About Timber Ridge School

About Timber Ridge School

In the late 1960s, Mr. Al Leary opened the Leary School in Falls Church, Virginia, to serve seriously disturbed adolescent boys. The Leary Educational Foundation was incorporated in 1969 to operate boarding and day schools to help underachieving students of normal potential. Recognizing a need in some students for a more intensive and comprehensive approach, Mr. Leary created the Leary Educational Center in 1971 in Northern Frederick County. With just a handful of students, this residential school became Timber Ridge School in 1977.

Since then, Timber Ridge School has operated continuously serving seriously emotionally disturbed and behaviorally disordered adolescent boys. Our license has expanded from a capacity of 60 students to 96 students. As our population expanded, so did our campus, with the addition of seven new dormitories, two school buildings, a dining hall, an administrative building, and a gymnasium. Our beautiful campus also has football and baseball fields, as well as tennis courts.

We have remained responsive to the changing needs of our students, their families, and local agencies. Every three years, Timber Ridge School invites a sampling of social workers, probation officers, local education representatives, community members, donors, parents, students, Board members and staff to attend a retreat with the focus of developing a vision and strategic directions for the school. The final product is a three-year Strategic Plan document that guides organizational and program development and enhancement. We believe strategic planning has allowed us to meet the ever-changing needs of young men in need of our services and their community.


We love to hear from our alumni and share their stories. If you have been a student at Timber Ridge School and would like to fill us in on how you have been doing, please contact Debbie Vance, Coordinator of Marketing and Public Relations, at vance@trschool.org.

The staff gave Andrew the tools to work on his own needs, and since we knew what those tools were, we could help our son from home. We accomplished this success in partnership with the staff at Timber Ridge.
— Parent

Licensure & Accreditation

Timber Ridge School is licensed by:

  • Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services
  • Virginia Department of Education

We also hold the following accreditations:

  • Council on Accreditation (COA)
  • Virginia Association of Independent Specialized Education Facilities (VAISEF)
  • Cognia (formerly AdvancED)

Timber Ridge School holds the following membership(s):

  • National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC)
  • West Virginia Health and Human Services Collaborative

Approved as a special education facility, Timber Ridge School meets the Special Education standards, and our educational staff members are certified to teach special education, as well as their specific subject specialties. In addition, our instructional programs are designed to address the needs of emotionally disturbed and learning disabled students.

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