In 1915, a small group of parents recruited a progressive educator to tutor their children in a converted house at 1572 Ansel Road in Cleveland. Word about James A. Hawken and his innovative faculty quickly spread and Hawken soon found himself at the helm of a growing school for boys, kindergarten through grades nine.
Through the generosity of Chester and Frances Bolton, Hawken School moved to 5000 Clubside Road in Lyndhurst (the current location of the Lower and Middle Schools) in 1922 to better meet the needs of a burgeoning student body.
In 1961, Hawken School extended its curriculum to include grades ten through twelve and added a 325-acre campus in Gates Mills (the former White Family estate) to house the New Upper School.
In 1973, Hawken School took another major step when it instituted coeducation and opened its doors to girls.
Further enhancing Hawken’s ability to nurture young minds, the school initiated a preschool for 3 and 4 year olds in the fall of 1993. A state-of-the-art, inspirational Early Childhood Center opened in 2012.

In 2010, Hawken opened an urban extension center at University Circle that connects students with some of the greatest cultural arts organizations, medical research centers, and hospitals in the world, providing meaningful service and hands-on learning experiences.
Throughout its evolution, the school has always remained dedicated to James A. Hawken’s belief in the importance of “fair play,” and to his original goal, “That the better self shall prevail and each generation introduce its successor to a higher plane of life.” These concepts remain the cornerstones of a Hawken education and instill in students the virtues of honesty, kindness, self-respect, tolerance, and the fundamental skills of working together as a community.
Today, Hawken prides itself on a diverse student body of 1,010 girls and boys. The curriculum is designed to develop the talent, drive, and ability in students who come from a wide variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. In addition, the school urges all students to remain engaged in the educational process and to continue learning and contributing to the community throughout their lives.