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The Storm King School (SKS) is an independent coeducational boarding and day school in the U.S. state of New York. Established in 1867, it is one of New York's oldest boarding schools. It is a college preparatory school for students in grades 8 to post-graduate, with an enrollment of 195 and 37 faculty living on or near campus through the year.

The Storm King School
Storm King School Crest.jpg
TypeIndependent, boarding
MottoTruth, Respect, Responsibility
Head of SchoolJonathan W. R. Lamb
Enrollment195 total (75% boarding)
Average class size10 students
Student to teacher ratio5:1
CampusRural, 51 acres
Color(s)Navy Blue & White         
Athletics19 Interscholastic Sports
Endowment$2.5 million
Storm King campus in autumn
Storm King's Lacrosse team won league championships in 2018.
Students learning the art of printmaking
Storm King's Model United Nations team ranks among the best in North East.
Girls soccer program captured league titles in 2018.
Student performances are held at the beautiful Walter Reade Jr. Theatre with seating for 250 spectators.

75% percent of students are boarding and 25% are day students; 57% are male, and 43% female. The school enrolls students from over 27 countries.

The school is accredited by NYSAIS and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the New York State Association of Independent Schools, the National Association of Independent Schools, the College Board, and other education organizations.

A 15-member Board of Trustees governs the school.



The Storm King School is in Orange County, N.Y., about an hour's drive north of New York City, It sits approximately 900 feet above the west bank of the Hudson River, on a spur of Storm King Mountain, with views of the Shawangunk Mountains and distant Catskills. It adjoins Black Rock Forest Nature Preserve to the south.

The school lies in the historic Hudson Valley between West Point and Newburgh.[1] The nearby Storm King Art Center is an outdoor sculpture museum with work by world-class sculptors and artists.


The Storm King School began in 1867 as the Cornwall Heights School. Dr. Louis P. Ledoux, a graduate of Amherst College and Union Theological Seminary, and a pastor of the Cornwall Presbyterian Church, founded the school after requests that he establish “a Christian school in the home of a Christian gentleman.” Dr. Ledoux purchased Wood Farm on the northern slope of Storm King Mountain, where he prepared young men for New England colleges until 1872, when he sold his interest in the school to Oren S. Cobb.[2] Mr. Cobb was headmaster for 15 years until 1889, when the school was sold to Dr. Carlos H. Stone. During Stone's 29-year leadership, the school saw much growth, including increased enrollment and an enlarged physical plant. In 1914, the school was incorporated under New York State law and renamed the Stone School.

In 1923, during the tenure of Headmaster Alvan P. Duerr, the school's name was changed to Storm King School. In 1928, the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York chartered SKS as a tax-exempt educational institution.

From 1932 to 1951, throughout the austere years of the Depression and World War II, SKS was led by Headmaster Anson Barker, and benefited from the patronage and participation of several prominent families who lived on the mountain, including the Abbotts, Ledouxs, Matthiesens, Partridges, Smidts and Stillmans.

Margaret Clark, the school's first female teacher (primarily in art), retired in 1938 after over forty years at SKS. Her design of the school's crest, initially created for the student publication “The Echo”, was later adopted as the school's official emblem.[3]

During the 1950s and 1960s, the school saw considerable growth thanks in part to Stephen P. Duggan, an attorney and long-time member and chairman of the Board of Trustees who owned property adjacent to the school. Mr. Duggan oversaw the rebuilding of SKS's then 44-acre campus, including construction of The Ogden Library (1958), Dyer Hall (1958), Highmount Dormitory (1958), Dempsey Dormitory (1959), Stillman Science Building (1960–61) and a new gymnasium (1963).

In 1967 the school celebrated its 100th anniversary. It was the culmination of a nearly decade-long modernization project championed by chairman Duggan and successive SKS headmasters Burke Boyce (1952–1956), Warren Leonard (1956–1966) and Frank Brogan (1966–1974). During centenary celebrations, ambassador-at-large Averell W. Harriman dedicated the new Walter Orr Student Commons.

In April 1968, the campus's 100-year-old Main Building, known as "Old Main", was demolished to make way for a new dormitory. Residents of Old Main moved into the new McConnell Hall in the spring of 1968.[4]

The school became coeducational in September 1970.

In 1981, Dr. Rients and Suzanne Van der Woude of Cornwall gave the school 70 acres of land on Storm King Mountain, just west of the campus. Dr. Van der Woude said he gave the land in order “to preserve it forever and so that children can learn about nature and ecology, and respect for life and earth.” The gift expanded SKS’s campus to 125 acres.[5]

The Van der Woude property was part of a historic 17-year dispute between New York utility Consolidated Edison and the Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference, a group of concerned residents and citizens. In 1963, Con Ed planned a massive hydroelectric plant on Storm King Mountain which would have required cutting through the mountain and flooding the Black Rock Forest to create a reservoir. Due largely to opposition from the Preservation Conference, Con Ed's plan was abandoned and the suit settled in 1982.

