Proctor Academy

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Proctor Academy
204 Main Street


United States
Coordinates43°26′14″N 71°49′26″W / 43.4372976°N 71.8239693°W / 43.4372976; -71.8239693[1]
TypePrivate, Boarding
MottoLive to Learn, Learn to Live
CEEB code300015
Head of schoolMike Henriques
Enrollment360 total
285 boarding
75 day
Average class size12[2]
Student to teacher ratio5:1
CampusSmall town
Campus size3000 acres (12 km²)
School color(s)Green and White
Athletics conferenceLakes Region
RivalHolderness School
AccreditationNew England Association of Schools and Colleges
Endowment$24 million[2]
Tuition$53,800 boarding / $32,700 day

Proctor Academy is a coeducational, independent preparatory boarding school for grades 9-12 located on 2,500 acres (10 km2) in Andover, New Hampshire. There are about 360 students.



Proctor Academy first began as Andover Academy, established in 1848 by the town of Andover. The idea of the school spawned from a sewing group conversation between the wives of the area's prominent families, in the living room of attorney Samuel Butterfield. The women shared a strong conviction that their town needed a school for its expanding population.[3] On June 23, 1848, the incorporation of the academy was approved, with Samuel Butterfield as president, Walcott Hamlin as secretary, and True Brown and John Fellows as executive committee members.

The academy opened its doors in August 1848, on the second floor of the church on Main Street,[4] with many of the desks, chairs and chalkboards donated by the Butterfields.[3] Mrs. Eliza Butterfield set up the curriculum with Dyer H. Sanborn as the principal and Miss Eliza Wingate as "preceptress". The first term had 43 girls and 65 boys enrolled, but within four years the school had grown to just over 250 students.

The school year was set up into four terms of twelve weeks each. The tuition rate, per quarter, was:

  • $3.00 for common classes
  • $3.50 for higher English, and Languages
  • $1.00 to $3.00 for Drawing and Painting
  • $1.00 to $3.00 for Needlework
  • $2.00 for Music
  • $8.00 for Students with incidental expenses[4]

The curriculum the first year included English, Latin, Greek Literature, Mathematics, Morals, Natural and Intellectual Science, Modern Languages, Drawing & Painting, Music, Elocution, Vocal Music, and Penmanship.

In 1850, Ancient Languages, Surveying, Instrumental Music, and Chemistry were added. In 1852, Book-keeping, Theoretical & Practical Surveying, and Pen Drawing were added, and a library was established.


Principal Sanborn (1850–1851) was very popular with the students, and the school thrived through its first couple of years with funding by generous patrons. After two years, Sanborn stepped down, and Moses Leland Morse of Bowdoin College took over for the next two years as principal. Under Morse, the student body more than doubled, as chemistry was added to the curriculum and the guaranty fund reached $3,000. Woodbury Langdon, Luther Puffer (law student), and John Simonds were some of the first graduates to go on to college. After Principal Morse stepped down, Thaddeus W. Bruce (1852–1853) of Dartmouth College took the helm with Miss Marcia Foster as assistant (which whom later married).[5] Around this time future world-renowned artist David Dalhoff Neal also attended classes. George Dustan took over as principal in 1854 when the school fell victim to a smallpox outbreak, in which one of the teachers and a former student died.

The smallpox epidemic in 1854-1855 forced the school to close, and for the next three decades the school struggled with its identity and funding. In 1857, the school reopened its doors as the New England Christian Literary and Biblical Institute, then again in 1860 as the Andover Christian Institute. In 1865, the school was closed and reopened in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, as the Wolfeboro Christian Institute.

