After three years of research and planning Parnassus Preparatory School opened its doors on Monday, August 22, 2011. The existence and success of the school is attributed to three founding parents, Ms. Laura Miranda Bottenfield, Mr. Greg Friess, and Ms. Heather Ross. The founders dedicated three years of their lives, with many sacrifices along the way, to make Parnassus a reality. Through different roles, the founders continue to support the school and ensure that the mission and vision is delivered. (From left to right: Ms. Heather Ross, Mr. Greg Friess, Ms. Laura Miranda Bottenfield).
The founding of the school began in 2007 when Ms. Bottenfield, a resident of Maple Grove with two elementary school-aged children, realized that there were limited options for school choice beyond the traditional local public or private schools in the Northwest metro. She researched and studied schools and educational models and realized that the classical model was what she wanted for her children.
The founders began the process of creating a school by drafting a plan and finding an authorizer. Ms. Bottenfield, Mr. Friess, and Ms. Ross put together a proposal for a classical school which was accepted by the well-respected charter school authorizer, Friends of Education, which focuses on classical or Core Knowledge charter schools and sponsors multiple charter schools in Minnesota. The Parnassus Preparatory School charter application was submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) in 2009 in a competitive application process. There were 16 applicants for new charter schools in Minnesota that year. MDE approved four applications out of the 16 and Parnassus, with its well-researched and thought-out plan, received the highest score. Parnassus obtained its K-12 charter from MDE in 2010.
The founders named the school after Mount Parnassus, the towering, limestone mountain in Greece that in ancient times was known as the home of the Muses, the emissaries of literature, the sciences, and the arts. It has since become a metaphor for learning, achievement, excellence, and the development of the mind. The name reflected the founders’ belief that Parnassus would provide a classical academic program that produced students who are critical thinkers, coherent writers, confident speakers, thoughtful leaders, and responsible members of their communities.
From the beginning, the founders knew that Parnassus would be exceptional. The school broke the first year enrollment record for charter schools in Minnesota and has exceeded the expectations of its authorizer and parents since. Going forward, the school will continue to grow and improve as it keeps a constant eye on its mission to “provide students with a K-12 classical education grounded in the Trivium that demands their best in intellectual achievement and character development.”