Runnels, the oldest independent school in Baton Rouge, was founded in 1965 as an academically progressive preschool by Dr. L.K. Runnels and his late wife, Patricia (deceased, 1982). Over the years, Runnels 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 2016-17 school year, 31 students from Runnels 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 Dr. L. K. Runnels retired. Beginning and advanced courses are offered in band, strings, harp, piano, music theory, chorus, ballet, drama, technical theater, and playwriting. The visual arts program provides classes in studio art, honors art, AP art, art history, painting, and media arts.
Runnels participates in interscholastic athletic competition. During the 2014-15 school year, boys’ basketball reached the state quarterfinals and baseball made it to the state playoffs as the No. 2 seeded team. Students also won athletic scholarships in golf, soccer, baseball, and basketball.
"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."