Our History

Oakwood feels like family. That’s because we are a family. We’ve been one from the beginning.

Our story began in 1959, when Gwen Riches, an educator and artist, gathered her children and their friends for an afterschool arts program in her Los Altos home. As the children happily played, practiced, created, and performed, word began to spread. Mrs. Riches and her husband welcomed more and more children, eventually expanding the circle to hundreds of students. The Riches’ family home became Pinewood School, which still thrives today in Los Altos.

Founded and managed by Gwen Riches’ eldest granddaughter and her husband, Oakwood School in Morgan Hill began as a preschool through eighth grade school. In 2005, the high school grades began and in 2009, Oakwood graduated its first senior class. Today, the preschool through twelfth grade school flourishes on a 25-acre campus. As Pinewood’s younger sister, Oakwood carries on the educational tradition set forth by our “founding mother”—shaping our students’ growth with intention, intelligence, and unbounded joy.

When people visit the campus, they feel there is something quite special at Oakwood. The reason for this is no secret. When children are taught in a small and nurturing classroom environment by subject-focused teachers who love what they do, wonderful things happen. Add to that a strong curriculum, broad extra-curricular opportunities and beautiful facilities and you have an educational opportunity that is unmatched in the area.