Villa Academy traces its roots to 1903, when the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart founded their first orphanage and school in Seattle on Beacon Hill. In 1914, Mother Cabrini (now St. Frances Xavier Cabrini) moved her mission to the Laurelhurst campus we occupy today. The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart continued to run both an orphanage and school on the property until 1950. In 1951, the Missionary Sisters closed the orphanage and concentrated their energies on the elementary school known as Sacred Heart Villa, which they continued to run themselves until the mid-1970s. In 1977, with Archdiocesan approval, the governance of the school was turned over to an independent, lay Board of Trustees. Sacred Heart Villa became Villa Academy and the city’s only Catholic independent preschool through eighth-grade school.
A Sense of Place
The fulfillment of a dream in which Mother Cabrini envisioned her “villa on a hill,” Villa Academy’s historic, brick-clad main buildings were sited at the highest point of a 25-acre property that reaches all the way to the shores of Lake Washington. Designed by celebrated Seattle architect John Graham, and completed in 1924, the structures originally housed an orphanage and elementary school, along with a convent. A gym was added in the late 1950s.
Because it was built as a school and an orphanage, the facility was designed with children and learning in mind. We are fortunate that the Villa Academy buildings and grounds include ample spaces for all of our academic and co-curricular activities.
Making it our own
In 2006, Villa Academy completed its first major capital campaign, raising funds to purchase the schools historic buildings, along with eight acres of the beautiful grounds on which the they are situated, from the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. The campus purchase was completed in December 2007, allowing us to move forward with renovations and capital improvement projects, including a new roof and an outdoor, covered play area for our students.