Indian Springs School

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Not to be confused with Indian Springs High School.
Indian Springs School
190 Woodward Drive
Indian Springs Village, Alabama, 35124
United States
Coordinates 33°20′27″N 86°46′17″W / 33.3409°N 86.7715°W / 33.3409; -86.7715Coordinates: 33°20′27″N 86°46′17″W / 33.3409°N 86.7715°W / 33.3409; -86.7715
Type Private, boarding and day, secondary
Motto Discere Vivendo
(Learning Through Living)
Established 1952
Founder Harvey G. Woodward
Director Gareth Vaughen
Faculty 40
Grades 8–12
Gender Coeducational
Enrollment 297
Campus 350 acres (1.4 km2) with an 11-acre (45,000 m2) lake
Color(s) Maroon and Grey         
Athletics Boys' and Girls' Cross Country, Basketball, Tennis, and Soccer
Boys' Baseball and Golf
Girls' Volleyball and Softball
Student organized Ultimate Frisbee
Mascot None
Yearbook Khalas
Choir 139 (47% of the student body)

Indian Springs School is a private school that includes grades eight through twelve with both boarding and day students. It is at the base of Oak Mountain, in Indian Springs Village, Shelby County, Alabama, United States.


Indian Springs School was founded in 1952 by Birmingham-born, MIT-educated businessman Harvey G. Woodward, who left in his will the funds and instructions for creating the school at his death in 1930. In some ways, his vision was progressive. Woodward wanted to make the school available to both upper-class and lower-class people. He instructed that the school should champion a holistic approach to learning (the school's motto is "Discere Vivendo", or "Learning through Living"). During its first years, the school was a working farm, which the students tended, although this element was shortly eliminated. However, Woodward also stipulated that the school could admit only whites, non-Jews, and boys, limitations that all were eventually challenged and abolished. The school is now praised for its wide diversity.[1]

Indian Springs opened in 1952 with ten staff members and sixty students. The first director of the school was Louis "Doc" Armstrong. He made several changes to Woodward's original plans for the school, most notably Woodward's request that the school not be preparatory.

By the 1970s, the school had grown to include equal numbers of day students and boarders. An eighth grade was added, and the school began admitting girls in 1976.

Indian Springs School was the first school in the Southeast to be recognized by the Malone Family Foundation,[2] with a $2-million grant to underwrite tuition and other expenses for gifted students whose families could not otherwise afford an independent school.


Indian Springs School's campus is on 350 acres (1.4 km2) in northern Shelby County, 15 miles (24 km) south of downtown Birmingham. Through the 1970s, the school was remote and surrounded by woodlands, with Oak Mountain State Park abutting its southern boundary. In the late 1970s, facing increasing debts and possible bankruptcy because of decreased enrollment, the school sold hundreds of acres surrounding the campus.

Instruction takes place in seven academic buildings, which house 23 classrooms, a new science center, a concert hall, a theater, two student lounges, a college center, a technology lab, a 19,000-volume library, and special studios for chorus, art, photography, and drama. The athletic facilities include two gymnasiums, with two basketball courts, two volleyball courts, and two weight rooms. The campus has six new tennis courts, a competition soccer field, a baseball field, a softball field, a cross country track, and a practice field/track. A new organic orchard, Fertile Minds, complements the greenhouse in producing food for the students. In 2006, new dorms for both boys and girls were opened.


In 2011-2012 the school had 261 students from twelve states and thirteen countries, 68% of whom were day students and 32% of whom were boarders.[citation needed]

The school competes in the Alabama High School Athletic Association (Division 3A) in all sports except football. The school has a long-running rivalry, especially in basketball and soccer, with The Altamont School.

Notable people[edit]




  1. ^ "Where There's a Will: The Story of Indian Springs School" by Pam Jones, Alabama Heritage Magazine, Number 77, Summer 2005, 26-33.
  2. ^ Malone Family Foundation
  3. ^ [1] Talbot, Margaret, "The Teen Whisperer: How the author of “The Fault in Our Stars” built an ardent army of fans," The New Yorker, June 9, 2014.
  4. ^ "Looking for Alaska at My High School" by John Green, Uploaded on August 6, 2010.
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links[edit]