Besant Hill School

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Besant Hill School of Happy Valley
Ojai, CA
United States
Type Private, Boarding, Day
Established 1946
Head of school Randy R. Bertin, Ed.D.
Faculty 26
Enrollment 104 (90% Boarding)
Average class size 9 students
Student to teacher ratio 4:1
Campus size 520 acres (2.1 km2)
Color(s) Navy Blue and Green
Mascot Coyote
Nickname Happy Valley, Besant Hill
Average SAT scores 1870

Besant Hill School of Happy Valley, formerly the Happy Valley School, is an American private, coeducational boarding school and day school in Ojai, California.[1][2] The school has approximately 100 students and about 35 faculty and staff, all of whom live on or near campus. The faculty to student ratio is 1:4 and the average class size is 10. Currently there are 62 courses available, including AP. In the 2017/18 school year there are 13 states and 22 countries represented in the student body.[3] The school is best known for its beautiful location, a strong sense of community, rigorous academics, and an expansive arts program. An environmental science and sustainability program is coupled with a working garden/farm on campus and many fruiting trees.

College matriculation[edit]

Besant Hill graduates from the class of 2016 attended the following colleges and universities: AMDA, College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts, Baldwin Wallace University, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Claremont McKenna College, Hamilton College (New York), Kent State University, Marquette University, New York University, Pennsylvania State University, Regis University, San Jose State University, Sarah Lawrence College, Savannah College of Art and Design, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Stanford University, The New School, University of Arizona, University of California, San Diego, University of California, Santa Barbara, University of California, Santa Cruz, University of Madrid, University of San Francisco, University of Washington, and Whittier College.[citation needed]


An educational community was envisioned by Annie Besant, which later took the form of a secondary school that was founded by Guido Ferrando, Aldous Huxley, J. Krishnamurti, and Rosalind Rajagopal. The school is on 520 acres (210 ha) of land that was bought in 1927 by Besant.[4][5] It opened on October 1, 1946 as the Happy Valley School with Dr. Ferrando serving as the first Head of School. [6]The school was later renamed in July 2007 in Besant's honor. The school is currently celebrating its 70th year, and has launched a website to commentate this anniversary with a building project.[7]

Notable founders/faculty members[8][edit]

  • Dr. Annie Besant – Main Founder of the school, prominent women's rights activist and president of the theosophical society
  • Rosalind Rajagopal – Main Founder of the school and long-time Director.*Rosalind Rajagopal – Main Founder of the school and long-time Director.
  • Aldous Huxley – Main Founder of the school (along with Rosalind) – author of Brave New World, and many other novels
  • Jiddu Krishnamurti – An Indian speaker and writer on philosophical and spiritual subjects.
  • Franklin Lacey – Long-time faculty member and Head of School – co-wrote the famous musical The Music Man
  • Beatrice Wood – Long-time faculty member – A famous artist and studio potter involved in the Avant Garde movement in the United States

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Besant Hill School of Happy Valley". Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  2. ^ "Besant Hill School of Happy Valley - School Directory Details (CA Dept of Education)". Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2014-09-30. 
  4. ^ "WBSA | Besant Hill School of Happy Valley". Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  5. ^ "Besant Hill School of Happy Valley Homepage". Retrieved 2017-03-26. 
  6. ^ "Besant Hill School of Happy Valley - The Association of Boarding Schools - TABS". Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  7. ^ "Celebrate 70 – The Campaign for Besant Hill School of Happy Valley". 1946-10-01. Retrieved 2017-03-26. 
  8. ^ "Besant Hill School of Happy Valley". Retrieved 2017-08-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°26′22″N 119°11′10″W / 34.4395°N 119.1860°W / 34.4395; -119.1860