Pack your books and head to breakfast around 8:00 a.m.
Open your mind to new ideas 8:30 a.m.–2:15 p.m.
Have some lunch in the dining hall.
The library fills up Mondays for Community Meeting Time when students make announcements.


students from around the world
Head to the activity of your choice after class.
Head back to the dining hall for a community dinner.

History, Mission, and Vision

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.

Our Mission

Launching women who change the world.

Our Vision

Leading innovation in girls’ education.

Our Strategic Goals

  • Establish Madeira as the 21st century leader in girls’ education
  • Bring the world to Madeira and Madeira to the world
  • Advance our inclusive culture that flourishes in diversity
  • Protect and enhance Madeira’s environment and facilities 
  • Ensure Madeira’s financial sustainability

View our Strategic Plan >>

Our Community Values

  • Awareness of self and others
  • Compassion
  • Creativity
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Integrity
  • Resilience


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.

Campus Past and Present

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 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.

The Co-Curriculum Program

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.