KCIA originally opened as Della Lamb Charter School, the very first charter school in the State of Missouri. It opened in the Summer of 1999 with an enrollment of 120 students in Kindergarten through 4th grade. The school quickly expanded to serve students through 8th grade with an increased enrollment of over 610 students.
In 2016, Kansas City International Academy became a separate organization focused exclusively on providing educational services to its students and families. A new Board of Directors was created, which hired a new Administrative Leadership Team. KCIA is sponsored by the Missouri Charter Public School Commission.