Governor French Academy is a nonsectarian coeducational college-preparatory school for students in preschool (age 3) through grade 12. Governor French Academy seeks to perform three specific services to the parents of serious students:

  1. The finest preparation for college and advanced educational work
  2. Complete preparation for college testing procedures
  3. Professional and detailed assistance for parents in obtaining substantial college financial aid.

GFA Fast Facts

Grade Levels: preschool (age 3) – grade 12

  • Lower School: preschool (age 3) – 8th grade
  • Upper School: 9th – 12th grade

Year Founded:  1983

Founder of School: Phillip Paeltz

Head of School: Kim Powers

Location: Belleville, IL

  • In the St. Louis Metro-East; 20 minutes from downtown St. Louis

Enrollment: 115

Students of Color: 43%

Faculty: 14 (64% female, 36% male)

Student-Faculty Ratio: 9:1

Class Size: 5-22


School Mascot: The Lionheart

School Colors: Hunter Green and Navy


Tuition and Fees (2020-2021):

  • $7,144.20 annual tuition
  • Annual registration fee
  • Monthly budget billing charge to cover books and other expenses

Enrollment Deadlines:

  • Rolling admission with different price breaks for early enrollment


College Matriculation: over 96%.

All our graduates have continued to some form of post-high school education, whether a traditional college or university or a trade or technical school.  Graduates of past classes have been admitted to over one hundred institutions of higher learning, ranging from MIT, Notre Dame, Harvard, and Princeton to Johnson & Wales School of Culinary Arts and the Curtis Institute of Music.


Language Instruction:

  • Spanish at all grade levels
  • French, German, and Latin upon request

Standardized Testing:

5-year ACT Average Composite Score:

  • Governor French Academy: 25.8
  • Illinois: 22.2
  • National: 20.8


Iowa Test of Basic Skills:

  • Governor French Academy average grade equivalents run
    • 1.8 – 3.8 years above age level in reading
    • 1.1 – 3.8 years above age level in mathematics.


Size of Campus: four buildings and a playground

  • Oliver C. Joseph Building: Theater, Art Gallery and Administration
  • Main Classroom Building
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Lab
  • Lunch and music room
  • Jules Park playground
  • Athletics practices and games are held at St. Paul UCC’s gymnasium and nearby Hough Park


Arts Opportunities: Students study theatre and the visual arts through an array of courses and extracurricular activities

  • Drama Troupe presents 2 -4 plays annually
  • All students in grades 7-12 participate in at least one drama production per year
  • Improvisation workshops
  • Lower School STEAM class
  • Student artwork is published in the school newspaper


STEM Opportunities and Resources:

  • Annual school science fair grades 5-12
  • Yearly advancements to SIUE SERC, IJAS State Exposition
  • Upper school participation in IJSHS
  • Nearly annual advancements to ISEF
  • Nearly annual advancements to JSHS
  • Science Coach participation grades 6-12


Clubs and Organizations:

  • 4-H
  • Academic Challenge (ACES) Team
  • Chess Club
  • Key Club
  • Girl Scouts
  • Math Team
  • Poetry Out Loud Team
  • Speech Team
  • Student Council
  • Spanish Club (grades 1 – 6)
  • World Language Club (grades 7 – 12)
  • Youth in Government (grades 7 – 12)


Sports Offered:

  • Intramural sports ranging from those in the list below to table tennis and softball
  • With sufficient numbers and interest interscholastic
    • Basketball
    • Cross Country
    • Soccer
    • Volleyball


Community Service:

  • Average of 3 Key Club 100-Hour Service Awards recipients annually
  • GFA upper school students volunteer regularly through
    • Blood drives
    • Community events
    • Lower school events


Other Opportunities and Resources:

  • Parent-Teacher-Student Organization
  • College Counseling
  • Summer School
  • After-School Care
  • Global Learning
  • GFA Traditions



  • Accredited by Cognia (formerly AdvancED)
  • Recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education as a nongraded school



  • Illinois Coalition of Non-Public Schools



  • NICHE #17 of 55 Best Private K-12 schools in Illinois
    (#5 of 14 in St. Louis Area)
  • NICHE #40 of 140 Best Private High Schools in Illinois
    (#19 of 49 in St. Louis Area)
  • NICHE #23 of 223 Most Diverse Private High Schools in Illinois
    (#6 of 69 in St. Louis Area)

Governor French Academy is an independent, nonprofit preschool-grade 12 college preparatory day school offering non-sectarian education, regardless of national origin, race or religion.