85 Years of The Buckley School

Celebrating eight and a half decades of growth and learning

Historical Timeline

Life Before The Buckley School


Isabelle deMunn Palms was born on October 3, 1900, and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. She attended Manhattanville School in New York, and married Harold Buckley. The Buckleys moved from Michigan to Los Angeles in the 1930s.

First Campus


“Mrs. Buckley’s Private Kindergarten” opens its doors on Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills.

The Robert Young Ranch Years


Classes are moved to the Tarzana ranch of actor Robert Young’s (“Father Knows Best”). Young was a good friend of Isabelle Buckley’s and played an important role in the early years of the school.

Hayvenhurst Campus


A second primary campus opens on Hayvenhurst drive in Encino.

Campus Expansion


A new campus on 4477 Woodman Avenue opens for the elementary and Upper division. At the time, this campus was located in Van Nuys; since then the address has become park of Sherman Oaks.

A Fourth Campus


The Riverside Drive campus opens, relocating the elementary grades from the Woodman campus.

One Buckley, One Campus


The Glenaire Country Club on Stansbury Avenue, nestled  in the Santa Monica Mountains, is purchased and the consolidation of The Buckley School campuses begins. Lower School students begin classes here in 1965, and the entire student body will join them by 1973.

College Begins at Two


Isabelle Buckley pens her first book, College Begins at Two. In it, she promotes the idea of “self-expression through self-discipline.” Time Magazine calls it “… a no-nonsense approach to education.”

A New Image


In 1959, the first annual (yearbook), Lucerne, is published. Seven years later, the yearbook is renamed Images, a name that remains today.

A Place to Play


Gilley Field is built using dirt from construction of the 101 freeway. On it is space for a track, tennis courts, and fields.

In this picture, Cheryll Clarke Gilley and her son Robert attend the dedication.

A New Addition


The Quinn Martin Hall of Science opens with new state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories, and will inspire scientific learning for years to come.

A Place to Study


Robert Young’s generosity enables the opening of a new Middle and Upper School library. This two-story structure features rows and rows of books, gathering spaces for students, and an adjoining senior courtyard and turtle pond.

A Place to Compete and Perform


Construction of The Roy Disney Family Pavilion is completed, and the brand new gymnasium, pool, locker rooms, and stage offer students a space for performances, games, Spirit Week competitions, assemblies, and more.

A New Headmaster


Isabelle Buckley names Walter Baumhoff headmaster of The Buckley School. Baumhoff’s warmth and love of children will guide the school for the next 20 years.

Buckley Turns 50


The Buckley School celebrates its fiftieth birthday.

Isabelle Buckley Remembered


At the age of 86, Isabelle Buckley passes away.

Divisions Defined


Current Head of Middle Neal Roden helps form the Middle School division in 1991. In 2001, he is named Head of Middle School.

The Horovitz Years


Walter Baumhoff retires, and Paul Horovitz is named the second headmaster of The Buckley School.

Larry Dougherty, Ed.D.


Dr. Larry Dougherty succeeds Paul Horovitz as the newly titled Head of School.

Buckley Turns 75


Buckley celebrates its seventy-fifth birthday.

A Place to Create


The Marciano Family Academic and Performing Arts Building is completed. It houses state-of-the-art music, dance, and performing arts spaces, as well as flexible sixth grade classrooms and a journalism room.

James Busby Succeeds Dougherty


James Busby is named Head of School. He had previously served as Assistant Head of School for two years under Larry Dougherty.

A Place to Analyze


The Mathematics and Science Building opens, complete with physics, chemistry, biology labs, and math classrooms with upgraded technology for collaborative learning.

Robert Young Revisited


After 40 years, the Robert Young Library is moved from its original location and to a newly renovated Richard O. Theis Administration Building. The re-imagined library  meets the needs of students in 2015 with rooms for both quiet and collaborative study. Downstairs, newly remodeled World Languages classrooms and a college counseling suite open.

A Place for Community


The Center for Community and the Arts opens at the start of the 2016-2017 school year. It houses a flexible space for musicals, performances, community gatherings, lectures, as well as five English classrooms and a department office downstairs.

A Place to Flourish


With all science and math classes relocated to their new home, the Quinn Martin Building becomes a new, expanded visual arts space, head of school suite, and athletic training facility.

Buckley Turns 85


After 85 years, Buckley remains one of the competitive independent school in Los Angeles. On the heels of a glowing CAIS re-accreditation,  Buckley is poised to create a new Strategic Plan that will carry the school into the future.


On the occasion of our 85th anniversary, we invited an archivist to come to campus to sift through hundreds of photos, articles, documents, and memorabilia to paint a picture of Buckley throughout the years. Over the years, historical material was scattered across the library, advancement office, and business office, and is now under one roof. So, take a peek through the archives to see what moments of Buckley history we have unearthed!

If you have details about a specific photo, please don’t hesitate to share (or correct us!) by emailing our Director of Alumni Relations Joyce Jones at jjones@buckley.org.

View the Archives



Founder’s Day

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. The Buckley School

The Gala

6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Skirball Cultural Center

The Buckley Fair

10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Gilley Field

Alumni Weekend

June 9 – June 10 The Buckley School