In the mid 1980s, a group of concerned parents in the greater Phoenix area began meeting together to discuss the education of their children. Some had been sending their children to existing parochial schools, others were home schooling, but all felt a need to be more intimately involved in the education of their children and to educate them in a deeply Catholic environment. The fruit of their discernment and prayer was the founding of Ville de Marie Academy in 1991. Motivated by a strong desire to provide their children with a truly exceptional education, it was their conviction that while parents are indeed the primary educators of their children, their duties as educators could be more perfectly fulfilled as they united to form a school that would reflect their devotion to Catholic education. Their plan was to offer an integrated K-12 curriculum in the classical liberal arts that would combine academic excellence and a vibrant spiritual life in an atmosphere conducive to the formation of the whole child – a place where the faith would inform and guide the entire life of the school.
Ville de Marie began with 40 students in grades K-9, and five full-time faculty members, including its first headmaster and co-founder, Mr. Chris Speier. The school grew rapidly, and by the following year, the academy had nearly doubled its enrollment to include about 80 students. An additional high school grade was added each year and the school began offering a complete K-12 curriculum in 1994. In 1995, the first graduating class of Ville de Marie was comprised of six students. Within just a few years the enrollment of the school peaked at nearly 200 students.
The school currently rests on two acres of property that was formerly a Scottsdale grammar school. The property was purchased shortly after the founding of the academy. The facilities, approximately 10,000 square feet, presently include 10 classrooms, an administrative office, a large chapel, and several grassy fields across the street and surrounding the building. A small library was originally present on the school grounds, but this space was converted into a dedicated chapel in early 2002.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmstead has voiced his support for the school, and since 2004 he has continued to grant his permission and approval for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in our campus chapel. Having a chapel with the Blessed Sacrament in reserve is truly unique for an independent private school and it enables the students, faculty, staff, and families to develop and cultivate Eucharistic piety. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated often and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which has a special place in the heart of Ville de Marie Academy, takes place regularly.
All of the board members, faculty, and staff at Ville de Marie Academy are grateful for the continued support of so many generous families and benefactors throughout the years and we look forward to the future with great joy.