“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for providing such a warm, nurturing and successful learning environment. Not only did our sons receive an excellent education, but they were happy at school as well. They also learned what it’s like to have wonderful teachers and to be surrounded by a caring school community.” —Jenny Gold
In 1979, after ten years of teaching in public and private schools, Dalia Eisen decided to start her own school. “I knew I could do better and offer students more than existing schools would let me,” she explains. “Children needed a school that could address their diverse needs through differentiated teaching. I also wanted to stick to the tried and true methods of teaching the basics (phonics, grammar, spelling, etc.) because public schools were moving away from these, and it didn’t feel right to me.”
So, in September 1980, Crestwood opened its doors with seven students in 800 square feet of office space at Eglinton and Bathurst. “I considered building slowly and waiting until I had enough students, but in the end, I just went for it.”
Five years later, Crestwood and its 70 students moved into a Victorian house on Prince Arthur Avenue. In 1990, ten short years after starting, Crestwood had 360 students (Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6) and moved to its current location at Bayview and Lawrence.
People loved the school. Teachers took the time to get to know their students and really figure out what each individual needed in order to excel. Students felt confident about learning and couldn’t wait to get to school. Parents admired Crestwood’s ability to balance innovative and traditional teaching methods and provide an environment that provided safety and a sense of adventure at the same time. These qualities have not changed over the years.
Parents clamored for an upper school, and Dalia finally said yes. In the spring of 2001, Vince Pagano agreed to become Headmaster of Crestwood Preparatory College (Grades 7 to 12) and help Dalia get it started. He oversaw the physical expansion of the newly acquired building less than ten minutes away near York Mills and the Don Valley Parkway and helped get everything else into place in time to begin its inaugural year that September. Crestwood Preparatory College now has 550 students.