Independent Schools In Houston
Abercrombie Academy is a private, independent, coeducational elementary school. It is located in Spring, on its original campus off Thiess Mail Road. The school’s namesake founder, Cathy Abercrombie, opened the school in 1979. Her vision was to provide an educational experience in which hands-on learning featured prominently, encouraging a love of science and discovery from an early age. This mission is reflected in Abercrombie’s academic program to this day. The academy uses a comprehensive STEAM-based curriculum – science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Student competence in these five areas is developed through supervised experiments and hands-on activities.
Founded in 1968, Alexander-Smith Academy was acquired and reincorporated by David J. Arnold in 1973 as a private for-profit company. The school gained full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1976 and from the Texas Education Agency in 1984. Alexander-Smith Academy (ASA) stresses its small class size and individualized attention as its unique selling points.
Chinquapin Preparatory School
Founded in 1969 by Bob and Maxine Moore, Chinquapin Preparatory School is an independent college preparatory school serving disadvantaged youth, particularly minorities, in grades six through twelve. Bob Moore, former head of the English Department at St. John’s School, wanted to “provide incentive for students who have high potential, but limited opportunities.” The school’s motto, “Quid pro Quo” (Something for Something), is reflected in the way students give time and effort to take care of the school in return for their education. Male students in grades 7 – 12 and even faculty live on campus. Female students and 6th grade boys are transported in daily. In 2010, the school added “preparatory” to its name, and in 2013, Laura Henry became the school’s first female director.
The Fay School
The Fay School (TFS) is a private elementary school founded in 1991 by Marie Fay Evnochides in her home near Houston’s Buffalo Bayou. In its first year, the school worked with Early Childhood students and added a grade level each year after, culminating in the fifth grade. The school boasts a holistic learning environment founded on three core values: Prepared, Well-Rounded, and Articulate. The Fay School attempts to prepare students for middle school and high school; to include community, family, and nature in its education; and to and develop students’ communication skills.
John Cooper School
Founded in The Woodlands in 1988, The John Cooper School (JCS) was named after the original headmaster of Houston’s Kinkaid School. JCS is an independent, coeducational college preparatory school for students in grades PreK-12. The school is located on a 43-acre campus owned by Mr. George Mitchell, the founder of The Woodlands community.
Founded in 1906, The Kinkaid School purports to be the “oldest independent coeducational school in Houston.” A public school teacher, Margaret Hunter Kinkaid founded the school when she learned that married women were not allowed to be teachers in her school district. Since its inception, Kinkaid has been based out of three physical locations—Ms. Kinkaid’s home; Richmond and Graustark in Montrose; and its current location in Piney Point Village in the Memorial area of Houston. Today, Kinkaid educates more than 1300 students each year, from prekindergarten through 12th grade.
St. John’s School was founded in 1946 by community members in coordination with the Episcopal Church of St. John the Divine. A former Assistant Dean of Students at the University of Chicago, Alan Lake Chidsey, served as the school’s first headmaster and he welcomed 344 students to the school in its inaugural year. St. John’s School is no longer formally affiliated with the church. Today, the school educates over 1200 PreK-12th grade students on its lovely 41-acre campus in the heart of River Oaks.
In 1973, George and Judy Tenney founded The Tenney School, which uses a one-to-one teaching method. Each student meets with one teacher for each of the following core subjects: math, science, English and social studies. The Tenneys believe that this one-on-one format “allows each student to achieve his or her greatest academic potential.” The students meet in small groups for other subjects and electives. The school day is five hours long, leaving time for students to focus on their other talents, such as arts and athletics, after school. George and Judy Tenney retired in 2010, leaving their son, Michael, to head the school.
Trafton Academy was founded in 1973 as a private middle school for grades 4-8. The school’s philosophy states that low student-teacher ratios work best; therefore, their class sizes do not exceed 20 students. Trafton advertises that it “establishes an atmosphere in which students develop abilities to think originally and analytically.” Trafton has recently expanded its scope to include grades PreK-3 in addition to the middle school.
The Village School
The Village School began as an Early Childhood education facility in 1966 and expanded to include PreK-4th grade students by 1983. During the ten years that followed, The Village School moved to its current location in West Houston and introduced 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades to its curriculum. In 2006, the school joined the Meritas Family of Schools, a for-profit company of ten college preparatory schools across the globe. Dr. Jonathan Silver, the current Head of School, introduced the high school program in 2008. While The Village School is primarily a day school, it does offer boarding opportunities through the Meritas Elite Boarding Program.