Treasure Coast Classical Academy was founded in 2017 when Rebecca Negron, then a Martin County School Board member, made it her mission to bring a Hillsdale College classical charter school to her beloved community. Mrs. Negron recruited Erika Donalds to be the founding board chairman. Mrs. Donalds, then a Collier County School Board member, is a mom and businesswoman with a passion for classical education and experience starting Hillsdale charter schools. Mrs. Negron introduced Mrs. Donalds to local mom Lynda Daniel, who would come to serve with Mrs. Donalds on the founding board. The two moms, along with founding board member Shawn Frost, an Indian River County School Board member at the time, set out on a journey that would deliver Classical Education to families of the Treasure Coast. Along with a small team of like-minded community members and local parents, they volunteered countless hours to form what is now known as Treasure Coast Classical Academy. Founding Principal Janine Swearingin was hired in March of 2018, and in April of that year, TCCA’s charter was approved by the Martin County School Board. Mrs. Donalds simultaneously launched The Optima Foundation to provide professional management to TCCA and a new network of classical charter schools in Florida.
Despite permitting delays on our permanent facility, TCCA opened its doors in August of 2019 to Kindergarten to 6th grade scholars at a temporary location in Palm City with plans to add a grade each year through 12th grade. Portable classrooms, classrooms made of cubicle walls, and a car line filled with potholes were no obstacle for determined parents and staff. Over 600 children of the Treasure Coast were finally receiving the highest quality education available.
During our time in the temporary location, our permanent building was erected on Cove Road in Stuart. We moved into our new home in January of 2020, not knowing that we would soon close our building for the remainder of the school year due to the pandemic. Always the pioneers, the TCCA team offered something different from other public schools. That fall, TCCA assigned dedicated distance learning teachers for each grade level, as opposed to other schools across the nation that had teachers leading both in-person and online students simultaneously. Then in January 2021, after a long semester of offering both in-person and distance learning, the TCCA family was finally back together on campus, 1000 scholars strong.
TCCA finally experienced its first normal school year in 2021/22. Scholars and staff have flourished. The Optima network, and as a result, TCCA, is now accredited through Cognia. With over 1100 scholars and a waitlist nearly as long, TCCA is the most sought after school in Martin County. In May of 2022, founding Principal, Janine Swearingin passed the reins to our current Principal, Kirsten Pendleton.