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Doane Academy is a coeducational, independent day school located in Burlington, New Jersey, for grades from Pre-K to 12. It was founded in May 1837 by Episcopal Bishop George Washington Doane, initially as an Episcopal girls' boarding school, the first in the United States to offer a classical academic education.

Doane Academy
Doane Academy is located in Burlington County, New Jersey
Doane Academy
Doane Academy
Doane Academy is located in New Jersey
Doane Academy
Doane Academy
Doane Academy is located in the United States
Doane Academy
Doane Academy
350 Riverbank


United States
Coordinates40°04′44″N 74°52′02″W / 40.079025°N 74.867174°W / 40.079025; -74.867174Coordinates: 40°04′44″N 74°52′02″W / 40.079025°N 74.867174°W / 40.079025; -74.867174
TypeIndependent day school
MottoRight Onward
Religious affiliation(s)Episcopal
FounderGeorge Washington Doane
HeadmasterGeorge B. Sanderson
Asst. HeadmasterTim Sadar
ChaplainRev. Paul Briggs
Faculty35 FTEs[1]
GradesPreK-twelfth grade[2]
Enrollment246 (as of 2018-19)[1]
Student to teacher ratio7:1[1]
Campus size13 acres (5.3 ha)
Campus typeSuburban, riverside
Color(s)     Navy blue
     Carolina blue
AthleticsBaseball, Softball, Soccer, Tennis, Cross Country, Rowing, Basketball, Bowling
Athletics conferencePenn-Jersey Athletic Association
Team nameSpartans[3]
Annual tuition$19,550 (9-12 for 2018-19)[5]
AlumniSociety of Graduates of St. Mary's Hall and Doane Academy
Doane Academy - As Seen From the Delaware River.jpg
Doane Academy from the Delaware River
Rowan Hall (2015) houses modern classrooms, while replicating the external appearance of the school building as it looked in 1837.

In 1955 affiliation with the diocese was severed. In 1966 a boys' school, known as Doane Academy, was built on campus. The schools were merged in 1974 as St. Mary's Hall-Doane Academy. Later the name was shortened to the Doane Academy.

The current headmaster is George Sanderson. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1989,[6] and is a member of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools, the National Association of Independent Schools and the National Association of Episcopal Schools.[2]



The academy was founded as St. Mary's Hall by the Right Reverend George Washington Doane, second Episcopal bishop of New Jersey. Through the diocese he purchased an existing girls' school. St. Mary's opened on May 1, 1837 with 52 pupils.[7] Founded to offer a classical education equal to that of boys, it accepted girls and young women as undergraduates and postgraduates. The young women were prepared to be teachers. It was the first all-girls academic boarding school in the United States. In its early years, the students mostly came from the East Coast, but were drawn from a wide area, ranging from New England to Virginia, and into upstate New York, who traveled to the school by boat and stagecoach.

Bishop Doane raised capital for the new school by issuing shares of stock, but a severe financial depression hit the United States just as the school was opening. Saint Mary's Hall survived, financed mainly from the personal funds of Eliza Green Perkins Doane, the Bishop's wife. She received a $9,500 annual dowry from the estate of her late first husband, which she donated to the school.[8]

The success of St Mary's Hall encouraged Bishop Doane to open a boys' school on an adjacent site in 1846. The new Burlington College, though, did not enjoy the success of the girls' school, and its doors closed in 1877.[9] The girls' school continued to flourish, its campus developing throughout the late 19th century.[10] Teachers generally lived in houses nearby, especially along Wood Street.

This prosperity continued into the first half of the 20th century, when central heating was introduced, as were electric lighting and showers. A large nearby house was purchased, initially to be used as a lower school and later as a senior dorm.[11]

Many private schools were forced to close during the Depression, but St Mary's Hall was able to increase the number of day pupils by establishing additional bus routes over the newly completed Burlington-Bristol Bridge to Pennsylvania on the other side of the Delaware River.[12] By the 1950s, though, boarding numbers were in decline. In 1953, the trustees decided to abandon boarding and become a day school.[13] The affiliation with the diocese was ended in 1955.

