About MA
About MA


A forward-looking school, Marin Academy develops the tools, as well as the critical and creative thinking necessary for students to chart their course in the world. We empower students by putting them at the center of their education, and requiring them to play an active role in their quest for meaning and purpose. The curriculum focuses on problems, projects, and questions because we value thinking deeply about issues. All good schools value critical thinking, as do we. Great schools, however, value teaching creative thinking and problem solving. Scholars, athletes, and artists demonstrate our commitment to collaboration as they both learn and understand the value of working with others and grow their appetite to pursue their own passions, questions, and paths. Diverse perspectives are encouraged and respected as we value innovative thought and action, intellectual curiosity and individual difference. We also pride ourselves on being a community whose members appreciate how difficult it is to navigate adolescence and high school and display empathy toward each other through the ups and downs.

Marin Academy traditions extend our values of innovation and inquiry. Our Conference on Democracy brings national experts to campus to explore perspectives on political, social, environmental, and economic issues. Minicourse, a week spent outside of the classroom, provides the opportunity for experiential learning, such as hiking and caving in Zion National Park or teaching children in Northern Mexico. Literary Festival gets our students working with internationally acclaimed writers representing many different genres, and finding new ways to make meaning with language.

As you navigate our website, you'll sample just some of what Marin Academy has to offer, but no pictures or words can come close to capturing the passionate, engaged, and joyful students and teachers who characterize our community. Whether you are familiar with or new to MA, I hope that you will be in touch — or, better yet, come visit us!

Travis Brownley, Head of School

List of 1 members.

Marin Academy at a Glance

  • Founded in 1971; first classes in 1972; first graduating class in 1974
  • 437 students in grades 9 to 12
  • Students come from over 90 middle schools and 66 different zip codes
    • East Bay: 9%
    • San Francisco: 18%
    • Sonoma/Vallejo/North Bay: 3%
    • Marin: 70%
  • Student to faculty ratio is 9:1; average class size is 15
  • More than two-thirds of the faculty hold advanced degrees
  • Curriculum follows a six-day rotating block schedule of 75-minute classes
  • The curriculum offers over 125 course titles
  • Students of color comprise 29% of the student body
  • Approximately 21% of students receiving financial assistance totaling more than $2.9 million
Marin Academy is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), and the College Board.

Faculty & Staff Directory

The MA Campus

Marin Academy is situated on a ten-acre, 115-year old campus of a former military school in San Rafael. The campus facilities include five academic buildings, a library, a science and computer building, two theaters, a visual arts center, a dining hall, two gymnasiums, a swimming pool, an all-weather synthetic playing field, and a music building.

Map Key

List of 15 items.

  • 1. Performing Arts Center

    The Performing Arts Center, opened in 2001, consists of a Main Stage Theater, Black Box Theater (which serves both as a classroom and an intimate performance space), practice rooms, a chamber music room, ensemble music room, a box office, green room, office, and scene shop. With its state-of-the-art light, sound, and projection technology and equipment, the Performing Arts Center is a professional-level, fully equipped and complete performance space for all performing arts events.
    The Studio Building, across the courtyard from the Performing Arts Center, houses the Music Studio, complete with a state-of-the-art recording studio, and the Dance Studio, with its beautiful, natural light and regulation sprung floor. 

    Space Details
    • Theater: 4,250 sq. ft. with seating capacity of 230; equipped w/ tech booth and dedicated video projector/screen/sound system
    • Black Box: 1,156 sq. ft.; serves as a classroom and an intimate performance space
    • PAC Room 115: 825 sq. ft. music recording studio
    • PAC Room 205: 411 sq. ft. music ensemble room
    • Dance Studio: 1,313 sq. ft. with abundant natural light and regulation sprung floor
    • PAC Plaza: 2,106 sq. ft. open-air plaza connects the main theater building with the studios building
  • 2. Founders Hall

    Founders Hall originally served as a dormitory for San Rafael Military Academy's Senior class. During the 1997-1998 school year Founders Hall's interior was remodeled and it opened its doors to two computer labs, faculty and staff offices, and several classrooms. Each classroom is also equipped with SMART Technology and a dedicated video projector.  

