Southridge School had its beginnings in a small group of families who wanted to create educational alternatives for their children. These founding families believed that doing so would help to create the kind of world we all want. They were committed to the idea of creating a school community that would develop people who contributed to each other’s success – and the betterment of the wider world.
A teacher’s strike in 1993 provided the impetus to take action. A series of meetings, including an inspirational talk by Alan Brown, a former headmaster at St. George’s School, energized the families to pursue the goal of a creating a new independent school in the South Surrey area.
Over the following two years, they secured a site after overcoming many setbacks, including an extremely contentious and expensive re-zoning application in the face of strong opposition. Following a petition campaign involving many public meetings, more than 100 parents and 10,000 supporting signatures, the re-zoning was approved on June 25, 1995 by one vote after a compromise was negotiated during a recess of the council hearing on our application. Southridge School was a reality.
Building the Dream
During the summer, the organizing families were busy completing the property purchase, building temporary facilities, enrolling students, facilitating participation in the Southridge Trust through a $25,000 loan per family, and hiring teachers and staff. When classes started in September 1995, Southridge’s first home was in rented quarters in the Seaview Pentecostal Church on 16th Ave. since the temporary modular structures were still being built.
In early October 1995, the Southridge Great Trek took place. Some 181 students, parents, teachers and staff joining Alan Brown, founding Head of School, in the march from the rented premises to the new facilities on our current site at 160th Street near 26th Avenue. At the opening assembly in the new school, students sang the Southridge song, written by our music teacher. It was a uniquely emotional moment for the founding parents.
While many hands contributed to the successful launch, Alan Brown merits special recognition. He worked tirelessly to establish the school for a year and a half without remuneration -- or any sort of guarantee -- to bring Southridge to life. Mr. Brown was involved in every aspect, planning, rezoning and the public meetings to explain the school to prospective parents. His reputation as an educator and the strength of his vision attracted nearly all of the first families to Southridge. He also attracted and selected the teachers.
There would be no Southridge without Alan Brown or the support of the founding Board of Governors. Having realized his dream and fulfilled his promise to the original Grade 9 class, Mr. Brown retired in June 1999 when this class graduated as the first graduating class of Southridge School.
1995: Southridge School holds first classes
1998: Senior School building opens. Enrollment grows to 431
1999: First class graduates from Grade 12. Alan Brown retires. Bill Jones becomes Head of School
2000: Junior School Opens. Enrollment grows to 590 students; 47 teachers
2002: 7 acres adjacent to school acquired. Southridge Trust retired
2003: 2 new playing fields, a community garden, and additional parking completed. Final class of students added, Southridge reaches maximum capacity of 682 students.
2007: Drew Stephens becomes Head of School
2010: Construction of 10,000 square foot Senior School addition completed.
The Alan Brown Story
The "Alan Brown Story" is a video documentary that was produced to capture the story of how Southridge School was created and the central role played by Alan Brown. The story is told in recordings of his own words and recollections of parents, teachers and students who knew him.