Sumner Academy became a reality in the fall of 1973. The old Fitts place at 1012 Nashville Pike was leased as a temporary location. The preceding summer had been a very busy one as board members, parents and staff members volunteered many hours to convert the house into a school. A mid-July memo from the recently hired Headmaster, Todd Strecker, made it clear there was much to do before opening day. His long list of projects started with painting of all the rooms (including the ceilings!) and ended with a plea for volunteers to "trim the trees and clean the fence rows."
The partnership between parents and staff members which was forged that summer before the school opened its doors is still very much alive today. "Workfest" on the Saturday before teachers return has become an annual event. Volunteers work together pulling weeds, painting, mulching, washing windows and doing the other odd jobs needed to get the school ready for another school year. The dedication of our parents remains visible. Parents still drive on field trips and help their children sell whatever happens to be the selected fundraising items for the year.
Finding a permanent home for the school was the top priority during the first year of operation. Twenty-two acres were purchased from the Patterson Farm, and the faculty and students moved into the present facilities in the fall of 1975.
The Sumner Academy faculty has always played an important role, not only in the daily activities of the school, but in the planning and decision-making process as well. There was an air of optimism, as the seven, fresh-out-of-college teachers embraced their assignment back in the fall of 1973.
Many of the features developed in the first few years are still with us today. A student/teacher ratio of 15:1 was instituted in the school's first year of operation. Emphases on thinking skills and creativity, hands-on learning and numerous field study trips for all students were embodied in the school's founding philosophy. The story of Sumner Academy contains many more chapters and each will be written with vision, passion and dedication.