The idea for Samueli Academy started almost 20 years ago with Susan Samueli and Sandi Jackson, two local philanthropists and members of the board of directors of Orangewood Foundation. Susan and Sandi were concerned about the low high school graduation rates among teens in Orange County, including foster care teens served by Orangewood. They decided to explore new educational opportunities for local high school students and research best practices around the country. They rallied like-minded individuals and organizations from philanthropy, business, education and child advocacy to join their efforts. Of her initial interest Susan says, "I think it’s because Sandi and I are both mothers and grandmothers. We know that it’s so important for children to do well in high school and to go on to college. We felt that Orange County needed an academy such as this that would give students the kind of care, attention and education they need to succeed in life."

Our Mission

To ignite the passion within all students to reach their greatest potential through a nurturing and innovative learning environment.

Along the way, the influential group identified a number of best practices that have been incorporated into Samueli Academy including:
  • A learning environment that maximizes individual student attention
  • A staff that cares about the “whole” student
  • Work-based learning
  • College Readiness
  • State of the art technology for all students
  • Project-based learning
  • Exciting and fulfilling after-school programs

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Samueli Academy offers youth an innovative and student-centered choice for their education. This includes on-site housing for foster youth who need a stable living environment in order for them to excel academically.

Samueli Academy is governed by a Board of Trustees and led by Anthony Saba. As Executive Director, Anthony brings over a decade of high school experience (both in the classroom and in administration) plus a passion for involving students in the learning process. “My teaching philosophy is to allow students to take an active, hands-on role in their learning,” he says. “I think it is especially important in the 21st century that we don’t just teach students WHAT they need to know but show them WHY they need to know it.” Click here to read more about Anthony.

Samueli Academy welcomed its first class of 120 freshmen in August 2013. The school has grown each year and as of the 2020-21 school year serves grades 7, along with 9-12. Beginning in the fall of 2021, Samueli Academy will reach capacity with 775 students in grades 7-12.

If you are interested in applying to Samueli Academy for your teen, please click here. For employment inquiries, please click here.

Public Charter School for all students - no tuition fees. Take high school and college classes at the same time.