Saint Mark's School first opened for classes in September 1980, founded by Board President William F. "Buzz" Nern. The founders' guiding philosophy was to provide high-quality education in an atmosphere of love and care in which each member of the community was responsible for the well-being of the others.
Saint Mark's was accredited in 1984 by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and was given full membership in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) under its second Headmaster, John A. Pistel.
Damon Kerby became Saint Mark’s Headmaster in 1987. The school moved to its current site at 39 Trellis Drive in 1991. In 1997, acknowledging the importance of character in education, Saint Mark’s adopted its Seven Pillars of Character. In 1999, Saint Mark's entered into a 30-year lease at the current site with the Dixie School District. In 2002, construction of the new Arts and Science Building and gymnasium was completed. These newest facilities are great additions to the school’s 10-acre campus.
In 2003, Saint Mark’s adopted its Guiding Principles for a Diverse, Inclusive, and Socially Responsible Community, underlining the school’s deep commitment to its work on diversity, justice, and global citizenship. The board adopted an updated set of principles in 2010.
Since 2000, Saint Mark's has entered into three enriching partnerships: with eSibonisweni Primary School (2000) in Maputaland, South Africa, for cultural exchanges between families and students and cross-cultural professional development; with the Canal Alliance (2003) for reciprocal language education and tutoring; and with Beijing Experimental Primary School #2 (2007) in Beijing, China, for teaching and, eventually, student exchanges.
Recognized for its robust curricular programs in technology and media literacy, the school was named a Leading Edge Technology School by NAIS in 2005.
Joe Harvey became Saint Mark’s fourth Head of School in 2011. Saint Mark’s School is a non-profit corporation governed by a Board of Trustees. It is an independent, nonreligious K-8 school located in the residential area of Terra Linda in San Rafael, California.