History

New City School was founded in 1969 to help stabilize the then-struggling neighborhoods of the city’s Central West End.

A group of neighbors, many of whom had small children, began meeting to discuss the possibility of opening a school — but not just any school. They dreamed of a unique school that would provide opportunities for a diverse group of children (and adults!) to learn together, to be creative, and to develop a sense of independence and confidence.

In the many years since its founding, New City School has remained true to the vision of its founders. The school continues to be a place of bold vision and unlimited possibilities. It is a place that considers the needs of children first, a place that is built on a commitment to diversity, and a place that brings children, parents and teachers together in a community of joyful learning.


1960s

  • Vietnam, the Beatles, Civil Rights Movement, the vision of New City School comes to life.
  • The genesis of New City School was sparked when two venerable schools in the Central West End, Barat Hall and City House, closed in 1966, deflating real estate values and leaving the neighborhood without first-rate schools.
  • Led by Tad Foote, a group of neighbors began to meet to talk about creating a new school.  From the beginning, the vision was to create an inclusive, progressive school focused on individual kids' needs.
  • In 1969, New City opened under the leadership of head of school Jerry Glynn, with six teachers and nearly 100 children -- from three-year-olds to fourth graders -- and began class in the First Unitarian Church located at Waterman and Kingshighway.

1970s

  • Saturday Night Fever, Nixon resigns, and Sony invents the Walkman.
  • New City moves to the old Mary Institute building at Waterman and Lake. Built in 1901 at the then-edge of the City, the building was the home of Mary Institute until 1937. It then became Lutheran High until being abandoned in the early 1960s.
  • Head of School Charlie Rathbone took over after two years, and remained for one year. Board members played leadership roles during the transition between Heads of School. Len Marks then became head in 1974.
  • In 1975, 150 students were enrolled, and 30% were of color.
  • Full accreditation received from the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS).
  • Several classrooms were renovated on the second floor and enrollment reached 200 students during the late ’70s.

1980s

  • The Commodore 64 computer, Michael Jackson, and the Rubik’s Cube are all the rage.
  • In 1980, two hundred and thirty-five students were enrolled.
  • University City Elementary School Principal Tom Hoerr becomes Head of School in 1981.
  • In 1983, New City is named an A+ School by Instructor Magazine.
  • A performance-based merit pay plan for teachers was adopted in 1984.
  • In 1985, 283 students were enrolled, and 26% were of color.
  • In 1989, $93,901 was distributed in need-based scholarships to 18.9% of the students.
  • In 1987-1988, a $1,000,000 Capital Campaign is launched to renovate the building so that all three floors can hold classroom spaces.
  • The faculty begins to pursue implementing Multiple Intelligences (MI) in 1988.

1990s

  • The first web browser is released, Nelson Mandela is freed, and "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" is published.
  • In 1992, a $1,200,000 capital campaign enabled the school to acquire land to the west to create a new playground and soccer field, and the land to the south to create a parking lot and playing field.
  • The Financial Aid Endowment Fund was created in 1993 ($3,422,000 as of July 2013).
  • Four Multiple Intelligence conferences were held at New City, and the faculty wrote two books, Celebrating Multiple Intelligences: Teaching for Success and Succeeding with Multiple Intelligences: Teaching through the Personal Intelligences.
  • In 1995, 357 students were enrolled, and 27% were of color.
  • In 1996, a $1,000,000 grant from an anonymous donor pays for central air-conditioning, new windows, and tuck-pointing of the building.
  • In 1998 our theater is renovated and named Founders Hall.
  • In 1999, $351,597 was distributed in need-based scholarships to 26.7% of the students.

2000s

  • Apple introduces the iPod, Facebook is launched, and 9-11 occurs.
  • The New City Centennial Garden was opened on our playground in 2001.
  • In 2005, Howard Gardner, creator of MI theory, joined us to open the world’s first Multiple Intelligences library.
  • In 2005, 349 students were enrolled, and 30% were of color.
  • In 2009, $749,873 was distributed in need-based scholarships to 34.9% of the students.
  • In 2009, the Green Roof is created on top of our dining hall.

2010s

  • In 2010, Jossey-Bass publishes our faculty’s book, Celebrating Every Learner.
  • In 2011, the Betsy Blankenship Plaza on Waterman is created.
  • In 2014, New City celebrates 45 years at our Founders' Dinner in the Fox Theatre.
  • In 2015, Head of School Tom Hoerr retires after 34 years at New City School. Pat Nuernberger becomes interim Head of School for the 2015-2016 school year during the search for a permanent replacement.
  • In July of 2015, Alexis Wright is named the next Head of School at New City.