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.
Dr. James L. Dixon, then Associate Headmaster and teacher of Social Science, became the first Headmaster under the new corporation. He continued to maintain the high standards set by the founders and was substantially aided in this effort by Mrs. Smart, who served the school for most of his administration.
After Dr. Dixon’s death in May 1960, Mr. Wilson M. Johnson was selected to lead the school through a tumultuous decade. According to the 1974 school yearbook, “While schools across the nation were torn by strikes, vandalism, drugs, and lowered academic standards, Mr. Johnson produced almost idyllic conditions at K-F, where the educational process remained peaceful and academic standards were raised even further.”
When Mr. Johnson died unexpectedly during the 1973 school year, Philip V. Rogers Jr., then Assistant Headmaster, took on the job of Acting Headmaster, and later became Headmaster. Under his capable and dedicated guidance, Kew-Forest grew and thrived for 26 years.
When Mr. Rogers retired in 2000, Dr. Peter Lewis was hired as Head of School and tasked with bringing Kew-Forest into the new millennium. Under his leadership, the school reinstated its Kindergarten, added Division Heads to lead the Lower and Upper academic divisions, created a separate Development and Communications office, expanded outreach to parents and alumni through a Parent Council and Alumni Council, upgraded its buildings and grounds, and transformed its library into a unique learning space known as the LibraTech ™ Center. In addition, in 2006, after an 18-month intensive self-study and on-site evaluation by a team of professional educators from other independent schools, Kew-Forest was granted accreditation by the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). This new accreditation complements Kew-Forest’s long-standing accreditation through the Middle States Association of Colleges & Schools and the New York State Department of Education.