In 1906, Lucy Madeira founded her school with the belief that it is our duty and privilege to help young women to understand their changing world and to have the confidence to live lives of their own making, their own passions, their own dreams.
Launching women who change the world.
Leading innovation in girls’ education.
In 1906, Lucy Madeira Wing (1873-1960) founded a school “for the purpose of preparing girls for the leading women’s colleges.” In 1929, the school was incorporated as The Madeira School. Madeira relocated from Washington to the suburb of McLean, Virginia, in 1931.
The original buildings of the Madeira campus were Main, the dining hall, Schoolhouse, East, West, North, and South dorms, The Land, the Annex (infirmary), and the two gatehouses at the entrance to the Oval. A donation of land in 1954 brought the School’s property to just over 376 acres. Later additions to campus include the Chapel/Auditorium, the indoor riding ring and Gaines Hall, the solar heated science building, a renovated and expanded dining hall, Hurd Sports Center, and Huffington Library, which was formerly the school gymnasium. Faculty housing has also been added in recent years.
Madeira’s Co-Curriculum dates back to 1966. It has always served as an extension of the academic program, as well as an extension of the boundaries of the Madeira experience. The program takes students into the local community for service and into Washington, D.C. for internships on Capitol Hill. The program is a mark of Madeira’s longstanding commitment to experiential and project-based learning.
Madeira celebrated its centennial in 2006. In 2010, Pilar Cabeza de Vaca was appointed Head of School, bringing to Madeira her experience as a leader of schools in Quito, Ecuador, and Paris, France.