History & Tradition

Powhatan is a fully accredited, non-sectarian, co-educational day school, which provides a broad educational program for students with average to superior academic potential in kindergarten through eighth grade. Powhatan prepares students for the advanced programs of area public high schools and some of the leading independent day and boarding schools in the nation.

Powhatan School was originally incorporated in 1948 by a dedicated group of parents of elementary-aged children who were committed to providing an enriching and rigorous atmosphere for learning. At this time, the school was located in a small, red schoolhouse in Millwood, Virginia, and was known as the Blue Ridge Country Day School.

Eighty years earlier, in 1868, a tobacco trader named Peter H. Mayo married Isabella Dixon Burwell of Carter Hall in Clarke County, Virginia. In 1888, the couple built a summer home close to Carter Hall, which was to become known as “Powhatan”, named after their Tidewater home called Powhatan Seat.

In 1920, the Mayo estate passed to the next generation of daughters, and Agnes Mayo Carter took over Powhatan. After her death in 1957, her daughter, Isabelle Carter Crocker, deeded Powhatan to the Blue Ridge Country Day School. One of the few stipulations of this generous gift was that the name “Powhatan” remain with the property.

The main schoolhouse on the campus was destroyed by fire in February 1988. New facilities were opened in the fall of 1989.

In the summer of 2011, the Crocker family announced that the 46.8 acres behind the Powhatan campus would be donated to the school. The land, which will be held in perpetual easement for educational and recreational uses, more than triples the current acreage of the campus. The property has been designated the Crocker Conservancy and will allow Powhatan to expand its commitments to environmental science, outdoor recreation, and the study of nature.

Consisting of 64 acres in Boyce, Virginia, Powhatan School’s campus includes the following buildings:

  • Farland Building: Houses the lower school reading resource classroom
  • Lindsey Library (1972): Houses a 14,000-volume library, an auditorium, a computer lab, and classrooms for grades two and three
  • Robbins Wing (1989): Houses two kindergarten and two first grade classrooms
  • Willey Wing (1989): Built as an addition to the library, it houses two fourth grade classrooms, a lower school science lab, and the school counselor’s office
  • Henkel Activities Center (1989): Houses the gymnasium and activities center
  • Carter House (1989): Houses school administrative offices
  • Lee Hall (1997): Houses two fifth grade classrooms, four upper school language arts and history classrooms, and two math classrooms
  • Arts and Sciences Building (2003): Houses two science labs, two art studios, two music labs, and two foreign language classrooms

In addition, the school offers three sports fields, an outdoor basketball and street hockey court, a lower school play area, and extensive nature trails on the Crocker Conservancy.

The campus is fourteen miles from Winchester, VA, seven miles from Berryville, VA, fifteen miles from Front Royal, VA, twenty miles from Charles Town, WV, and thirty-five miles from Waterford, VA.

The current Head of School, Susan Scarborough, started her tenure in the fall of 2011.  She was preceded by:
John G. Lathrop, 1992-2011
William S. Peebles IV, 1985-1992
William H. Old Jr, 1981-1985
Donald W. Nieman, 1963-1981
Carlisle T. Spencer, 1958-1963
Robert Jay Evans, 1955-1958
Theodore H. Bradley, 1951-1958
James Moyer Mahaney 1950-1951

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