Westminster Academy (Tennessee)

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Westminster Academy
Westminster Academy Tennessee logo.png
2500 Ridgeway Rd.
Memphis, Tennessee
United States
Coordinates 35°04′52″N 89°51′29″W / 35.081°N 89.858°W / 35.081; -89.858Coordinates: 35°04′52″N 89°51′29″W / 35.081°N 89.858°W / 35.081; -89.858
Type Classical and Christian
Motto Jesu defendi
Established 1996
Headmaster Ralph Janikowsky
Head of Lower School Debbie Frazier
Head of Upper School Amanda Sparks
Grades JK–12
Enrollment 320
Houses Athanasius, Becket, Boniface, Columba
Color(s)           Purple and Gold
Mascot Defenders
Accreditation Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)
Newspaper The Beacon
Yearbook Excelsior
Literary magazine Legend

Westminster Academy is an independent classical and Christian school serving grades JK-12 in Memphis, Tennessee. It is a charter member of and accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, and also holds accreditation from the Association of Christian Schools International.


Westminster Academy was founded by six couples in 1996 to provide Classical Christian education to the greater Memphis community. The six couples were Rick and Gina Hall, Reuben and Leslie Avila, Bill and Martha Martin, John and Alice Dudas, John and Day Hodges, and Sandy and Libby Mayer. Named after the Westminster Assembly of Divines and the Westminster Confession of Faith, the school is Reformed, though non-denominational.

It opened its doors in September 1996, meeting at a church called the Cathedral of Praise (Assembly of God) in Cordova, Tennessee, with 41 students in grades K-9, and nine faculty and staff members. In 1997, the school moved to Broadmoor Baptist Church (Southern Baptist Convention) in the Raleigh neighborhood of Memphis, where it remained until 2003. In 2000, Westminster graduated its first class—of seven students. The school has grown steadily over the years, and by 2003, the school had outgrown its space at Broadmoor and moved to a more central location at Ridgeway Baptist Church in East Memphis, where it remains. In 2001, Westminster added extra sections of kindergarten and first grade, meaning that by 2012 the maximum enrollment per grade will be 36, with 18 students in any given class. In sixth grade, there are no more than three sections each comprising no more than 12 students.

Westminster Academy has been actively involved in the classical Christian education movement, hosting conferences of the Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS) in 1997, 2001 and 2005 and an ACCS-sponsored teacher training conference in 2002. Westminster has also hosted the annual conference of the CiRCE Institute in 2004 and 2006. Westminster Academy has beed accredited by the ACCS and by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI).

Westminster celebrated its tenth anniversary on March 31, 2006, with a banquet and keynote address by speaker George Grant.


  • Ralph Janikowsky (2016-)
  • Debbie Frazier (interim) (2014-2016)
  • Peter Baur (2012-2014)
  • Tim Russell (2009-2012)
  • Michael L. Johnson (2003-2009)
  • Ted Trainor (1999-2003)
  • Terry Wade (1996-1999)


Westminster Academy's sports teams are known as the "Defenders." They wear purple and gold-colored uniforms. Westminster has no cheerleaders.

Westminster sports are basketball, cross country, boys' soccer, swimming, track and girls' volleyball. The teams compete in the Memphis Association of Christian Schools (MACS) league.

There is some debate as to which is the oldest sport at Westminster. Varsity basketball teams were first fielded in 1997 and were first eligible for tournament play in 1998. A tradition of informal Ultimate Frisbee play, however, dates back to Westminster's first months in 1996. Since 2004 Westminster has fielded Club Ultimate teams under the auspices of the Memphis Frisbee Association, founded by a Westminster alumnus.

Upper School House System[edit]

In the fall of 2007, the Upper School students were grouped into 4 houses, Athanasius, Becket, Boniface, and Columba. These houses were named after godly men that were influential in the early church. The houses fellowship and compete against each other through mini challenges and Field Day, which happen every fall and spring, to earn points for their team. At the end of year, the house that accumulated the most points during the year wins the House Cup.

Notable people associated with the school[edit]

See also[edit]

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