Texoma charter schools aim for August opening

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
A student is pictured working at one of Responsive Education Solutions' existing schools. The company expects that two Texoma campuses will be open for students this fall.

A pair of Texoma charter schools may open their doors to students as early as August.  Representatives for Responsive Education Solutions said last month that work to open schools in Sherman and Whitewright is moving forward, and the two campuses will be open this fall.

The two charter schools received approval to open campuses from the Texas Education Agency in August 2020. This came one year after the campuses were denied approval by the TEA.

"Primarily what we are wanting to do is provide choices for parents," ResponsiveED Chief Education Architect Alan Wimberley said. "We don't say other school systems are bad, we just say we will provide choices for parents, because parents are looking for that."

Currently, ResponsiveEd operates about 80 campuses across the state, including two in Frisco and Prosper. The two in Texoma represent the company's first entry into Grayson County.

Current plans call for the both schools to offer kindergarten through fourth grade courses in what organizers described as a classical education, focused on curriculum aimed at enforcing the noble virtues of "truth, beauty and goodness."

"For centuries we taught a body of content to learners," Alan Wimberley said, noting that this changed in the late 19th and early 20th century. "Classic education is a return of what we taught to learners for centuries."

Bonnie Wimberley, who will serve as the headmaster for Sherman's Founders Classic Academy, said curriculum will include lessons in Latin and Greek along with readings of classical literature, among others.

In 2019, ResponsiveEd moved forward with plans to open its first Texoma school. These plans were met with support from about 200 families, but also met some opposition from area school districts, who cited transparency concerns.

“We’re not against competition or private schools,” Sherman Independent School District Superintendent David Hicks said in 2019. “We are about a fair and equitable system for our kids. We are about transparency for our communities. We want to know where our resources are going at the state level.”

The request was denied by the TEA, marking the first time ResponsiveEd has been denied in its 21-year history. Despite the setback, the denial was a blessing in disguise as it led organizers to get in contact with a similar group in Whitewright, who had also been denied.

"Pretty much they were wanting a charter school," Alan Wimberley said. The state turned them down and did not approve their application last year. So, we got ahold of them and asked if they wanted to work with us."

Both schools were approved in 2020.

The Whitewright school, which has been named Quest Collegiate Academy, will be held in King's Trail Cowboy Church. Alan Wimberley said there are ongoing discussions regarding the Sherman site, but he declined to comment further.

"We are all still in the preliminary stages here in December," ResponsiveEd Director of Instruction Bonnie Wimberley said. "I think in January it will ramp up quite a bit."