About Us

Sterne's Mission

Build on the foundation of individual strengths to discover and nurture each student’s version of greatness.

Our Story

In 1976, San Francisco-based educator Valerie Anthony set out to create a new kind of school for students she knew had enormous talents and strengths, but who were not being served by traditional classrooms or curricula. Today, these kinds of learners identify as neurodiverse, atypical, or having learning differences. With the help of her husband Xen, Val followed her vision, and Sterne School was born as a literal one-room schoolhouse, in the Sunset District, for students aged 7-14.

Over the following several decades, stewarded by a new generation of similarly innovative and inclusive teachers and administrators, Anthony’s original dream gained enormous traction, and evolved to meet the educational needs of a new generation of learners: not just kids who identify as neurodiverse, but also students who benefit from our strengths-based philosophy and best-in-class embedded support.


Sterne serves over 200 students in grades 4-12 in a vibrant, urban campus. Small and mighty by design, we offer a personalized learning experience, with small class sizes and wrap-around, integrated learning support, creating an environment that amplifies strengths and gives every student the space to unlock their potential. Strong arts, athletics, and experiential education round out our students' experience.

Sterne’s Lower School and High School are distinct but complementary programs, led by expertly trained teachers who are committed to getting to know every student’s learning style. Lower School focuses on foundational literacy and math skills, instructional-level-based cohorts, and robust learning support. It’s a natural progression to Sterne’s High School division, a rigorous yet adaptable A-G college preparatory program that fosters autonomy and critical thinking, while making room for extra support.

The Sterne Experience