Pinkerton Academy

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Pinkerton Academy
5 Pinkerton St.


Coordinates42°53′42″N 71°19′01″W / 42.895°N 71.317°W / 42.895; -71.317Coordinates: 42°53′42″N 71°19′01″W / 42.895°N 71.317°W / 42.895; -71.317
School typePrivate, Non-profit High School
Motto"Quality Education Since 1814"
Founded1814; 207 years ago (1814)
CEEB code300130
HeadmasterTimothy Powers
Athletic DirectorBrian O'Reilly
Enrollment3,237[2] (2018-19)
Color(s)   Red and white
Athletics conferenceNHIAA
Division I
RivalsLondonderry High School
NewspaperThe Launchpad[1]
Communities servedAuburn, Candia, Chester, Derry, Hampstead, and Hooksett, NH
Last updated: Oct 12, 2019

Pinkerton Academy is a secondary school in Derry, New Hampshire, United States. It serves roughly 3,200 students, making it by far the largest high school in New Hampshire, more than 1,300 students greater than the next largest high school.[4] Pinkerton's situation is unusual, as it is a private school which also serves as the "public" high school (grades 9–12) for the communities of Derry, Hampstead, Chester, Auburn, Candia, and Hooksett. Through arrangements with the towns, each town pays the tuition for their students to attend Pinkerton. Pinkerton Academy is a private, non-profit corporation administered by a headmaster, who in turn acts under the direction of an elected board of trustees.

The academy is set on a 120-acre (49 ha) New England campus. Since the original four-room Old Academy Building opened in 1815, over one dozen major buildings have been constructed, for academics and administration.


In 1793, a classical high school was established in the eastern part of Londonderry (split off in 1827 as the town of Derry) and was maintained for twenty years by direct tax, tuition, and voluntary contributions. In 1814, Reverend Edward Parker asked Major John Pinkerton and Elder James Pinkerton, who had made significant contributions to the classical high school, to make the school permanent. Later that year, they obtained an act incorporating the school under the name Pinkerton Academy from the state legislature. The academy opened on December 4, 1815, as an all-male institution with an endowment of $16,000 by John Pinkerton "for the purpose of promoting piety and virtue and the education of youth in science, languages, and the liberal arts."[5]

John Morrison Pinkerton, son of Elder James

By 1817, the Pinkerton Academy accepted young women as well. An advertisement placed on May 17, 1817, in the Farmer's Cabinet, the only newspaper of the era serving that part of New Hampshire, stated, "The female apartment in this academy will be opened on Monday the 26th of May, instant; wherein will be taught all the useful and ornamental branches of female instruction usually attended in similar institutions. At the same time an additional instructor will be placed in the male apartment. The tuition is two dollars a quarter. Board may be had in respectable families, within a convenient distance of the Academy, on reasonable terms." According to the New Hampshire Historical Society, preceptresses of the academy were Sarah Fitz, 1816, Mary Knight, 1817–18, and Mary Adams, 1819. In 1821, Pinkerton stopped accepting young women, and the Adams Female Academy opened in Derry to educate young women. For the following years, the Scottish immigrants of Londonderry helped maintain the academy and also contributed funds for it. In 1853 the academy became coeducational with the erection of a ladies' boarding hall.[6]

The two original school buildings. The right building is the one created using John Pinkerton's bequest.

In 1881, upon the death of John Morrison Pinkerton, son of Elder James, the academy received a second bequest. The Trustees used these funds to increase the number of instructors and to provide for an enlarged and advanced program of studies. Changes in the curriculum and the completion of the Pinkerton Building in 1887 allowed Pinkerton students to choose from a variety of college and non-college bound programs of studies. The funds were also used to buy a library and to erect a new school building. This was a large erection, but was completed quickly and the scenic landscape accented the beautiful new buildings.[6]

Pinkerton continued to function as an independent day and boarding school until 1948. In 1949, the academy entered into an agreement with the town of Derry that marked a significant turning point in the school's history. As a result of the service agreement, Pinkerton educated all high school aged students who lived in Derry. The town of Derry paid for the school's services on a per pupil tuition basis. Although Pinkerton maintained its private school status, the academy began to function as a comprehensive independent academy.

In 1962, the town of Derry negotiated a long-term contractual agreement with Pinkerton Academy. The contract specified the terms and conditions under which Pinkerton's services were purchased. Over the next thirty years, additional communities (Chester, Hampstead, Auburn, Londonderry and Windham) signed service contracts with the academy. In response to the increased number of public school students attending Pinkerton, new facilities were built. Due to the changing needs and interests of this larger student population, Pinkerton once again developed new courses and fields of study while maintaining its existing college preparatory programs. In 1978, the citizens of Londonderry voted to end their tuition agreements with the academy and established Londonderry High School.[7] Students from Windham also no longer attend Pinkerton Academy and now attend Windham High School which opened in 2009.[8][9]

In recent years several new buildings have been constructed, including two new buildings in 2013–14 funded by a state grant for Career and Technical Education (CTE): CTE Annex and CTE South. These two buildings house Architecture, Drafting and Design, Environmental Science, Electrical Engineering, Engineering, Manufacturing, Cosmetology and Animal Science. In 2011, the Academy Building opened as the base for the Freshmen Academy model of transitioning 9th graders from middle school to high school, and the Arts and Humanities Center was dedicated in 2002 and is home to the Stockbridge Theater.

