Runnels, the oldest independent school in Baton Rouge, was founded in 1965 as an academically progressive preschool with a warm and engaging environment by Dr. L.K. Runnels and Patricia Runnels (deceased, 1982). Over the years, it expanded to include an elementary school and a junior and senior high.
Runnels offers quality instruction in small class settings to students in preschool through high school. The curriculum is college preparatory, with a strong program of electives in the visual and performing arts.
Runnels High School has one of the largest Advanced Placement (AP) programs in the area, normally offering 18-20 AP courses each year. Historically, Runnels has been well represented in the College Board’s AP Scholar Awards Program. In the 2018-2019 school year, 32 Runnels students were named AP Scholars.
In addition to a rigorous academic program, arts education is a cornerstone of "The Runnels Experience." The performing arts classroom building and 500-seat Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre support the school’s prominence as an arts center. Gladys Hague Runnels served as Elementary Principal, and then as Assistant Head of School, for 33 years until she and her husband, Founding Headmaster Dr. L. K. Runnels, retired. Beginning and advanced courses are offered in band, strings, harp, piano, music theory, dance, drama, and technical theater. The visual arts program provides classes in studio art, honors art, AP art, art history, painting, sculpture, and media arts.
Runnels participates extensively in interscholastic athletic competition. During the 2018-19 school year, the basketball, baseball, softball, cross country, and powerlifting teams made it to the state playoffs, with girls' cross country earning the state championship title. Student-athletes in the Class of 2018 won college scholarships in swimming, soccer, cross country, and baseball.
"Perhaps the greatest benefit of a Runnels education," said Founding Headmaster Dr. L.K. Runnels, "is an intangible one — the greater sense of self-worth that settles on Runnels students in a campus environment that is nurturing, caring, and tolerant."