Getting Schooled

Belton Preparatory Academy: A Top Performing School

By: Leanne Cobb

James Galyean is a man who believes that all children, regardless of income level or background, can learn if provided the right opportunity. So after serving as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina and working for high-profile members of Congress in Washington D.C., Galyean returned to his hometown of Anderson to take action to improve educational outcomes for children in SC. He started Reason and Republic, an organization that helps founded charter schools, in 2017. Galyean had a specific vision for the schools he wanted to open and the impact he wanted the schools to have on children in SC. He approached Erskine College because they are a “chartering institution” and asked if he could partner with them to begin chartering schools. Erskine believed in his vision and drive, and The Charter Institute at Erskine was formed.

Belton Preparatory Academy (BPA), launched in 2018, is one of three charter schools in SC founded by Reason and Republic. BPA uses a classical education model in which knowledge, reasoning, and self-expression are essential components, with character development providing a solid foundation throughout. Since at least 40% of the school’s population is low-income, BPA is designated a Title I school by the U.S. Department of Education. Galyean’s stance that charter schools provide an improved educational model that will lead to increased learning and development was proven correct in just three years. The Anderson County Council honored BPA at their December 6th meeting for the following outstanding accomplishments:

  • #1 Title I Elementary School in the State
  • #1 Elementary Charter School in the State
  • #2 in the state in Math 
  • #6 in the state in ELA
  • #1 Anderson County Elementary School

BPA students, teachers, and Executive Director, Deirdre McCullough, have worked hard for these accomplishments. As a school that is tuition-free and welcomes any student who lives in SC, regardless of county or school zone, BPA is proof that there are no geographic or income boundaries for what students can achieve with the right opportunity. Galyean is an exemplary advocate for education reform, and we are fortunate to have him supporting our students.

Learn more about Belton Preparatory Academy at: and Reason and Republic at