History of The Perkins School

The Perkins School is an elementary school for grades kindergarten through fifth and is located in the Maple Leaf neighborbood in Northeast Seattle. In 2004 it achieved non-profit status [501(c )(3)] and became a separate entity from The Perkins Preschool (located in the Ravenna neighborhood). The Perkins School subsequently became an Accredited Member in the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS).

The Perkins School has a long-standing tradition of guiding children to emerge as well-rounded, well-educated learners. Founded by E. Louise Perkins in 1946, the school first opened its doors in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood and was known as The Perkins Musical Kindergarten. Here, young students learned essential academic skills such as reading and math, as well as French, cooking, and music.

In 1952, Betty Lea joined the school and upon E. Louise Perkins’ retirement in 1965, expanded the school by adding a preschool program. With Betty Lea’s retirement in 1993, Chris Chevalier (Lea’s daughter) and others oversaw the school. Thousands of children blossomed under the school’s mission and scores of happy families requested that the Perkins program expand to include elementary grades. In 1995, grades one through five were added. The kindergarten program joined the elementary school program and opened doors at 9005 Roosevelt Way NE in Seattle, the current location of The Perkins School. The Perkins Preschool remains in the Ravenna neighborhood and is a separate entity from The Perkins School, which gained its independence in 2004.

The Perkins School continues its commitment to nurture children to succeed in academic, personal, and community endeavors. Through small class sizes led by exceptional teachers, students experience a broad, integrated, inquiry-based curriculum. At Perkins, each child is recognized as an individual and students, their parents, and the faculty and staff all feel at home. In 2010 Barry Wright was appointed Head of School, bringing an increased emphasis on math and science while maintaining the playful, hands-on, thoughtful approach to teaching and learning.

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