About Us


HistoryIn 1986, Frank and Nance Maguire had a dream of creating a school for children with unique learning profiles. Bringing their varied experiences and backgrounds in education and educational consulting to San Diego, the Maguires began the important work of founding a school.  In 1988, that dream became a reality when Excelsior Academy was established.

In the beginning, EA operated with a small group of students in leased classrooms. By 1994, the school was moved to its present location on a 10-acre campus providing a range of space for the varied programs necessary to ensure student success.

EA Founders, Frank and Nance Maguire

EA Founders, Frank and Nance Maguire

The philosophy of Excelsior Academy springs first and foremost from the word excelsior meaning ever upward. The Maguires had in mind the need for a school name that would act as a beacon, guiding community members upward in efforts to help students achieve success academically, physically, emotionally, and socially.

Through the years, many families, students, and staff members have crossed the school’s threshold.  All have contributed greatly to making Excelsior a successful school, and all have experienced growth in many areas.  It has been documented that over 15 staff members moved on only to return to work once again in this climate of productivity and mutual respect.  Some students who left for various reasons also made the decision to return to EA to continue their education.

Excelsior Academy has experienced great success in helping students achieve their goals and become contributing citizens; in addition, Excelsior has received national, state and local recognition for its successes.

The Vision

All members of Excelsior Academy will be respectful and responsible individuals.

The Mission

To provide a safe and nurturing environment wherein students become literate, thinking, independent and productive citizens.

These guiding principles, known as The Excelsior Way, were created with input from staff, students, and families.  Every few years, they are revisited to ensure relevancy. The Excelsior Way is a way of trusting, coping, living, and learning that guides each individual in the school community.

Founded with a purpose, and guided by principles, Excelsior Academy is making a difference in the lives of children with learning differences by building confidence and character in a supportive learning environment.