About Galileo Preparatory Academy

Our Vision

To unite passionate learners in a global community where all are welcome, creativity is valued, family is honored, and curiosity never ends.

Our Mission

To prepare learners for a rapidly changing, technology rich, globally focused, people-centric future by instilling in them critical thinking skills, a global perspective, and Galileo’s core values.

Our Purpose

To provide a personalized, flexible, and family-friendly model of active learning that challenges the industrial structure, traditional academic calendar, and one-size-fits-all approach found in most public and private schools.

Our Academic Philosophy

Learning is a lifelong activity. Galileo provides an education that calls upon learners to be the best people they can be and to pursue their own interests while appreciating the interests of others. Galileo guides learners to form a life of learning, creativity, service, and leadership. To think of others before self.

While Galileo plays a significant role in the development of our learners intellectually, socially, and emotionally, we honor the preeminent role of the family in that development. At Galileo, learners apply their knowledge and gain fresh insight through project-based learning, where understanding is expanded, relationships are hewn, and real-world preparation is gained.

The Galileo curriculum is rich in historical facts and cultures covering 70 centuries of world history and 250 years of America’s story; art and literature appropriate for the development of each stage of adolescence; the sciences and mathematics; and community service.  A Galileo education is the basis for the next steps in life, for creating hope, and for developing the grit and determination to address individual shortcomings, community problems, and complex issues in pursuit of the American Dream.

The responsibility for developing students is taken seriously at Galileo as is the respect and support held for each family with whom we partner.  Students learn by relating new knowledge to something they currently understand or have previously studied.  Galileo guides learners to first understand self and family, for only then can they appreciate the community, country, and world in which they live. 


Your child’s success is our top priority.

Your child will learn in a safe environment — both online and in-person.

Your child will be happy in school.

Your child will receive the care and attention necessary to develop the skills to thrive.

Your child will receive a rigorous and real-world educational experience.

Our Values

Galileo leaves an indelible mark on its learners to:

  • Do the right thing.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Improve the local and global community
  • Communicate effectively.
  • Be focused and fully engaged.
  • Think of others before self.

What does it mean to be a Galileo graduate?

At Galileo Preparatory Academy, we pride ourselves on our vision, mission, purpose, and values. We hope our values define how not only our learners, but also how our faculty live their lives daily in order to create an environment where we flourish as scholars.  Ultimately, with all aligned, the vision set forth by Galileo Preparatory Academy will be accomplished in multitude as more and more graduates of Galileo enter into post-secondary studies and the workforce.
We value our namesake's persistence to learn, and endeavor to support our learners explore the scientific method and higher-order thinking, build a love for lifelong learning, deepen critical thinking and engagement, and be curious and reflective.
We value Galileo Galilei’s enormous curiosity, willingness to challenge accepted ideas, and his conviction to stand by knowledge gathered through observation and scientific methods. We endeavor to foster those same traits in our learners as they build a lifelong love of learning, develop critical thinking skills, engage in their community, and build a never-ending curiosity.

Executive Leadership


John McLaughlin


John has been an education entrepreneur for over four decades. The first school he created, Benton Hall in Nashville, has served learners since 1977. As a tenured professor at Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota (1988–1998), John researched the rise of education as an invest-able industry. In 1992, he created and published The Education Industry Report, which shaped the early years of the industry. John wrote the first Galileo Education business plan in 1999 with a vision that customized learning was possible. Prior to his career, John attended Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, The University of Chicago, and, in mid-80s, the University of Minnesota where he received BA, MA, and Ph.D. degrees respectively.
John has advised dozens of investment clients from Warburg Pincus to the late Ted Forstmann as well as scores of operating companies from Aspen Education to Crisis Prevention Institute. He has served on corporate boards from Behavioral Innovations to National Heritage Academies and fostered some 30 acquisitions in the education and behavioral health space. He is frequently sought out for his thoughts on the intersection of capital markets and education, has authored three related books, dozens of articles, and continues an active writing agenda.

Mark Claypool


Mark has been a leader in education for more than two decades and specializes in building learner-centered education models. During the course of his career, Mark has built more than 170 schools and programs in 20 states. He is a frequent speaker at education industry events and for years served as a sponsor and judge for the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition. Mark has been named one of Nashville’s most admired CEOs and E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year for Social Responsibility in 2016. He also has written two books with co-founder John McLaughlin.

Mark began his career working as a child abuse investigator and foster child advocate for the state of Tennessee. In keeping with that, Galileo Prep will support the education of foster children as its charitable mission.


Clara Houin

Chief Financial Officer

Clara brings a diverse background in finance with over a decade of progressive experience ranging from sell-side equity research to mergers and acquisitions, to corporate financial planning and analysis. As CFO, Clara leads accounting, financial planning and reporting, capital formation, acquisitions, tax, treasury, and risk management. She earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

In her free time, Clara mentors young women in partnership with Rock The Street, Wall Street/Girls Rock Wall Street to promote diversity and inclusion in finance and is an active member of the Junior League of Nashville and several other women-led organizations in the Nashville area.


Josh Short

Chief Human Resources Officer and General Counsel

Josh is an attorney with expertise in compliance, regulatory proceedings, and trend and data analysis. He joins Galileo Education as Chief Human Resources Officer and General Counsel after serving public-facing, private organizations as general counsel and head of human resources for 10 years. Josh specializes in recruiting and working with high-value talent, who serve learners in the education and human services fields.