Guide to Local Schools in South Nashville

Janelle Waggener


Nashville may be known as the Music City for its legendary country, gospel, rock, blues, and more, but that is not all Nashville has to offer. For the most part, university graduates choose to stay in Nashville to pursue their careers, and employment opportunities are leading to explosive growth. Healthcare, manufacturing, transport, and service jobs all draw people to the area.

People are coming for work but choosing to stay for the quality of life, including the best schools in the state that are also nationally competitive. As a result, the Brentwood, TN real estate market and luxury homes for sale in Franklin, TN, are increasing in value, and demand is at record-setting rates.

The suburbs of Nashville, including Brentwood, Franklin, and Nolensville, are communities to consider carefully for those who want top-notch education for their children, safe neighborhoods, rich community life, and access to all that nearby Nashville has to offer.

Franklin (pop. 78,000)

Franklin is a trendy suburb for young professionals, perhaps due partly to opportunity and the city’s charm. It is considered the 4th best suburb in Tennessee and, most importantly, ranks #3 for quality public schools in the state.

The heart of Franklin is its traditional downtown, whose historical buildings have been preserved beautifully and given new life and purpose with boutique shops, restaurants, and more. History buffs love the nearby Civil War battlefield and antebellum homes. Yet, despite the deep connections to the past, Franklin is a city that looks forward, growing notably in the healthcare and technology industries. If this community piques your interest, look at the historic luxury homes for sale in Franklin, TN.

Public schools

Franklin has had a unique solution to urban sprawl and the annexation of neighborhoods into the city as it continued to grow. More than 100 years ago, Franklin had an independent school district. As Nashville and surrounding areas grew, school zones constantly had to be redrawn. In 1986, the boundaries of the Franklin school district were “frozen,” and it is now known as the Franklin Special School District. However, Franklin has outgrown this school zone, so parts of the city are now incorporated into the county school system.

Franklin Special School District
This small collective of schools incorporates five elementary schools and three middle schools. The district demonstrates consistent academic excellence, recently achieving the highest grades in literacy and numeracy. Investment in students is a top priority, and student-to-teacher ratios are excellent.

Williamson County School District
The newer developments (since 1986) on the perimeter of Franklin are included in the Williamson County School District. An exceptional group of schools in its own right, the County schools in Franklin include two high schools, two middle schools, and nine elementary schools.

Private schools

The people of Franklin value education, which is reflected by the large number and variety of private schools in the area, several of which are ranked for excellence within Tennessee. Faith-based schools include Franklin Christian Academy, Grace Christian Academy, St. Matthews Catholic School, and New Hope Academy. Those who prefer the classical approach to education should inquire about Franklin Classical School and The Classical Academy.  Other exemplary private schools include Battle Ground Academy and Franklin Road Academy.

Brentwood (pop. 45,000)

Brentwood, like many other communities surrounding Nashville, was first settled by Revolutionary War veterans who received land grants for their service. The rich farmland developed into an agricultural community that did not grow into a thriving suburb until the establishment and success of Maryland Farms created a need for other industries. In addition, the construction of Interstate 65 made Brentwood accessible. New Brentwood, TN real estate developments have honored the area’s wide, open spaces and natural beauty as the town has grown.

With its convenient location just outside Nashville and easy access to the city, Brentwood is a destination of choice for those who commute into Nashville for work and fun but want a little more room to breathe. Brentwood is an especially popular place for families moving into the area and is recognized as the #1 best place for raising a family and the best suburb in Tennessee. Its schools rank only behind Nolensville.

Public schools

Brentwood is a part of the Williamson County School District. Across all of the campuses, the schools are outstanding. They are highly regarded for their academics, quality teachers, college preparation, extracurricular opportunities, and health and safety. In short, excellent education is a top priority in Brentwood. The city is the home of two of the highest-ranked public high schools in Tennessee, Ravenswood High School and Brentwood High School.

Private schools

Photo courtesy of Brentwood Academy
Several private schools provide unique learning opportunities for students in Brentwood.  Brentwood Academy is a faith-based school serving grades 6–12, while Christ Presbyterian offers classes for students of all ages. Curry Ingram is specially tailored to the needs of differentiated learners. Students can engage in student-led, individually-paced learning at the Montessori Academy.

Nolensville (pop. 9,200)

Farther away from the hustle of Nashville traffic and crowds, Nolensville is a quiet, semi-rural community. Its history dates back to the birth of our nation. It remains a quaint town that takes great pride in its community events and festivals, successful entrepreneurs, and its ever-expanding system of trails and parks. Nolensville also has the distinction of offering the best public schools in Tennessee and being one of the best places to raise a family in Tennessee.

Public schools

Photo courtesy of Nolensville High School
Nolensville Schools are a part of the Williamson County School District. Students in this cluster of four elementary schools, two middle schools, and Nolensville High School experience low student-to-teacher ratios. Standardized testing performances are consistently far above the state averages. Nolensville invests well in its students and offers a full range of sports, extracurricular activities and clubs, and technical or career-focused education.

Charter schools

There are currently no charter schools in Nolensville, but a brand new charter school in the Williamson County School District, Founders Classical Academy, is engaged in the application process. If approved, the school will begin enrolling for the 2023–2024 school year.

Private schools

Photo courtesy of Thales Academy
Currently, the only private schools located in Nolensville are preschools and kindergartens.  However, a few private school options are within a half-hour drive of Nolensville. Thales Academy offers K–6 education based on ancient Greek methods of inquiry learning and currently hosts a student population of 326.

Brentwood Academy is a moderately-sized middle and high school boasting a 10:1 student: teacher ratio. Bill Rice Christian Academy provides faith-based education for grades K–12. Its smaller student population enables class sizes that average only 15 students.

Now it all comes down to a choice. Which community best suits the lifestyle and conveniences that your family needs? No matter which Nashville town you settle in, your children’s education will not suffer.

What a relief! That’s one major decision of the moving process you can erase from your mind.  For the rest of your relocation needs, contact local real estate expert Janelle Waggener at (615) 496-4365. She will guide you through every aspect of the home-buying process, including your children's education.


I’m proud to be the real estate REALTOR® of choice for those who want a great experience buying or selling a home. My “clients-first” approach means that you’ll be working with a professional who listens to you, provides expert advice, and works hard on your behalf.

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