Besant Hill School

Coordinates: 34°26′22″N 119°11′10″W / 34.4395°N 119.1860°W / 34.4395; -119.1860
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Besant School of Happy Valley
United States
Coordinates34°26′22″N 119°11′10″W / 34.4395°N 119.1860°W / 34.4395; -119.1860
TypePrivate, Boarding, Day
Head of schoolPortia Johnson
Enrollment104 (90% Boarding)
Average class size9 students
Student to teacher ratio4:1
Campus size520 acres (2.1 km2)
Color(s)Navy Blue and Green
NicknameHappy Valley, Besant Hill

Besant Hill School of Happy Valley, formerly the Happy Valley School, is an American private, coeducational boarding school and day school in Ojai, California.[1][2] Notable subjects are environmental science and sustainability program coupled with a working garden/farm on campus. The school has approximately 100 students and about 35 faculty and staff, all of whom live on or near campus. There were 13 states and 22 countries represented in the 2017-2018 student body[3]


The school was conceptualized by Annie Besant, who had initially envisioned an educational community that would nurture spiritual, artistic, and intellectual growth as well as physical and mental well-being.[4] Initially a secondary school, it was founded by Guido Ferrando, Aldous Huxley, J. Krishnamurti, and Rosalind Rajagopal. The school opened on October 1, 1946, as the Happy Valley School, with Dr. Ferrando serving as the first Head of the School.[5] It sat on 520 acres (210 ha) of land that was bought in 1927 by Besant.[6][7] It was later renamed in July 2007 in Besant's honor.[8]

Notable founders/faculty members[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Besant Hill School of Happy Valley". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  2. ^ "Besant Hill School of Happy Valley - School Directory Details (CA Dept of Education)". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  3. ^ "Besant Hill School - Facts and Statistics". Archived from the original on 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2014-09-30.
  4. ^ "History & Heritage – Besant Hill School of Happy Valley". Retrieved 2023-03-30.
  5. ^ "Besant Hill School of Happy Valley - The Association of Boarding Schools - TABS". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  6. ^ "WBSA | Besant Hill School of Happy Valley". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  7. ^ "Besant Hill School of Happy Valley Homepage". Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  8. ^ "Celebrate 70 – The Campaign for Besant Hill School of Happy Valley". 1946-10-01. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  9. ^ "Besant Hill School of Happy Valley". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  10. ^ Keller, John J. (December 16, 1994). "Tough Newcomer: Alex Mandl Is Crafting Aggressive Strategy For Future of AT&T --- His 'Fat Minutes' Campaign Is Plumping Up Profits With a Slimmer Staff --- Loading the Digital Pipeline". The Wall Street Journal.
  11. ^ "Tom Pollock HVS '60 - (4/10/43 - 08/01/2020)". Retrieved 2020-10-13.
  12. ^ Crane, Cheryl (1988). Detour: A Hollywood Story. New York: Arbor House/William Morrow. p. 207. ISBN 0-87795-938-2.

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