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Our History

In 2006, the Davidson Academy opened as the first free public school of its kind for profoundly gifted middle and high school students. Unlike traditional school settings, Academy classes are organized by ability, not by age. Here is a brief timeline of what lead to the opening of the school and what’s happened since then.

1980s and Early 1990s

  • The Davidsons establish Davidson & Associates, an educational software company.
  • Davidson & Associates publishes MathBlaster™ and ReadingBlaster™ along with many other educational software titles that help students be successful learners by individualizing the pace of their education.
  • Davidson & Associates becomes a public company (NASDAQ: DAVD).

Mid- to Late 1990s

  • Davidson & Associates merges with another company, and the Davidsons leave the new organization.
  • The Davidsons begin researching philanthropic areas in education to continue their passion of helping students be successful learners. They decide to focus their philanthropic efforts on helping the underserved population of profoundly gifted students (students with IQs in the 99.9th percentile).


  • The Davidsons establish the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 operating foundation, and officially launch the Davidson Young Scholars program. For the next several years, many parents of Davidson Young Scholars ask the Davidsons to start a school.
  • The mission of the Davidson Institute is to recognize, nurture and support profoundly intelligent young people and to provide opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference.


  • Partnering with Simon & Schuster, the Davidsons, with co-author Laura Vanderkam, publish Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting our Brightest Young Minds.


  • The Nevada State Legislature passes a law allowing for the creation of a “university school for profoundly gifted pupils” (Nevada Revised Statute 392A; updated to 388C). The Davidsons establish the Academy based on this legislation.


  • The Davidson Academy of Nevada, the first public school of its kind in the nation for profoundly gifted middle and high school students, opens in a temporary location on the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) campus.
  • 35 students enroll for the 2006-2007 school year.


  • The 2007 Nevada State Legislature passed additional legislation providing Distributed School Account (DSA) funding to the Academy (Nevada Revised Statute 392A; updated to 388C).
  • 44 students enroll for the 2007-2008 school year.


  • The Davidson Academy moves into its current location in the Jot Travis Building on the UNR campus.
  • 70 students enroll for the 2008-2009 school year.


  • One student graduates in May 2009.
  • 91 students enroll for the 2009-2010 school year.


  • Six students graduate in May 2010.
  • 123 students enroll for the 2010-2011 school year.


  • The Davidson Academy is ranked as one of the nation’s “top-performing schools with elite students” by the Washington Post and has been so ranked every year since.
  • Five students graduate in May 2011.
  • 140 students enroll for the 2011-2012 school year.


  • The Davidson Academy receives accreditation from the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC).
  • Newsweek ranks the Davidson Academy as a top 100 school in its annual list of America’s Best High Schools.
  • 22 students graduate in May 2012.
  • 126 students enroll for the 2012-2013 school year.


  • A Certified college consultant is employed full time at the Davidson Academy.
  • 15 students graduate in May 2013.
  • 133 students enroll for the 2013-2014 school year.


  • Serving the Educationally Talented (SET) for Success program is launched with enhanced student support services, including Peer Advising Liaisons (PALs).
  • The Daily Beast ranks the Davidson Academy in the top 30 schools included in America’s Top High Schools 2014.
  • 26 students graduate in May 2014.
  • 137 students enroll for the 2014-2015 school year.


  • The Davidson Academy earns continuance of accreditation following scheduled evaluation of adherence to the AdvancED Standards for Quality Schools (NWAC was subsumed by AdvancED).
  • 15 students graduate in May 2015.
  • 154 students enroll for the 2015-2016 school year.


  • 25 students graduate in May 2016.
  • 157 students enroll for the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Davidson Academy announces Online High School for the 2017-2018 academic year.


  • 24 students graduate in May 2017.
  • 146 students enroll for the 2017-2018 school year at the Academy’s day school on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.
  • 21 students enroll for the inaugural 2017-2018 year of the Academy’s online campus with courses for eighth, ninth and 10th grade students. Eleventh and 12th grade courses will be added in the 2018-2019 school year.


  • 27 students graduate in May 2018.
  • 155 students enroll for the 2018-2019 school year at the Academy’s day school on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.
  • 34 students enroll for the 2018-2019 year of the Academy’s online campus.


  • 23 students graduate in May 2019.
  • Single course enrollment option added for the online campus as of the 2019-2020 school year. 9 students enroll in single courses in Math or English.
  • 48 students enroll for the 2019 -2020 year at the Online campus.
  • 140 students enroll for the 2019-2020 school year at the Academy’s day school on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.


  • 76 students enroll for the 2020 -2021 year at the Online campus.


  • Establishment of Davidson Academy Online as a separate independent (private) school still under the Davidson Institute but separate from the Davidson Academy in Reno, which will continue to operate as a Nevada public school.