Originating as the vision of a small group of dedicated parents, Sage Hill School has emerged as the leading independent high school in Orange County, California. With each graduating class, Sage Hill School’s legacy of pioneering an innovative and individualized approach to education continues to grow. Join us for a look back at how Sage Hill School has evolved over the past 20 years.

The Difference Between Dreaming and Doing

At the inaugural TEDxSageHill in 2016, school founder Karina Hamilton shared the story of how Sage Hill School went from dream to reality.


Visionary community leaders and enthusiastic parents come together in the mid- 1990’s to build a non-profit, non-denominational, independent high school in Orange County. Their intention was to develop a school that would inspire innovative thinking, nurture creative thought and embrace diversity.

Early Years

Sage Hill School opened on September 7, 2000 with approximately 90 ninth grade students, 30 10th grade students, and 12 full-time faculty. In the first three years, the school added grades 11 and 12, school enrollment expanded to nearly 400 students and teaching faculty tripled in size. 

First Decade

Sage Hill School’s first decade was a time of tremendous growth, with enrollment increasing to well over 400 students by 2010. The school community experienced numerous “firsts” including its first accreditation from the California Association of Independent Schools in January 2003, achievements in arts, athletics and service, the creation of an honor code, and the start of new traditions such as English Portfolio Night, Pep Rally and use of the school gong. The first new campus building, the Studio at Sage Hill, opened in 2009.

Second Decade

Sage Hill School’s second decade saw the completion of the School’s Master Plan with the addition of facilities for science, tennis and swimming. Sage Hill also expanded programming with the introduction of the Spring at Sage year-end seminar and travel program, dedicated Academic Teams, and the Hamoui Family Sage Center, which promotes the integration of the School’s six core competencies and houses the School’s initiatives for diversity, equity and inclusivity.

A Look Back at Sage Hill

This video, commissioned in Sage Hill’s first school year, shows just how far we have come, while remaining true to the vision of our founders.

Sage Hill School was once again named the #1 Best Private High School in Orange County for 2022 by Niche.com.

Niche.com is a ranking and review website for K-12 schools, colleges, cities, neighborhoods and companies across the U.S.

On Niche, Sage Hill currently has an overall grade of A+. It is also ranked #1 for Best High Schools for STEM in Orange County and #21 out of 403 in Best Private High Schools in California.


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