Our Story

The Lamplighter School was founded in 1953 in a North Dallas farmhouse by Natalie Murray and Marieta "Sandy" Swain. Natalie and Sandy envisioned a school that would celebrate children and encourage a path of lifelong learning.

There were just twenty-three students and two teachers the first year, and classes were offered only in kindergarten and first grade. Along with a rich educational program, children learned to square dance and sang together in school-wide hootenannies. Today, those beloved traditions continue. You can still find us gathered together in the auditorium for monthly hootenannies – singing some of the same songs as we did in the 1950s – and our students still learn to swing their partners as part of their square-dancing study in kindergarten. 

Much has changed since 1953, but so much has remained true to our founders’ vision. Through the years, Lamplighter has experienced a rich history of program development, campus enhancements, and established traditions. We invite you to explore some of the key milestones in the School's history:

The Lamplighter School | Churchill Way Campus


1953 | The Lamplighter School founded by Natalie Murray and Sandy Swain.



1968 | Lamplighter Mother's Club founded, known today as the Lamplighter Parents' Association (LPA)

1969 Inwood Road Campus opens


May 1969 Carnival Tradition begins


1970 Lamplighter Layers founded and incorporated in the state of Texas

1978 LOGO Pilot project sponsored by MIT and Texas Instruments launched with 50 computers

Fall 1970 First issue of LampPost published



1988 Fine Arts Wing and Erik Jonsson Media Center opens

1989 Dooley Author Series established


1995 Cook Gym opens

1991 Senior Opera debuts


2001 Dolores Evans Speaker Series established

2003 Lamplighter Alumni Association establishes the Spirit Award

2004 International Night launches

2008 Lamplighter Green Team is formed


2010 Lamplighter purchases its 12-acre property from The Hockaday School

Spring 2011 Young Alumni Car Wash established

2011 | Lamplighter partnership with Perot Museum of Nature and Science formed


2011 | Lamplighter partnership with Dallas Arboretum established

2011 | Lamplighter begins academic partnership with SMU

Fall 2011 Parent Perks Series launches

2012 Lamplighter Parents' Association names the LPA Farm with a gift of $1,000,000

2012 Kylde Warren Auditorium named

2017 Lamplighter Parents' Association names the new barn with a gift commitment of $1,500,000

2018 Lamplighter celebrates 65 years of learning and innovating

2018 Eastin Family names the Innovation Lab

May 2018 | Lamplighter names Head of School position in honor of Catherine M. Rose


2020 Lamplighter launches virtual learning due to Covid-19 Global Pandemic

Fall 2020 Students return to campus!