News Releases

St. Michael Academy Principal Dr. Richard Brake Recognized for Outstanding Leadership of the Institute for Family Studies

PETOSKEY – February 6, 2019 – St. Michael Academy (SMA), Northern Michigan’s only Classical Catholic high school, announced today that its Principal, Dr. Richard Brake, was recently recognized for his leadership of the Institute for Family Studies (IFS), where he has served as President for the last four years.

IFS is a Virginia-based “think tank” dedicated to strengthening marriage and family life and advancing the well-being of children through research and education.  The IFS announcement recognizing Dr. Brake can be viewed by clicking here or at

The announcement notes that, “Since Rich joined IFS in 2014, our institutional budget and staff doubled and our Family-Studies blog increased from about 3,000 visitors per month to approximately 180,000.  We now enjoy regular media appearances in The AtlanticNew York TimesWall Street JournalNational Review Online, and many other media outlets. During his tenure, we published a number of groundbreaking reports on the family.”

Dr. Brake left IFS to return to his first love – education – and to focus his professional efforts exclusively on leading SMA as it strives to bring its “Authentically Catholic, Rigorously Classical” curriculum to Northern Michigan families.

As Dr. Brake observes, “Whether it’s strengthening marriage and family at IFS or developing ‘Smart Saints’ at SMA, the objective remains the same: fixing our culture by bolstering the bedrock social, religious, and educational institutions that underpin our great country. I consider my new responsibilities here at SMA as a logical extension of my work at IFS.  I look forward to recruiting more students to SMA so they can help us pursue this most noble endeavor.”

SMA Executive Director Jim Hatch added, “We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Dr. Brake’s caliber leading our school, where his unique qualifications and capabilities are on display every day.  We have assembled an outstanding faculty which, under Dr. Brake’s superb leadership, is providing remarkable inspiration to our students.”

The public is invited to stop by SMA for “Coffee with the Principal” on Wednesday mornings, as well as “Brown-Bag Lunch with the Principal” on Thursdays after Mass – to meet with Dr. Brake and learn more about the school’s “Uncommon Core” curriculum and the benefits of a Classical education.  Please contact the school office at 231-881-9025 to RSVP.

SMA is located at 2225 Summit Park Drive, Petoskey, near the corner of Mitchell and Division.

Established in 2013, SMA is the first Catholic high school in the Little Traverse area since 1972, and Northern Michigan’s only high school offering a Classical Curriculum. SMA strives to develop the whole person, cultivating academic, moral, and all-around excellence in its students, from within a caring and attentive environment.

SMA is now accepting students for enrollment in the winter semester. Please contact the school at 231-881-9025 for more information or to schedule a tour.