Welcome to The Potomac School

What distinguishes a great school from a good school? I believe that clarity of purpose, exceptional teachers, and demonstrated outcomes are hallmarks of great schools. A great school is a place with a deep commitment to student learning, where a faculty nourishes the intellectual, moral, emotional, and social growth of every student. It is a place where students, teachers, and parents embark together on an academic journey with clear and well-defined objectives. It is filled with the joy of discovery and the excitement of personal challenge and growth. It is a community unto itself, dedicated to developing strength of character and excellence in all dimensions of a student’s life. And it is a place that has a distinctive and lasting impact on students, developing who they are today and shaping who they will be in the years to come. 

The Potomac School strives to be a great school. Our mission, simply put, is to prepare students to achieve academically and to live healthy, principled, and successful lives. The three dynamic women who founded our school set out with this mission in 1904, and it is still what makes Potomac one of the finest independent K-12 day schools in the nation today.

On behalf of our students, faculty, administration, and parents, I welcome you to The Potomac School. I hope you will spend some time getting to know us and learning about the extraordinary education we offer. In the Washington area, Potomac is unique as a coed K-12 school located on a single campus. Just three miles from downtown Washington, our modern campus is surrounded by 90 acres of woods and natural beauty.

Thanks to our talented faculty, we truly get to know each child, including their interests and passions and what lights their intellectual fire. We challenge students with a rigorous program of inquiry and study, and in turn ask that they challenge themselves to higher standards and reach for excellence in all aspects of their lives. We prepare our students intellectually, while developing a love of learning and sound judgment. Ultimately, we provide our graduates a framework for understanding the world and the skills and traits to succeed in it.

I encourage you to explore our website to learn about our curriculum and co-curricular activities, our faculty and staff, and our school community. If you would like to learn more or schedule a visit to Potomac, I invite you to contact our Admission Office.

Again, welcome to The Potomac School! 

Sincerely yours,



John Kowalik
Head of School



Our Mission 
The Potomac School's mission is to foster each student's intellectual development, love of learning, and strength of character within an inclusive community distinguished by a spirit of support and challenge.

We encourage students to become independent thinkers and learners. The school's richly varied curriculum draws students beyond a mastery of fundamental skills toward the rewards of inquiry, initiative and reflection. Believing that aesthetic and physical development are essential to an education, we offer students opportunities to excel in art and music classes, on stage, and on the athletic fields.

We expect students to act with kindness, civility, and generosity of spirit, and, in our daily activities, we find opportunities to foster their integrity of character and civic conscience. More than mere tolerance, this standard calls students to act with compassion for others and to reach beyond the school in service to the community.

We strive for diversity in the conviction that a learning community is intellectually and morally strengthened when many different voices, viewpoints, and backgrounds are present.

As we prepare students for a rapidly changing and demanding society, we encourage them to reflect on the beauty that surrounds them and to enjoy the company of their friends and the many traditions celebrated at school.

Our Core Values
Since its founding, The Potomac School has steadfastly believed that developing a student’s character is as important as educating for intellectual growth. Informed by values, students learn to use their intellect and skills productively and in service to others. The school has identified the following five core values as the ethical and moral guideposts that enable all of us in the Potomac community to develop good judgment and live principled lives:

  • Courage
  • Humility
  • Integrity
  • Perseverance
  • Respect

Head of School


John Kowalik has been a teacher, coach, and leader of independent schools for nearly 30 years. Click here for more about John and to read an interview with him about education and leadership.