A Brief History


The year was 1970 when a small group of community leaders met with their rector at Christ Episcopal Church. They dreamed of a school to provide an education with high scholastic standards and small classes. That dream became Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School and, in 1975, the first class of 11 seniors celebrated their graduation.

The unique traditions and standards of excellence that embody a Saint Stephen’s education today are as strong as they were when first visualized by its founders: students who are well prepared for college through a rigorous academic program, and well prepared for a life of service, embedded with strong moral values of integrity, responsibility and respect.

Much of the school’s success can be attributed to the vision of its leaders. Because of a commitment to maintain small class sizes with academic rigor, campus expansion has been a continual focus for all five serving heads.

Saint Stephen’s now ranks among the most respected independent, college preparatory schools in the nation, providing a world-class education for students in grades Pre-K3 through 12. Students are nurtured in small classes, encouraged and supported by outstanding faculty who help them navigate a carefully designed and balanced curriculum of academic rigor and character development.

A wide variety of customized curricular and extracurricular experiences are offered that result from flexible scheduling and a philosophy of meeting individual student needs. The range and breadth of the curriculum provides children who come to Saint Stephen’s with excellent preparation in becoming global citizens. Current families hail from Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto, Parrish, Ellenton, Anna Maria Island, Sarasota, Longboat Key and Casey Key, as well as from countries around the globe.

Rich academic offerings go hand-in-hand with a strong college counseling program, allowing every student an opportunity to pursue higher education. Saint Stephen’s students are excelling today in colleges and universities nationwide, thanks to a strong foundation for success built on proven educational models.

The school sits on a scenic, gated, 35-acre campus, which includes a state-of-the-art athletic complex that hosts sporting events including football, soccer, track and field, lacrosse, baseball, softball and tennis.


1970-71: Reverend Rodman Kypke
1971-76: Reverend Louis Hayden, Jr.
1976-87: Reverend Bennett H. Barnes
1987-2003: Mr. John Howard
2003-present: Dr. Janet S. Pullen

Campus Expansion

1970 – 22.8-acre campus opens
1973 – Open-plan high school opens (on site of current Intermediate School)
1975 – Selby Gymnasium opens
1976 – Site development plan is created for Lower School and administrative offices
1988 – Pre-K program is established
1989 – Pre-K building opens
1993 – Lower School building opens
1995 – Seven additional acres are purchased
1995 – Campus Center is constructed
1997 – Pre-K building addition opens
1999 – Additional 5.2 acres are added with purchase of Eckerd Plaza
2000 – Construction begins on new Upper School
2001 – Intermediate School building opens
2002 – Two Upper School buildings open (January)
2003 – Third Upper School building opens (November)
2005/06 – Dock is constructed on McLewis Bayou
2006 – Falcon Tennis Facility opens (October)
2010 – New LEED-Certified Middle School opens (January)
2013 – Moore Athletic Complex at Turner Fields opens (October)
2014 – Falcon Field House opens (May)
2014 – New gymnasium floor installed
2014 – Building purchased at 3806 Manatee Ave. (former VNA property)
2015 – Lakewood Ranch campus opens at Harvest United Methodist Church
2015 – New gymnasium ceiling installed
2016 – Marine Science Center opens (January)


1970: 198 students
1989: 222 students
1995: 447 students
2000: 684 students
2015: 670 students
2017: 710 students

Accreditations and Memberships

  • National Association of Independent Schools
  • Florida Council of Independent Schools
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • National Association of Episcopal Schools
  • National Cum Laude Society
  • Florida Kindergarten Council
  • Florida High School Athletic Association

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