Sanford School

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Sanford School
Sanford School Logo 2017.png
6900 Lancaster Pike
Hockessin, Delaware, Delaware
United States
Type Private school
Motto No Talent Lies Latent
Established 1930
Founder Sanford and Ellen Sawin
Headmaster Mark Anderson
Grades PreK to 12
Enrollment 600
Color(s) Blue and gold
Accreditation Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools

Sanford School is a private school for co-ed students in PreK through high school, located on a spacious, teaching campus in Hockessin, Delaware. Originally known as "Sunny Hills School", it was founded on September 23, 1930, by Sanford and Ellen Sawin, in memory of their eldest son Sanford Sawin, Jr. The school's name was changed to Sanford in 1966, 50 years after his death. Sanford School maintains a 100% college acceptance rate for its students, made possible by its hands-on faculty. The student to teacher ratio is set at 12:1, with average class sizes of 15 students.[1] Sanford School is a college preparatory school and maintains a 100% percent college acceptance rate.

Sanford competes in interscholastic sports as a member of the Delaware Independent School Conference. They have made history by winning both girls and boys basketball State Championships in 2010 and 2011, the first school to have done so in the history of Delaware.

The Sanford school song was written by Frank Stephens of Arden, Delaware.[1]

School overview[edit]

Sanford's motto "No Talent Lies Latent" is at the heart of the school's educational program and mission. Enrolling students PreK–Grade 12, Sanford works to develop the whole child within a safe and supportive environment.

Sanford's Mission Statement: “Sanford School identifies and develops the intellectual and creative talents of a diverse group of students. Within a caring and supportive college preparatory environment, students are encouraged and challenged to achieve their finest in academics, athletics and the arts. Our ultimate goal is to teach students to live humanely within the Sanford community in order to prepare them to meet the demands and responsibilities of the future in the broader world.[1]


Sanford School’s 100-acre campus offers a state-of-the-art performing arts center, a fully equipped STEM lab, two makerspaces, three libraries, art studios, an outdoor classroom, two athletic courts, a weight room, professional tennis courts, flexible gathering spaces, and more. Sanford also offers 18 AP courses with 80% of the senior class taking one or more AP course offerings, and 33 AP scholars in 2016.[1]

Lower School (PreK–Grade 4)[edit]

Housed in the Albright Hall and Yearsley Hall, Sanford’s lower school consists of students from PreK–grade 4. It is here that the values of trust, respect, honesty and cooperation are first incorporated in the classroom. This is embodied in the lower school rule: “Respect people and property”. Sanford’s lower school ethos provides a framework for children to grow into supportive and successful members of the school community.

Sanford’s lower school anchors its curriculum in a thematic approach that meaningfully incorporates each subject area. The school’s project-based method has students researching and writing, calculating and analyzing, working cooperatively and expressing themselves as they learn about relevant topics and ideas.

Major courses in the lower school curriculum include science, computer & math skills, world languages, reading, writing, art, physical education and much more. Classes are catered to students’ varying degree of abilities, ensuring that they are comfortable and capable while still being challenged to achieve their best work. This diverse list of classes is often tied together with an underlying theme for the kids to focus on; this is the thematic approach. In this way, education becomes contextualized and less arbitrary.

Middle school (grades 5–8)[edit]

As in each of Sanford’s divisions, students are challenged at levels consistent with their current abilities and impelled to stretch themselves further. Middle School's Honor Code grows with them. In the middle school students assume responsibility for their work, their behavior, and their community.

Middle school offers a transformative and robust curriculum to mirror the student’s own transformative journey into adolescence. This means offering a new set of challenging courses, providing new responsibilities through a more developed honor code, and adequately preparing students for the challenges that face them in upper school. The latter is accomplished by integrating activities and experiences that reflect upper school values within the middle school setting. This includes the introduction of team sports, overnight field trips for each grade, and increased participation in service learning and community events.

High school (grades 9–12)[edit]

Sanford’s high school aims to strike an artful balance between focused, intensive, high-school academics and a community spirit that aims to foster joy and satisfaction in students’ accomplishments, both in and out of the classroom.

Sanford offers a full and flexible college-preparatory curriculum that stretches students to think deeply and critically, apply themselves and their knowledge effectively, and reach intellectual and creative places they have never been before. The faculty invests in teaching kids, not just content, and ensures that students leave here equipped for college and for a life of rewarding work, dedicated service, and thoughtful leadership.


The middle and upper school athletics programs ensure that all students in grades 7–12 participate in interscholastic, competitive athletics throughout the school year. Athletics thus take the place of physical education classes enjoyed up through sixth grade. Varied athletic opportunities emphasize participation, challenge and motivate students to do their best, and possibly further their interests in college. Sanford currently has 31 tri-athletes, 61 sanford Athletes received DISC all-conference recognition, and 13 of their 19 varsity teams competed in DIAA state tournaments last year.

Fall season[edit]

  • Boys and girls cross country
  • Boys soccer
  • Field hockey
  • Girls volleyball

Winter Season[edit]

  • Boys and girls basketball
  • Indoor track
  • Wrestling
  • Swimming

Spring Season[edit]

  • Boys and girls lacrosse
  • Boys and girls tennis
  • Girls soccer
  • Golf
  • Sailing
  • Baseball

About the headmaster[edit]

Born in Virginia Beach, VA in 1973, Mark Anderson originally taught at the Whitfield School in St. Louis, MO. In 2004, Anderson succeeded Mary Burke as the president of the Whitfield School.

By 2011, Anderson's achievements earned him a place in the St. Louis Business Journal's 2011 class of "40 under 40".[2]

Anderson became the headmaster of Sanford School in 2012, succeeding the previous Sanford School headmaster, Douglas W. "Chip" MacKelcan Jr.[2]

Notable alumni[edit]

Walter Davis, NBA star

Trevor Cooney, Syracuse basketball player

Tom Verlaine, musician[3][4]

Richard Hell, musician[5][4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Sanford School ~ Private College-Prep School, Pre-K–12, Hockessin, DE". Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  2. ^ a b "Delaware Today Profile: Mark Anderson of Sanford School in Hockessin". Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°46′23″N 75°40′37″W / 39.773°N 75.677°W / 39.773; -75.677