In 1928, Mary Carey, a former teacher and school administrator, and James T. Carey, a businessman, founded a small preschool for their two daughters, Mary Therese and Clare, and a few family friends. In those years, preschool was virtually unheard of and very few schools even had kindergartens. The first Carey School classes were held in the family home. As attendance grew and the children progressed, the school moved to the Clark Drive Mansion in San Mateo. The classes and academic excellence began. With the school’s growth, elementary grades were added.
Mary Therese Carey and Clare Carey Willard graduated from the school their parents had founded and went on to high school and college, returning to the Carey School to be teachers. Eventually, they assumed the role of co-heads and in 1955 purchased the present building on the Alameda.
In 1989, Mary Therese Carey and Clare Carey Willard retired to private life. They passed the reins of the Carey tradition to its next Head of School, Robert W. Simpson, and to the Board of Trustees of The Carey School Incorporated, a non-profit organization. Robert Simpson remained the Head of School until 2004 when Eric J. Temple assumed the position. In 2011, Duncan Lyon become Carey’s next Head of School. The school continues to operate within the Carey Family spirit. A tradition of academic excellence and self-esteem continue to be emphasized.
Today, Carey enrolls 249 students in grades pre-kindergarten through five. The Carey School is fully accredited with the California Association of Independent Schools and also enjoys membership in the National Association of Independent Schools.