Our History

Lafayette Preparatory Academy, est. 2013


The story of us…

St. Louis is a city rich in culture and full of a diverse group of people. It has a small hometown feel with big city opportunities. Although there are many incredible attractions for others to come to (or stay in) St. Louis City, one challenge citizens agree on, is that excellent public educational opportunities are scarce. Without a viable school option, many families leave the city each year.

Lafayette Preparatory Academy (LPA) began with the vision in mind that living within the city could mean access to an excellent, free, public education for all students. It began because concerned community members, many of them city parents, wanted a different narrative for the Clinton-Peabody, Downtown, Lafayette Square, LaSalle Park, Soulard and surrounding neighborhoods. The founders of LPA believe in the core of our city and the importance of access to a rigorous, comprehensive education.

Susan Marino, the founding Head of School and Executive Director, joined with other community members and parents in 2012 to drive the vision into reality. Susan brings dynamic leadership with many years of educational experience, including school start-up. This coupled with her residential ties to the St. Louis City neighborhoods, her early investment in the vision of LPA, and her experiences as an LPA parent provide her unique perspective and investment in upholding the values of LPA.

LPA has always been a labor of love and a true grassroots community effort. First and foremost, LPA is about community. Our philosophy is centered on service learning, being part of the city, and having our students draw connections from the classroom to the real-world. We believe students should be critical consumers of knowledge and problem-solvers. Each day, we strive for our students to leave LPA with the tools to examine the world around them and make a positive impact to our community.