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About the Academy

Introduction

The Classical Liberal Arts Academy was founded by Mr. William C. Michael in 2008 to “research, restore, publish and teach the classical liberal arts”. Unlike most schools, the CLAA operates as a private LLC in the State of North Carolina and has been self-funded since its founding, ensuring that all we do is financially sustainable.

The CLAA offers students of all ages affordable access to the most comprehensive and challenging course of studies available today. The CLAA allows 21st century students to engage in the same studies enjoyed by wise men and saints throughout history, while also satisfying modern college prep requirements.


Mr. William C. Michael, O.P.

Founder, Headmaster

Mr. Michael is a Lay Dominican who has studied Classics & Ancient History at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), where he graduated magna cum laude and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. While a student, Mr. Michael realized that schooling was not preparing Christian students for vocational decisions as they entered young adulthood and devoted his career to making the classical arts and sciences accessible to younger students. He has spent 25 years studying and working as a researcher, publisher, teacher and school administrator. In 2023-2024, Mr. Michael led the Academy to full K-12 school accreditation with Cognia. Mr. Michael is also the president of the Classical Liberal Arts Society, a 501(c)(3) public charity that works to promote classical Catholic education and culture.

Outside of his academic work, Mr. Michael enjoys praying the Liturgy of the Hours, attending daily Mass, gardening, exercising, and collecting sacred and classical music, which he shares on the Academy’s Classical Catholic Radio program.


Mrs. Dania C. Michael, O.P.

Religious Education, Homeschool Support

Mrs. Michael is a Lay Dominican who studied Classics & Elementary Education at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), and worked as an elementary private school teacher. A Catholic homeschooling mother of ten children (ages 9 to 24), Mrs. Michael assists with administrative work in the Academy office and provides support for homeschooling mothers. Mrs. Michael is currently studying in the Master of Catechesis program at the Catholic University of America (Washington, DC).

Outside of her Academy work, Mrs. Michael enjoys gardening, participating in her children’s extracurricular activities and assisting with parish faith formation.

Mrs. Michael shares personal thoughts and resources for Catholic mothers on her personal blog, “Holy Ordinariness“.


Accreditation

The Classical Liberal Arts Academy is accredited by Cognia, which includes:

  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Northwest Accreditation Commission
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

In 2024, the CLAA completed Cognia’s Accreditation Review and received an Index of Educational Quality (IEQ) score of 320, which is almost 70 points above the average 253), and 20 points above the accreditation requirement of 300.


Lay Dominicans

Mr. and Mrs. Michael are lay members the Dominican Order in the Catholic Church. As Lay Dominicans, we aim to live according to a rule of life based on four pillars of Prayer, Study, Community and Apostolate. We have promised to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and the Holy Rosary daily, to attend Mass as frequently as possible, to study the Scriptures and Catholic faith diligently, to participate in the life of the Dominican community and to share the fruits of our own contemplative life with others through an active apostolate. The Classical Liberal Arts Academy is our Dominican apostolate.

Mr. & Mrs. Michael (top, center) pictured with the Lay Dominicans of the Diocese of Charlotte, NC.

Helping Students Develop and Demonstrate Mastery

No school can cause an individual to learn any art or science. Attempts to force learning upon individuals who are not students((student: a person engaged in or dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, OED) is the cause of the modern unsustainability of schools.

Students need three things: (1) quality study materials, (2) efficient assessment, and (3) just recognition. The Classical Liberal Arts Academy provides for these needs in a sustainable way.


Recommended: What is the Role of Homeschool Parents in Classical Catholic Education?


Academy Shield

The Academy shield represents our mission. The shield signifies our duty not to innovate or create but to preserve and defend that which we have received from the wise men of the past. The shield is crimson to signify charity, which is the end of our studies. On the shield, we see the sun, moon and seven stars, which represent the core subjects of the classical Catholic curriculum: the seven liberal arts (stars), philosophy (moon) and theology (sun). At the bottom of the shield is a book representing Sacred Scripture with the Latin phrase “In antiquis sapientia.” This is taken from Job 12:12, and translates as “With the ancients there is wisdom.” It is this wisdom of the ancients that we seek through classical Catholic studies.

Classical Liberal Arts Academy (CLAA) Logo 2023

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