Doane Stuart School

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Doane Stuart School
Rensselaer, New York
United States
Type Independent school, private school, co-ed
Religious affiliation(s) Ecumenical / Episcopal
Established 1852 (as Kenwood Academy)
Head of school Pamela Clarke
Faculty 50 teachers
Grades Pre-K-12
Enrollment 290 students
Average class size 14 students
Student to teacher ratio 7:1
Campus 24 acres (97,000 m2)
Color(s) Navy Blue and Forest Green
Athletics 7 interscholastic sports teams
Mascot Thunder Chicken
Van Rensselaer High School
Doane Stuart School is located in New York
Doane Stuart School
Doane Stuart School is located in the US
Doane Stuart School
Location 199 Washington Ave., Rensselaer, New York
Coordinates 42°39′32″N 73°43′37″W / 42.65889°N 73.72694°W / 42.65889; -73.72694Coordinates: 42°39′32″N 73°43′37″W / 42.65889°N 73.72694°W / 42.65889; -73.72694
Area 24.53 acres (9.93 ha)
Built 1930 (1930)-1931, 1938-1939
Architect Gardinier, Clarence H.; Fullerton, Howard O.
Architectural style Art Deco
NRHP Reference # 12000511[1]
Added to NRHP August 14, 2012

The Doane Stuart School is an independent, private coeducational school in Rensselaer, New York. School materials indicate a low student to teacher ratio and a college preparatory curriculum. The school also has emphases on community service and interfaith tolerance. The school is a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools and the National Association of Independent Schools.


The Doane Stuart School was founded in 1975 as a merger between the Roman Catholic Kenwood Academy (founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1852) and the Episcopal St. Agnes School (founded 1870).[2] This unique merger is the only known merger of a Roman Catholic school and an Episcopal school in the United States.[2]

The name Doane Stuart was chosen to honor the First Episcopal Bishop of Albany, the Right Reverend William Croswell Doane, son of George Washington Doane founder of St. Mary's Hall-Doane Academy, now Doane Academy, and the Roman Catholic educator, Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ. Doane Stuart was established as a co-educational school.

The location chosen for the school was the campus of the old Kenwood Academy, located in Albany. The Convent of the Sacred Heart leased space to the school, while retaining a retirement home for its sisters on the site. Initially, the school included boarding for girls as well an English as a Second Language program for foreign students. In the early 1990s, the boarding and ESL programs were ended.

On March 2008, the Board of Trustees of Doane Stuart announced it had decided to end its affiliation with the Network of Sacred Heart Schools. At about the same time, the Convent of the Sacred Heart notified the school it would not renew its lease on the Kenwood campus.[3]

In April 2008, the Board of Directors sent a letter to school supporters stating that an offer it made to purchase the former Van Rensselaer High School in Rensselaer, New York had been accepted. The former high school was built in two sections in 1930-1931 and 1938-1939; the latter section built with Public Works Administration funds. It is a two-story, "T"-shaped brick and cut stone building on a raised basement. An addition was erected in 1995. The gable roof is topped by a three-stage octagonal cupola. It has a projecting cut stone entrance with Art Deco styling. The building housed a public school until 2007.[4]

On Tuesday, May 20, 2008, Rensselaer voters approved 463 to 74 the sale of the Van Rensselaer Elementary school and property for $4 million to the Doane Stuart School.

After a year-long renovation and restoration effort, students began classes on September 16, 2009 at the School’s permanent new campus home. Overlooking the Hudson River with views of the City of Albany, the 24 acre campus in Rensselaer provides room for future expansion. [5][citation needed]

The school building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.[1]


The mission of Doane Stuart is education for students from every quarter. In a college preparatory context, where the joy of discovery is valued, Doane Stuart emphasizes serious study, educates to social responsibility, and lays the foundation for a strong faith.

Student body[edit]

Doane Stuart’s Upper School has 145 students, while the Lower and Middle Schools combined have 165 students, split 50:50 between boys and girls. Approximately 10 percent of the School’s students are from minority communities, and another 2–5 percent each year are exchange students from international programs, including the School’s exchange with Lagan College in Belfast, Northern Ireland. 40% of students receive financial aid every year. Doane Stuart students are primarily from the eight counties surrounding Albany, from as far south as the Catskills, to as far north as Saratoga Springs.

Academics, athletics, and programs[edit]


College Counseling Middle School students are visited each year by the College Counselor to ensure that they will approach the college process with enthusiasm.College Counseling continues, more formally, in grade nine. Along the way, the goal is always to help each student find the college that will be the best fit for his or her academic achievement and interests, extracurricular talents, and educational goals; then, to help each student gain acceptance to those schools.

2010 College Acceptances:
Bard College (2); Bennington College; Carleton College; The College of Saint Rose (2); Connecticut College; Cornell University; Fashion Institute of Technology; George Washington University; Goucher College (2); Haverford College (2); Johns Hopkins University; Kenyon College (4); Manhattanville College; Marist College; Middlebury College; Oberlin College; Pitzer College; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2); Rice University; Russell Sage College; Siena College (2); Syracuse University; Union College; University at Albany (2); University of North Carolina; University of Vermont (2); Vassar College (3); Wesleyan University; Williams College; Yale University


Doane Stuart students are encouraged to participate and take leadership roles. Ninety-eight percent of Middle and Upper School students participate in extracurricular clubs and sports. Varsity sports teams are typically composed of students in Grades 9 through 12, although, if skill and physical fitness allow, students in Grades 7 and 8 may be considered.