1909 advertisement for the school


Pinkerton Academy

Pinkerton Academy's property spans over 170 acres (0.69 km2); a 120-acre (49 ha) campus in Derry and a 50-acre (20 ha) forest preserve in Chester. The center of the academy's campus holds buildings where classes are taught, and the surrounding area is used for specific non-academic purposes. The main campus is 8 acres (32,000 m2), leaving 162 acres (0.66 km2) for extracurricular activities. There are 13 academic buildings which are located in the main campus: the Pinkerton Building, the South Building, the Career and Technical Education Annex, the Shepard Building, the Robert Frost Social Studies Wing, the Saltmarsh Library, the freshman Academy Building, the Low Vocational Building, the Ek Science Building, the Hackler Gymnasium, and the Arts & Humanities Building which holds the Stockbridge Theatre. Plays and local events are shown at the Stockbridge Theatre, which seats 850 people.[10]

Some buildings are dedicated to important people of the academy, such as Robert Frost, Alan Shepard, and Ivah A. Hackler. The Pinkerton Building was built in 1887 to replace the original school building. It is named after the Pinkerton family, the original founders of the school, and consists of two stories and a basement.[5] The building now holds Foreign Language classes and administrative offices.

In addition, there are smaller, non-academic buildings around the main campus: the Alumni Building (the original school building), Haynes House, Mackenzie House, Sugar House, and Piper Maintenance Building, among others. 95 acres (380,000 m2) are used for athletic fields, faculty housing, and farmland.[10]


Pinkerton's student body of 1919

Classes are divided into eight periods. Classes begin at 7:15 a.m. and end at 2:10 p.m.[11]

Pinkerton offers 17 Advanced Placement courses and many vocational electives such as accounting, agriculture, automotive technology, botany, consumer economics, computer programming, drafting, engineering, field biology, journalism, landscaping, and more.[12]

In 2005, 158 students took the Advanced Placement exams.[3] The academy also offers college bound and non-college bound courses in each core academic discipline.[13]

Of the class of 2006, 53% were admitted to four-year colleges, 18% went to two-year colleges and 29% were not college bound. The class had an average SAT score of 1525 (out of 2400).[13]

Pinkerton has chapters of FFA, National Honor Society, FBLA-PBL, SkillsUSA, FCCLA, DECA, HOSA and other national organizations. Students participate in academic competitions such as the Math Team, Granite State Challenge, and FIRST Robotics.[14]

Extra-curricular activities[edit]


Pinkerton Academy football squad of 1896

Pinkerton offers a variety of 28 sports throughout the school year including football, field hockey, cheerleading, golf, cross-country and soccer in the fall; basketball, gymnastics, ice hockey, track, swimming, alpine ski racing and wrestling in the winter; baseball, volleyball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, and track in the spring.[15] The teams are named the Astros in honor of astronaut and Pinkerton alumnus Alan Shepard, the first American in space. The school's mascot is the Astroman. Team Colors are Red and White. The boys' lacrosse team has won the state championship numerous times, most recently in June 2015, and the football team has won 11 titles, including four in a row in the 1990s.[16]

Football was established in the late 19th century but was later removed due to lack of sufficient funding from tuition. It was revived in 1904. In 1907, the team won the Massachusetts State Interscholastic Title. Other undefeated teams were the 1905, 1915, 1936, 1948, 1984, 1985, 1991, 1993, 2006 and 2014 teams. In 2007, the Pinkerton football team won their third straight state title. In September 2013, the Pinkerton Academy football team played its first ever home night game under the newly installed stadium lights.[17][18]

Girls' basketball team 1925

The girls' basketball team was organized in 1913, and won their first championship game in 1934. They were also undefeated in 1957 along with the boys' team, and won their second state championship in 2006.

The cheerleading team has won twenty-four state championships. They have won the fall championship in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 and the winter championship in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. In the New England competition they placed first in 2008 and 2009.

The boys' cross country team has won the division title 8 times including 4 in a row from 1986 to 1989 and in 1994 had the Footlocker National Cross Country champion Matt Downin. More recently, "The Long Red Line", as the team is called, ranked as high as 23rd in the nation in 2009, and won the state title four years in a row in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

The former Woodsmen team was the only school team that has competed on the collegiate level. In their final competition year before being dissolved, the team won the 1992 intercollegiate championship, held at Dartmouth College.

