Like most independent schools, Epiphany School began as an idea. The founding Head of School, Dr. Elmer B. Christie, was the Rector of Epiphany Parish and saw that Epiphany Church facilities were rarely used during the work week and could be used to meet the pressing need of the larger community. Epiphany School began in September 1958 with students in Kindergarten, First and Second Grades.
In 1963, Father Raymond Gayle, Associate Rector of Epiphany Parish, was named Headmaster. One of the School’s challenges during Gayle’s tenure was a growing concern within the Parish community over the cost of running a school of 150 students, 25 percent of whom were Parish children. By 1968 the School was its own entity, legally independent of the Church.
With the hiring of Head of School Robert Spock, the School moved away from its sectarian roots towards a model focused on academic preparation, inspiring teaching, and individual responsibility. Under Robert Spock’s leadership, Epiphany was one of the first schools in the Pacific Northwest region to offer a learning skills program.
Mr. Spock left a legacy of healthy enrollment for the Heads of School who followed him, Mark Kimball (1975) and Joseph Morton (1976-81). In a typical year, the School would receive 80 applications for 25 openings. Mr. Morton saw the necessity of the School having its own dedicated classrooms and mobilized the school community to expand the campus. The School was able to acquire and renovate two adjacent homes and transform them into a classroom building named Spock Hall.
Jean Augustine was appointed Headmistress in 1981. Mrs. Augustine’s hands-on leadership style combined with her energy, commitment, and skill led to the expansion of the School’s play areas. Under her guidance, construction of the Sander-Alvord Gymnasium became a reality. She was a champion of the School’s endowment, and building the family atmosphere of the School.
After Mrs. Augustine’s retirement the School was led by David Selby. Mr. Selby introduced Latin into the upper elementary curriculum. In 1996, the Board of Trustees completed a successful capital campaign raising $1.5 million to build Augustine Hall.
The selection of George Edwards as Epiphany’s new Head of School occurred in 2001 and, in response to 2002 Strategic Plan recommendations, the School began adding one section per grade, starting with Kindergarten. In 2004, the School began acquiring private homes adjacent to its campus and launched Phase I of its Building the Future capital campaign to secure the site for future campus expansion.
2008 marked the School’s 50th anniversary, a truly momentous year. George Edwards retired and, after a thorough search process, the Board of Trustees appointed Matt Neely as Epiphany’s 11th Head of School. The Capital Campaign’s goal grew to $22M in 2008, and by 2009, $20M had been raised for the expansion.
Construction of Madrona Hall began in June 2009 and the campus expansion project was completed in August 2010 The project included renovations to Spock Hall and Augustine Hall, bringing the campus' overall size to 2.5 acres and five buildings.
Now, with 233 students served by 43 faculty and staff, Epiphany School and the Board of Trustees turn their attention to a new educational vision, examining the student needs in a changing world, while staying true to the strengths that have served them well for over 53 years. Epiphany has proudly served more than 1,000 students, many of whom return to the School and increasingly bring their own children to be educated here.
Ours has been a remarkable journey, full of challenges and risks, but with a clear road map that has consistently led to doing what is best for Epiphany’s students.