Sixty years ago, a group of Quaker and like-minded families came together with the dream of creating a Quaker/Friends residential high school on the West Coast. Josephine Duvenek, social activist and founder of the Hidden Villa farm and wilderness preserve in Los Altos Hills California, identified the following ideals for the school:
- A spiritual emphasis running through and undergirding all phases of study, work and living.
- The experience of brotherhood in day-to-day relationships with all races, with different economic levels, differently endowed individuals, and the acceptance of the disciplines involved.
- The training for rigorous and sustained intellectual or creative work.
In 1958, College Park Quarterly Meeting took the fledgling College Park Friends Educational Association (CPFEA) under its care. Five years later, in September 1963, John Woolman School opened with Del Reynolds as Head of School.
The school continued for 38 years until it was suspended in 2001.