In 1990, during the tenure of Headmaster John H. Suitor, a roll-off shed observatory was built on campus to house a late-19th century refractor telescope, a gift of board member Robert Cobb, that was originally owned by Erard Mathiessan, granduncle of Beatrice (Abbott) Duggan.[6] It was eventually sold to finance the purchase of the school’s current Parks Newtonian telescope. The observatory was designed and built by former SKS astronomy teacher and science writer Bob Berman.

Parks Newtonian telescope

College PlacementEdit

Storm King graduates attend some of the top universities in the United States, including Harvard, NYU, Cornell, Parsons, and the Rhode Island School of Design.


Mountain Day, at the start of every school year, is observed with a hike up Storm King Mountain by the entire school.

After each home win at an athletic event, the victorious SKS team rushes to the bell tower in the center of campus to ring the bell to signal their triumph.

The Storm King Cup is awarded to a SKS student each year, during commencement, “to encourage high ideals, manly sport, tenacity of purpose, earnest behavior, fair play, and true chivalry.”[7]

Co-Curricular ActivitiesEdit

In addition to traditional academic courses and ESL, The Storm King School offers theater and visual arts, music, dance, sports, and various clubs and community service.


SKS has a full athletic curriculum and competes in the New England Prep School Athletic League. It is a member of The Hudson Valley Athletic League (HVAL), an association of 12 similar schools located in the Hudson Valley, Putnam Valley, and the Housatonic region between Newburgh, New York and Waterbury, Connecticut; and The New England Private School Athletic Council (NEPSAC).[8]

In recent years, the boys' soccer, wrestling and basketball teams have gained prominence as some of the top teams in New York and New England Class D competition; the basketball team won the New England Prep title in 2016 and 2017. The boys' soccer and girls' lacrosse programs are considered competitive programs in NEPSAC Class D. The school's soccer field received a major upgrade in 2016.

Fall sports: Boys and Girls Soccer, Co-ed Cross Country, Girls Volleyball

Winter sports: Boys and Girls Basketball, Bowling, E-Sports, Boys Wrestling, Fencing

Spring sports: Boys and Girls Lacrosse, Boys Baseball, Boys and Girls Tennis, Mountain Biking, Ultimate

Club Sports: Yoga, Rock Climbing, Bowling, Fitness

Academic Support ProgramEdit

In the fall of 2004, The Storm King School founded the Academic Support Program for students requiring specialized support.

Black Rock Forest ConsortiumEdit

The school is a member of the Black Rock Forest Consortium, which administers the Black Rock Forest, a 3,830-acre wilderness adjacent to the campus, which the school also utilizes for its science, environmental and recreational programs. The Head of School is a vice president and a member of the Executive Committee of the Consortium, which includes the American Museum of Natural History, Barnard College, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Browning School, City College of New York, Columbia University, Convent of the Sacred Heart, the Dalton School, Friends Seminary, New York Academy of Sciences, New York University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Newburgh School District, and Teacher's College of Columbia University.

Notable faculty and alumniEdit

Headmaster Burke Boyce (Headmaster 1952-1956) was an Olympic fencer who competed for the U.S. at the 1924 Olympics. He was an integral part of developing the school’s fencing program, which continues to this day.

Whiting Willauer ('23), former U.S. ambassador to Honduras and founder of Civil Air Transport (CAT)

Walter Reade Jr. ('35, and after whom the school's theater is named), president of the Walter Reade Organization, movie theater owner/operators and film distributors

Jack Hemingway ('41), writer, conservationist, son of great American author Ernest Hemingway

Thomas (Tom) Price ('51), Olympic rower who competed for the U.S. at the 1952 Olympics

Peter Boyce ('54), astronomer, pioneer in publication and linking of electronic science journals

Mac Gayden, ('58), country music star, best known as writer of the song "Everlasting Love"

Balazs Szabo ('63), Hungarian-born artist and author

David Parks ('69), American photographer, film director, publicist and author.

Robert Toricelli ('70), former U.S. congressman and senator from New Jersey

Gary Springer ('72), actor and publicist

Steven Zirnkilton ('76), American voice-over actor, known for providing the opening narration of all U.S. shows in the Law & Order franchise

Wally Pfister ('79), Academy Award-winning cinematographer and director

Cara Castronuova ('98), boxer, two-time Golden Gloves winner, trainer on the NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”

Sammy Mejia ('03), professional basketball player, 2nd-round draft pick by the Detroit Pistons


  1. ^ 1968 Storm King School Report
  2. ^ “The First Eighty Years” school pub. 1947/1948
  3. ^ The Storm King Bulletin, Vol. V, No. 12, June 8, 1932
  4. ^ The SKS Alumni Quarry, Vol. LVI, No. 2 Summer 1968
  5. ^ The Evening News, November 2, 1981
  6. ^ Mathiessan/Duggan Source:
  7. ^ The Storm King Bulletin, Vol. IV, No. 15, June 3, 1931
  8. ^

External linksEdit