History of IvyCrest

IvyCrest Montessori Private School, originally named Montessori Child Development Center, was founded in 1970 by Mrs. Doris Ivy Smith and is still a family-owned and operated learning center that has grown to three campuses.

The school's original campus was the home of one of Fullerton's first mayors and is now included on the National Register of Historic Buildings. The building is surrounded by over two acres of beautifully landscaped property. Many school activities still take place within the original structure, which retains much of its architectural integrity.

Assisted by her husband, Kenneth Smith, and her good friend and educator, Frances Obler, Mrs. Smith opened the school with only three children, and was licensed to accept 89 students. The reputation of the school grew quickly because of her love for students and their families. She always went out of her way to help others, and that spirit still remains an integral part of IvyCrest Montessori Private Schools. Children, then and now, come first.

Because the school had a continuous waitlist, plans were made during the 1980's to enlarge the campus. By 1987, new buildings increased capacity to 214 students. Just as they do today, parents believed in the school because they saw results and a commitment by Mrs. Smith to reinvest continually in the school's programs, equipment, and buildings.

Mrs. Smith's daughter, Holly Smith-Constantin, became involved in the school at an early age. When Mrs. Smith decided to retire in 1990, she sold her beloved school to her daughter. 

Continuing her mother's legacy, a brand new elementary campus was built adjacent to the original campus, increasing enrollment to 450 students. During the April 2005 debut of the Elementary campus, Ms. Holly renamed her school "IvyCrest" in honor of her mother, Doris Ivy Smith. The elementary classroom building was dedicated as "Fran Obler Hall" to honor her high school English Teacher, friend, and mentor. The Elementary expansion includes state-of-the-art classrooms, new playgrounds with rubber surfacing, and the KenDor Hall for Arts. KenDor Hall (named for Ms. Holly’s parents, Ken and Doris) includes multi-purpose rooms and a stage, furthering our commitment to integrate academics with the performing arts.

IvyCrest is prepared to provide a whole new generation of Montessori children with educational opportunities in a loving and caring environment, just as Mrs. Smith envisioned more than 50 years ago.