Doane Stuart is a member of the Central Hudson Valley League, Class D. The Doane Stuart School campus includes a gym and one athletic field. Upper School intramural sports include fencing, tennis, cross-country, track, volleyball, soccer, basketball and softball. Required physical education classes take advantage of the School's Rensselaer campus location to include such activities as nature walks and sailing on the Hudson in addition to traditional gym activities.

Upper School Sports: Soccer (F) (Boys & Girls); Basketball (W) (Boys & Girls); Softball (S) (Girls); Baseball (S) (Boys); Tennis (S) (Boys & Girls); Track and Field (S) (Boys & Girls); Crew (S) (Boys & Girls); Intramural Frisbee (S/F) (Boys & Girls); Intramural Fencing (W) (Boys & Girls); Yoga (F) and Tai Chi (S)

The Irish/American Exchange Program[edit]

The School hosts an Irish American Exchange program, begun in 2003, which brings together Protestant and Catholic students from Lagan College in Belfast, Northern Ireland to spend a year at Doane Stuart and live with local families. These students attend classes and become an integral part of the community. Every year, a group of Doane Stuart students visit Lagan College, where they attend seminar courses in Irish History, Northern Ireland Politics, and Irish Language. These students get a glimpse of Belfast life while staying with host families from Lagan College. They have met with members of the US Embassy, Stormont (the Northern Ireland Parliament), City Officials, and key players in the peace process. Additionally, student teachers from the Protestant Stranmillis University College and the Catholic Saint Mary’s University College visit Doane Stuart as part of their teacher training. The Doane Stuart campus is home to a local Buddhist congregation, the Albany Karma Thegsum Chöling.

Community service[edit]

Students are encouraged to perform acts of community service, and are taught early on that this is a worthwhile activity. Starting in Lower School, the school organizes community service events for the students. Fifth and Sixth graders help out around campus, and Seventh and Eighth graders are brought to local organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House. In the Upper School, each student is required to complete 25 hours of community service each school year.

The entire Middle School community spends one Friday a month, totaling about 40 hours per student, per year, participating in community service. This Middle School tradition includes service both on and off the campus. Students are divided into groups and each group will, throughout the course of the school year, have the chance to experience a variety of activities. Some examples of Middle School Community Service placements include:


Noted alumni include:

  • Barbara Bowe, RSCJ KA ’63 – Author and Professor of New Testament at Catholic Theological Union
  • Paul Carey DS '81 - 77th Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Mary Donohue KA ’64 – Judge of the New York Court of Claims and former Lieutenant Governor of New York
  • Aaron Gagné DS '87 - Regional Director, Region VIII Office of Community Planning and Development, US Department of Housing and Urban Development;[6] retired Navy officer
  • Martha Gagne DS ’85 - Assistant Deputy Director, Office of Demand Reduction, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • Amy Hatkoff SA’68 – Child and family advocate, parenting educator, author and filmmaker. Author of, The Inner World of Farm Animals (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Spring, 2009)
  • Ellen Jakovic, DS ’78 - Partner in Kirkland's Antitrust Practice Group, Past President of the Women's Bar Association Foundation and Past President, Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia.
  • Alice Morgan Wright SA’1900 – Famed Albany Sculptor.
  • Barbara Riggs SA ’71 – Former Deputy Director of the United States Secret Service
  • Greg Robinson DS '98 - ethnomusicology professor at George Mason University and winner of the Fulbright Scholarship
  • David Yezzi, DS ’84 – American poet, actor and Executive Editor of The New Criterion. Yezzi is a former associate editor of Parnassus: Poetry in Review and a former poetry editor at The New Criterion.

In the news[edit]

"It’s not often that Art Deco designs are highlighted in the hallways with school lockers or that a school official’s office has a Tiffany grandfather clock from the turn of the 20th century. But, then again, The Doane Stuart School is not a typical educational institution."
"The building at 199 Washington Ave. in Rensselaer won’t be sitting vacant anymore, which would most likely have been its fate, had Doane Stuart School not declared it its new home."


  1. ^ a b "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 8/13/12 through 8/17/12. National Park Service. 2012-08-24. 
  2. ^ a b Heart magazine, December 2008, p. 14, found at [,com_docman/task,doc_download/gid,285/Itemid,9/ - RSCJ website] (pdf document). Retrieved January 6, 2009.
  3. ^ "School ends religious affiliation," The Albany Times Union Sunday, March 16, 2008. (This article reports that The Doane Stuart School's Board of Trustees voted to end the school's affiliation with The Society of the Sacred Heart and the Network of Sacred Heart Schools.)
  4. ^ "Cultural Resource Information System (CRIS)" (Searchable database). New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2015-12-01. [permanent dead link] Note: This includes William E. Krattinger (May 2012). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Van Rensselaer High School" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-12-01.  and Accompanying photographs
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links[edit]