Thayer Academy

Thayer Academy (TA) is a prestigious private, co-educational, college-preparatory day school located in Braintree, Massachusetts, United States. The academy, conceived in 1871 at the bequest of General Sylvanus Thayer, known as the father of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and founder of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, was established in 1877. Thayer annually enrolls approximately 470 students in the Upper School (grades 9–12) and an additional 220 students in the Middle School (grades 6–8) and Grade 5 commencing in the 2018-19 academic year. The 34-acre (14 ha) campus is situated in the heart of Braintree and consists of eight buildings and 54 classrooms. Students are drawn primarily from Boston's MetroWest and South Shore communities.

Thayer Academy
Coordinates42°12′30″N 71°0′20″W
Established1877 (1877)
DirectorHighley Thompson (HS)
Carson Smith (MS)
HeadmasterTed Koskores
Number of students700
Student to teacher ratio6.5:1
Campus typeSuburban
Color(s)Black & Orange         
Athletics conferenceIndependent School League
Team nameTigers
Endowment43 million


General Thayer, born in Braintree, Massachusetts, graduated as valedictorian from both Dartmouth College and the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. General Thayer was dedicated to hard work, and at the age of 17, he taught in the local schools of Hanover, New Hampshire to earn money to pay for college an early sign of the importance he attached to teaching and education. He was Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point from 18171833. General Thayer's 1871 will provided for the creation of Thayer Academy, and on September 12, 1877, the Academy opened its doors to 30 students in what is now Main Building. Glover opened sometime later in 1894. The junior school (grades 5-8), Thayerlands, opened in 1924 and quickly grew to include eight grades as well as kindergarten and nursery school. Beginning in 1969, the lower grades were gradually eliminated, and Thayerlands became Thayer Academy Middle School. Thayer has been a co-educational institution since its founding.

Academic program, students and faculty

Thayer recently completed two state-of-the-art Collaborative Design Labs, a two-story strength and conditioning facility, a new Middle School Resource Center, and six synthetic grass playing fields. In addition, a new Center for the Arts opened its doors in the fall of 2008 and includes a 550-seat theater, dance studios, and art classrooms. Tuition is $45,850 (2016–2017). The school provides $7 million in financial aid and is easily accessible from the major surrounding highways: routes 3, I-93, and I-95, and is within walking distance of the Braintree MBTA Red Line rapid transit station.

Total combined enrollment at Thayer Upper and Middle Schools is approximately 700. The Thayer faculty consists of over 100 teachers, and the average class size is between 13 and 16 students.

100% of Thayer graduates matriculate to 4-year colleges and universities. Over 90% of students taking AP exams earn scores of 3 or better.

Academic highlights


The math team consists of 15 students of all grade levels who meet for practice and travel to area high schools for competitions.


Thayer Academy’s student magazine Voice, published three times per year.

In addition, eight Thayer students won Individual Achievement (IA) awards. Over 1,300 entries were received for various IA categories and typically, 10% or fewer entries in any category win recognition.[1]

Voice has two faculty advisors who help students with production questions and ideas. Students are encouraged and expected to display professional journalistic standards and make decisions on their own regarding writing, editing and publishing.

The basic guideline for Voice is that no topic is off-limits. The school administration doesn’t censor the content and all content and editorials are written by students. There is a staff of 18-20 and no single editor.

Green Projects: Grease Lightning

In 2007, with the support of faculty, parents, trustees, and local restaurants, the Advanced Placement Environmental Science (APES) class converted a 1981 Mercedes Benz 300D (diesel) to an environmentally friendly 'green car' that runs on filtered waste vegetable oil.

The class spent a semester installing the conversion kit from Greasecar. The students were divided into teams, some focusing on the build and install, others focusing on the wiring and still another group in charge of the marketing and advertising. "...when Mr. Schneider asked us all if we were interested in making a grease car, ...we thought it would be really, really fun," said Liz Tillotson, a student from Milton, Massachusetts. "We eventually decided to do something that would really stand out and make an impact in the community," said Skip Schneider, the science teacher who supervised the project.[2]


Thayer's athletic teams participate in the competitive Independent School League (ISL), the oldest independent school athletic association in the United States. Thayer offers these interscholastic sports at the High School varsity level:

  • Fall
    • Boys': Intramural Crew, Soccer, Football, Cross Country, Intramural Fitness & Games (MS)
    • Girls': Intramural Crew, Soccer, Field Hockey, Cross Country, Volleyball, Intramural Fitness & Games (MS)
  • Winter
    • Boys': Basketball, Ice Hockey, Swimming and Diving, Skiing, Wrestling
    • Girls': Basketball, Ice Hockey, Swimming and Diving, Skiing, Wrestling, Gymnastics
  • Spring
    • Girls': Lacrosse, Crew, Track and Field, Tennis, Golf, Softball
    • Boys': Lacrosse, Crew, Track and Field, Tennis, Golf, Baseball

Thayer also offers interscholastic sports in the Middle School.

