in establishing the school, we remain excited for what the future holds for PCA in the coming years.