Our Story

The Birth of a School

It was just before the turn of the last century that a small group of teachers and homeschooling parents had a dream for their children and for all families living in the greater Sacramento area. 

Their dream was to open a public charter Waldorf school

As a result of countless hours of thoughtful planning and downright hard work, they made this dream a reality. During the 1999-2000 school year, Citrus Heights Charter School opened its doors to 45 students in Kindergarten through fifth grade providing families from all socioeconomic backgrounds access to an education previously available only at expensive private schools.

By the next school year, the community voted to change the name to Golden Valley Charter School.

The Formative Years

chcssignDuring the first 7 years, upper and lower grades were housed on separate campuses and classrooms and sometimes whole campuses moved to a new location every summer. The grit and determination of a core group of parents, teachers and Principal, Debi Lenny, led the school through these challenging times, and the children thrived.

These early pioneers went on to form the Charter Council (now known as the Board of Trustees, the Parent Circle and the Golden Valley Educational Foundation. These groups formed a triumvirate of school leadership bolstered by strong parent involvement that allowed seasonal festivals to flourish, gardens to grow and smart financial planning to be made.

From these grassroots beginnings, Golden Valley has become a leader in the movement to bring Waldorf education to the public sector.

Fledgling schools call for advice about how to start their programs. Emerging schools partner with Golden Valley to share positive practices and lessons learned. Meanwhile, we continue to learn from our own journey as our programs continue to flourish. 

Becoming Strong and Stable

A Waldorf-inspired education is based on a passion for lifelong learning, and we endeavor to model what we teach in the classroom in how we operate as an educational organization. Our success to date and into the future is built by our dynamic community.

The three essential leadership groups that started in the early days continue to evolve and become stronger and more established.

  • Our teachers and parents work together on the Board of Trustees to govern our organization guided by the values of Waldorf education.
  • Our active Parent Circle has engaged the community to volunteer countless hours in and out of classrooms to support class plays, events and field-trips; provide parent education; host seasonal festivals and celebrations; and create a strong base of advocacy for educational choice.
  • Our Golden Valley Educational Foundation, a non-profit, parent-run organization, has worked tirelessly with our community to raise extra funds to supplement our enriched curriculum and support our teachers to receive their Waldorf Teaching Certifications.

In 2013-2014 we marked several special achievements. We celebrated our 15 Year Anniversary with a Gratitude Gala and our first evening Winter Concert.

In June of 2016, we graduated our twelfth 8 th grade class, adding to our growing alumni of nearly 200 students.

Also during that year, teachers, parents and administration worked together again to create a Strategic Plan. Several years ago, our Board of Trustees created our 2020 Vision. This plan builds on that vision and provides a clear roadmap to our future.

Continuing to Grow and Thrive

In 2015, Golden Valley Charter School became a Charter Management Organization (CMO) overseeing two schools. Our new name? Golden Valley Charter Schools for Educational Renewal.

Two schools supported by the umbrella of the CMO and have also been renamed: Golden Valley River School and Golden Valley Orchard School. In 2018, our Golden Valley Tahoe School began with a foundational group of families in Truckee. Sadly, in 2022, the Tahoe School ceased operation. 

With each change, our committed community has succeeded by working together with creativity and compassion to make the most of any situation. Our resilience stems from our clarity of purpose – to prepare our students for a lifetime of learning.

Our community continues to be committed to the values of Waldorf education and to growing our organization in a thoughtful way. We look forward to many more years serving the children and families in the Sacramento area.

Holly Holt
Holly Holt Parent of Alumni
"My son is a thinker and a dreamer. When he was a very small child, I could see that he would need a different kind of school, a school that accepted his quiet nature, a school where his individual gifts would be recognized rather than standardized. Honestly, I didn’t believe a place like this existed…until I found Golden Valley Charter School, a K-8 public charter school inspired by Waldorf education."
Joanne Ahola
Joanne Ahola Parent
"My family and I are incredibly grateful that a traditionally private education is offered as a public charter school. This school has provided a foundation of academic know-how to my two school-age children but in addition, it has surrounded this academic rigor around an integrated arts program. My children are better human beings and truly love school because of Golden Valley Charter School."

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Golden Valley Charter Schools Central Office
1000 River Rock Drive, Suite 220, Folsom CA 95630
(916) 597-1478
(916) 529-4160