In 1966, the trustees again opened a boys' school, Doane Academy, in association with St. Mary's Hall. Although managed by the same Board of Trustees, the two schools were separate institutions. Signage around St Mary's Hall instructed the girls, "Do not fraternize with the Doane boys."[13]

On February 27, 1974, the main building on the St Mary's campus was destroyed by fire. There had been plans afoot to merge the two schools, and the damage from the fire encouraged the trustees to bring the plan forward. From September 1974, a single school—the co-educational St. Mary's Hall-Doane Academy—opened under a new headmaster, Rev. William Scheel.[13] In April 2008 the name was shortened to Doane Academy.[14]


In January 2015, the school announced that Henry Rowan (1923–2015) and his wife Eleanor, long-time benefactors, gifted $17 million toward the endowment fund of Doane Academy, with the proceeds available to the school in perpetuity. The school's endowment is in excess of $25 million.

With previous Rowan gifts and other donations, the school was able to erect and furnish Rowan Hall (2015). It connects Scarborough Hall (1912) and Odenheimer Hall (1868), unifying the campus.[15]


Doane Academy is located on a campus of 11 acres (4.5 ha) at the western end of the City of Burlington. It includes among its structures three buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Chapel of the Holy Innocents. This has been classified as the first Gothic cruciform church in the United States. The building has been recorded in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), with measured drawings held by the Library of Congress. The chapel houses a fine example of an early, 2 manual, mechanical action pipe organ. Originally built by Hall and Labaugh in 1854 and rebuilt by George Jardine and Son in 1900, it was restored in 2012 by Patrick J Murphy and Associates.[16]

Student bodyEdit

The school has students enrolled from 41 municipalities across the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.[17]

As of the 2018-19 school year, the school had an enrollment of 246 students. It had 35 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 7:1. The school's student body was 64.8% White, 22.8% Black, 3.7% Asian, 3.2% Hispanic, 2.3% American Indian / Alaska Native, and 3.2% two or more races.[1]



The school offers a broad curriculum, with lower school students pursuing courses in mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies. In addition, they study Spanish and music.[18] Students from grades 6 through 12 are required to study a core curriculum of English, mathematics and the sciences, together with optional studies in subjects including history, MFL, fine arts, and performing arts.[19]

Graduation requirementsEdit

The minimal graduation requirements for grades 9 – 12 are:

  • 4 English credits
  • 3 Math credits
  • 3 Science credits
  • 3 History credits
  • 3 World Language credits
  • 1 Fine or Performing Arts credit

Students must also complete their grade-level Character and Leadership Cycle each year. These cycles include such courses as digital media and programming, world religions, composition and leadership. In the 11th and 12th grades, the cycles include courses in College and Career Prep.[19]


Participation in athletics is considered an essential element of an education at Doane Academy. As a result, each student in grades 9—12 is required to play on a team for at least one season a year. The pupils in grades 6—8 compete against other middle school teams in soccer, boys' and girls' basketball, baseball and softball. Students in grades 9—12 compete at varsity level in the Penn-Jersey Athletic Association in tennis, cross country running, boys' and girls' soccer, boys' and girls' basketball, baseball, softball and bowling. The co-ed crew team competes in regional regattas in both the fall and spring.

The Doane Academy Spartans[3] compete in interscholastic sports under the supervision of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), for all sports with the exception of the crew team, and compete independently of any athletic conference.[20] The school's teams compete at the Non-Public Group B and Prep B levels for state tournaments held at the end of each season.

