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100-Year Legacy

Our History

A century later, The Cushman School continues to uphold the same objectives stated by Dr. Laura Cushman from the onset.

Our History
The Cushman History
Our History

Named for Dr. Laura Cushman, its founder and principal for nearly fifty-three years, The Cushman School is Miami-Dade’s oldest continuously operating private school that offers a holistic approach to education. The Cushman School is known for its appreciation for and celebration of diversity, idealism, innovation and vision.

Dr. Laura Cushman moved to Miami from Iowa in the early 1900s. An accomplished teacher in the county school system, she opened The Cushman School on the porch of her home in 1924. Two years later, the school moved into the Mediterranean-styled building on the present campus. Today, the school consists of a charming mix of renovated and new buildings spread across a beautifully landscaped campus in a historic pocket of international Miami. Dr. Cushman was highly engaged with the school’s development, from its founding until her death in 1986. Dr. Cushman benefited from the wisdom of world-renowned education leaders like John Dewey and Maria Montessori. Like her contemporaries, she also believed that every student possessed the ability to experience success in school and life, when provided with a nurturing, happy environment, deep with encouragement and facilitation.

The School offers an engaging academic environment for a diverse population of children from preschool through twelfth grade. Its rich traditional heritage and a culture of camaraderie and warmth combine to make the School a special place to learn and develop. With rigorous academics where students learn through a balance of a high-touch and high-tech environment, innovative performing and visual arts programming, daily physical education, unique global studies exposure and many exciting field trips built into an ever-evolving curriculum, The Cushman School continues to stand apart with an “identity linked to excellence.”

Dr. Cushman began looking for her successor in the early 1980s. Dr. Joan Lutton, a former journalist turned High School teacher, became Principal and then Head of School. With great passion and enthusiasm, she continued The Cushman School’s innovative pursuit of excellence, while bringing the school to a much healthier financial position prior to her retirement in 2012.

Mentored by Dr. Lutton for over 25 years, Dr. Arvi Balseiro became the School’s third Head of School in July of 2012. She presides over an astonishingly diverse student body, representing over 50 different countries, and she brings tremendous vision for the evolution of the school to meet the needs of a global technology-focused marketplace. In 2016, the School launched its first high school on its Main Campus; today, the innovative high school is successfully expanding and is located at 4700 Biscayne Boulevard.

Our Philosophy

Our first aim is that all teachers and pupils in our school should preserve a happy attitude. We believe that a child whose environment is conducive to character development and intellectual growth is a happy child. If a child is not happy, we will seek the underlying causes without ceasing until he or she is adjusted satisfactorily. A school seeks to develop the child mentally, physically, and in character growth. To do this, the child must be placed in happy surroundings, be properly adjusted to his work, and have wholesome participation in living experiences. The creation of such a school life is our aim.

The following aims were set up as standards by Dr. Laura Cushman:

A happy attitude.

Acceptance of the tasks of growing and learning as a personal responsibility.

Industry and perseverance in accomplishing these accepted tasks.

Honesty with self and with others in every phase of living.

Growth in ability to attack learning problems and to use judgment in changing situations.

Self-control and poise.

Wholesome personal habits.

An attitude that seeks to understand others’ points of view and is ever tolerant and kind.

Gracious, unfailing courtesy.

Appreciations that enrich life.

A child who reaches a high level of achievement according to the above standards will, of necessity, be doing the best academic work of which he or she is capable.

The “Pledge for Success” reinforces Cushman’s commitment to nurturing students who are responsible, active members of our school’s community. The “Pledge for Success” is referred to daily, and the demonstration of its tenets is expected. Read more about our pledge here.

“Our first aim is that all teachers and pupils in our school should preserve a happy attitude. We believe that a child whose environment is conducive to character development and intellectual growth is a happy child.”

– Dr. Laura Cushman, Founder