Timeline of Events
Founding of “The Happy Valley School,” a co-educational boarding school,grades 10-12 with Rosalind Rajagopal as a School Board member and Vassar’s retired philosophy professor Dr. Guido Ferrando as the first Head of School(a position he held for the first three years of the school)
Happy Valley School enrollment increases to 18 students, 10 teachers; Mathematics teacher, David Young brings an exceptionally high level of folk dancing to the students and school community.
First Publication of “Out Of This Year,” a collection of prose, poetry and artwork created by the students of Happy Valley School; the school’s “yearbook.”
1949 SCHOOL YEAR
Dr. Ferrando resigns for health reasons. Rosalind Rajogapol is appointed “Acting Director” in spring 1950; eventually the “Acting” is dropped, and she serves for many years.
Aldous Huxley gives commencement address entitled “‘Aun Aprendo’ (I am still learning)” which becomes the school’s motto
Former faculty member Franklin Lacey went on to co-author the book for “The Music Man” with Meredith Wilson which opened on Broadway in 1957. Lacey joined the Happy Valley Foundation Board in 1959.
Beatrice Wood, renowned ceramicist begins lecturing and teaching
Architect Paul Hoag designs house for Rosalind Rajagopal’s lifetime use; Beatrice Wood builds house adjacent to Rosalind’s; both houses later become home to the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts with Rosalind’s living room renamed the Robert Logan Gallery
Austin Bee, HVS business manager and newly elected HV board member helps establish the school on the Happy Valley land in Upper Ojai.
Dennis Rice named Head of School, and served until 2004
Penny Gerbode, former HVS student, donates funds for Yurt to commemorate assemblies held in the original campus’ Great Room.
Fire destroys dormitory spearheading a major fundraising initiative that results in the eventual successful construction of the Phoenix dormitory
Original walnut orchard succumbs to a confluence of ecological and economic problems necessitating their removal; the loss is mourned by all
New classrooms completed
Beatrice Wood dies leaving her folk art collection, private ceramic collection, and 1500 volume art book collection to the Happy Valley Foundation.
Completion of the Zalk Theater; Happy Valley Cultural Center established
David Anderson named Interim Head of School
Paul Amadio named Head of School
Happy Valley School renamed Besant Hill School of Happy Valley; School’s first strategic plan initiated.
Completion of the Beato Atelier
Randy Bertin named Head of School; Oral History Project begins capturing alumni reminiscences and memories of HVS
”Portrait of a Graduate” established by Faculty/Staff curriculum committee
Construction of Faculty/Student Housing begins; School’s Strategic Plan, “Our Common Purpose” begins.
Faculty/Student Housing completed along with many campus improvements.
Swimming Pool project breaks ground. See Growth in Progress in the About Our School section.
Swimming Pool project is completed and named Lee Sanders Aquatic Center in memory of beloved 1960s alumnus. Read this news story.