Special interests[edit]

The academy allows students to join clubs according to their interests. These clubs include: Asian club, Visual Basic club, Critic (yearbook), Pinkerton Television, Pinkerton Players, Peace Club, International Club, Dance Club, philosophy club, and more.[14] The school also had a Chinese exchange program, where students would raise money to stay at Tianjin with a host family and attend classes in English there.[19] Students from Tanggu No. 1 High School, in exchange, visited Pinkerton.[20]

Notable alumni[edit]

Alan Shepard was part of the 1940 graduating class.

Notable faculty[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Feature Club: The Launchpad: Student Journalism Returns to Pinkerton Academy". Pinkerton Academy. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  2. ^ "Pinkerton Academy". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Pinkerton District Graduation Report". New Hampshire Department of Education. New Hampshire Department of Education. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved December 28, 2006.
  4. ^ "About Pinkerton Academy". Pinkerton Academy. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Fay, Edwin Whitfield (1898). Circular of Information. Washington Government Printing Office.
  6. ^ a b Stearns, Ezra; William F. Witcher; Edward Parker (1908). Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire. The Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 2012 and pp. 2013. pinkerton academy.
  7. ^ "Londonderry School District Profile" (PDF). Londonderry School District. Londonderry School District. December 3, 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-07. Retrieved January 2, 2007.
  8. ^ "Windham School District Official Home Page". Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  9. ^ "Windham High School Official Home Page". Archived from the original on 2007-12-08. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  10. ^ a b "Description of Pinkerton Academy". Pinkerton Academy. Pinkerton Academy. Archived from the original on 2006-10-12. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  11. ^ "Pinkerton Academy Bell Schedule". Pinkerton Academy. Pinkerton Academy. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  12. ^ "Pinkerton Academy Course Catalog" (PDF). Pinkerton Academy. Pinkerton Academy. Retrieved December 29, 2006.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ a b "Pinkerton Academy School Profile" (PDF). Pinkerton Academy. Pinkerton Academy. Retrieved December 29, 2006.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ a b "Pinkerton Academy Clubs and Organizations". Pinkerton Academy]. Pinkerton Academy. Retrieved 2006-12-30.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Pinkerton Academy Student Athletic Booklet" (PDF). Pinkerton Academy. Pinkerton Academy. Retrieved 2006-12-30.[dead link]
  16. ^ The gymnastics team went undefeated and won the state championship 3 consecutive seasons from 2004–2006. "Pinkerton Academy Sports". Pinkerton Academy. Pinkerton Academy. Archived from the original on 2006-10-04. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  17. ^ Forsaith, Carl C. (1965). Pinkerton Academy 1814–1964. Derry, New Hampshire: Edward O. Hatch. pp. 96–98. ISBN B0007EOK1Y.
  18. ^ "Pinkerton caps off 12–0 season with title". Union Leader. Union Leader. Retrieved 2007-02-09.
  19. ^ Tibbetts, Sabrina. "Chinese exchange with Tanggu No. 1" (PDF). Pinkerton Academy. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-08. Retrieved 2012-01-01.
  20. ^ Dornin, Chris. "State official pushes for Chinese exchange". Portsmouth Herald. Seacoast Online. Archived from the original on 2008-08-12. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  21. ^ a b The Harvard Register. Harvard University. 1881. Retrieved December 26, 2009.
  22. ^ "New Hampshire People: Samantha Brown". New Union Leader Corporation. Archived from the original on December 30, 2006. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  23. ^ "Jim Coburn". Coburn For Governor. Coburn For Governor. Archived from the original on December 13, 2006. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  24. ^ Dodge, Prentiss Cutler (1912). Encyclopedia Vermont Biography. Burlington, VT: Ullery Publishing Company. p. 157 – via HathiTrust.
  25. ^ "Tricia Dunn". USA Hockey. USA Hockey. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  26. ^ "Charles Floyd". New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. Archived from the original on December 14, 2006. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  27. ^ "George Cochrane Hazelton". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  28. ^ "Gerry Whiting Hazelton". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  29. ^ "Alumni Association HALL OF Fame". Pinkerton Academy. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  30. ^ "Frank Naismith Parsons". New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. Archived from the original on December 17, 2006. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  31. ^ "PATTERSON, George Washington". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  32. ^ "Biography for Keri Lynn Pratt". IMDb. IMDb. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  33. ^ Hackett, Frank W. (1898). A Sketch of the Life and Public Service of William Adams Richardson. Washington: Private. p. 19.
  34. ^ "Stanley Cup Champion Zach Sanford to bring Cup to Pinkerton". Pinkerton Academy. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  35. ^ Williams, Penny (June 28, 2007). "Local driver races at Loudon this weekend". Eagle Tribune.
  36. ^ "Alan B. Shepard, Jr". NASA. NASA. Archived from the original on November 3, 2004. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  37. ^ "Sex, Lies, and Murder". Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  38. ^ Halbeisen, Elizabeth (1935). Harriet Prescott Spofford: A Romantic Survival. University of Philadelphia Press.
  39. ^ "STEVENS, Aaron Fletcher". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  40. ^ Crifasi, Robert. "Chronology of Robert Frost". Millikin University. Millikin University. Archived from the original on September 8, 2006. Retrieved January 6, 2007.

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