About Madeira

The Madeira School is an independent boarding and day school that educates girls in grades 9-12. The scenic 376-acre campus is just 10 miles from Washington, DC.

Brief History

  • Founded by Lucy Madeira in Washington, D.C. in 1906
  • Relocated to McLean, Virginia, in 1931
  • Instituted a unique Co-Curriculum program in 1966-1967 school year
  • Appointed our 10th Head of School, Gretchen Warner, in 2020

Location and Campus

  • A 376-acre campus in McLean, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.
  • Encompasses a student center, classroom buildings, art and dance studios, dormitories and faculty housing, a 590-seat auditorium, indoor and outdoor athletic facilities, playing fields, horse stable, indoor riding ring, indoor pool, and the Calleva ropes challenge course
  • Overlooks the Potomac River


The academic curriculum emphasizes both content and skills in the context of a liberal arts education.

  • Curricular integration across science, technology, arts, mathematics, literature, history, and world languages
  • Co-Curriculum emphasizing real-world experience and applied learning
  • College-level mathematics beyond AP Calculus BC 
  • Modular schedule curriculum:
    • All classes taught in 80 minute blocks, for three periods a day, five days per week
    • Three blocks constitute a full-year course equivalent
    • 15 academic blocks plus a Co-Curriculum module is considered a full load


Madeira’s Co-Curriculum Program, winner of the prestigious National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) 2003 Leading Edge Award, is now over 50 years old. See the Co-Curriculum pages for grade-by-grade program details.  


  • Total number of students in 2021-2022: 334
  • Countries represented: 38
  • States represented, including the District of Columbia: 21
  • 51% boarding students
  • 49% day students
  • 38% students of color
  • 15% international students


  • Student-faculty ratio of 4:1
  • 90% faculty members with master’s degree or higher
  • 38 housing units for faculty/staff 

Student Life

  • Welcoming community of day students and boarders from across the country and around the world
  • Beautiful campus with spaces for fine and performing arts and indoor and outdoor athletics and access to Washington, D.C., for excursions
  • Over two dozen student-run clubs and activities including political, cultural, arts, and media organizations all offering opportunities to build relationships and gain leadership experience
  • Boarding students living in six dormitories housing around 25 students each and a dorm faculty of four
  • Expansive Student Center with lounge area, pool table, and basement with snack bar, mailroom, and lockers for day students
  • Dining plan that brings faculty and students together – day girls and boarders alike –for breakfast, lunch, and dinner


  • 12 interscholastic team sports include cross country, field hockey, soccer, volleyball, tennis, basketball, rock climbing, swimming and diving, lacrosse, softball, and track and field
  • Competitive horseback riding in all seasons
  • Independent School League (ISL) competition

College Counseling

A natural consequence of a quality secondary education is college admission. Madeira’s College Counseling program is designed to ensure successful transition from the secondary school experience to a variety of post-secondary options. Madeira students have a variety of options, including Ivy League universities, highly selective liberal arts colleges, and universities around the country and the world. Click here for a list of recent college destinations. 

Tuition and Financial Aid

Cost of Attendance (2018–2019)

  • Comprehensive boarding fee: $62,000
  • Comprehensive day student fee: $47,310

Financial Aid 

  • 39% of students receive Madeira financial assistance
  • Total aid available: $3.53 million
  • Average grant size: $39,572


  • Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS)


  • Association of College Counselors at Independent Schools (ACCIS)
  • National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
  • Potomac and Chesapeake Association of College Admission Counseling (PCACAC)
  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
  • The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)

Contact the Admissions Office

Contact the Admissions staff with any questions about campus visits, interviews, or the admissions process.

Contact Us