History of the School

Cushman School students in a C formationNamed for Dr. Laura Cushman, its founder and principal for nearly fifty-three years, The Cushman School is Miami-Dade’s oldest continuously operating private school that offers a holistic approach to education. Established in 1924, its first class of just 12 students took place on the porch of Dr. Cushman's home. Today, the school consists of a charming mix of renovated and new buildings spread across a beautifully landscaped campus in a historic pocket of international Miami. The non-denominational school offers a challenging academic environment for a diverse ethnic and socioeconomic population of children from preschool through eighth grade with a rich traditional heritage and a culture of camaraderie and warmth. With rigorous academics, state-of-the-art technology, innovative performing arts programming, daily physical education, unique global studies exposure and many exciting field trips built into an ever-evolving curriculum, The Cushman School continues to stand apart with an "identity linked to excellence." 

The Cushman School, like its founder, is known for its idealism, innovation and vision. Dr. Laura Cushman moved to Miami from Iowa in the early 1900s. An accomplished teacher in the county school system, she opened The Cushman School in 1924. Two years later, the school moved into the Mediterranean-styled building on the present campus. Dr. Cushman was behind every step of the school's development, from its founding until her death in 1986. Dr. Cushman benefited from the wisdom of world-renowned education leaders like John Dewey and Maria Montessori. Like her contemporaries, she also believed that every student possessed the ability, when provided with encouragement and direction, to achieve success in school and in life. 

With her 100th birthday looming, Dr. Cushman began looking for a successor. Dr. Joan Lutton, a former journalist turned High School teacher, became principal in the early 1980s. With great passion and enthusiasm, she continued The Cushman School's innovative pursuit of excellence, while bringing the school to a much healthier financial position prior to her retirement in 2012.

Mentored by Dr. Lutton for over 25 years, Ms. Arvi Balseiro became the Head of School in July of 2012. She presides over an astonishingly diverse student body, representing forty different countries, and she brings tremendous vision for the evolution of the school to meet the needs of a global technology-focused marketplace. 

More than 90 years later, The Cushman School continues to uphold the same objectives stated by Dr. Laura Cushman from the onset: "A school seeks to develop the child mentally, physically and in character growth. To do this, the child must be placed in happy surroundings, be properly adjusted to his/her work, and have wholesome participation in living experiences."