Thornton Friends School is a 6-12 Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A., in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Currently there are around 55 students in the Silver Spring Upper School and 21 students in the middle school. Classes at the upper school average about 9 students, and the middle school averages about 6.
In 1973, Peter and Nancy Kline, both faculty members at Sandy Spring Friends School in Sandy Spring, MD approached their headmaster, C. Thornton “Thorny” Brown, and asked permission to begin a separate program for students who either were not working out well at Sandy Spring, or who did not meet the school’s acceptance criteria. Their target student was the “bright underachiever,” and with Thorny’s blessing a separate program was started on the Sandy Spring campus. The Klines first worked out of the infirmary at Sandy Spring, then relocated to a farm house in Brookeville. From there they moved to the school’s current location, sharing the building with another program run by Bill and Lynn Godwin. These programs were collectively known as the Interlocking Curriculum School, the highlights of which were the yearly production of Shakespearean plays and a bi-annual trip to England. The school struggled financially, and in 1983 Douglas Price was brought in to make recommendations as to how the school could become more viable. After Peter Kline resigned, Doug took over his classes, and in 1985 became head, succeeding interim head, Don Cassidy. During this time the school was renamed the Thornton Friends School, in honor of Thorny Brown, and the program changed to what it largely resembles today, with five academic periods and the more conventional high school curriculum. Doug Price served as Head until 1998. During his tenure, he was able to put the school on a more sound financial footing while opening the middle school in 1993 and the Northern Virginia upper school in 1997. The middle school was conceived as a feeder school for the upper school, and was run for its first five years by Carl Dolan. Since his departure, the school has had four leaders, the current, Marcy Seitel, taking over as principal in the fall of 2005. The Northern Virginia campus opened in Alexandria in response to the need for the whole school to grow as well as requests from the local Quaker meeting. Gail Miller was its first principal. The school never quite grew to its targeted enrollment, and after a series of personnel changes, it was closed at the end of the 2005-2006 academic year. Initially Doug Price was both principal of the upper school and head, but in 1995 Michael DeHart, then dean of students, became the upper school principal while Doug concentrated on his school head responsibilities. Michael remained in that position for three years, taking over as head when Doug retired. Norman Maynard, the current principal, took over from Michael in August of 1998. Under Michael DeHart’s tenure, the school’s first mission statement was drafted in 2002, signifying the start of an ongoing process to commit to describing and writing down many of the school’s values and processes. In 2005, Michael engineered the first purchase of school property, which is adjacent to the current upper school.
- Thornton Friends School Official site.
- Washington Post - Education Marketplace - Private Schools
- http://www.friendscouncil.org/Library/Directory/SchoolInfo.asp?SchoolID=68 Friends Council on Education Directory Listing
- http://aimsmd.org/ Association of Independent Maryland Schools directory listing
- http://aisgw.org/parent_information/schools.asp?pageaction=list Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington directory listing
- http://www.petersons.com/pschools/code/instVC.asp?inunid=1151&sponsor=1 Peterson's school overwiew
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