Athletic facilities at the school include two soccer fields, a softball field, the Winzinger Baseball Field, a full-sized gymnasium and a fitness center. The Delaware River is used for crew practices. The cross-country team practices on and around the campus.[21]

Athletic highlights:

  • Penn-Jersey Baseball Champions: 2014, 2015
  • Penn-Jersey Softball Champions: 1992, 1993, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Penn-Jersey Cross Country Champions: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Penn-Jersey Girls Soccer Champions: 1979, 1980, 1992, 2010, 2011
  • Penn-Jersey Boys Basketball Champions: 2014
  • NJISAA Prep B Boys Basketball State Champions 2019
  • Middle School Basketball Undefeated Seasons: 2005–2006, 2008–2009

Performing artsEdit

In the spring each year, the Upper School's Spartan Studio actors put on a play or musical. Recent performances have included You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Revised), Little Shop of Horrors, All in the Timing, and The World Goes 'Round. In May or June, the Lower School stages a production, such as Hamlet for Kids and The Day the Crayons Quit. Students interested in the performing arts, both on and off the stage, have numerous opportunities to participate in other dramatic and musical performances throughout the year.[22]

The academy has a band, a choir, and a string ensemble for both the Upper and Lower schools. It also has a jazz ensemble, percussion ensemble and pit orchestra.[23]

Notable alumniEdit

  • Judith Light (born 1949, class of 1966), actress and producer.[24]
  • Bill Barretta (born 1964, class of 1982), puppeteer and producer who has worked with the Muppets since 1991.[citation needed]
  • Gene Barretta (born 1960, class of 1978), children's book author and illustrator, animator, and character designer for the Muppets[citation needed]
  • Miriam Coles Harris (1834–1925), author who wrote several novels, a book of children's stories and two devotional books.[25]
  • Kate Swift (1923–2011, class of 1941), feminist writer and editor who wrote books and articles about sexism in the English language. She wrote the lyrics to the original alma mater for St. Mary's Hall.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d School data for Doane Academy, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed October 20, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Doane Academy". Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Doane Academy, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 31, 2016.
  4. ^ Newman, Jack H. (2012). St. Mary's Hall and Doane Academy. Charleston, SC: Arcadia. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-7385-7671-8.
  5. ^ Tuition and Fees, Doane Academy. Accessed August 20, 2018.
  6. ^ "Doane Academy". MSA-CESS. Middle States Association. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  7. ^ Newman, Jack H. (2012). St. Mary's Hall and Doane Academy. Charleston, SC: Arcadia. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-7385-7671-8.
  8. ^ Newman, Jack H. (2012). St. Mary's Hall and Doane Academy. Charleston, SC: Arcadia. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-7385-7671-8.
  9. ^ Newman, Jack H. (2012). St. Mary's Hall and Doane Academy. Charleston, SC: Arcadia. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-7385-7671-8.
  10. ^ "Our History 1859–1911". Doane Academy. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  11. ^ "Our History 1912-29". Doane Academy. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  12. ^ "Our History 1930-52". Doane Academy. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  13. ^ a b c "Our History 1974-90". Doane Academy. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  14. ^ "About - Doane Academy". Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  15. ^ Urciuoli, Brielle. "Doane Academy in Burlington City receives $17M gift from Rowan foundation". Times of Trenton. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  16. ^ "Doane Academy". Patrick J Murphy and Associates. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  17. ^ "Quick Facts". Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  18. ^ "Lower School". Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  19. ^ a b "Upper School Handbook". Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  20. ^ Member Schools League List Short.pdf New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association League Memberships – 2015-2016, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 31, 2016.
  21. ^ "Doane Athletics". Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  22. ^ "Performing Arts". Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  23. ^ "Band". Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  24. ^ Shott, Meghan. Doane Academy, Accessed January 6, 2017. "Did you know that actress Judith Light was a 1966 graduate of St. Mary's Hall/Doane Academy? Light is best known for playing Angela on the TV show, Who's the Boss? co-starring with Tony Danza."
  25. ^ Derby, James Cephas. Fifty Years Among Authors, Books and Publishers, p. 570. G. W. Carleton & Company, 1884. Accessed May 15, 2017. "Mrs. Harris's second book was thought to be something of an autobiography, under the veil of fiction; it was entitled Louie's last Term at St Mary's. the author having been educated at that school at Burlington, N. J., under the supervision of the late Bishop Doane."

External linksEdit