Academies Spotlight: Hillsboro

Experience MNPS through the Academies of Nashville at Hillsboro High School
Posted on 09/07/2022
two students behind desk in school news station.

student working on film editing in school tv studio


Hillsboro High School may have started implementing their Academies of Nashville programs a few years after other schools, but that didn’t stop them from creating a distinct set of excellent academies helping students get ready for college and careers.

The Academies at Hillsboro began in 2010 and are broken down into four career academies, with 11 industry certifications offered to students. They include the Academy of Global Health and Science, the Academy of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), the US Community Credit Union Academy of International Business and Communications, and Freshman Academy. student taking temperature of a dummy patient

Each academy has an assigned principal, dean of students and academy counselor, creating smaller learning communities for students to gain more individualized attention while being exposed to exciting career possibilities.

Zech Brown is a senior with a pathway in Audio/Visual Production. He says he can tell that his teachers and other staff believe in him.

“I feel seen and cared for by the faculty and staff, and I can tell that everyone cares about my education and believes that I can be successful in my career path,” Brown says.

He says this motivates him to continue to pursue his goals in the science film industry. His pathway teachers are passionate about what they’re teaching, and they want to see that students are also invested in the work.

Students officially enroll in the academy program during their sophomore year, after they have completed Hillsboro's Freshman Academy, which introduces students to the academy model that will help transition them to various career paths. The Hillsboro academies have a total of 1,230 students currently enrolled, from freshmen to seniors, with pathways potentially leading directly to college and career opportunities.

Senior Hannah Adams believes her school community and creativity are what make her Marketing pathway so successful.

“The marketing community is huge,” she says. “I love us because our community gets to put all our own ideas and creativity into our work.”

Adams, who plans to pursue a career in marketing, also credits her teachers with providing guidance and direction throughout their programs.

“My teacher, Ms. (Susan) Strasinger, is so great and patient. She helps me so much and always answers all my questions."

Preparation for Life-long Learning

With more than 20 local businesses working directly with students, the Hillsboro faculty and staff believe having community partners supporting the academy model is one of their greatest assets.

“The collective of individual enthusiasm, skill sets and ideas that teachers and partners bring to the table is truly incredible. They find creative and innovative ways to engage students and to connect them to college and career through the work that we are doing,” said Shuler Pelham, Executive Principal at Hillsboro.

“Our partners are a part of our advisory board, and they are constantly thinking outside of the box to ensure that our students are getting hands-on experience as much as possible,” said Melissa Wrenne, Hillsboro Academy Coach.

US Community Credit Union established a student-run bank on the campus, and other partners have created video recordings with audio/visual students to ensure that students get hands-on learning experiences. student at school credit union desk

Principal Pelham has likened his academy team to the United States 1992 Olympic basketball “Dream Team.”

“It’s that same kind of synergy where different minds come together to bring different perspectives, different skill sets and different experiences to the table to create something magnificent.”

Dr. Candace Ogilvie is the Dean of Students for the US Community Credit Union Academy of International Business and Communications. She believes the academies effectively provide the services that they set out to accomplish.

“The academies not only prepare students to graduate high school,” Ogilvie said, “but they prepare them for life-long learning outside of the classroom.”

Academies of Hillsboro High School

Freshman Academy

The Freshman Academy provides successful transition into high school through nurturing relationships that focus on core academics, proper study habits, conflict resolution and character building.

  • Belmont University
  • Junior Achievement

Academy of Global Health and Science

  • Therapeutic Services
  • Sports and Human Performance
  • Interdisciplinary Science and Research
  • Belmont University College of Pharmacy
  • Vanderbilt Collaborative for STEM Education and Outreach and Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Tennessee State University College of Health Science
  • SpecialtyCare University
  • Tennessee Army National Guard
  • The Heimerdinger Foundation
  • Blood Assurance
  • Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology


Academy of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

  • IB Diploma Programme
  • Advanced STEM Applications
  • Nashville Shakespeare Festival
  • Vanderbilt Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latinx Studies
  • American Baptist College
  • Tennessee State University Honors College
  • Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee
  • Soles4Souls
  • Tennessee Army National Guard
  • Excellence in Motion
  • YMCA
  • Nashville Electric Service


US Community Credit Union Academy of International Business and Communications

  • Marketing Management
  • Banking and Finance
  • Audio/Visual Production
  • US Community Credit Union
  • Belmont University Center for International Business
  • Junior Achievement
  • Rocketown
  • MP&F Strategic Communications
  • T-Mobile
  • Ernst & Young

Industry Certifications Offered at Hillsboro

  • OSHA10 for Health Science Ed course
  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant for Medical Assisting course
  • Certified Personal Trainer for Exercise Science course
  • OSHA10 for STEM I Foundations course
  • PMI3 for STEM II Applications course
  • Microsoft Office Suite Excel for Banking and Finance course
  • QuickBooks for Accounting I course
  • Hootsuite for Social Media Analytics course
  • Southwest Professional Communications Customer
  • Service for Marketing I course
  • Adobe Premiere Pro for Audio/Visual II course
  • Photoshop for Audio/Visual I course


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