Our History

West End Academy was founded in July, 1971, as a tutorial service for elementary and high school students. The day school, as it currently exists, began in 1975 and has continued to serve the greater Knoxville area helping hundreds of students escape from what was potential education disaster.

West End Academy provides a state-approved curriculum leading to a high school diploma. Open to boys and girls in grades K-12, West End Academy specializes in Educational Recovery: reclaiming and making successful the lives of children who enroll in West End Academy, after they have experienced failure and frustration in other venues. By utilizing an exceptional faculty, a low student/teacher ratio, and extended class periods, the academy is able to provide individualized instruction. This helps build self-esteem and allows for measurable progress.

West End Academy is a 501(c) (3) non-profit, private school approved by the State of Tennessee and governed by a voluntary Board of Directors. West End Academy receives no funding from local, state, or federal tax revenues, and is dependent upon private grants, individual donations, and tuition. The amount of monthly tuition depends on several factors including family size, medical expenses, enrollment of other family members, casualty loss, and ability to pay. Every effort is made to help students in need with tuition assistance so that they may attend the academy.

Statement of Fulfillment

Since 1971, West End Academy has been extremely successful in helping thousands of students achieve their goals of positive educational attitudes, better grades, graduation from an accredited high school and additional education beyond high school.

Over 80% of our graduating seniors have plans to go on to college or other post high school educational experiences.

Vision & Values

Our vision is to help Knoxville & surrounding areas children whose educational needs are not otherwise being met.

We are aware of thousands of children in Knoxville & surrounding areas looking for success in education. West End Academy wants to be of help to these students. We are committed to fostering a supportive faculty and staff. We will encourage high academic achievement and maintain our interest in developing the individual child, so that he or she might realize their fullest potential as creations of God.

West End Academy welcomes applications for admission from children and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, color, religion, nationality, or ethnic origin in our admission policies, financial aid, or school activities.


Providing a safe and secure learning environment with open communication:
Designed more like a retreat center, the West End Academy (WEA) campus is the culmination of decades of experience about what constitutes a safe and secure learning environment for young people. Central to the secure learning environment is open and frequent communication between parents, teachers, administrators, and students.

Designer Education:
No one size fits all at WEA. Every student has an individual educational plan. This plan enhances the innate learning capacity of the student and reflects his or her unique leaning style, skills, and interests.

Success fosters success:
WEA teachers use this pillar to demonstrate to the students their own capability. Any work that is less than C-quality is an automatic do-over.

Building self-image and eliminating guilt and shame from education:
WEA places great value on individual worth and cherishes the differences that children and their cultures represent. WEA strengthens a student’s self-image through close interaction with faculty on a consistent and daily basis.

Family-friendly homework schedules:
Sufficient time is allowed during the school day for completion of daily homework assignments, allowing faculty to guide or tutor students who need additional assistance. This reduces stress on students and parents alike.

Individualized guidance by instructors:
WEA appreciates various learning styles of individual students. Instructors accommodate different styles in the assignment process by building success upon success.

A teacher for every 15 students:
Some students thrive in smaller settings. At WEA, student/teacher ratios are typically 15:1. This fosters a strong sense of community and strengthens developing social skills.

Providing consistent and caring discipline in the classroom and on the playing field:
WEA recognizes that an important aspect of healthy, balanced character development is the provision of a consistent and caring environment that includes discipline as needed and the acceptance of personal responsibility for actions and decisions.

Learning and fun:
The WEA program focuses on learning, but learning includes fun, extracurricular activities, and a high sense of camaraderie.

Values-driven school environment:
Central to WEA are the values of honesty, integrity, personal responsibility, respect, and hard work, which are modeled on a daily basis and expected of each student.

Rewards and incentives:
WEA provides rewards and incentives that encourage positive results, including privileges earned on a point system and early Friday dismissal when work is complete. In addition to recognizing academic and sports achievements, seniors take an annual trip to celebrate their success.

Credit transfers:
Students who wish to return to public schools are able to do so with full credit transfers because of WEA’s accreditation with the state of Tennessee. Students do not lose credit when a family must relocate, or when a student elects to return to his or her former school.

Fully accredited by the State of Tennessee:
Appropriate teaching methodologies are prescribed and administered by skilled and dedicated teachers for each individual student, utilizing the curriculum prescribed by the State of Tennessee.


Dudley Dewhirst

Mr. Dewhirst has been an integral part of West End Academy for many years. It began when his son attend West End Academy.

In May of 1997, Dudley joined our Board of Directors. In January of 2001, he was elected Chairman. He has retired from that position, although he continues to be active on the board.West End Academy dudleydewhirst

During these past years Dudley has really shown us all the true volunteer spirit. From parking cars for scholarship money at UT home games, to using his business contacts to raise capital funds, Dudley has been tireless. He has personally brought over $100,000 into West End Academy, either from personal donations or from his contacts.

He and his wife, Zara, have led by example and now there are other family members contributing, including Bill Dewhirst, West End Academy Alumni. The work Dudley has done for West End Academy has been truly inspirational to all of us who have had the privilege to work with him.

While he has been succeeded by a very capable individual as chairman, he can never be replaced. His gentle encouragement has guided us through some narrow times, and we are glad that he is still willing to help. Please join us in our prayers of blessings for him and his family as he makes this change.

Also, please remember to help us honor him by continuing to give in that sacrificial way we have come to be blessed by, so we can continue to change educational outcomes, the vision that he has so steadfastly supported.

 Clifford Moore

At 81 years young, Mr. Moore (who we all know affectionately as “Pop”) regularly showed up at West End Academy to help us out. When he retired form the business community several years ago, he most assuredly did not retire from our West End Academy cliffordmoorecommunity of volunteers. When Pop came by he maked repairs, built cabinets (his trade), did yard upkeep and he even removed several dead trees from our lovely property.

We would like to note that over 39 years ago, Pop was having prayer meetings with Mr. Dowling about a ministry to help the young people of the Knoxville area. Also, they were praying that the location of this ministry would be on McKamey Road. It is so awesome to see how God has answered those earnest prayers of so many years ago. While Pop is not considered a Founder of West End Academy, he is most assuredly part of the foundation.

We thank you Pop, for your smiles, humor, prayers and encouragement; all of which you have showered us with so abundantly over so many years.