Marin Primary & Middle School was founded in 1975 as Marin Primary, an independent preschool in a Corte Madera church basement. Five years later, the school moved to the present location in the former Larkspur Corte Madera Public School. Each year a grade was added until the program encompassed preschool through middle school. In 1994, the school’s name was changed to Marin Primary & Middle School to reflect the addition of fifth through eighth grades.
The vision and core values of founders Roberta and Jim Heath and the founding head of school, David Heath (no relation) remain central to MP&MS. At the heart of our mission lies a deep respect for the developmental stages of childhood and early adolescence. The founders envisioned a school where teachers respect the pace of each child’s journey from through these years, recognizing the many ways in which children learn and striving to educate the whole child. The school’s integrated curriculum provides opportunities for children to explore their passions in many different areas and attracts dedicated teachers with a deep understanding of children and learning.
During the twenty-five years of David Heath’s leadership the school developed robust specialist classes in the performing/visual arts and physical education, and added a unique projects lab. David’s entrepreneurial spirit and vision remains strong and alive in the school today. The Learning Resource Center was created to provide additional support for students, and a dedicated library space, music and art studios, a beautiful organic learning garden, the David Heath Outdoor Education Center, became the heart of the campus. Murray Lopdell-Lawrence, head of school from 2002-2005, enhanced the school’s curriculum, pedagogy, professional development and organizational policies.
Julie Elam joined MP&MS as the third head of school in July 2006, leading the school through a period of growing strength and stability that has supported further professional development for our dedicated and talented teachers and the creation of a campus master plan under the leadership of architect Peter Pfau. The success of the school’s first major capital campaign led to a transformation of the campus, including renovation of existing buildings, the addition of new playgrounds and outdoor spaces, and a new amphitheater. Upgrades to improve the accessibility and environmental sustainability of the campus have been addressed throughout the project. Future projects include a new multipurpose building to serve as a gathering place, and to provide space for indoor physical education, drama, music, dance, and other events.
MP&MS received its first accreditation from the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) in 1999, and first Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation in 1995. The school most recently received the maximum six-year term of accreditation from CAIS and WASC in 2013.
As Marin Primary & Middle School continues to grow and thrive, our mission and the vision of our founders inspires an ongoing commitment to treasure childhood and respect the pace of children’s development from preschool through the primary and middle school years.