Marvelwood School

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The Marvelwood School
Kent, Connecticut
United States
Type Private, Boarding
Established 1956
Head of school Arthur F. Goodearl
Staff 20
Faculty 52
Enrollment 169
Campus Rural
Color(s) Blue and White
Mascot Pterodactyl
Rival Forman School
Endowment $1.9 million

$52,000 (boarding)

$34,000 (day)
Alumni 1,852

The Marvelwood School is a college preparatory private boarding school located in Kent, Connecticut, United States. Marvelwood was founded in 1956 by Robert A. Bodkin and Ian Hanna in Cornwall, Connecticut. Bodkin remained headmaster until 1981. He was succeeded by Peter B. Tacy until 1989, H. Mark Johnson until 1997, Anne Davidson Scott until 2005, and Scott E. Pottbecker until 2011. Arthur F. Goodearl is the current headmaster.

Ian Hanna named the school after his relative Donald Grant Mitchell, an American novelist who was best known under the pseudonym Ik Marvel. The family owned an estate in New Haven, Connecticut, also called Marvelwood.[1]

About Marvelwood[edit]

Marvelwood was founded in 1956 in Cornwall, Connecticut, on a campus previously occupied by Rumsey Hall School. In 1995, Marvelwood moved from its cramped campus in Cornwall to the former Kent School girls' campus about 10 miles (16 km) away on Skiff Mountain in Kent, CT.

Built in the early 1960s, the campus has gone through a number of renovations, and is being updated to meet the needs of its students and faculty. The school recently completed a capital campaign to build a new gymnasium and has begun a new campaign to build a new performing arts center. The campus is relatively isolated and is surrounded by conservancy lands, under the jurisdiction of the Kent Land Trust and Sharon Land Trust.

Marvelwood had no athletic mascot for many years. In 1991, Marvelwood students voted on the school's first-ever mascot and chose the Pterodactyl in an effort to stand out from other schools.

The Marvelwood student body consists primarily of boarding students, with only about 13% of students commuting from home. Of those boarding students, about 30% are international, coming from countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Spain, France, Russia, and Vietnam. The school offers many ESL classes to accommodate foreign speakers.[2]

Burton Alumnae Gymnasium

Academic Programs[edit]

Marvelwood is the only high school in North America to participate in bird banding.[citation needed] Its weather station enables students to take exact readings when birds are captured. Marvelwood works locally with the Sharon Audubon Society and Institute for Bird Populations. Cornell University's Feeder Watch[3] survey also uses Marvelwood's weather data. Marvelwood also has an annual science department trip to Panama, which includes bird banding, insect and mammal research, and community service in villages in the rainforest.

In an effort to go green and help increase the use of alternative energy throughout Connecticut, Marvelwood was recently selected as a test site for two wind turbines that will be installed on campus. These will help determine which source of renewable energy is most efficient for the state of Connecticut to use, as well as provide energy for the school. Former Headmaster Scott E. Pottbecker said, "the turbines are more of an educational opportunity than a source of power for the school."[4][5]

One of the school's core values, Service to Others, is the cornerstone of the campus-wide Community Service program. All students participate in two hours of community service every Wednesday morning. Placements range from on-campus jobs like recycling, to clearing land for the land trusts that surround the campus. However, the main goal of the program is has always been helping those who are less fortunate. The placements off campus include working in nursing homes, daycares for low income families, farm work, assisting the elderly in their own homes, and working in the town's volunteer fire department. It is the school's hope that their students continue the habit of helping those less fortunate after they graduate.

Campus Organizations[edit]

Women of Marvelwood

Established in 2006, the Women of Marvelwood group brings together female students, faculty, and staff members for the purpose of exploring a variety of gender-specific concerns and issues, including self-esteem, nutrition and healthy eating, relationships, etiquette, the portrayal of women in the media, and the roles and responsibilities of women in cultures around the globe. The goal is for Marvelwood's young women to become empowered, informed and confident about themselves and their place and potential in the world. The group meets regularly on campus and sponsors a variety of activities, including the “Candid Conversations” series, handbag sale fundraisers, “Pretty in Pink” make-up parties, dinners, self-defense classes, jewelry-making, holiday parties, movie discussions, and “lock-in” slumber parties.

Music on the Mountain

Currently in its third year, Music on the Mountain was created as a way to showcase talented performers. Held about once per month, Music on the Mountain is an open mic event hosting a range of student and local performers. The types of performers vary immensely, from singers and musicians to comedians and dancers.[6]

Clubs and Activities

  • Model United Nations
  • Shakespeare Club
  • Marvelwood's a cappella group, the "Odd Numbers"
  • Chorus
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Jazz Band
  • Orchestra
  • Debate Club
  • Gay Straight Alliance
  • Peer Mediation
  • Student Government


Marvelwood is a member of two athletic leagues: the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) and the Hudson Valley Athletic League (HVAL). Marvelwood students participate in an after school sport or activity during each of the three academic terms. The school offers a variety of inter mural sports and activities including:

Marvelwood is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools, the Association of Boarding Schools, the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council.[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°46′57″N 73°27′35″W / 41.7826°N 73.4597°W / 41.7826; -73.4597