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History of Heritage

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Small Beginnings, Great Opportunities

We can do no great things—only small things with great love.”

--Mother Teresa

Founded in 1984, Heritage School started small and intentionally remains small. Its founders, Parviz and Maudie Samiee, approached their children’s teachers, Glen and Elaine Olsen, with an irresistible offer. Why not start your own school? Having witnessed a more personalized education in action, the Samiees offered to help launch a school founded on the philosophy of education their children had experienced in Glen and Elaine’s classroom. Why not start a school in Salem that would nurture children in an environment that fostered creativity, in depth learning, and individual attention? Why not allow children to learn at a pace that truly fit their needs and abilities instead of moving them lock step through a rote curriculum? Why not develop a community of learners of a variety of ages, and why not start this little school with only one month to go before the start of school in September?

Maudie SamieeParviz Samiee

Maudie and Parviz Samiee

Heritage School started small indeed; the first day of school nine students walked through the doors of the Salem Family YMCA, which would become our “temporary” site for about twenty years. Our enrollment grew to thirty-five students, ranging from ages six to thirteen. 

In 2004, Heritage School finally found a more permanent home at the site of the former Fairview Training Center, slated to become a sustainable community. Our spacious, light-filled building houses happy children who have room to learn both indoors and out. Surrounded by tall trees, open fields, and wetlands, our beloved red schoolhouse welcomes an average of thirty-five students, most of whom stay for several years. We continue to keep our enrollment small in order to maintain close contact with our students so we can deliver an education that fits each individual child.

Glen and Elaine Olsen continue as a husband and wife team, delighting in their great good fortune to be able to teach such vibrant children in this beautiful setting. A supportive community of parent and grandparent volunteers help keep this small school a place where children can witness everyday what can happen when small beginnings launch great opportunities.

Glen and Elaine Olsen
Glen and Elaine Olsen