Empowering Girls in the Process of Self Discovery

During the 128-year history of St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School, one golden thread has run throughout the tapestry of our approach to educating girls. This school always encouraged its students in a direction that superseded expectations for women at the time. This arose out of the founders’ determination that girls be equipped with skills and knowledge that enable them to thrive and follow their dreams no matter where those dreams might take them.
Long before the radical culture of the ‘60s, the women’s liberation movement and the #MeToo phenomenon, St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn girls were leading the way to uncharted territory, feeling confident that there were no boundaries they could not overcome.
To this day, our students and graduates, when reflecting on their time at St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn, will comment “I learned that there was nothing a woman couldn’t accomplish!”
So how does a school provide an environment where girls not only think they can accomplish whatever they desire but know, deep down, that remarkable achievement is well within their grasp?
Our approach has always been to provide opportunities through curriculum and environment that empower St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn girls in the process of self-discovery. When even the youngest of our students come through the doors of the school, she is entering a community where there are no preconceived notions of what she might become.

​Through encouraging and nurturing exploration, our students learn to find the avenues best suited to their skills and interests. Along the way, our teachers guide and prompt their development within the discipline of high academic achievement. At the same time, the degree of personal attention we can bring to each child because of our smaller school and class sizes means that girls are encouraged and able to follow paths they might not otherwise.


Ruth Lightbourn, one of the school’s founders, knew something very special about young women and she helped shape a school that recognizes that girls need two things – roots and wings.
Our deep history, our devotion to empowering girls who thrive and our adherence to a vision launched over a century ago provide the foundation – the roots – for a profound educational experience for each Millie.
Coupled with a commitment to inspiring our girls to recognize that anything is possible through our Signature Programs in STEM and Robotics, Global Studies, Professional Internship, Active Healthy Living, and Art & Design, we know that Millies have wings.
As Nancy Richards, Head of School has said many times, “SMLS is an all-girls learning environment where girls are encouraged to discover and pursue their personal excellence through a rigorous academic program. Our deeply committed and dedicated faculty prepare girls for a strong, inspired future as empowered young women.”
We hope you will accompany us on this journey and find these posts motivating. While we have a full calendar of topics of interest, we’d love to hear from you with any comments and suggestions about issues that are of particular relevance to you. Please submit your ideas to [email protected].
Key Facts

School Type: Progressive, Faith Based, Gifted Learner Support, Reggio Emilia
Grades (Gender): PS – 12 (Girls)
Tuition: $ 10,800 – 28,430
Average Class Size:  Varies
Enrollment Day: 550 (PS – 12)
Contact Person: Chris White


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