From remote Grouse Creek, the Kimbers reach students nationwide through their online academy
Story and photo by Dianna Troyer
What appears to be a typical garage in remote northern Utah is headquarters for a private online academy with students nationwide.
Based in their offices in Grouse Creek—a community of 125 about 70 miles from the nearest town—Glenn and Julianne Kimber teach their K-12 curriculum to many online families across the country through their Glenn J. Kimber Academy.
On a typical morning in his video studio, Glenn sets up equipment to teach classes via Zoom. In the adjacent office, Julianne writes textbooks and publishes them on commercial copy machines. She also teaches a couple of classes.
Additional instructors live throughout the country and teach from their homes. The Kimbers have also established a brick-and-mortar academy in Lehi, Utah.
“This is where it all happens,” Glenn says as he settles into his chair with bookshelves and a large reproduction of the U.S. Constitution as a backdrop. “With high-speed internet, we can live anywhere and teach everywhere. We were tired of the congestion of life in the big city, so we came back here to Grouse Creek in 2018 to the solitude of where I grew up until I was 5 years old. Then my parents moved to Brigham City.”
After working in education most of their lives, the Kimbers could be retired. Glenn is 79, Julianne is 77.
“Why would we want to retire?” Glenn asks. “We still have too much to do.”
“We’re doing what we love,” Julianne says. “We hear a lot of positive comments from families, so that keeps us going.”
Glenn says the academy’s mission to teach students knowledge for the sake of service and to better themselves and mankind energizes them.
“Our curriculum is different from most other online schools because we focus on God, family and country—restoring what has been lost or ignored in so many other educational systems,” Glenn says. “We emphasize the importance of the U.S. Constitution and prayer in school.”
Glenn concedes their curriculum of math, language arts, science, history and religion is taught nontraditionally. Core classes are held every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with extracurricular classes on Fridays. There is no assigned homework.
He says they teach a love of learning, so “students are self-motivated and teach themselves beyond what they learn in the classroom. By the time they graduate from our program, they’re ready to succeed at major universities. They pass the GED exam and do well on other nationalized tests like the SAT and ACT that colleges use for admissions.”
Glenn says the academy’s graduation requirements are arduous.
“Students pass our final exam in 22 subjects,” Glenn says. “They are also required to write a thesis with a minimum of 4,000 historical facts from 40 major dates ranging from Genesis in the Bible to current world events.”
He says the steady growth in enrollment is also due to the values they teach about God, family and country—subjects that appeal to their clients.
Of the more than 100 books Julianne has written and illustrated, the most popular is a children’s patriotic lesson book, “I Love America.” It is used in more than 14,000 public schools nationwide.
Glenn’s love of the Constitution and religious studies was kindled when he returned to the United States in 1970 after a tour of duty with the Air Force in Vietnam.
“When I came home, I couldn’t believe what people were doing,” he says. “They were burning our flag and rioting. How could they love America and do this?”
To satisfy their thirst for principles that founded the United States, Glenn earned several degrees: a bachelor’s in accounting from Brigham Young University, a doctorate in constitutional studies from Coral Ridge Baptist University and another doctorate in religious education from George Wythe College. Julianne received a Bachelor of Arts and master’s, both from George Wythe College.
Wanting to teach those principles, the Kimbers started a private school, the Benjamin Franklin Academy in Mesa, Arizona, in 1991. They had 63 students. It grew to more than 2,700 students with 53 schools in 16 states.
“We wanted to honor Benjamin Franklin, the popular Founding Father whose influence and knowledge still affects modern students in every subject,” Glenn says.
Glenn’s carcinoid cancer diagnosis in 1997 curtailed their involvement with the academy. After a tumor was removed, blood clots formed in his lungs, but he miraculously survived.
“The cancer is a result of my exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam,” he says. “I’m at stage 4.”
Julianne says, “We give thanks to the Lord and our family praying for him. He’s still here thanks to treatments at the VA and the Huntsman Clinic, and especially God’s hand on his life.”
The Kimbers have eight children—six of whom are living—31 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
After a lengthy recuperation, the Kimbers launched their current online academy in 2001 at the urging of friends and former students.
“We wanted to make the academy affordable, so we charge only $200 per month per family, not per student,” Glenn says. “It’s a bargain. We hear so much positive feedback. We’ll keep doing this. It’s our mission.”
Visit https://kimberacademynational.com for more information.