HUDSON — Western Reserve Academy has been named the No. 1 best private high school for 2019 in Ohio by Niche for the second year in a row.

The private boarding school also was ranked in the top 3 percent of private high schools nationally by Niche, an educational ranking and review company.

"WRA has consistently ranked high on Niche’s list, and we are especially happy to have earned the number one ranking for the second consecutive year," said WRA Head of School Christoper D. Burner ’80. "Excellent schools evolve, and WRA has an innovation mindset as education changes. All the same, I am very proud that our core values of excellence, integrity and compassion remain as we build on nearly 200 years of history."

WRA also was recognized by Niche in 2019 as the No. 1 Best Boarding High School in Ohio; No. 1 Best High School for STEM in Ohio; and No. 1 Most Diverse Private High School in the Cleveland Area.

"These nods are especially rewarding as they applaud areas that are central to our traditions and evolution … from our residential curriculum, to our Wang Innovation Center, to our students hailing from 26 states and 16 countries to create a truly global community," Burner said.

Western Reserve Academy was ranked second best private high school in Ohio in 2016 and 2017.

Niche ranks nearly 3,900 private high schools across the U.S. Their data is based on multiple factors, including hard numbers, such as SAT/ACT scores, and more qualitative data, such as where graduates go to college, and student and parent feedback.

School starts for Western Reserve Academy Aug. 20.

Burner said the school is "nearly fully enrolled, including 125 new students." There are pupils from 26 states and 16 countries enrolled at WRA, he added.

In the coming school year, WRA will celebrate its $80 million Campaign for Excellence & Access, which supports financial aid, endowment and faculty and enables campus preservation.

Later this month, Seymour Hall — the school’s main academic building — will reopen after a $14 million renovation. Seymour is one of the mainstays of WRA’s 190-acre campus that contributed to the designation of the school as "The Most Beautiful Private School in Ohio" by Architectural Digest this spring.

"We also move into the second year of our new independent curriculum, including college level courses to replace advanced placement for greater depth and challenge," Burner said. "Another new offering unique to our curriculum is our Literacies Program, which we began last year with courses Learning to Code and Learning to Make for all freshmen in our Wang Innovation Center.

This year, Burner says, the school will evolve the Literacies Program for sophomores with two courses: Learning to Communicate and Learning to Live Well.

The Literacies Program has been recognized and supported by the E.E. Ford Foundation. Another unique offering is the cancer immunology course taught by Dr. Roberto Aguilar. Reserve is the only high school in the country offering cancer immunology courses, Burner notes.

Burner said that in surveys with parents and students, the school’s reputation both regionally and nationally, its academic program and the supportive community are reasons why students attend.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423,, or @AprilKHelms_RPC