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The Madeira School
School Name:
The Madeira School
Street Address:
8328 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22102
Head of School:
Ms. Pilar Cabeza de Vaca
Founding Date:
Religious Affiliation:
Full Accreditation
Day / Boarding:
Day & Boarding
Girls Only
Grade Levels:
9 thru 12
Enrollment Size:
Social Media:
Admissions Contact:
Mrs. Kim Newsome
Admissions Email:
8/28/2019 4:38:00 PM Nondenominational School
Mission / Philosophy / Objectives:

Madeira is an independent boarding and day school educating girls in grades 9 through 12, located 15 minutes from Washington, D.C. The challenging academic programs offered at Madeira and experiential learning opportunities, like the award-winning Co-Curriculum program, cultivate women leaders who are ready to make positive impacts in their local and global communities.

Madeira’s curriculum is grounded in expert teaching and active involvement of the students when planning their academic paths. Personal academic advising enables girls to customize a schedule beyond graduation requirements, offering them the highest degree of challenge that best suits their interests. From AP Art History to iPad App Development, students may take advantage of the many upper-level courses offered.

The innovative Co-Curriculum program at Madeira integrates experiential learning with the cultural, political, and business life of the nation’s capital. Girls learn from real-world experience, graduating with a solid resume that rivals that of college students. The unique grade-level objectives of the Co-Curriculum program progress from learning about identity and community during freshman and sophomore years to experiencing “real-life work” and leadership training during junior-year internships in Capitol Hill offices and student-selected internships during the girls’ senior year.  

Madeira has 13 inter-scholastic sports, including an equestrian team, as well as instruction in music, dance, film, visual and performing arts, which give students competitive and creative outlets.

The campus, which overlooks the Potomac River from 376 scenic acres, is a place for study, play, and competition, home to superior academic, athletic, riding, and arts facilities. Sports facilities include a 32,000-square-foot sports center with basketball and volleyball courts, indoor competition-size pool, and strength-and-conditioning rooms.There are also five hard-surface tennis courts, three playing fields, a 30-stall barn, indoor riding arena, two outdoor riding rings, and extensive riding and hiking trails. The arts facilities include a 500 seat proscenium theater, drama rehearsal space, scene shop, dance studios, private vocal and instrumental studios, and an art gallery.
School Fast Facts:
Brief History
  • Founded by Lucy Madeira in Washington, D.C. in 1906
  • Relocated to McLean, Virginia, in 1931
  • Instituted a unique Co-Curriculum program in 1966
  • Appointed Head of School Pilar Cabeza de Vaca in 2010
  • Curricular integration across science, technology, arts, mathematics, literature, history, and world languages
  • Co-Curriculum emphasizing real-world experience and applied learning
  • 18 Advanced Placement (AP) courses
  • College-level mathematics beyond AP Calculus BC 


Madeira’s Co-Curriculum Program, winner of the prestigious National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Leading Edge Award, is now more than 50 years old. This unique experiential internship program provides internships on Capitol Hill and in the area of the student's choice. Visit our website to learn more.


  • Total number of students in 2018-2019: 325 
  • Countries represented: 29
  • States represented, including the District of Columbia: 23
  • 51% boarding students
  • 49% day students
  • 33% students of color
  • 18% international students


  • 36 faculty members 
  • Student-faculty ratio of 8:1
  • Average class size of 12
  • 90% faculty members hold master’s degree or higher
  • 35 housing units for faculty/staff 
Open House Dates:
January 26, 2020
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