Global Education in Pasadena

New EF Academy holding open house

By Michele Robinson
Education First/Submitted rendering

A new, state-of-the-art global high school experience is available locally. 

Pasadena will soon be the new home of EF Academy, a product of the global educational organization EF Education First. This highly acclaimed international private high school has campuses in Oxford, England, and Westchester County, New York. Now opening its third location this fall, it will offer students both day school and boarding options.

“The mission of EF Academy is to open the world through education, and the vision of our school is to empower the next generation of global changemakers,” says Dr. Sally Mingarelli, founding head of school for EF Academy Pasadena.

Students attending EF Academy will receive a globally centered education. EF Academy offers its students a signature Global Leadership Program with three pathways to choose from:

● Global citizen, with a focus in international relations, politics, law and economics.

● Global entrepreneur, with a focus in business, finance and management.

● Global innovator, with two tracks:

A focus in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,


A focus in arts, media and cultural studies.

The Global Leadership Program is structured around the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. The program encompasses the four years students are on campus and encourages students to engage in global problem solving and complete student-driven projects.

This ties in to another feature that sets this private school apart – the student-centered approach to education.

“This brand-new campus offers a student-centered learning approach. Teachers and students work together, and students have a hand in what they want to learn,” explains Alexandra Jareck, marketing, admissions and communications manager.

After breaking ground in 2019, this artfully designed 16-acre campus will offer modernized amenities including four new on-campus residence halls and many modern sports facilities. There are also art spaces, design labs and a dining hall on campus.

“The roofs of the dorms are sloped to mirror the San Gabriel Mountains,” Jareck says.

As for the sports, students can enjoy indoor and outdoor sports activities. They can swim in the new recreational pool or play beach volleyball in the sand volleyball court.

“Students can also take advantage of the outdoor basketball court, full turf soccer field and dance studios. There is also a large gymnasium for indoor volleyball and basketball,” Jareck says.

Students are encouraged and expected to participate in at least one after-school extracurricular activity. Many of the clubs will be based on the Global Leadership Program. An example of a club that may be formed is one related to policy making in the United Nations.

“The clubs will be formed based on what the students are interested in,” Jareck explains.

The school supports a tight-knit community of learners and expects several hundred students this fall. Because this will be the first inaugural class, only ninth graders through 11th graders will be on campus this year. Next year the campus will expand its grades to encompass the full high school range of ninth to 12th graders.

The EF Academy Pasadena attracts students locally, nationally and internationally. There are day school options for those who live close by. Students who live in Southern California but do not want to commute during the week have the option of boarding five days a week and going home on the weekends. Students who live out of state or are international have the seven-day boarding option.

One advantage of attracting students from around the world is the school community is diverse. There is no one nationality that is more than 20% represented. This allows for students to interact daily with others who may be culturally different from them and/or speak different languages. This diversity reinforces the goals of global communication and collaboration and creates empathy toward those who have different origins and perspectives.

“About 90% of those who are boarding seven days a week are international students from over 30 countries. There are global admissions offices all around the world,” Jareck explains.

For families interested in applying, there is an admissions process that includes submitting relevant documents and interviewing the prospective student. Deadline for final admissions is Friday, August 12. Students are selected based on being a good academic fit for the rigors of EF Academy and encompassing the attributes of the EF Academy Student Profile: learner, leader, scholar and global citizen.

For those families interested in finding out more about EF Academy, there will be an open house at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, August 18.

“We encourage prospective families to join us on campus and learn about our curriculum, signature Global Leadership Program, founding staff and faculty, and receive a campus tour,” Jareck says.

EF Academy is thrilled to be opening its doors soon and become a part of the Pasadena community.

“All of us at EF Academy Pasadena are delighted to become part of the Pasadena community, and we look forward to building connections and collaborations. As much as we value our international community on campus, we also value the rich opportunities for learning in Pasadena and the broader Los Angeles area,” Mingarelli says.

For more information, visit

The full posting to the open house event and a sign-up form can be found at

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