Miller School of Albemarle was founded in 1878 with a bequest from Samuel Miller, who was raised in Batesville, Virginia, with limited means.  His mother realized the value of education and ensured that Samuel was tutored by a teacher who lived nearby. Samuel Miller used his education and his keen intelligence to earn a very handsome living as a market-oriented businessman. Along the way, his charity became legendary in his adopted hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia.


The Last Will and Testament of Samuel Miller provided for the majority of his estate to be used for the establishment of a boarding school for girls and boys to be located on 1,600 acres near his birthplace in Albemarle County.

By 1874, following Mr. Miller’s 1869 death, architects and builders were ready to begin work in designing and constructing the Miller School of Albemarle.  


This work culminated in August, 1878, with a grand opening and dedication of the central portion of “Old Main”, an impressive Gothic-Victorian brick structure, around which much of MSA educational life still revolves.

In its 138+years, MSA has evolved to the coeducational college preparatory school for grades 8-12 that it is today. Throughout these years, the Miller School of Albemarle has been providing remarkable educational opportunities to promising students. Today, MSA is home to over 185 girls and boys from around Virginia, around the nation, and around the world.

Miller's Vision

Our aim is to prepare young women and men for a productive, meaningful and successful life, in college and beyond. MSA will achieve these goals with rigorous and supportive program, talented faculty and staff, small classroom settings, actual leadership opportunities and an emphasis on building character, improving communication skills and developing genuine fellowship. MSA’s unique community builds responsible citizens, critical and insightful thinkers, and compassionate individuals.Our nurturing and controlled environment promotes physical and emotional well-being, an understanding of world cultures and values, in a safe environment. MSA’s historical tradition of implementing an approach of “Mind, Hands and Heart” stresses the need to learn how to accomplish ideas and projects in a sincere, heartfelt manner.

Our History

When Albemarle County received more then a million dollars from the bequest of Samuel Miller, its commissioners started a search for an industrial school, after which to pattern the one to be set up in Albemarle from the Miller Fund. No such institution could be found; so, the commissioners had to undertake an experiment without a model; to set up an example, instead of following one.


A contract was entered into for the construction of the buildings, and then the commissioners began their search for a superintendent. After two days of weighting the qualifications of the various applicants, Charles E. Vawter was elected as the first superintendent of the Miller Manual Labor School.​

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