Naples Classical Academy Celebrates school opening

Naples Classical Academy, a new tuition-free classical curriculum K-12 charter school in North Naples, recently celebrated its opening for the 2021-22 school year with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by governing board members, school leadership and community members.

 Construction of the two-story, 70,000-square-foot building was completed by Summit Construction Management Group in August and the school welcomed scholars for the first day of school on Aug. 12.

“It’s absolutely wonderful to see Naples Classical Academy open and filled with scholars and teachers,” said Matt Mathias, Naples Classical Academy’s governing board chairman. “Less than a year after selecting the school location, we have opened and begun educating scholars to become highly literate, responsible and ethical citizens.”

Naples Classical Academy currently has grades K-10 and began the school year fully enrolled with scholars. Eleventh grade will be added for the 2022-23 school year, and 12th grade will be added the year after.

“We’ve accomplished a truly miraculous feat by opening this school as fast as we did – all during a pandemic no less,” said Erika Donalds, president and CEO of The Optima Foundation, the nonprofit charter management organization that is helping establish and manage Naples Classical Academy. “We have an incredible team of partners, faculty and staff who all share in our dedication to this school, our scholars and classical education.”

Naples Classical Academy is a licensed user of the classical curriculum provided by the Hillsdale College Barney Charter School Initiative. The curriculum utilizes explicit phonics and grammar, classic literature, and the Socratic method of instruction, with a focus on moral character and civic virtue.

Naples Classical Academy scholars study Spanish beginning in kindergarten and Latin starting in sixth grade. In addition to the four core academic areas, the school also offers world languages, western civilization, music and visual arts. The high school curriculum incorporates government, economics and moral philosophy. High school scholars also receive college counseling and readiness preparation, along with opportunities for dual enrollment, and can participate in various extracurricular activities, including competitive sports and clubs.

For more information, visit Naples Classical Academy at


From left to right: Collier County School Board Member Roy M. Terry; Naples Classical Academy Principal John Bruner; The Optima Foundation President and CEO Erika Donalds; Naples Classical Academy Governing Board Chairman Matt Mathias; and Naples Classical Academy Governing Board Director Mark Russo, M.D., Board Director William Truog, and Board Treasurer Tim Hall.

1 reply
  1. Martha Fine
    Martha Fine says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!! This is very positive news and I’m so proud of Naples and Hillsdale for making this possible.
    I hope and pray this is the future of education.


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