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!