Gatton Academy reacts to being named Best High School in America

Michael McKay

Newsweek magazine officially picked the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science — located on WKU’s campus — as the nation’s top high school on Sunday. Gatton was in the top five of America’s Best High Schools in last year’s list. 

Corey Alderdice, assistant director of Admissions and Public Relations for Gatton, said when reporters and photographers from Newsweek visited the school over the course of a couple of days last week, they would only tell them the school “had done well in the rankings.”

“For the past couple of weeks we were confident that the results were going to be good,” Alderdice said. “It was only on Sunday that we knew how good the results truly were.”

WKU junior Emily Gott, daughter of Gatton director Tim Gott, said her family found out the day before, Saturday, but was told they couldn’t say anything until the results went public.

“So I was like really, really excited but I couldn’t be excited in real life, just around my family,” Gott said.

Gott said any recognition the academy earns means a lot to her and her family.

“My dad has put his heart and soul into this place the last five-and-a-half years, and just different successes they have had over the years and how it’s accumulated into number one has been really cool,” she said.

Tim Gott said the distinction has helped put Gatton “on the map in a very solid way.”

“What that means for us is our students, Kentucky students particularly, are recognized as major players in education across the United States,” Gott said. “But more than that, it’s an affirmation of our style of school and any other school might want to look at what we do.”

Gott said the reason the academy moved from No. 5 to No. 1 wasn’t because of changes at Gatton, but because of changes to the ranking system in Newsweek.

Alderdice said receiving the distinction wouldn’t change how the school would be run in order to keep No. 1.

“It was an absolute delight to hear that validation of our work from Newsweek,” he said, “but at the same time too, we’ve always felt pretty good about the environment that we built for students at the academy.”