About Swallowtail

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wallowtail School is an independent, non-profit school located in downtown Hillsboro, Oregon. The school is a community of children, their families, teachers and friends, united by a focus on a well-rounded, rigorous, and creative education. Waldorf schools teach all the traditional academic disciplines, plus much more, with a unique and distinctive approach.

The school was founded by Lauren Sheehan, a long-time educator, professional musician, and parent. In 1995, with a vision of a small, rural school rooted in Waldorf Education, Lauren opened Swallowtail School in a log cabin in Gales Creek. Seven kindergarten students were enrolled and taught by Lauren and Ingrid Zahl-Thomas, an accomplished painter interested in education through art. By the end of that first school year Swallowtail had grown to include 13 students in kindergarten through second grade. After outgrowing its cabin location the school moved to an old one-room schoolhouse near the town of Banks. In the year 2000, the school moved to its current location, leasing space from the Hillsboro Friends Church. In 2003, a ceremony was held to honor the first class of graduating eighth grade students.

A final move is in the works. In 2004, the school purchased land on the edge of Hillsboro for its permanent home. While close by to its current location, the 26 acre parcel meets the rural vision Lauren held at the beginning: it includes an old farmhouse and barn, a sweeping expanse of productive farmland, and a meandering creek. The school community is actively working together to design and create our facilities. The campus master plan includes spacious classrooms, administrative offices, a biodynamic garden, multiple play areas, and natural areas.

Swallowtail school is self-administered, with a dedicated Faculty, Administration, and Board of Trustees. The school is a member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. It joins a global community of over 900 Waldorf schools who have made a commitment toward progressive education and social renewal.


Get a glimpse of what our students experience at Swallowtail's Farm Campus and what the future holds for Swallowtail School