Shore Country Day School was founded in 1936, when the North Shore Country Day School, housed in the historic Winslow Building, merged with the Shore School of Beverly Farms.
The Winslow Building was originally the property of Sidney Winslow, a prominent industrialist associated with the founding of Beverly’s historic United Shoe Machinery Corporation.
On May 4, 1936, founders John Raymond, Howland Seabury, Anna Prince, Frederick Winant, and J. Mattocks White incorporated Shore Country Day School with the stated mission of "furnishing of non-sectarian education to its scholars and for promoting their mental and physical well-being."
Early in its history, Shore served just over 100 children from across the North Shore, employing fewer than a dozen teachers; all classes were held in the 18-room Winslow Building.
By the 1950s and 1960s, the school had grown to almost its current student population of around 400, the teaching staff had grown to more than 30, and the original Winslow classrooms had been augmented with a quonset-hut style gymnasium/auditorium/dining hall as well as more than a dozen new classrooms in new structures.
During this early period of growth and change, the school’s leadership remained a constant: appointed in the school’s first year, Miss Raymonde Neel served as Head of School until the appointment of Clifton Whiting in 1961. Around the same time, the Raymonde Neel Arts Center was constructed, beginning another long period of expanding and improving Shore’s facilities.
Added to the campus in the decades from 1960 to 1990 were the Ayer Gymnasium, later to be transformed into a Dining Hall; the Lower School “Big Room” and Kindergarten classrooms; and the modernist brick Upper School Learning Center, still in use today. Following Clifton Whiting, third Head of School Brian Walsh presided over many of these changes during his leadership from 1971 to 1982. Thomas N.F. Shaw succeeded Walsh as interim Headmaster in 1982, and in 1983 Erich Cluxton was appointed Shore’s fifth Head.
Growth continued as the school celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1986, and when Lawrence Griffin was appointed Head in 1987, one of the first milestones of his tenure would be the construction and dedication of the Brian M. Walsh Science Center and Library Resource Center, an ingenious dual-purpose building that answered two pressing needs of the school and honored the beloved Walsh.
Working closely with the Board of Trustees, Griffin and Chief Financial Officer Bobbi Whiting over the next 30 years continued to pursue an expanded vision for the school, undertaking three major capital campaigns—raising a combined total of some $30 million—to transform much of the entire campus. Following the Walsh Center’s dedication in 1992 came the completion of new Lower School classrooms, the renovation of the Dining Hall and kitchen, the construction of the Rock Gym, the addition of the Kindergarten wing, and finally the creation of the Lawrence A. Griffin Center for Creativity, the new centerpiece of the campus, in 2012. The Neel arts building, Big Room, and middle school annex classrooms had been razed as the campus was reimagined.
Also during this period, Shore’s student population reached a steady average of 400-450, and its corps of faculty and staff leveled off at around 100. Griffin, with the support of Trustee donors and parents, instituted new programs to attract and retain Shore’s increasingly skilled teachers, who receive generous professional development funding as well as robust peer review and mentoring. Shore’s well-regarded faculty, in addition to implementing innovative new approaches in math, science, design thinking, and discussion-based learning, made the school a model that many continue to study.
During these years, Shore’s culture underwent a major transformation, as well. From being known primarily as a challenging academically-focused school, Shore gradually came to be seen as equally committed to creativity and the arts, experiential and project-based learning, and the growth of the whole child. Shore’s Community Code, introduced in 2004, formalized the school’s commitment to the well-being of every individual child.
In 2016, Whiting retired, and Griffin announced that he, too, would retire in June 2017. Also retiring after serving through three decades of transformation was Lee Carey, Shore’s Director of Admissions and Secondary School Counseling. Under Carey’s leadership, the school had gained a reputation for graduating well-rounded, well-prepared students who would go on to thrive in the region’s top secondary schools.
On July 1, 2017, Clair Ward became the seventh Head of School. In her distinguished career as an educator, Ward rose from being a classics teacher fresh out of graduate school, to becoming Associate Head of School at the Phillips Brooks School in Menlo Park, California. There she served for eight years before being appointed Head of School of Valley School of Ligonier in Rector, Pennsylvania, in 2008.
Highlights of Ms. Ward’s tenure include a focus on curriculum, guiding the school through the process of re-accreditation through AISNE (the Association of Independent Schools of New England). Ms. Ward’s commitment to improve systems of teacher evaluation and feedback, to enhance curriculum, and to strengthen Shore’s commitment to be a diverse and inclusive community helped strengthen the school. The Covid-19 pandemic shifted focus to providing the Shore community with a safe learning environment throughout a period of turmoil and shifting requirements. Ms. Ward’s steadfast commitment to remaining open throughout the pandemic was a heroic effort.
Amy Vorenberg joined Shore Country Day School in July 2023 as Interim Head of School. An elementary educator with experience as a classroom teacher, division head, and Head of School, Ms. Vorenberg is delighted to join the Shore community.