Staten Island Academy

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Staten Island Academy
Staten Island Academy Logo .jpg
Motto Libertas, Integritas, Decora
Established 1883 (1883)
Type Private, college prep
Gender Co-ed
Founder Anton Methfessel
Students ~390
Grades pre-K – 12
Location 715 Todt Hill Road,
Staten Island, New York, USA
Colors          Maroon & gold
Mascot Tiger
Website Staten Island Academy

Staten Island Academy is a coeducational, college-preparatory day school located on a 14-acre (57,000 m2) campus in Staten Island in New York City, USA. Founded in 1884 by Anton Methfessel, it is the oldest private school on Staten Island, and is the only independent school (non-public, non-religious) in the borough. It educates students from pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 high school. Current enrollment is 390 students and offers a student to teacher ratio of 7:1. Albert Cauz is the current head of school. The school is composed of three divisions: Lower School, Pre-K-Gr. 4; Middle School, Gr. 5-8; Upper School, Gr. 9-12. The Head of Lower, Middle and Upper School is Eileen Corigliano. The campus has seven buildings: the Early Childhood Building, the Art Barn, Haugen Hall, Kearns Hall, Crowe Hall, Alumni Hall and the OJ Buck Gymnasium. The school's accreditations include the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and the New York State Association of Independent Schools. It is chartered and registered by the Board of Regents, University of the State of New York.


Founding and early years[edit]

The Academy rapidly expanded, dropped the phrase “Latin School” from its name, and gained prominence with a curriculum that was progressive for its day. In 1885, required courses for the Intermediate Form (grades 9-12) included Latin, German, French, English, geography, physiology, zoology, mathematics, history, natural philosophy, expression, music, and drawing. The Academic Form required more advanced study, and The Latin School division mandated, additionally, student literacy in both Latin and Greek.

Many prominent professionals in theater, education, literature, politics and business were associated with the Academy throughout this period including actor Sidney Wollett, North Pole explorer Admiral Perry, Booker T. Washington, the Vanderbilt family, Jacob Riis, and George William Curtis, a member of the Academy's Board of Trustees and the namesake for Curtis High School.

In 1891 the school bought land at the corner of Wall Street and Academy Place, a street that was named after the school, in the St. George section of Staten Island. Because of the expanding student population, a grand new building of English architectural design was built, and the cornerstone was laid in December 1895. The new building was dedicated at commencement in June 1896.[1][2] The historic cornerstone now stands outside Alumni Hall on the school's Todt Hill campus, while the original building is now the Staten Island Museum.

Early 1900s[edit]

Around the start of the 20th century, the Academy explored and adopted "new" educational pedagogies, including those espoused by John Dewey and Friedrich Froebel, the creator of the Kindergarten.

Athletics gained prominence as interest in facilitating a connection between physical education and intellectual growth emerged, and the Academy expanded its athletics offerings. Teams during the early part of the 1900s included football, ice hockey (played at Silver Lake), track and cross-country running, basketball, baseball, tennis, and shell-racing. The growing program forced Academy athletes in 1921 to hold their contests at fields that had been given to the school on Delafield Square. In 1931, a field house and additional athletic fields were acquired when the school purchased land off Todt Hill Road, and Staten Island Academy donated the land at Delafield Square to the City of New York, which created Walker Park from it.

During this time, William Winter, a critic and patron of the arts, established the Winter Memorial Library at the school in honor of his son Arthur, an Academy student who had died while he was enrolled at the school. Through Mr. Winter's influence, the collection of the library, which was modeled after Sir Walter Scott's, included autographed portraits of Dickens, Gladstone, and Disraeli. Its shelves held first editions of Twain, Dickens, Johnson, Byron, Andrew Carnegie, and Bram Stoker, as well as other rare books and prints.


During and after the Depression years, the Academy acquired and merged with several other private schools, including the Livingston School, a highly regarded progressive elementary institution, the Dongan Hall-Arden School, which was located on the present day Todt Hill Campus, and the Willard-Mundorf School. In the 1940s, the Lower and Middle Schools of the Academy moved to Dongan Hall, a Georgian mansion that was formerly the estate of Edward Stettinius, FDR's and Truman's Secretary of State. The Upper School remained at the Wall Street campus.

The Academy maintained two campuses for many years. On December 10, 1964, ground was broken on the Todt Hill campus to build facilities to house the entire school. The Todt Hill campus additions included structures still in use today—the Early Childhood Building, Kearns Hall, and the O.J. Buck Gymnasium. Alumni Hall was completed in 1970, and the entire student body was accommodated on the Todt Hill campus shortly thereafter.

In September 1975, a fire destroyed Dongan Hall, the center of the Todt Hill campus. The building's structure was irreparably damaged, and most of the Winter Memorial Library portrait and book collections was lost. A single remnant from Dongan Hall, a pendulum clock, was saved. The clock now hangs in Crowe Hall, which was built in 1976 on the site of the historic Dongan Hall building. Crowe Hall contains the Patrick Commons (the dining hall), the Head of School's office, and other administrative spaces. Haugen Hall, which houses the auditorium,the Stanley Library and arts classrooms, was also built in 1976.

