What if we could do it better? What if we could unchain teachers from the bonds of standardized testing and let their creativity run wild? What if we could give them the support that they need to develop innovative classroom activities? What if we could combine the rigor of a classical education with the excitement of an inquiry-based approach to learning to create the best progressive education possible?

Oddly the pandemic has been clarifying. Parents have been faced with a deeper understanding of how the American education system needs revision. An overriding focus on assessment for assessment’s sake, systemic inequalities that leave children of color behind, and a top-down management style that stifles classroom innovation have hollowed out our compulsory education system.

For us, the pandemic has given us the courage to act on our vision and to answer our many what-if questions.

Day-to-Day Life at KSPE

Class Structure

Our classroom is a mixed-age community. Children grow at their own pace and work at their level and to their capabilities with support from the classroom teacher. Each child is expected to reach milestones appropriate to their age and capabilities.

In addition to the standard curriculum covering language arts, reading, math, and science, students will receive instruction in the arts, history, foreign language and physical education. Knoxville School of Progressive Education’s goal is a well-rounded and informative education that focuses on student-centered learning outcomes.


Outdoor recess is an integral part of our program, and all children are expected to participate. Fresh air, unstructured social time, and the opportunity for large muscle development are vital to healthy emotional and physical development, and regular exercise contributes to a healthy immune system. 

Daily Schedule

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.: Drop off. Children may play outside or work quietly in the classroom.
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Classwork, recess, and lunch.
3:30 – 6:00 p.m.: After School care. 

Board of Directors

Jesse Trucks, President
Heather Schroeder, Secretary
Erin Johnson, Treasurer

Susan Schilt

Lead Teacher & Educational Strategist

Susan Schilt comes to KSPE with more than 30 years of experience in education. She has been a classroom teacher, a district staff developer and a consultant.

Susan is a parent of two and a grandmother of three. All of them live in Florida, where Susan and her husband spend their off time. Susan and David have been married for 25 years and moved from Florida to East Tennessee six years ago. When she’s not in the classroom guiding students to their greatest potential, Susan loves to garden, fish and read.

Kim Schulz

Educational Consultant

Kim provides consulting on matters of curriculum, faculty/staff training, and literacy-based educational strategies. She has a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in literacy and is trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach. Since 2001, she has had experience teaching and developing curriculum for students in first through eighth grades in a variety of school settings.

Want to work with us?

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