History and Mission

The Kent Place Mission

Kent Place is an independent, nonsectarian, college-preparatory day school, which for over 100 years has provided a superior education for young women who demonstrate strong scholastic and creative ability. Our mission is to offer students of diverse backgrounds, in Preschool through Grade 12, an academically rigorous curriculum in a caring atmosphere; to encourage them to contribute to and find success in this challenging program; to inspire young women to leadership; and to strengthen moral awareness. Committed to a liberal arts education that combines tradition and innovation, Kent Place provides the stimulus for each student to achieve her full academic, physical and creative potential; to love learning; to gain confidence; to live responsibly; to develop respect for herself and others in the global community.

History

In the spring of 1894, six Summit, NJ, businessmen and fathers gathered to discuss the establishment of a school for girls that would ultimately alter the course of education for generations of young women. That fall, on an estate once belonging to New York State Chancellor James Kent (1763–1847), Kent Place School for Girls opened its doors to its first students, with the vision of fine academic training and intellectual pursuits already accessible to boys and young men. In 1896, Kent Place began accepting boarding students. Six boarders were among the 18 Lower School and 36 Upper School students enrolled that academic year. The school prided itself then, as it does today, on its outstanding faculty, challenging curriculum and wide range of cocurricular and social activities.

Today

A highly selective college preparatory school with a strong national reputation for providing a 21st-century learning environment through its comprehensive curriculum, Kent Place continually attracts students from more than 80 different communities throughout northern and central New Jersey. Kent Place demonstrates its commitment to offering lifelong learning experiences for students, faculty and staff, within and beyond the school, through its signature programs, including Global Learning, The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School, Economic & Financial Literacy, STEM and more.

Heads of School

Amelia S. Watts, Principal (1894–1896)
Sarah Woodman Paul, Principal (1896–1924)
Anna Sophia Woodman, Assistant Principal (1896–1924)
Harriet Larned Hunt, Headmistress (1924–1952)
Florence Wolfe, Headmistress (1952–1965)
Macdonald Halsey, Headmaster (1965–1980)
Archibald R. Montgomery III, Headmaster (1980–1986)
Dorothy H. Dillon, Head of School (1986–1987)
Arlene Joy Gibson, Head of School (1987–1996)
Karan Ashford Merry, Head of School (1996–1999)
Susan Collins Bosland, Head of School (1999–2017)
Jennifer C. Galambos, Head of School (2017–Present)

Historical Timeline

1904: Enrollment increases steadily. The trustees, then known as shareholders of the Summit School Company, initiate matching growth in the physical plant. Construction of the gymnasium is completed, later restructured to become part of what is now the Arts Center.
 
1913: The School House, which was also known as the Main Building and is now the Middle School, is built.
 
1917: Despite the school’s growth, finances are a major source of concern. The trustees dissolve the Summit School Company and reorganize Kent Place School as a nonprofit corporation.
 
1924: Hundreds of Kent Place alumnae go on to attend 21 different colleges, including Mount Holyoke, Radcliffe, Smith, Vassar, Wellesley and Wells.
 
1924–1965: Kent Place continues to grow in number of students, in facilities and in reputation.
 
1939–1945: During World War II, courses in first aid and motor mechanics are added to the curriculum.
 
1955: Annual giving is introduced.
 
1965: Installation of Kent Place’s first Headmaster, Macdonald Halsey.
 
1968: Kent Place no longer accepts boarding students.
 
1984: The successful 90th Anniversary Capital Campaign brings about the construction of the Field House and the Arts Center.
 
1987: Kent Place launches The Campaign for Endowment, raising more than $5 million for scholarships and faculty support. The school becomes a founding member of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools.

1993: The new Primary School building was completed.

1995: Creation of the Girls’ Leadership Institute, a renowned summer program for middle school-aged girls.

1996
: Installation of Kent Place’s first African-American Head of School, Karan Ashford Merry.

1999: Susan Collins Bosland becomes Interim Head of School. She is inducted as the 10th Head of School in 2000.

2000: Our 1:1 Laptop Program begins in the Upper School, one of the first of its kind in New Jersey.
 
2007: Kent Place breaks ground on a 45,000-square-foot addition to the Main Building and launches a $25 million capital campaign. The largest fundraising effort in the history of the school, The Campaign for Kent Place School, “Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders,” sets the stage for multiple capital projects as well as an increase in Kent Place’s endowment.
 
2007: The Ethics Institute, a first-of-its-kind program at the primary and secondary school levels, promotes the process and practice of ethical decision-making.
 
2009: The new Upper School opens its doors, showcasing state-of-the-art classrooms, university-level science laboratories and an impressive music center. With Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, the Upper School now features modernized recycling capabilities, practices for energy and water conservation, electricity produced by wind power and improved indoor air quality.
 
2010: The Middle School moves into the renovated Main Building. In addition to classrooms and laboratories, the Middle School houses The Ethics Institute, a STEM lab and a fully restored commons area known as Atwood Hall.

2010: KPS introduces "Uniform with Choice" for the Primary and Middle Schools.

2014: Kent Place joined 28 other schools across the nation to become a charter member of the EPA's Green School Renewable Energy Purchasing Consortium.

2016: Breaks ground for the Center for Innovation, a 32,508-square-foot learning center focusing on the study of STEAM subjects.

2016: Publically launches a new $30 million campaign, "Limitless Possibilities" for the construction of new facilities.

2017: KPS welcomes its 11th Head of School Jennifer C. Galambos, who brings a remarkable breadth of experience to the community.
 
Today: Our graduates report — from more than 225 colleges and universities — that Kent Place has uniquely prepared them for life’s wide range of opportunities and challenges.
42 Norwood Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901   |   (908) 273-0900
Kent Place School is an all-girls K through 12 independent college preparatory day school with a coeducational Preschool, located in Summit, NJ.