History & Traditions
Nantucket Lighthouse School was founded by Lizbet Carroll Fuller and Elizabeth Edwards Sundell to create a joyful place for children to learn and grow. In September of 2000, Nantucket Lighthouse School opened its doors to twelve children and two teachers in the barn at Nantucket Island School of Design and Art (NISDA).
Lizbet Carroll Fuller
Elizabeth Edwards Sundell
In its first five years, Nantucket Lighthouse School established itself as a unique and dynamic educational choice for island families. The school quickly outgrew two facilities in these years – having started in a rented barn at NISDA before moving to a ranch house on Hooper Farm Road. The school grew with its oldest students through the 5th grade, with the older classes held in a nearby temporary classroom on the Rugged Road site designated for a new schoolhouse.
In 2007, the new building was named The Chace Schoolhouse to honor the members of the Chace family, whose generosity enabled the Nantucket Lighthouse School to become a reality.
In 2021, Nantucket Lighthouse School was able to grow its footprint by adding the Starbuck Cottage to its campus, which is now home to the Andy Bullington Music Room, an art and maker space, a literacy center and reading room, and administrative offices.
Throughout its development, Nantucket Lighthouse School has remained true to its founding mission, joyfully educating students through a developmentally appropriate program that engages and challenges the whole child – head, heart, and hands.
Some of our most enduring traditions began in our early years:
All School Garden
Our educational garden and greenhouse provide a living laboratory and a deep connection to the natural world.
A practice of daily gratitude helps children see beyond themselves and offer thanks to the people and the world around them.
Peace Day Project
Children create tokens of peace that they distribute throughout the community on September 11.
Hopes and Dreams
Students set meaningful, personal goals for the school year and display them as a class art project.
Children participate in weekly outings across the island to connect to nature and the community.
All School Meeting
During this weekly meeting, students gather with members of the school community to share stories, poetry, songs, and curricular studies.
Each class performs a play with stories, costumes, and props created by the children and their teachers.
This annual holiday fundraising event showcases student-made handcrafts and heirloom quality gifts.
Whole Child Reports
These uniquely personalized reports include samples of work, a self-portrait, detailed checklists, and robust narrative comments.
Classrooms are transformed into museum-like displays of students’ projects and written work from the school year.
Head, Heart & Hands
Graduates create and present passion projects, which include community service.
This end-of-year celebration features student-made games and activities.