ABOUT OUR FOUNDERS
Founded in 1984, Heritage School started small and intentionally remains small. Its founders, Parviz and Maudie Samiee, approached their children’s teachers, Glen and Elaine Olsen, with an irresistible offer. Why not start your own school? Having witnessed a more personal education in action, the Samiees offered to help launch a school founded on the philosophy of education their children had experienced in Glen and Elaine’s classroom. Why not start a school in Salem that would nurture children in an environment that fostered creativity, in depth learning, and individual attention? Why not allow children to learn at a pace that truly fit their needs and abilities instead of moving them lock step through a rote curriculum? Why not develop a community of learners of a variety of ages, and why not start this little school with only one month to go before the start of school in September?
Heritage School started small indeed; the first day of school nine students walked through the doors of the Salem Family YMCA, which would become our “temporary” site for about twenty years. Our enrollment grew to forty students, ranging from grades one through eight.
In 2004, Heritage School finally found a more permanent home at the site of the former Fairview Training Center, which was slated to become a sustainable community. Our spacious, light-filled building houses happy children who have room to learn both indoors and out. Surrounded by tall trees, open fields, and wetlands, our beloved red schoolhouse welcomes an average of forty students, most of whom stay for several years. We continue to keep our enrollment small in order to maintain close contact with our students so we can deliver an education that fits each individual child.
Glen and Elaine Olsen, the husband and wife teaching team for Heritage's first 35 years, retired in July of 2019. We miss them terribly but wish them both good health and a long and happy retirement. We are also hopeful that they, along with their sons, Matt and Nathan, can be enticed back to Heritage now and then to visit.
Current teachers, Angela Obery, Chris Ross, and Emily Skelding are excited to begin this next chapter in the Heritage story and are committed to the principles and model upon which the school was founded. They are aided by a supportive community of parent, grandparent, and alumni volunteers, which help keep this small school a place where children can witness everyday what can happen when small beginnings launch great opportunities.
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