    Space Details
    • Founders Lecture Hall: 1,216 sq. ft. lecture hall with 83 fixed, theater-style seats; equipped w/ SMART Technology and dedicated video projector.
    • Founders Room 200: 588 sq. ft. classroom
    • Founders Room 201: 619 sq. ft. classroom
    • Founders Room 205: 611 sq. ft. classroom
  • 3. Visual Arts Center

    Completed in January 2003, the Visual Arts Center's spacious and airy quality of the facilities creates the atmosphere of professional art studios. The studios have excellent light exposure and UV balanced full spectrum fluorescent lighting. Included in the facility are three studio spaces designed to accommodate Visual Arts One, Ceramics, Drawing and Painting, and Photography.

    Space Details
    • VAC Room 102: 429 sq. ft. classroom
    • VAC Room 108: 1,174 sq. ft. draw/paint studio
    • VAC Room 110: 910 sq. ft. ceramics classroom
    • VAC Room 112: 689 sq. ft. photography classroom
    • VAC Plaza: 4,086 sq. ft. open-air plaza and courtyard connects the two wings of the Visual Arts Center

    Our state of the art facilities include:
    • A ceramics studio complete with 12 electric potters’ wheels, slab roller, coil extruder and 2 large Skutt automatic electric kilns
    • A drawing and painting studio equipped with professional quality painting and drawing easels and drafting tables to accommodate 18 students
    • A printing press for students to explore monotype and linoleum block printmaking
    • A draw/paint studio with north light for accurate color perception when painting
    • 18 digital workstations with Adobe Photoshop CS3, 6 archival quality printers, 2 slide negative scanners and 1 flatbed scanner
    • A fully equipped darkroom with 16 enlargers, 2 temperature controlled sinks and a powerful ventilation system
  • 4. Foster Hall

    Foster Hall is the oldest building on campus. Built in the Italianate style in 1871 by the O'Connor family, the building was the first building acquired by San Rafael Military Academy. When Marin Academy started in 1972, some faculty and staff lived in Foster Hall. In 1994, Foster Hall was remodeled and given a retrofit, and in the late 1990s the third floor was remodeled and was opened for administrative offices. The building has three classrooms, all equipped with SMART Technology and a dedicated video projector.

    Space Details
    • Foster Room 1: 713 sq. ft. classroom
    • Foster Room 2: 624 sq. ft. classroom
    • Foster Room 3: 728 sq. ft. classroom
    • Foster Hall Porch: 12' x 72' covered porch on south (front) end of Foster Hall
  • 5. The New Science + Innovation Center

    Formerly known as the Student Center Plaza (an outdoor courtyard that was used for student, parent, and community events), this location is now the site of our new Science + Innovation Center.
  • 6. Bodie Brizendine Leadership Center

    The Bodie Brizendine Leadership Center was originally built in the 1920s and was an admistration building. During the 2006-2007 school year, it was remodeled and renamed after the past Head of School Bodie Brizendine. The BBLC also houses the MA Café dining facility as well as offices and classrooms. Each classroom is also equipped with SMART Technology and a a dedicated video projector. 

    Space Details
    • BBLC Lecture Hall: 1,350 sq. ft. lecture hall with 97 fixed, theater-style seats
    • MA Café: 2,650 sq. ft. dining hall facility with tables and chairs for 185; maximum occupancy is 264 persons
    • Café Plaza: 2,430 sq. ft. outdoor plaza and courtyard connects Library and BBLC buildings
    • Conference Room 210: 350 sq. ft. conference room equipped with 4' x 10' table, chairs, and dedicated screen/video projector
    • BBLC Room 109: 459 sq. ft. classroom
    • BBLC Room 208: 546 sq. ft. classroom
    • BBLC Room 209: 546 sq. ft. classroom
    • BBLC Room 211: 688 sq. ft. classroom
    • BBLC Room 214: 546 sq. ft. classroom
  • 7. Library

    The Marin Academy library was built in 2005 and was formally opened as the school library in 2008. The library currently holds over 16,000 volumes, 70 magazine subscriptions, 14 Macs, a Library Seminar Room with dedicated projectors and 20 laptops, and a silent study room. The library is an academic center for the MA community and, as a true 21st century library, acts as a social hub as well. The first book added to the MA library was Oh, the Places You'll Go.

