Brookfield Academy will open the doors to a new, 110,000-square-foot high school building in January, but its students haven’t always learned in such spacious surroundings.
When their doors first opened in 1962, five teachers taught 33 students in a ranch house in Brookfield. Area parents had a vision of what education should be, said Brookfield Academy president Dr. Robert Solsrud, and since then enrollment has soared to nearly 600 students and 120 employees continuing that mission.
“It met a market niche,” said Solsrud. “It could have easily gone belly-up it’s first year, but it filled what people were looking for – a different type of education,”
That mission is difficult to carry out in other schools, according to Solsrud, since public schools need to adhere to government regulations. Brookfield Academy, as an independent private school, eschews all government funding and leaves the educators free to pursue their own mission and establish independent curriculum.
Brookfield Academy students have a higher average on standardized test scores than the state average, and students graduate with the values listed in the school’s mission statement: the skills, values and heritage to become responsible, constructive and free people.
Solsrud says it’s not only the faculty and education mission that led to the school’s success, the local community also contributed.
“I think people who live in this area value learning, family structures are very strong and there is a respect shown towards education,” he said. “That is one reason why we’ve been able to flourish.”
Address: 3460 N. Brookfield Road, Brookfield