Faith, Family, Future

The King’s Academy is a day and boarding school that prepares students academically, spiritually, and socially to face life’s challenges as productive, service-oriented citizens.

From its beginnings in a small log cabin built in the mid-1800’s, the academy has grown into its spacious 65-acre campus today.  Located in the scenic foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee, The Academy is proud of its heritage. With biblical values at the center of all its programs, the school has successfully educated students who have gone on to serve the world by becoming leaders in education, business, ministry, health care, politics, and more.

The day school is for Pre-K3 through 12th grade. Our boarding students are in grades 7 through 12.

We offer a Morning Care program from 7:30 AM – 7:55 AM when students may enter their classroom.

We also offer an Extended Care program for PreK4-8th grade students from 3PM – 6PM daily. This is not available on half-days.


TKA has a long history filled with stories of faith, vision, excellence, community and character. Since 1880, the people who have been a part of our school’s history have persevered through hard times and celebrated accomplishment, expansion, growth and success together. The people have been, and continue to be, what make this place unlike any other and what make the school history so unique.

In 1880, residents in the community wanted a quality education for their children. Their passion spawned a small log-cabin style schoolhouse which they named Boyds Creek Academy. Today, the Academy campus has grown to 65-acres and boasts 10 stately buildings and impressive athletic facilities. So much has happened along the way; here are a few highlights of the school’s 143-year history:

  • TKA has always had facilities for students who had to travel a long distance to school. However, in 1889 the first dormitory was constructed.
  • In 1932, TKA became affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
  • In 1935, the first international boarding students attended The King’s Academy.
  • The Sevier County Board of Education paid the Academy to educate county students until 1961 when a public high school was built across the road from the Academy.
  • In 1979, the Academy became the first school in Sevier County to achieve accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
  • In 1993, the school name was changed to The King’s Academy.

A school of sorts, called Owl College by locals, had been operating in the area as far back as 1840. But the effort took on new meaning when a charter with the State of Tennessee was drafted, and students formally enrolled in the fall of 1881.

The first name given to the school was Boyds Creek Academy. In 1884, to honor the donation of land to the campus by Harrison Ellis, the school was named Harrison Seminary. Churches of the nearby Chilhowee Baptist Association began to provide financial support to the academy in 1887, and the Board of Trustees changed the name to Harrison-Chilhowee Institute.

A revised state charter in 1932 cemented the academy’s affiliation with the Tennessee Baptist Convention and established the academy’s identity as Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy. This continues to be the official name of the not-for-profit corporation today.  The TBC elects the academy’s Board of Trustees and, through the Convention’s Cooperative Program, supplies a portion of the school’s annual operating budget.

During the first few years of the academy’s existence, it was seen primarily as a “community school.”  Documents indicate the academy stressed Christian principles throughout its curriculum and activities. Although it had distinct Baptist connections, an early brochure made it clear that “the school excludes none but rather invites all.” 

The academy mission is evangelistic in that non-Christian students are invited to attend, provided they meet all criteria for admission and are open-minded to considering a commitment to Christianity.

In 1979, the academy became the first school in Sevier County to achieve accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Since then, the academy has maintained an excellent accreditation record, undergoing a thorough review process with a visiting SACS (now Cognia) team every five years.

The academy has always prepared students to go to college. Today, from the preschool curriculum to potentially earning an associates degree while still in high school, the academy prepares students for further study.

From the beginning, facilities were provided for students who had to travel considerable distance to go to school. By 1889, a girls dormitory and several cottages were constructed.  The first boys dorm was completed in 1908. Boarding students from several states and foreign countries represent one of the academy’s most distinct current characteristics.

Before the advent of the GED high school equivalency program, many older students, particularly married ministerial students with families, returned to school after sensing God’s call on their lives and earned their diplomas here.  A campus cottage community, “Preacher Street,” developed where some of these families lived as they prepared for college and seminary training.

In the earliest years, a specialized program was also available to those who desired to become teachers. The school uniquely served the needs of hearing impaired students in the 1970’s and 1980’s until public school mainstreaming efforts for special education students reduced the demand.

Boarding students from over 80 nations and most states in the U. S. have studied here. Graduates frequently comment that interacting with such a diverse student body is one of the most valuable experiences in their lives.

The Sevier County Board of Education did not have a public school in the community until the mid 1900’s.  Through a unique public/private school partnership, the Sevier County school board paid the academy to take the county students under its wing. Elementary students ceased to attend the academy in 1947 when the local public primary school was constructed on adjacent property. A public high school was built across the road from the academy in 1961 and the county’s subsidy to the academy ceased at that time.

Sixty-one years later, in 1993, the Board of Trustees reorganized the academy and gave distinct names to operations under the Harrison-Chilhowee corporate umbrella. Since that time, HCBA’s elementary and secondary day and boarding school division has been doing business as The King’s Academy, while the Chilhowee Retreat Center offers academy facilities and services to churches and schools for retreats, music camps and sports camps, primarily during summer months.