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Yorkshire Academy’s History

By Shirley Swinbank, founder and Executive Director

It seems like yesterday that my dream of owning my own school became a reality with Yorkshire Academy. In May of 1984, we started out in West Houston as a preschool with 80 students and gradually made our way to offer an exciting program for children from 18 months through fifth grade with almost 275 students. Our parents continually ask us to expand further to middle school, but we’ve chosen to concentrate on providing what we feel is the best, most comprehensive program for younger children available in the area.

Yorkshire Academy building—the early days

The original Yorkshire Academy building circa 1980. Mrs. Swinbank built the foundation for excellence that still defines our school today.

Yorkshire Academy campus—today

While Yorkshire Academy facilities have expanded, we still occupy the same caring campus that first welcomed students in the early 1980s.

Campus illustration

What makes Yorkshire Academy special are the students. What a privilege to have made a difference in the lives of the literally thousands of young people who have come through our doors. The elements that make Yorkshire’s program special are the small class sizes, our devoted staff, the strength of our academics coupled with a strong emphasis in extracurricular classes, i.e. MusicArtSpanishComputerP.E., and Library, and the attention to the individual needs of each student. We’re able to involve our students in so many special endeavors, including the PSIA academic competition, an annual full-scale theatre production, and an annual entry in Houston’s Livestock and Rodeo Art Competition, to name a few.

In 2000, we expanded our campus to include a new building to house our upper elementary homeroom classes, the music room, art room, library and computer lab, as well as a playing field and parking lot. The Treichel Building, named in honor of Mrs. Swinbank's mother, Helen Treichel, was built in 2012 as a beautiful expanded art space and our 5th grade classroom.

Each year has its own challenges and opportunities to keep us all on our toes and completely engaged. We continually look for ways to improve and enhance our existing programs and look forward to what the future has in store for us. As Ben Sweetland said, “We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.”

A Foundation of Excellence: The History of Yorkshire Academy

Mrs. Swinbank and students viewing tablet computer at Yorkshire Academy west Houston, Texas

Mrs. Swinbank teaching Language to an elementary student.


Mrs. Swinbank's children attending Yorkshire Academy, Houston, Texas

Her children attended Yorkshire Academy.


Group picture at danos dedication

Dedicating the new Resource Center.


Mrs. Swinbank with youngest grandchild

Mrs. Swinbank celebrating youngest grandchild turning four.