The Kew-Forest School History

A Strong & Enduring Spirit

Though the administrators, faculty, and trustees of Kew-Forest have changed over the years, and its buildings and grounds have evolved, its spirit remains as strong today as it was in 1918, when its doors first opened. Our students still enjoy the most “modern equipment,” are still held to “high standards of scholarship and discipline,” and are still encouraged to develop “a sincere spirit of service.”
The Kew-Forest School was founded in 1918 by Louis D. Marriott and Guy Hinman Catlin.  Their object, as expressed in one of their earliest brochures, was to establish “a country day school which has modern equipment, high standards of scholarship and discipline, and a sincere spirit of service.”  Kew-Forest opened its doors on September 25, 1918 to 50 pupils, all children of neighborhood residents.  By 1923, the enrollment was 172; in 2007, K-F had over 300 students from Forest Hills and 50 other communities in Queens, as well as eight areas of Long Island, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.

An International Student Body
Today, K-F’s student body is one of the most diverse and international to be found at any independent school in the country.  Sixty-two percent of our students are multi-lingual and have parents who were born outside of the United States.  In addition, our children boast ethnic roots in 65 different countries, spanning every continent (except Antarctica!).  They also have varied religious backgrounds, including Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and other faiths.

A Safe & Modern Environment
As student enrollment has grown, so have the school's buildings.  In 1918, K-F boasted “modern brick buildings of Georgian architecture, on two acres of ground.”  The current Upper School wing was added in 1921; the laboratory building in 1958; the gymnasium/auditorium in 1963; the Lower School wing, above the gymnasium, in 1967; and the Library wing (which includes the Main Rotunda, LibraTech Centers, and three classrooms) in 1979.

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  • Steady, Consistent Leadership

    Over the years, Kew-Forest has enjoyed unusual stability in its leadership.Mr. Marriott and Mr. Catlin continued as Headmasters until Mr. Catlin’s death in 1935. Mr. Marriott then carried on with the able assistance of Mrs. Lucy Allen Smart, who was Dean of Girls and Librarian. In 1941, The Kew-Forest School was incorporated as a non-profit organization; on July 1, 1942, complete ownership of the school’s property was acquired by the corporation.  A temporary charter was issued in 1941, and an absolute charter from the Education Department of the University of the State of New York was granted in 1946.


The Kew-Forest School

119-17 Union Turnpike
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 268-4667
The oldest independent school in the borough of Queens, The Kew-Forest School is an independent co-educational, college preparatory school for students in Preschool through Grade 12.