Our mission is to educate children and instill in our students a love of learning and the abilities to think critically, live ethically, and appreciate the value of each individual.

Our Story


The McGillis School was founded in 1990 as The Jewish Community Center Elementary School, an extension of the Salt Lake City Jewish Community Center Preschool and Kindergarten. The vision of the school began with a small group of parents who sought to continue the educational philosophy and Jewish-values-based education that their children had experienced at the JCC preschool.


The Jewish Community Center Elementary School is renamed The McGillis JCC Elementary School in honor of Joanne and Richard McGillis, for their support of the school. After being housed at the Kol Ami Synagogue for eight years, the school moves to the original Jewish Community Center building on 1700 South in 2001. Over 12 years, the school grows from one class of twelve students to six classes of 110 students


With the increasing success of the elementary school, the McGillis School community makes plans for future growth. In the spring of 2002, the school gains 501(c)3 status, incorporates, and becomes an independent entity called The McGillis School.

On December 7, 2002, The McGillis School purchases the historic Douglas School. The McGillis School, completely renovated and seismically retrofitted by Eckman Mitchell Construction, opens its doors to students on September 1, 2003. Named for its primary benefactors, The Joanne and Richard McGillis School begins the 2003-2004 school year with 129 students in grades one through seven.


2002_old.buildingThe School begins to double the number of classes beginning with the addition of a second first grade class. The first class of eighth grade students graduates from The McGillis School in 2005. The School becomes a candidate member of the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools (PNAIS).2004-2005bldg


In the fall of 2006, the building renovation debt is retired, and the school becomes debt-free. The School undertakes its first long-range strategic plan, including a commitment to expand the facilities. In the five years since The School became independent, the student population grows to 210 students. The Faculty triples in size.


The McGillis School gains fully accredited status with PNAIS. The School receives multiple commendations and no conditions.

In June of 2007, the Board of Trustees commits to expanding the school's facilities no later than Fall 2010.


The school houses 258 students in the fall of 2008 with two classrooms each in first through fifth grades. A new facilities plan calls for eliminating a 1950's addition to the historic building and constructing an additional 57,000 square feet. The new facility, built to LEED standards and architecturally complimenting the original historic building, costing approximately $10 million. A capital campaign begins.


On June 2, 2009, we break ground on our expansion.


The McGillis School opens its doors to the completed expansion with 325 students in Kindergarten through eighth grades. A new chapter in The McGillis School history begins. With the addition of more than 57,000 square feet, The School has endless opportunities to enrich its already robust, ethics-infused curriculum.


The School becomes the first K-8 school in Utah to achieve Gold LEED Certification. 

117 solar arrays (27.5 kw) are installed on the roof of the MAC.

kids and solar panels


The McGillis School receives the Platinum Utah Green School Award.


The School celebrates 10 years at the Historic Douglas School location.


The school year begins with 390 students.  The McGillis School graduates 41 Eighth Graders and is reaccredited unconditionally with the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS), receiving many commendations.


We welcome our new Head of School, Jim Brewer.  Our middle school expands, and we begin the school year with 450 students.