South Kent School

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South Kent School
40 Bulls Bridge Road
South Kent, Connecticut 06785
United States
Type Private, Boarding
Motto Simplicity of Life, Self-Reliance, and Directness of Purpose
Religious affiliation(s) Episcopal
Established 1923
Head of School Andrew J. Vadnais
Enrollment 180 total
90% boarding[citation needed]
Average class size 10 students
Student to teacher ratio 5:1
Color(s) Cardinal and Black
Athletics 8 Interscholastic Sports
Nickname Cardinals

South Kent School is a private boarding school for boys in South Kent, Connecticut,[1] United States. It is located on a 500-acre (2.0 km2) campus in West-central Litchfield County. It is sited primarily on Spooner Hill, overlooking the former Housatonic Valley rail-line, Hatch Pond, and the 'whistle-stop' South Kent station, and itself is overlooked by Bull Mountain. South Kent has been consistently ranked as one of the Top 50 Boarding Schools in the world, due to its innovative and rigorous curriculum, its college placement and top notch athletic program.[citation needed]


It was founded in 1923 as a joint venture between Reverend Frederick Herbert Sill, headmaster of Kent School, and two of his recent graduates, Samuel Slater Bartlett and Richard M. Cuyler. Bartlett was followed as headmaster by conservationist L. Wynne Wister (1955–69), then George M. Bartlett (son of the first headmaster) through 1989. Noble Richards '49 was headmaster until 2000, then John C. Farr '58, who retired in 2003. The current head of school is Andrew J. Vadnais, a Williams College graduate.[2] The schools motto is "simplicity of life, self-reliance, and directness of purpose".


Enrollment at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year was 180 young men from around the world in four "forms" (or grades). Foreign students in 2016-17 are from Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Ghana, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Montenegro, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Sweden, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.[3]


South Kent is a college-preparatory school; it is intended that every student continue his education at a higher-level institution.

The school has 38 faculty who offer 60 courses in 2 primary divisions, Math/Science and Humanities. The school year is divided into three terms: fall, winter, and spring. Students normally enroll in five major academic courses each term.[4] Accelerated courses, including advanced placement, are offered in several. To graduate, a student must earn a minimum of 18 credits, which include:

  • 4 years of English;
  • 3 years of mathematics;
  • 2 years of a foreign language;
  • 2 years of science, one of which has laboratory;
  • 2 years of history, one of which is United States History;
  • 1 year of art, and;
  • 4 electives.

English as a Second Language[edit]

ESL is a program for international students to improve and/or reinforce skills in written and oral English. The focus is on structure, comprehension and conversation.

Center for Innovation[edit]

Due in part to its rural setting, the school has established a learning track focussed on environmental management and entrepreneurship.[5][6][7]


In common with many boys' boarding schools, every student must participate in a "fitness-oriented athletic offering" at least two seasons of the year; at the same time some boys attend the school preparing for a life as a professional athlete. Competition is at a variety of levels (intramural and interscholastic), so that students can be serious about their activities

Facilities available to students include The Admiral James & Sybil Stockdale Arena, the Joseph J. Brown gymnasium, the Alumni Boathouse on Hatch Pond for rowing, the Anne H. Funnell cross-country trail, the hard court tennis courts, a weight-training facility, numerous athletics fields, and the adjacent Tom Fazio-designed Bulls Bridge Golf Club.[8]

Notable alumni[edit]

Accreditation and Association Memberships[edit]

South Kent School is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges[12] and holds memberships in the Cum Laude Society,[13] the National Association of Independent Schools,[14] the National Association of Episcopal Schools,[15] the Secondary School Admission Test Board, the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools, The Association of Boarding Schools, the International Coalition of Boys Schools and the National Association for College Admission Counseling.[16]


  • The Pigtail: a student publication issued three-five times per year. The name of the paper is a reference to the nickname of the hamlet of South Kent as "Pigtail Corners" or simply "Pigtail".[17] A slogan at the school for many years was "Pigtail Against the World".
  • The Hillside: the South Kent School alumni magazine published twice annually.
  • Cardinal News Network: a student produced online publication which is updated on a continual basis. Cardinal News Network features the videos and stories created by students in the Digital Communications classes.[18]



External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°40′35″N 73°28′45″W / 41.6765°N 73.4792°W / 41.6765; -73.4792