In the early part of the 20th century, a distinguished Eastern couple settled in the beautiful Ojai Valley and opened a small private school. Little did they know it would be flourishing more than 100 years later. Edward Yeomans, a Chicagoan educated at Phillips Academy and Princeton University, had written a series of articles in the Atlantic Monthly on the need for educational reform. The articles caught the eye of a wealthy businessman, Frank Frost, who persuaded Yeomans to move to Ojai and create a school that would embody his very modern ideas.
At the core of Yeomans’ beliefs was the concept that children learn best through experience. Yeomans considered his own education to have been dull and stifling, and wanted to establish a school that would emphasize experiential learning and a love for the outdoors. He envisioned a place where music, art, and woodshop would be taught alongside math, history, and languages. Yeomans declared that Integer Vitae – meaning the wholeness of life, symmetry of life, soundness of life, and, therefore poise and strength of life – would become the school’s motto and philosophy.
Today, the breadth of learning experiences offered at OVS is Yeomans’ legacy. The school has grown from a one-room classroom serving 12 pupils to a two-campus boarding and day school for nearly 300 students in pre-kindergarten to 12th grades. But its values and spirit remain the same.