More than a century ago, Clara Sturges Johnson and William Templeton Johnson dreamed of creating a school with a learning environment where the individual talents and strengths in each child could be uncovered and nurtured.

They opened Francis Parker School in Mission Hills with just three students. From those humble beginnings, Francis Parker School has become one of the most respected independent schools in the nation serving 1,230 students on campuses in Mission Hills (Lower School) and Linda Vista (Middle and Upper Schools.)

Parker remains committed to the educational ideals pioneered by the school’s namesake: Col. Francis Parker, also known as “the father of progressive education.” Active learning through study trips, creative opportunities and hands-on projects are essential elements of the Parker experience.

As the school enters its second century, Francis Parker School has a well-earned reputation as a welcoming, inclusive community with students coming from more than 74 zip codes across San Diego County.


To create and inspire a diverse community of independent thinkers whose academic excellence, global perspective and strength of character prepare them to make a meaningful difference in the world.


Photo courtesy of Francis Parker School
Photo courtesy of Fred Greaves

An exceptional faculty offers a rigorous, college-prep curriculum aimed at stimulating creative, critical and independent thinking in young minds. Parker’s college-going culture ranks high in parent satisfaction, quality of teaching, breadth of program and educational experience.

“We focus on making a deep one-on-one investment in each student,” Dean of College Counseling Terri Devine said.

Global Perspective

For several weeks each year, students become true global citizens as they unpack their foreign language skills and plunge into historical, ecological and cultural field study on global study trips.

All Middle and Upper School students have the option to travel abroad. Recent destinations have included China, Vietnam, Peru, India, Philippines and South Africa. On these trips, students also tackle service projects such as building homes and animal habitats; working with children in schools and orphanages, and helping public works projects.


Photo courtesy of Earnie Grafton
Photo courtesy of Earnie Grafton

Francis Parker School has a tradition of developing outstanding student-athletes. A full spectrum of physical education and sports classes emphasize fitness, sportsmanship, personal integrity, moral character and teamwork starting at the Lower School.

Since 1973, Francis Parker School has won nine CIF state championships, 84 CIF San Diego section championships and 144 league championships. More than 50 alumni from the classes of 2011 to 2014 have continued their athletic careers at the collegiate level.


Photo courtesy of Nancee Lewis ©
Photo courtesy of Nancee Lewis

Music and visual arts are embedded into the daily curriculum as part of Francis Parker School’s whole-child education. Performing arts classes offered include dance, drama, choral and instrumental music. Visual arts courses include ceramics, sculpture (bronze and stone), woodworking, video, photography, drawing, painting and digital design.

Read the latest issue of the Parker Magazine

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