The 2021 Marin Private School Guide: Setting Up Your Kids for Success

September is the best month of the year for people who love reboots, a time when we can all contemplate how to take on the next year with new folders, pencils and perhaps a new backpack, metaphorically, of course. And for parents everywhere, of course, it’s game time.

As I thought about introducing our Private School Guide this month, I remembered my own experience helping my daughters, Grace and Natalie, prepare for the next school year. It was like my own Olympic trials. The prep went way beyond fall fashion. (Sending our girls to St. Hilary’s, where uniforms were mandatory, probably saved us thousands on school clothes and wardrobe angst, at least.) The fun part was setting up their desks, backpacks and schedules (soccer, swim, dance) for success. I’d like to think this life preparation has rubbed off them just a little — that, and their dad’s commitment to helping them with homework.


Fast forward a decade or so: This past June, I was sitting in a World Market papasan chair at the corner of Camino Corto and Del Playa Drive in Goleta, California, with Grace, our family, her five roommates and their families at a quarantine-style graduation ceremony. Oprah Winfrey was offering advice virtually to the U.C. Santa Barbara graduating class of 2021 on a small television that had been wheeled out to the front yard. I was flooded with gratitude and a few tears watching these kids who had been through the pandemic, late nights, heartbreaks and tons of small victories together.


I think you’ll agree, Oprah’s message about resilience relates to all students, regardless of age: “You’ll be telling your story to your grandchildren — a story of surviving a global health crisis, of thriving and graduating during a pandemic. You already have in your young lives created a legacy of resilience, not giving up when the challenges kept coming, making virtual reality your reality — all the while, learning and growing and now moving into the next chapter of your life.”

mimi towle daughters

For those of you deciding where to send your precious little one for kindergarten next year, we know it’s hard not to agonize. Click below to learn about some of the county’s top private offerings. And as school starts, let’s hope everyone can enjoy a bit of time to reboot, get a new backpack and just breathe.

The 2021 Private School Guide

Private School Directory

Marin’s Top Private Schools for 2021 — Private School Guide Highlights

san francisco girls school
San Francisco Girls School

Marin Private Schools Answer Your Questions: Learn About Their Academic Philosophies, Curriculums and More

Mark Day School
Mark Day School

Mimi TowleMimi Towle was the editor of Marin Magazine for over a decade and is currently editor-at-large at Make it Better Media. She lived with her family in Sycamore Park and Strawberry and thoroughly enjoyed raising two daughters in the mayhem of Marin’s youth sports; soccerswimvolleyballballethip hopgymnastics and many many hours spent at Miwok Stables. Her community involvements include volunteering at her daughter’s schools, coaching soccer and volleyball (glorified snack mom), being on the board of both Richardson Bay Audubon Center and then The EACH Foundation. Currently residing on a floating home in Sausalito, she enjoys all water activity, including learning how to steer a 6-person canoe for the Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club. Born and raised in Hawaii, her fondness for the islands has on occasion made its way into the pages of the magazine. If you want more, she’s created a website, Local Getaways.