Headmaster Emeritus and Founder Bill Brown
William Bailey Brown, Jr. was born on May 3, 1935, and is the oldest of six boys. He grew up on a sixty-acre farm off Dickerson Road in East Nashville where he and his brothers helped with the chores. He went to Schwab Elementary School through the eighth grade and then enrolled at Montgomery Bell Academy where he was president of the Student Council and played varsity baseball and football.
After high school, Mr. Brown attended Vanderbilt University, earning a bachelor of science in physics with a minor in mathematics. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduation and was stationed at Parris Island, South Carolina. On March 28, 1959, he married Vanderbilt alumna Beth Barnes. Mr. Brown began his teaching and coaching career in inner-city Savannah, Georgia, and later went on to work in the Darlington School in Rome, Georgia; Battle Ground Academy in Franklin; and the Oak Hill School in Nashville.
In early 1969, businessman Dick Cole brought together Mr. Brown and architect Randall Yearwood, who had also attended MBA, to discuss starting an independent school in the Nashville area. Plans developed slowly, and Mr. Brown, Mr. Yearwood, and Jimmy French hosted meetings in churches and homes to share the dream of Brentwood Academy. The official charter for BA was signed on November 20, 1969, and on September 8, 1970, 110 students in grades seven through ten arrived for the first day of classes.
"People often ask me what Brentwood Academy is all about. My response is always a quick one: Brentwood Academy is about changed lives. God is constantly remaking and remolding us as we take risks and go deep with each other in the process of relationships. At the times when we step into the darkness, He gives us something solid to stand on and He also teaches us to fly. What a blessing it has been to witness all that He has done in my life, in the lives of my family members, and in the lives of all who have been a part of Brentwood Academy through the years."