In 1995, the Francis H. Powers Science and Technology Center was added to Kearns Hall. Campus facilities also include two outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, athletic fields, and the Art Barn, which is the last remaining original structure on the campus and is used for students’ 3-D art classes.

The fall of 2002 marked a new chapter in the Academy's history with the installation of Diane J. Hulse as the 15th Head of School.[3] During the summer of 2003, the Stanley Library was completely renovated, the Patrick Commons dining hall was upgraded, new playground equipment was installed, and outdoor benches and tables were added. A school fitness center was opened in late 2003. In the summer of 2004, the school's athletics fields were upgraded. The Alexander Robbins Steinman Foundation partially funded the project in honor of Alex Steinman, Class of 1986, who died on 9/11. Other recent projects include the restoration of the Art Barn and the Haugen Hall entry steps, upgrades to classrooms, the art room, and computer labs, a multi-milliuon dollar effort that has kept the Academy state-of-the-art.

Staten Island Academy Heads of School[edit]

  • Anton Methfessel, 1862–1884
  • Frederick E. Partington, 1884–1907
  • Frank C. Page, 1907–1920
  • Dr. John F. Dunne, 1920–1925
  • Charles H. Garrison, 1925–29
  • Thomas Burton, 1929–1933
  • Charles L.S. Easton, 1933–1935
  • Stephen J. Botsford, 1935–1942
  • Dr. Harold E. Merrick, 1942–1962
  • Harvey H. MacArthur, 1962–1967
  • Dr. Mary E. Meade, 1967–1968
  • Peter M. Webster, 1968–1976
  • Dr. J. Stevens Bean, 1976–1989
  • F. Graham Brown Jr., 1989–1996
  • Carmen M. Marnell, 1996–2002
  • Diane J. Hulse I, 2002–2012
  • Albert Cauz, 2012-


The Academy's mascot is the tiger, and its colors are maroon and gold. Athletic offerings include Cross Country, Baseball, Soccer, Tennis, Golf, Softball, Basketball, Volleyball and Lacrosse.


The varsity golf team was undefeated (8-0), led by coaches Michael Shanley and Michael Acquilano. The team won the Independent Schools Athletic League (ISAL) Regular season Championship.


The varsity golf team went undefeated (8-0) in the ISAL and were the regular season champions over Loyola School (New York City), as well as winning the league tournament by seven strokes.

The Girls Varsity Lacrosse team had its first victory in many years in the AAIS league, tying for first place among such Manhattan schools as Brearley and Chapin for a regular season victory, but were bounced in the first round of the playoffs. Another first for the lacrosse team was qualifying for the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) tournament, but were beaten 18-2 in the second round to Fieldston.

The boy's varsity tennis team reached a milestone as Coach Brian Manske reached 300 wins as a coach. The team also took back their firm hold on the Staten Island League as champions with a 9-0 record.

This year, Girls Varsity Tennis were the regular season champions for the first time in 5 years.


The Girl's Varsity Basketball Team went undefeated in the ACIS League, winning the Season and Playoff Championships, but were eliminated in the first round of the NYSAIS Tournament.

Despite a disappointing single season, the golf team would go on to win the ISAL tournament championship for the second year in a row by 14 strokes.


The Boy's Varsity Tennis team went undefeated. This was the first time the tennis team has ever won the ACIS League. The Boy's Varsity Soccer team won both the PSAA and ACIS championships under the coaching of Bob Ramirez.


In recent years, the Performing Arts Department has presented Upper School student productions of Hamlet, Oklahoma!, The Birds,[disambiguation needed] Bye Bye Birdie, Cyrano de Bergerac, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Arabian Nights, Anything Goes, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Each year, the department presents a Middle School student-performance and Lower School grade plays. Annual concerts include performances by various student groups such as the orchestra and assorted singing groups.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • O.J. Buck, A World War II fighter pilot who died over Nazi Germany in 1942, two years after he graduated. The Gymnasium is named after him
  • Michael Peter Rapp, Longest tenured faculty member in school history. He graduated from Staten Island Academy in 1964 and has been employed since 1969.
  • Donald Davidson, American philosopher, who served as Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley
  • Chris Agoliati, professional US Soccer Player
  • Caroline Diamond Harrison, The Publisher and owner of the Staten Island Advance and

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "STATEN ISLAND ACADEMY CLOSING.; Handsome New Buildings at St. George Occupied for First Time." (PDF). New York Times. June 16, 1896. p. 16. Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  2. ^ "NEW SCHOOL BUILDING DEDICATED" (PDF). New York Times. June 17, 1896. p. 3. Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  3. ^ "Islander gets top post at private school". Staten Island Advance (Staten Island, NY). February 6, 2002. 

Coordinates: 40°35′41″N 74°06′33″W / 40.59472°N 74.10917°W / 40.59472; -74.10917