As the school struggled, former Andover resident John Proctor, the inventor of the threaded wood screw, returned, in 1857, to build up the town. By the 1870s Proctor helped to return the school to Andover, debt-free, as well as build a new dormitory on the site of modern-day Gannett House. In 1879, the Unitarian Church sought to purchase the Andover school in order to create a school "free from...theological dogmatizing and unnatural religious methods." Andover was a hotbed of Unitarian thought, which helped to facilitate the sale of the school. In 1881, the school was opened as Proctor Academy in honor of John Proctor's contributions to the school.[6]

The 1930s and 1940s[edit]

Not realizing the severity of the economic downturn, in 1932 the trustees of the school invested $45,000 to build Maxwell Savage Hall. At the first assembly of the 1935 school year, Headmaster Carl Wetherell announced that he was quitting due to the poor outlook for the school. A search for a replacement was hurriedly started. John Halsey Gulick took the job, and immediately instituted sweeping reforms of the school, creating mechanical arts programs such as boat building, wood shop, and machine shop. Students were involved in the upkeep and improvement of the school, clearing the land for the school's first ski area, Slalom Hill, as well as a farm which was used to feed the community.[7] The school's wood shop and metal shop are still in use today for metalworking, boat building, and woodworking projects. The farm no longer exists, but the school still maintains a student-tended organic garden.

The 1950s and 1960s[edit]

Lyle Farrell, who started teaching at Proctor in the 1930s, took over as Headmaster of the school in 1952. During his time as Headmaster, he pushed for the expansion of the school, leading to the construction of Holland Auditorium, Shirley Hall, Farrell Field House, Leonard Field, Farrell Field and the Blackwater Ski Area. Farrell also established the learning skills programs for college-bound students with dyslexia.[8]

The 1970s to 1980s[edit]

In 1971, David Fowler succeeded Lyle Farrell as Headmaster. He instituted a democratic student government, rather than a seniority system. Realizing the unique location and programs that Proctor offered, they created a wilderness orientation program for new students, which still exists today. In 1974, the mountain classroom program was created, combining an Outward Bound type of small group outdoor experience with specialized academic sessions. By 1975, Proctor had faculty and facilities in Madrid, Spain, and Clermont-Ferrand, France, which led to later experiential education programs in Segovia, Spain, and Pont-l'Abbé,France.[9] In 2011 European Classroom, an art and French program, was created, replacing the France program.

1990s to 2005[edit]

As Head of School from 1995-2005, Steve Wilkins challenged Proctor's faculty to study teaching methodologies and optimal learning environments. In 1998, the school initiated a capital campaign that raised more than thirty million dollars, resulting in expansion of facilities (Eco-dorm, Wise Community Center, Teddy Maloney '83 skating rink, Steve and Sarah Wilkins Meeting House), growth of endowment and increased faculty salaries. The role of the arts within the curriculum was advanced with a state-of-the-art music/recording facility, and the addition of voice, choral and dance programs.[citation needed]

2005 and beyond[edit]

As Head of School since 2005, Mike Henriques has advanced fiscal responsibility while promoting the quality of residential life on campus. A capital campaign entitled "Building Proctor's Future, Today" has resulted in extensive improvements to the Proctor Ski Area that include expanded snowmaking and alpine and Nordic trails that have received FIS homologation; three new dormitories; a new locker room facility; an outdoor athletic facility, including two turf fields and softball field; a net-zero Dining Commons; and various campus "gateway" enhancements. Plans for a renovated field house with academic and entrepreneurship space and a renovated Administration/Academic building are in the works.[citation needed]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Skills courses provide hands-on activities during the school day. These include jazz band, photography, metal engineering, blacksmithing, boat building, woodshop, ceramics, dance, drama, and many others. The drama department produces several major plays annually, including a winter production and the spring musical. Dance and vocal ensembles also offer end of term performances each trimester.


Proctor Academy fields teams in interscholastic competition in alpine skiing, crew (rowing), baseball, basketball, cycling, mountain biking, kayaking, cross-country running, cross-country skiing, dance, downhill skiing, field hockey, football, freestyle skiing, golf, hockey, horseback riding, ice hockey, lacrosse, Nordic skiing, ski jumping, snowboarding, soccer, softball, and tennis. The school belongs to the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council, which Proctor's women's ice hockey team won the championship of in 2012.

