History & Mission

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Quest Academy was established under the name Creative Children’s Academy in 1982 to provide a dynamic learning environment for gifted children. Our founder, Helene Bartz, had a vision for impacting the lives of gifted children after she realized the lack of gifted services in more traditional settings such as public schools in the area. Bartz, along with the founding families, knew that bright children would benefit from a mission-driven, intentional community that would support the gifted and talented learner.

Quest Academy opened its doors with 11 students and two faculty members. Classrooms were multi-age. The program was developed to meet the interest of the children rather than structured to a set curriculum. Creative Children’s Academy was, even during its early years, an appealing educational setting. At the heart of its success was a talented and creative staff.

Full accreditation was awarded by ISACS in 1988. In recognition of its opportunities, the school’s enrollment had expanded to 175 students by 1991.

In 1993, however, the Creative Children’s Academy faced an unanticipated crossroads. The park district that had been leasing an aging and leaking facility to CCA decided to raze the building. The then current Head of School announced he was taking another job. Facing an uncertain future, the school and its Board worked valiantly to find a solution, and they did. Two administrators agreed to share the Head of School position. The Board purchased Quest’s current home, the former Palatine Public Library; and the park district agreed to delay razing their building until construction of Quest’s new building was complete.

In January 1994, the school moved into the remodeled public library and began to enjoy its new academic environment. While experiencing some major additions and renovations, this building remains the hub of Quest’s current campus. With finances controlled, an attractive facility, and strong program and leadership, the school received its ISACS re-accreditation in 1994 with accolades going to the administration and Board for their hard work in pulling the school out of its earlier crisis.

Because of the vision and focus resulting from good strategic planning, the Creative Children’s Academy went well beyond simply surviving its early growing pains. In 1999 the school’s name was changed to Quest Academy. That same year a capital campaign funded the addition of a $2.4 million gymnasium and performing arts wing. Several years later, a new capital campaign resulted in the acquisition of additional land and the adjoining shopping plaza. As a result of that, our West Campus opened to great fanfare in 2012 with additional green space for outdoor learning. Now Quest can point with pride to its years of meeting the social, emotional, and academic needs of gifted children. Although the words have been revised over those three decades, the core values remain unchanged — institutional independence, belief in the goodness of each individual, and deep understanding of each and every step of childhood and adolescence. Its mission, too, remains constant.


Quest Academy provides gifted children with a challenging curriculum and a nurturing environment.

Our program emphasizes sound character along with scholarship and creativity in both the academics and the arts.

The Quest community values the individuality of each child and encourages each to strive for personal excellence.

Diversity Statement

Quest Academy is committed to fostering a community of empowered learners who feel they belong.

We define diversity as encompassing people of all abilities, ages, appearances, beliefs, countries of origin, cultures, diversity of thought, ethnicities, genders, gender identities, races, religions, sexual orientations, socio-economic backgrounds, and values.

We recognize the dignity and uniqueness of everyone — faculty, staff, administration, board, students, families and the greater community — thereby cultivating respect for one another.

We strive to create a deeply inclusive community where all members can contribute meaningfully and are embraced as their authentic selves.

We nurture growth in a welcoming environment by embracing diversity, cultivating inclusion, and promoting fair treatment.

Quest Academy holds to these values because they serve our mission and strengthen our students’ ability to thrive in a diverse world.