    All classrooms are equipped with SMART Technology and a dedicated video projector.

    Space Details
    • Lib Room 202: 990 sq. ft. physics classroom
    • Lib Room 203: 567 sq. ft. classroom
    • Lib Room 205: 510 sq. ft. classroom
    • Lib Room 206: 510 sq. ft. classroom
    • Lib Room 207: 510 sq. ft. classroom
    • Lib Room 210: 510 sq. ft. classroom
    • Lib Room 211: 510 sq. ft. classroom
    • Lib Room 212: 510 sq. ft. classroom
    • Lib Room 213: 510 sq. ft. classroom
  • 8. Thacher Hall

    Thacher Hall is a science facility that opened in the early 1990s. Each of its four science labs/classrooms is equipped with SMART Technology and a dedicated video projector.

    Space Details
    • Thacher Room 101: 900 sq. ft. science lab/classroom
    • Thacher Room 104: 740 sq. ft. science lab/classroom
    • Thacher Room 201: 1,005 sq. ft. science lab/classroom
    • Thacher Room 204: 810 sq. ft. science lab/classroom
    • Thacher Porch: 960 sq. ft. covered outdoor area between Thacher Hall and MA Circle Drive
  • 9. Gymnasium (Old Gym)

    This building is a 6,262 sq. ft. practice gymnasium lined for basketball, volleyball, and half-court play.
  • 10. Athletic Center (New Gym)

    The Athletic Center was completed in 1998 and is home to the Marin Academy Wildcats. This 7,293 sq. ft. gymnasium is lined for basketball, volleyball, and half-court play. Retractable bleacher seating accommodates 400 during games and 483 when fully extended for non-athletic events, like assemblies each week.
  • 11. Pool

    Our swimming pool is a 25-yard pool with five lanes.
  • 12. Maintenance Shop

    The Maintenance Shop is used for projects for the MA campus.
  • 13. Faculty and Staff Parking

    The upper parking lot, adjacent to the swimming pool, is available from 7:00 am to 6:30 pm Monday through Friday and for all major school sanctioned events. This parking lot is to remain locked at all other times. Parking is for employees only and is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • 14. MA Garden

    The MA garden is a green space where students learn how to plan, build, prepare, plant, nurture, maintain and sustain a garden.  The MA garden acts as a contemplative space for students as well as a experiential classroom for biology and our Honors Garden Stewardship class.

    The Garden Committee works to create and maintain a highly productive organic garden that will support the MA cafeteria, compost MA’s food, grow delicious crops, and provide a beautiful and natural getaway for MA students.

    We have completed extensive construction that includes fully-functioning irrigation and drainage systems, four raised beds, and a large set of compost bins created from pieces of concrete that were found on-site and mortared together. We have planted a small fruit orchard that includes apple, pear, and nectarine trees. While learning the art of masonry, we created a circular stone herb garden and we built a patio that can be used by students and teachers while conducting classes or simply as a place to relax. Among the many plants grown in the garden are lettuces, spinach, kale, squash, corn, eggplant, pumpkins, tomatoes, tomatillas, peas, beans, sunflowers, and many types of herbs. We have an extensive patch of native raspberries.

  • 15. Championship Field

    The state-of-the-art turf athletic field opened for use in September 2007. The existing field was replaced with a 2 1/2-inch thick monofilament all-season playing surface made using recycled material. With the replacement of the grass baseball diamond, the playing area was increased to 100,000 square feet. This increase allowed for a wider playing surface and an additional practice area to the side of the main field. Additional improvements included:
    • Added tiered spectator seating at the west end of the field
    • Replaced original fencing; increasing the height from 6 feet to 8 feet
    • Added netting behind the east goal and the north practice area for easier ball retrieval
    • Added additional fencing for increased safety and security
    • Improved landscaping