December 15, 2021 ACE Mentor Program Welcomes Two Local High Schools

Clayton-Bradley ACE students
In 2019, our college helped found the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Knoxville to give local high school students hands-on exposure to architecture, construction management and engineering. In 2021, two more schools joined the program, growing the opportunity for students across the region.

Joining this year are Clayton-Bradley Academy and Fulton High School. In 2019, South-Doyle High School became the first local high school to adopt the program.

Clayton-Bradley Academy is an independent STEM school located in Blount County, Tennessee. Its ACE program started in fall 2021 and is led by Rick Boyd, President, Manufacturing Operations at Clayton Homes. Through unique programming, students are learning about aspects of home and project design to include space and construction planning, structural design, interior design, landscape architecture, scheduling, land development and more. 

“Clayton Homes and the Clayton-Bradley Academy have collaborated during the 2021 school year to provide a unique learning experience for students through the nationally recognized ACE program,” said Boyd. “The goal of this program is to expose students to the roles and responsibilities of professionals in these fields. Clayton-Bradley students are working with Clayton professionals to learn about all aspects of home construction and project management through a series of lectures and projects.” 

Fulton High School is located in Knoxville, Tennessee, and is part of the Knox County Schools. Since fall 2021, students in the Fulton ACE program have partnered with Messer Construction and have toured one of its job sites. Members of Messer Construction’s team, including project managers, engineers, architects and subcontractors, also regularly present to the class to share knowledge about working in the ACE disciplines. The ACE program at Fulton is led by Sam Smyth, math and engineering teacher.

students on tour on construction site

“Our inaugural year of the ACE program at Fulton includes 10 students,” said Smyth. “It is being integrated with the existing Principles of Engineering class as part of the CTE Engineering pathway.”

The 2021-2022 school year marks the third for South-Doyle High School’s participation in the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Knoxville. Led by Architectural & Engineering Design Teacher Jeff Bryant, students this year are learning how to design businesses on a lot located at 1501 Callahan Drive in Knoxville. They are studying zoning and building codes, floor plans, elevations, foundations and electrical plans.

The ACE Mentor Program of Greater Knoxville, which is part of the national ACE Mentor Program of America, was founded in 2019 by leaders from UT’s College of Architecture and Design, Institute of Agriculture’s Construction Science program and Tickle College of Engineering as well as Knox County Schools and others. 

The national ACE Mentor Program was founded in 1994, and each year, the national organization provides approximately $2.5 million in scholarships to ACE participants to support their pursuit into higher education.

Similarly, the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Knoxville awards scholarships to students in participating high schools. Numerous scholarships were awarded in 2019 and 2020, and a student from the South-Doyle ACE program, Ava Davis, received a national ACE scholarship in 2021. Local high schools interested in adopting the ACE Mentor Program can contact Sherry Ault, founder/CEO S2A Integration, at