Besant Hill School

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Besant Hill School
Ojai, CA
United States
Type Private, Boarding, Day
Religious affiliation(s) No religious affiliation
Established 1946
Head of School Randy R. Bertin
Faculty 23
Enrollment 104
Average class size 9 students
Student to teacher ratio 4:1
Campus 520 acres (2.1 km2)
Color(s) Navy Blue and Green
Mascot Coyote
Nickname Happy Valley
Average SAT scores (2013) 1760

Besant Hill School of Happy Valley, formerly the Happy Valley School, is an American private, coeducational boarding school and day school in Ojai, California. 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 and STEM courses. Classes are taught using the Socratic method. In the 2014/15 school year there are 13 states and 16 countries represented in the student body.[1] The school is best known for its beautiful location, a strong sense of community, and an expansive arts program. An environmental science and sustainability program is coupled with a working garden/farm on campus and many fruiting trees.


The school was envisioned by Annie Besant, Guido Ferrando, Aldous Huxley, J. Krishnamurti, and Rosalind Rajagopal. The school is on 520 acres (2.1 km2) of land that was bought in 1927 by Besant.[2] It first opened its doors in Fall 1946 as the Happy Valley School with Dr. Ferrando serving as the first Head of School. The school was later renamed in July 2006 in Besant's honor.

Notable founders/faculty members[edit]

  • 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]


External links[edit]

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