About Westside School


This is a school that provides children with strong foundational skills and equips them to become flexible, creative thinkers and engaged citizens. Our mission to challenge students to achieve academic success, and to connect their human spirit and imagination to learning, is so essential in today’s world.

37 years ago, Westside began with just a handful of students in preschool. Today, we are situated in a state-of-the-art building in the Arbor Heights neighborhood of West Seattle, with almost 350 students from preschool to 8th grade.

As I begin my tenure as head of school, I am tremendously excited to have joined this unique school community. Our teachers are skillful, impassioned, and hard-working. Our parents are committed and supportive.  Our students are delightful and exceptional. It is our people who make the difference.

This school is a special place, a place where children are known and honored, where they are encouraged to grow cognitively, socially, emotionally, creatively and physically, a place where joyful and integrated learning is at the forefront of our philosophy of education. With an outstanding Trips program and a World Language program that is second to none, Westside students receive an extraordinary education.

Here at Westside, we are proud of the way we challenge kids to stretch and learn. Alumni families consistently share stories with us of how our graduates are thriving in the best Seattle high schools. They are confident, thoughtful, accomplished, creative, articulate, respectful, and kind.

Thank you for visiting our website. I warmly encourage you to visit us in person to experience the unique programs and spirit of our school.


Steve de Beer
Head of School


On September 9, 1981, Westside School started as the Westside School for Young Children. It was founded by a group of educators and parents who wanted a positive and self-esteem building school experience for their children. The program grew steadily and Westside moved many times over the following years, outgrowing building after building as more students enrolled.

Following a successful Capital Campaign that raised more than 4.2 million dollars, construction began early in 2013 on a complete renovation of the former Hillcrest Presbyterian Church in West Seattle’s Arbor Heights neighborhood. This space became our permanent home for our preschool through eighth grade programs.

Exterior of building at dusk

The new space is a naturally lit, child-centered, creative building that provides a collaborative learning environment for Westside School’s permanent home. Westside’s campus has 53,000 square feet of space dedicated to teaching and learning: 27 classrooms; light-filled, child-centered work spaces; a beautiful library; separate, team-oriented middle school classrooms; 500 seat auditorium; green space, and warm and inviting gathering spaces where students, teachers, parents and visitors can connect, share and meet.

After five locations, hundreds of students and 37 years of stories, Westside has continued to grow and flourish, becoming the high quality center for learning that it is today.


1981 Westside School for Young Children opened its doors to 11 kindergarten students.

1988 Westside’s program had grown to 33 preschool students and 22 students in kindergarten, first and second grade.

1989 Our first auction raised $4,000

1990 Now with forty-eight preschoolers and thirty primary elementary students, Westside outgrew its original space and moved into a new space that they leased from a small West Seattle church.

1996 Westside was accepted as a member of PNAIS (now NWAIS) and became an accredited independent school.

1996-1997 Westside School expanded its program through the fifth grade and our first class of five fifth grade students graduated.

2000-2001 With an increase of total enrollment to more than 125 students, Westside offered separate fourth and fifth grade classes.

2005-2006 Westside School obtained licensing from the Department of Early Learning and the early school program was restructured from multiple part day options to a full five-day pre-kindergarten class and a five-day multi-age class of PK with a half-day preschool.

2011-2012 Sixth grade was added, with subsequent grades added the following years

2014 Our first eighth grade class graduated.

2013 The Board of Trustees began searching for property to purchase as a permanent home for the school.

2014 Following a successful Capital Campaign, construction began on Westside’s permanent home.

2015 Construction was completed on our new building in July.

2015-2016 Our first year in our permanent home.

2016-2017 The first double-section of 8th graders graduated in the spring of 2017.

Westside School exterior photo credit: Benjamin Benschneider