About Tempe Preparatory Academy

“About TPA :: Welcome to TPA

Welcome to the Tempe Preparatory Academy community of learners where we invite you to join us in a lifelong educational journey through the liberal arts.  Using Socratic practice as our pedagogical foundation, our students, parents, teachers, and staff engage the Great Books and best of the Western tradition on a daily basis.  Our graduates are confident, knowledgeable, and articulate, and prepared to live full lives. They are trained in advanced mathematics and science, the fine arts, literature, history, philosophy, economics and languages (both modern European and Classical), and they possess the intellectual skills and disciplines which make a lifetime of learning possible.

Of course, a liberal arts education cannot be pursued hurriedly or with a sense only of its immediate benefit or material value. The formation of our students’ characters and imaginations involves an exposure to great works and thinking over time engendering a habit of excellence. By enrolling your son or daughter at Tempe Prep, you join us in a commitment to personal growth for each student in each of his or her years here. It will be a rich experience, marked by the formation of deep understanding, new discoveries of personal excellence, and the creation of enduring friendships. It is an education for life. We welcome you to the Tempe Prep experience.

Tempe Preparatory Academies Mission Statement

The mission of Tempe Preparatory Academy and Tempe Prep Junior Academy is to educate students for the lifelong pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty. TPA graduates have a foundation in the liberal arts of grammar and rhetoric, logic and mathematics, history, natural science, and philosophy. Graduates will also have practiced the fine arts of music, drawing and painting, and drama. TPA graduates are thus prepared for every career, every course of advanced or specialized study, and every kind of leisure.
The Academies will fulfill their mission by the following means:

  • Service to a rigorous, core liberal arts curriculum in the Western tradition that is the same for all students.
  • Small classes of 22 or fewer.
  • Dedicated, enthusiastic, and intellectually excellent teachers who serve as models of learning and of character.
  • Detailed student evaluation, with an emphasis upon written, narrative evaluation of learning rather than upon grades and percentages.
  • Regular and meaningful homework assignments.
  • High standards of personal conduct and comportment for students.

Though the curriculum is rigorous and expectations for students are high, the Academies are not exclusive schools strictly for the elite. Our goal is to provide an environment that allows every student who is curious and diligent the opportunity to fulfill her or his potential. The Academies offer a core curriculum in which each of the grades builds on previous grades over the student’s seven-year tenure. The 11th and 12th grades in particular gather all of the previous years of liberal arts study together to offer students a critical and comprehensive understanding of the
Western tradition.


Tempe Prep was founded in 1996 by a group of Tempe residents — professors, engineers, and businessmen — who wanted the very best form of education for their own children. In the early 1990s, the founders had contemplated opening a private liberal arts academy, based on the proven academic legacy of the Trinity Schools (a network of renowned private, liberal arts preparatory schools in the Midwest and East). However, they were unable to raise the funds to realize their dream. Thankfully, the Arizona State Legislature and Governor passed the charter school laws in 1995. Tempe Prep was one of the first charter schools in Arizona, receiving its mandate to operate from the newly formed State Board for Charter schools. The school published a flyer of its “Great Books” curriculum to residents of the East Valley. Families were attracted to the opportunity to receive a liberal arts, private school education in a public setting.

The school filled quickly and TPA began operation in September of 1996 with 120 students and 9 teachers. Today, the approximate total student count is 132 in the junior high and 215 in the high school. The founding board members are Dr. Thomas Butler, Dr. John X. Evans, Mr. Raul Espericueta, Mr. Chris LeBeau, Mr. Daniel Sauer, and Dr. Janet Scoggin.


Outgrowth Schools
In an effort to replicate the success of Tempe Preparatory Academy, the Great Hearts Preparatory Academies (GHPA) was established as a separate organization. To date, Veritas Preparatory Academy(VPA), Chandler Preparatory Academy (CPA), and Mesa Preparatory Academy (MPA) have been built from this founding model.

Accreditations and Affiliations
We are accredited by the American Academy of Liberal Education (AALE), and the North Central Association (NCA), the Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. We are chartered by the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools (ASBCS). The athletic program is a member of the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) and of the Charter Athletic Association (CAA).”

For more information visit http://www.tempeprep.org/index.html