History & Heritage

Founders & Philosophy

Happy Valley School (now Besant Hill School of Happy Valley) was founded by a community of educators and philosophers who were convinced of the need for new approaches to education. They envisioned an educational climate that would foster the overall intellectual and emotional development of each student in every aspect of daily life. A community whose members would be held together by an ethical and profoundly spiritual bond, regardless of individual backgrounds and beliefs.

Timeline of Events

A list of important dates and events from 1946 to the present.

The History of Happy Valley

Watch a historical video project produced by the Besant Hill School of Happy Valley development office in celebration of 70 years as a small boarding school in Ojai, California.  Also check out The Story of Happy Valley — a book by Radha Rajagopal Sloss — and learn more about The Happy Valley Foundation.

Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts

The history of the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts is largely the story of Happy Valley. When Annie Besant, a supporter of progressive movements, from female suffrage to Indian independence, first saw the land which is now called Happy Valley, she envisioned that it would be a center for people who would usher in a new world. Besant’s vision contributed to Ojai’s development during the 20th century as a spiritual center and art community.

Name Change

Effective July 1, 2007, the change to “Besant Hill School of Happy Valley” was made after a HVF Board driven initiative sought input from over 700 alumni, parents, long time friends. This name selection was deemed to authentically reflect and honor our history, our past and the principles formulated by the founders.