With the generous support of the Walton Family Foundation, THADEN SCHOOL opened in the fall of 2017 and now serves approximately 325 students in Grades 6 through 12.
Our school is named in honor of Iris Louise McPhetridge Thaden (1905-1979). Born and raised in Bentonville, she was a proud Arkansan and one of the greatest aviators of her time. Her childhood home (McPhetridge House), which originally stood on West Central Avenue in downtown Bentonville, was saved from demolition in 2017 and now serves as our Office of Admissions. Our 30-acre campus also has a rich history: it served as the home of the Benton County Fair for nearly 80 years and, prior to that, was the site of other educational institutions, including Bentonville High School when Louise McPhetridge was a student there in the early 1920s.
Her pioneering and innovative spirit inspires our efforts to create a school that gives students roots and wings as they build strong foundations and soar to new heights in pursuit of their dreams.
A Thaden education gives special emphasis to the importance of writing as a medium for communication, reflection, and deep thinking. In that spirit, our founding head of school, Dr. Clayton Marsh, writes a letter each week that celebrates our progress, affirms our mission, or addresses issues that affect our community. Here you will find a selection of letters that offer sightlines into the history, values, and culture of Thaden School.
Our school may be young, but it is rooted in history, beginning with the birth of Iris Louise McPhetridge Thaden on November 12 in 1905.
In 2016, shortly after we decided to name our school in her honor, Louise’s only surviving child, Pat Thaden Webb, sent me a recording of her mother’s broadcast remarks upon receiving the Harmon Trophy, aviation’s highest honor, in 1937.
Last week, while walking the grounds of Crystal Bridges at dusk, I came upon the Bachman- Wilson house. As I contemplated its history and beauty, it reminded me of our journey as a school community.
This fall marks the eighth anniversary of a defining moment in the founding of Thaden School.
During my first explorations of Northwest Arkansas in 2015, I acquired a taste for grits from War Eagle Mill, one of the oldest gristmills still in operation west of the Mississippi.
Around this time of year, my children (now in their 20s) would grow drowsy over my seemingly endless incantations of Keats’ To Autumn, one of the most mellifluous poems in the English language.