Our Mission

To inspire children to lead lives of purpose and compassion through scholarship and citizenship.

Gateway Turns 50!

2021 marks an important milestone in Gateway’s history – 50 years of providing families with an exceptional educational experience. Students and alumni proudly embody the school’s values and inspire future generations as Gateway embarks on its next 50 years. We are a community dedicated to nurturing academic excellence and intellectual curiosity, high character and personal compassion, and individual agency and engagement.

Celebrating Our Alumni

As part of Gateway School’s 50th-anniversary celebrations, we are sharing the stories of alumni who are living Gateway’s Core Values every day in their professional and personal lives.

Fun Facts

50 Years of Gateway

Our Commitment, Our Community

In 2020 Gateway’s Mission to inspire children to lead lives of purpose and compassion through scholarship and citizenship was the foundation of our commitment to provide a robust educational experience during the uncertainty of the pandemic. Our Mission allowed us to deliver our educational program whether on campus, in distance learning, or through a combination of the two. Gateway is more than a building; we are a community of scholars, families, and educators who love learning, working hard, and acting courageously.

The 2010s

This decade, Gateway embraced its role and identity as a local thought leader in education. Innovations that were introduced included building a robust Social-Emotional Learning program that featured daily Mindfulness practices, the RULER program, and the Middle School Advisory program.

  • In 2010 the school marked its 40th year with “40 Acts of Kindness”, giving back to the Santa Cruz community through a year-long commitment to community service and charitable support.
  • In 2013 the Discovery Center, our makerspace and fabrication lab, was created. Learn more here.
  • In 2014 Dr. Zachary Roberts became our fifth Head of School when Dr. Percy Abram took a headship at the Bush School (WA). Dr. Roberts is a committed educational leader who brings a wealth of administrative and teaching experience, a growth mindset, and a passion for life-long learning.
  • Gateway School hosted the inaugural Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire in 2016.
  • In 2019 Gateway School moved from its Eucalyptus Street campus to Swift Street, renovating and improving the former Natural Bridges campus in partnership with Santa Cruz City Schools. It has nine acres, has a full-sized gym, and large classrooms.
The 2000's
After a decade of rapid growth, Gateway School looked toward a sustainable future by consolidating the Middle School onto the Eucalyptus campus, and eliminating the preschool program.

  • In 2000 Assistant Head of School Kathleen Warren served as interim Head of School when Dr. Peter Lewis departed for a headship on the East Coast.
  • Gateway celebrated its 35th year in 2005 with 400 students in preschool – 8th grade on three campuses. (The Middle School had been relocated to a site on Harvey West Boulevard and the pre-school remained at the Cayuga Campus until 2001.)
  • In 2001 David Peerless became the third Head of School. He enhanced academic standards to ensure an exceptional educational program and introduced new school traditions based around the sowing and harvesting in the Life Lab Garden.
  • In 2008 Dr. Percy Abram became the fourth Head of School when David Peerless retired from a 30-year education career. Dr. Abram guided the school through a strategic planning process, connecting with our expanding alumni community and increasing our visibility as educational leaders in the Santa Cruz County community.
The 1990's
Gateway Gateway School expanded its program to include a Middle School, established our Life Lab, and became the only California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) accredited K-8 school in Santa Cruz.

  • The expanding elementary program moved from the Melrose and Roxis sites to the Eucalyptus campus, while the preschool remained at the Cayuga location.
  • The Middle School was formally established in 1991, with the addition of 7th and 8th grades.
  • The Gateway Life Lab was permanently established as a quarter-acre, garden-based interdisciplinary program in 1992. Over time the Life Lab’s infrastructure was built to include an outdoor kitchen, pond, wood-fired oven, greenhouse, biofiltration ponds, and much more. Read more about our best-in-class offering here.
  • The school received accreditation through both the CAIS and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), which it continues to hold.
The 1980's
Gateway School now served grades K-6.

  • The school experienced yet another expansion in 1982, adding three classrooms at the Baptist Church on Roxas St.
  • In 1987 Dr. Peter Lewis became the second Head of School. Founder Hannelore Herbig retired, relocating to Hawaii.
The 1970's

The school grew steadily through the 1970s, adding both preschool and elementary classes and teachers. Hannelore’s vision of an enriched and beautiful learning environment that focused on the whole child guided the school through its early development.

  • The school moved to Trinity Presbyterian Church on Melrose Avenue in Santa Cruz in 1970.
  • Hannelore renamed the program Gateway School.
  • The school’s bird-on-the-gate logo was designed by Cynthia Mathews, former Mayor of Santa Cruz, whose child was in the first Kindergarten class.
  • In 1977 Gateway School became a non-profit corporation and established a Board of Trustees.
  • The Gateway Families Association was created in 1977.
  • With no more space to grow at the Melrose site, the school added classrooms at Grace Methodist Church on Cayuga Street in 1979.
  • Memorable purchases included the first school van and six Commodore Pet computers for the library.
Gateway School was launched by Hannelore Herbig, an experienced Kindergarten teacher from Germany.

  • Initially the school rented space in the Unitarian Church in Aptos and was called Aptos Creative Kindergarten.
  • The first class had 10 students. By the end of the first year, Hannelore decided the school needed a bigger and more centrally located facility.