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Score an Excellent Education in Rutherford County

Top-rated public and private schools put this Middle Tennessee region at the head of the class.

By Teree Caruthers on September 17, 2021

student performs science experiment

One of Rutherford County’s most attractive attributes is its diverse and impressive selection of private and public schools.

From highly ranked magnet schools and specialized educational programs to virtual courses and dual enrollment, families are met with a wealth of top choices.

“Great schools secure the foundation of great communities, and we take this responsibility seriously in Murfreesboro City,” says Trey Duke, director of Murfreesboro City Schools. “We know we are working with the future mayors, council members, business owners and citizens who will lead our community into the future, and we want to make sure we are making Murfreesboro a great place today and in the future.”

student works on a lab experiment

STEM-ulating Possibilities in Murfreesboro, TN

The Murfreesboro City Schools system stands out for its programs that foster creativity and offer students real-world application. Four of the system’s schools are state-certified STEM schools, where students experience the engineering design process as part of their instruction.

Murfreesboro City Schools offers a host of hands-on learning experiences, such as LEGO robotics, drone clubs, Farm-to-School programs, Invention Convention club and Science Olympiad. In addition, 75% of city schools ranked as Tennessee Reward Schools during the last state assessment cycle.

“We are proud of the work being done at all of our schools, and we work hard each day to ensure all schools are places where students can thrive,” Duke says. “We have some optional choice programs to help meet the unique needs of families, including the academic magnet program at Discovery School or one of our choice schools, such as Bradley Academy (an arts integrated school), Mitchell-Neilson and Hobgood Elementary.”

students work on a project

Top of the Class in Rutherford County

The fourth-largest school district in Tennessee, Rutherford County Schools (RCS) serves over 45,000 students in Smyrna, La Vergne, Murfreesboro, Christiana, Rockvale and Eagleville and consistently ranks among the best school districts in the state.

Central Magnet School — one of the district’s three magnet schools — was named a National Blue- Ribbon School of Excellence in 2020 and consistently ranks nationally, as well, among the state’s top three high schools.

In 2020, the district launched the Rutherford County Virtual School for high achievers and students looking to graduate early.

The district’s high schools also partner with Motlow State Community College and Middle Tennessee State University to offer students career and technical education (CTE) pathways and dual enrollment opportunities to give them a head start on college and career goals.

“If there’s a college a student wants to attend or a career they are interested in pursuing, Rutherford County Schools will undoubtedly prepare them for it,” says James Sullivan, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Rutherford County Schools.

Warren Garner, who works as the asphalt sales manager for Vulcan Materials Company, has three children in Rutherford County Schools and says RCS is not only successful in academics, but it boasts a wide range of athletic and extracurricular activities.

“There are also so many clubs and programs for all ages and so many great teachers that challenge the kids and push them to do new things. My wife and I are both products of RCS and feel like we were both well prepared for college and life,” Garner says.

students work together on a project

Private, Parochial Schools Abound in Region

In addition to two public school systems, the region boasts a number of private and parochial schools, including Bill Rice Christian Academy, Middle Tennessee Christian School, Lancaster Christian Academy, Saint Rose Catholic School and Providence Christian Academy.

Lancaster Christian Academy in Smyrna offers families highly motivated Christian teachers, a nationally recognized accredited curriculum and individual student attention with the goal of equipping students to make successful life choices in their careers, communities, homes and churches.

“The smaller class sizes mean our children get the individual attention they need as well as the feeling of community and family at the school,” says Justin Besheare, a parent of a Lancaster Christian Academy student.

Higher Education Options

Middle Tennessee State University

  • Enrolls approximately 23,000 students
  • Offers more than 140 undergraduate and 100 graduate degree programs

Motlow State Community College

  • Enrolls approximately 4,300 students
  • Boasts four campuses and multiple teaching locations throughout Middle Tennessee

Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Murfreesboro

  • One of 46 institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System
  • Offers two locations: Main campus in Murfreesboro and a partner campus in Smyrna High School
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