Head of School Message


On behalf of The Vanguard School community, greetings and thank you for visiting our website.   Vanguard offers an independent, co-educational, boarding, and day school education with approximately 100 students in grades 6-12 who learn differently. Vanguard strives to work with each student and their specific learning profile to find success and confidence.

As a parent of a child who struggles with ADHD, (Vanguard ‘27)  I appreciate how important it is to find the right school for your child: a place where the teachers see the potential of your child and care enough to develop that potential. As an educator, I could not be more proud to lead Vanguard School. This is a loving, caring, innovative, and transformative community that helps students gain confidence and find success.

At Vanguard we understand that our students are blessed with learning abilities and that it is our responsibility as educators to identify, celebrate, and support each student in capitalizing on his or her individual strengths. Instead of merely providing support within a traditional classroom setting, we design curriculums around each student’s particular strengths and needs. By emphasizing individualized attention within the context of a small classroom environment, Vanguard  provides for the academic, social, and personal growth of each student 

There are many good boarding schools in the United States, but few are as unique and inviting as ours. The school is located in sunny Central Florida between vibrant cities Orlando and Tampa. However, we enjoy the benefits of the small, friendly, and safe Lake Wales community. Through our core values we emphasize Community, Leadership, Integrity, Empathy, and Resilience by helping students become: 

  • Independent thinkers, who explore with curiosity and confidence 

  • Create an environment where students feel safe to struggle, seek new challenges and be confident learners

  • Cultivate a culture of respect, compassion, and integrity 

We have wonderful opportunities for you to take advantage of at Vanguard School. Students at Vanguard live in renovated dormitories, swim in our pool, fish in our lake, take the stage in our Performing Arts Center, enjoy a movie or video game in our student center, display passion for art, play in FHSAA athletic contests, gain confidence in our small classes, and make friends from around the world... Our students forge everlasting friendships, prepare themselves for college academically, socially and understand the value of respect and service while finding school to be enjoyable. 

If you are contemplating joining us, we welcome your interest as you learn about our wonderful school. Please write or call if I can be of further assistance. 



L. Shannon Graves

Head of School