Vision - A world where all children are inspired and empowered to fulfill their individual potential.


To provide an individualized learning environment where the unique talents of bright, motivated and creative children are recognized and nurtured. By design, our flexible programming also enables all types of gifted children to flourish and reach their highest potential. Spring Hill students become tenacious learners and empathetic humanitarians who engage their world with humble confidence. 


In the mid-1970’s, Lewis Keizer came to the realization that one of his children was profoundly gifted. He was dismayed to discover that local schools were ill-equipped to provide gifted education and there was simply no place for gifted children in Santa Cruz County. So, he joined with Tess Popper to found Popper-Keizer: The Advanced School for Gifted Children with this mission:

  1. To provide a challenging and rewarding education for bright and gifted children.

  2. To make this education opportunity available to bright and gifted children of all

    races, creeds, colors, and religions by providing scholarships.

  3. To sponsor cultural events that generate funding for scholarships.

In the ensuing twenty years, Popper-Keizer created and fine-tuned a very successful curriculum and teaching methodology for bright and gifted children.

When Popper and Keizer departed in 1997, teacher Sylvie Hill took over as Principal. In keeping with Santa Cruz’s strong egalitarian culture, Sylvie and her staff sought to broaden the diversity of the student body while still honoring the founding commitment of the school: to provide a much-needed place where teachers understand how to enable gifted students to reach their fullest potential. The school was renamed “Spring Hill - The Advanced Elementary School of Santa Cruz.”

Now, almost twenty years later, the Spring Hill community is taking stock of its core principles, vision, and mission once again. Our founding commitment to provide for the needs of gifted children remains a element of our identity and mission. But today with the deep lessons of nearly forty years, we understand more than ever that gifts, talents, aptitudes, and learning styles come in many forms, not just those measurable by an IQ test; and all of our students benefit from learning in the company of this diversity of strengths.

Spring Hill does not claim to be able to address the needs of all students, as many students need forms of learning support that Spring Hill may not be equipped to provide. But our differentiated instruction program, small class size, and warm family environment empower and inspire all types of bright, motivated and creative students to flourish and meet their highest potential. Today more than ever, Spring Hill School is a diverse and inclusive community of learners, and we’ve updated the Mission, Vision, and name to reflect this.