The UA Story

Urban Academy’s history speaks to what makes it such a special place today.  Formed by three founding families who believed that a smaller, community involved school option was needed in the New Westminster area, this non-profit society humbly began in September 2001, with just one teacher and 10 students, Kindergarten to Grade One, in the rented space of Knox Presbyterian Church.

The creation of the school was rooted in the belief that creativity, heart, and collaboration of individual talents, were key in the success of a school, and with sleeves rolled up, the founders began the undertaking.

Developing an affordable learning environment that provided the opportunity for teachers to be at their best, included parents as partners in learning, valued the arts and was able to see each child as an individual, was a big vision, yet Urban Academy proved that “if you build it, they will come.”  Soon, many other parents, staff and students caught the vision and began to share their ideas, talents and hearts to develop it.

Adopting a growth model of adding one grade at a time, Urban Academy has now grown to over 175 students and 30 Staff members. What was at first just an idea has now become a Junior Kindergarten through to Grade Twelve school.  Additional programs such as Out of School Care, summer camps, clubs and activities are offered but most importantly Urban Academy is a place where families can be part of a warm, caring and diverse community.  The patient, gradual approach taken to growth, has allowed the school to maintain the intimacy and flexibility inherent in a smaller school, and to develop a program on the leading edge of excellence in education.

Robson Manor

Classes now takes place in a beautiful 10,000 square foot heritage home in beautiful Queens Park, purchased and renovated in 2006.  The former Robson Manor is now our home away from home.  In September 2013, we expanded to a second beautiful, heritage uptown campus for our Grade 5 - Grade 12 students.  This is an exciting season of growth as we partner with families to continue to grow the school and develop into our vision, and are currently in the process of purchasing land to build a purpose-buit school for Urban Academy students.  More information on that can be found on our Our Future page.

Leading by example to our students, the Urban Academy continues to grow and develop with creativity, heart and the collaboration of the incredible talents of the individuals within our Board, Staff, parents and wider community.  We invite you to be part of the wonderful memories and the continued success that will be added in the Urban Academy history.

We are fortunate to have two of our three founding families still incredibly involved in and supportive of Urban Academy as we continue to grow and develop.  Please meet them:


Laura & Brian Drummond

Occupations: Actor and facilitator (Laura), Freelance actor (Brian)

Number of Years at UA: 12+

Number of children: 3

As founders of Urban Academy, we are proud to serve this special prganization and to work alongside the community to continue to work toward the ultimate vision of the school.  We are passionate about the arts as a foundation of education, nurturing the social and emotional learning of our students, facilitating a strong and healthy school community and creating a strong foundation for Urban Academy to bring into the future.


DonnaDonna Tays & Glen Clarke

Occupation: Realtor - Re/Max Advantage Realty

Number of years at UA: 12+

Number of children: 2

As a founding family and original Board Member, my initial desire was to step forward and do whatever was necessary to move the school forward, be it anything from cutting the grass to spearheading our property acquisition.  I always felt that I couldn't expect other parents to step forward and help out unless I was prepared to roll up my sleeves and lead by example.  Over the years I have become intimately involved in most areas of Board Governance.  With over a decade of "active duty" I have helped provide stability and yet I remain committed this pivotal year, as we mature to two campuses and expand our expertise with talented new Directors.  My reason for serving now has transitioned to one of passing on the torch with confidence and gratitude - to share the wealth of community connections made over time, provide historical context and reflection, entrusting our unique culture to new families that will love and be loved by this "positively world changing school community."