Mission & History

The Girls’ Middle School was founded by educator Kathleen Bennett in 1998 to provide a school that would nurture and empower a diverse group of girls during their critical adolescent years. Today we are still guided by the vision she articulated in her original prospectus for GMS, and it remains at the heart of our mission:

The Girls’ Middle School educates girls at a crucial time in life. We create an inclusive environment where academic growth is nourished. A GMS girl discovers her strengths and expresses her voice while respecting the contributions of others.

The founding faculty and staff first taught classes in September 1998 in our original location in Mountain View, California, to a pioneering sixth grade class of 35 girls. In 2011, GMS moved to our new home in Palo Alto. Today we enroll approximately 200 girls from more than 45 elementary schools around the San Francisco Bay Area.


The goal of the Girls' Middle School is to provide a space where girls from diverse ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds develop the academic skills, self-knowledge, and personal strength to achieve their dreams, as well as the empathy and communications skills to support each other in their travels.

Kathleen Bennett, School Founder