Humble Beginnings

In the summer of 1993 my mom and dad, Reverend Dale and Linda Van Gorden, moved from Naples, FL to Franklin, TN. (As a point of reference, the Galleria mall had recently been built in Cool Springs in the middle of a huge pasture that must have been thousands of acres. It looked pretty funny at the time to see this big shopping center in the middle of cow pastures that extended as far as the eye could see!)


I digress. They were starting a preschool with one primary objective – teach children to read; and specifically, to read the Bible. Mom and Dad spent their whole lives dedicated to the ministry of education. Eagles Nest Preschool opened that summer with just 2 students and within a few years, a kindergarten was developed and the small school grew into Eagles Nest Academy (ENA). In just a couple more years, a fledgling elementary program was added, which fully embraced Classical Christian methodology.

In 2001, just days before the 9/11 tragedy struck, ENA and the building my parents had purchased for the school was destroyed by fire (a longer story for another time). It was a long, hard road to rebuild, but God watched over and blessed us through it, and after two years, the school was rebuilt and moving forward again.

Failing health from many of the difficult circumstances surround the fire cut Rev. Van Gorden’s life short. Just before Dad died, he and Mom decided it would be best to merge the school with another wonderful Classical Christian school, called Artios Academy (also a story I look forward to tell you in the future) which was founded by Carson and Wendy Sensing. Carson is still one of our board members to this day. From this merger in 2010 came The Classical Academy of Franklin. Below is a short interview with ENA founder, Linda Van Gorden. I hope you enjoy it!

Eric Van Gorden, TCA Headmaster