The school competes against Vermont Academy, Phillips Exeter Academy, Kimball Union Academy, Holderness School, Brewster Academy, New Hampton School and Tilton School, among others.[citation needed]


Proctor Academy is located on 3,000 acres (12 km2) in the town of Andover, New Hampshire. The property is a state-certified tree farm. Trees logged on the property are sold to generate revenue for the school, and some logs are used in the school's wood shop and to heat the wood-fired dorms in the winter. The school also operates its own sugar house and sells maple syrup which is made from sap gathered on the campus.

The campus is split in two parts by Andover's Main Street (NH Route 11 and U.S. Route 4), with academic buildings and dorms on one side and the Carr athletic fields and the Blackwater Ski Area on the other side of the road.

One of the newest additions to the campus, Peabody House, was completed in 2008[10] on the former site of Morton House, which was torn down in August 2007. The building was designed to follow LEED criteria and used recycled materials where possible.


Proctor Academy has 19 dormitories that are either in use or are no longer in use:[11]

  • Burbank East and West
  • Carr House (built 1870)
  • Carriage House/ Eco Dorm (built 1998)
  • Davis House (built 1978)
  • Elbow Pond Dorm
  • Farm House (built 1804)
  • Gannett House
  • Gulick House
  • Ives House
  • Johnson House (built 1978)
  • King House
  • Mackenzie House
  • Mary Lowell Stone House "MLS" (built 1870)
  • Peabody House (built 2008)
  • Rulon-Miller House
  • Sally B (built 2013)
  • Summerfield House (built 1978)
  • Thoreau House (burned in June 2016)
  • West End Dormitory

Notable buildings[edit]

  • Proctor's net-zero ready Brown Dining Commons (built in 2016), the 'greenest' dining facility built at an independent school in New England, features 40 geothermal wells, rain gardens to collect run-off, solar panels, and high efficiency construction materials.
  • Recording Studio (built 2006), state-of-the-art building-within-a-building designed to isolate the studio from any outside noise[12]
  • Steve and Sarah Wilkins Meetinghouse (built 2001), theater and meetinghouse for all-school assemblies, also contains the dance studio[11]
  • The Cabin (built 1991), cabin located on the top of the hill behind Proctor's dorms, where students are allowed to stay for the night on the weekend[11]
  • Yarrow's Lodge, ski lodge at the Blackwater Ski Area, base for the student ski patrol and the storage location for the school's snowcat[13]

Notable alumni[edit]

Matt Nathanson

Notable people who have attended the school include:[14]


  1. ^ Geographic Names Information System: "Proctor Academy"
  2. ^ a b c "Proctor Academy - School Overview". Peterson's. 2007-09-12.
  3. ^ a b "History of Proctor: Origins". Proctor Academy. 2006-06-22.
  4. ^ a b "History of the town of Andover New Hampshire, 1751-1906"
  5. ^ "Full text of "Thetford academy, Thetford, Vermont. Seventy-fifth anniversary and reunion. Thursday, June 28, 1894"".
  6. ^ Will, Chuck. "History of Proctor: Origins". Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  7. ^ Will, Chuck. "History of Proctor: Formative Years". Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  8. ^ Will, Chuck (7-12-2006). "History of Proctor: Stability and Growth". Retrieved 2008-10-29. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ Will, Chuck (2006-07-24). "History of Proctor: Revolutionary Change". Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  10. ^ "Peabody House Dedication".
  11. ^ a b c "Campus Map". Retrieved 2008-10-18.
  12. ^ Will, Chuck (2006-04-29). "Dedication". Proctor Academy. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
  13. ^ "Blackwater Ski Area". Retrieved 2008-10-18.
  14. ^ "Famous Boarding School Alumni". Boarding School Review. 2009. pp. Proctor Academy. Retrieved 2009-02-28.

External links[edit]