As a general rule, Middle School Students are required to participate in interscholastic activities or Health and Wellness (a program consisting of intramural and fitness activities), year-round. Upper School students are required to participate in 11 terms of interscholastic sports or Health and Wellness classes in order to graduate.

The Thayer Academy campus is equipped with multiple facilities that foster athletic training and performance. Located directly behind the academic buildings include turf soccer, baseball and football fields.[3] On campus, The Sawyer Athletic center is located in Thayer’s campus center and is home to the athletic department offices, Alumni Gym, Memorial Gym and the hall of fame lobby. The athletic training room is also located in the campus center in the Fish Center for Physical Fitness. Thayer's additional facilities include two off campus turf Field Hockey fields.

Notable alumni

  • Tony Amonte '89, professional athlete, former NHL and Olympic athlete; member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame
  • John Cheever, Pulitzer Prize winning author (did not graduate) [4]
  • Charlie Coyle, San Jose Shark First Round Draft Pick-2010, hockey
  • William D. Delahunt '59, U.S. Representative, 10th District (MA-D)
  • John Curtis Gowan, psychologist
  • Corey Griffin, philanthropist and co-founder of the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research
  • David Grossack '73, attorney
  • Kelly Amonte Hiller '92, head lacrosse coach at Northwestern University
  • Mike Jones '03, basketball player, University of Maryland Terrapins
  • Tiffany Kelly '05, Miss Massachusetts USA 2006
  • Asa S. Knowles, educator and president of Northeastern University from 1959–1975
  • Mike Mottau '96, hockey player, Hobey Baker Award winner
  • Mike Moyer '90, author
  • Brooks Orpik '98, hockey player, Washington Capitals
  • Jeremy Roenick '88, professional athlete, former NHL and Olympic athlete, member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Dave Silk '76, professional athlete and Olympic gold medalist, recognized for his contribution to sports in the roles of athlete and coach
  • General Gordon R. Sullivan '55, four star Army general, recognized for outstanding military career culminating in appointment as Army Chief of Staff
  • Ryan Whitney '01, hockey player, Anaheim Ducks
  • Mary Parker Follett graduated 1885, female social worker known as the "Mother of Modern Management"
  • Frank N. Newman '59, international banking executive; served as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department
  • Charles Martin Castleman '57, concert violinist, recognized for outstanding career as teacher and soloist with symphony orchestras around the world
  • Andrew Card '65, White House Chief of Staff 2001-2006, United States Secretary of Transportation 1992-1993
  • Frederick C. Murphy '36 Medal of Honor recipient during World War II
  • Bradley Birkenfeld '83 American banker and whistleblower whose disclosures to the United States government led to a massive fraud investigation against the Swiss bank UBS and other banks that had enabled tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers
  • John W. Beal former Massachusetts Commissioner for Public Works (dropped out)
  • Asa P. French Former United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, served as legal counsel to the Rockefeller Family
  • Ella Lyman Cabot An educator, author and lecturer who hailed from a prominent Unitarian family. She published many influential pieces on the importance of childhood education and ethics.
  • Armand Zildjian An Armenian-American manufacturer of cymbals and the former head of the Avedis Zildjian Company.
  • Larry Wentworth A Supreme Court Justice for the Federation of Micronesia.
  • Enrico Cappucci Former Massachusetts State Representative for 12 years and unsuccessful candidate for Massachusetts Attorney General in 1948.
  • Adam Gaudette Hockey player, Vancouver Canucks.
  • Carmelo Travieso Puerto Rican basketball player for UMass Amherst.
  • Austin Gallagher American marine biologist and social entrepreneur, best known for his research on sharks and his role as founder and CEO of Beneath the Waves, a non-profit organization focusing on ocean conservation.
  • Mike Mitchell American actor, comedian, and writer
  • Michael J. Connor retired United States Navy Vice Admiral and former Commander of the United States Submarine Forces
  • Richard Wassersug Scientist, Honorary professor in the Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences at the University of British Columbia
  • David Hemery Track and Field athlete, Olympian
  • Leif Tilden American actor, director, and writer
  • Richard Prince American painter and photographer
  • Suzanne Ciani American musician, sound designer, and composer

Notable Teachers


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-09. Retrieved 2010-05-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Gatehouse News Service, May 29, 2007
  2. Trust, Dick (2007-06-15), "A Wesson Lesson: Thayer students convert Mercedes into a model of energy efficiency", The Patriot Ledger, Quincy MA, retrieved 2007-02-21
  3. Wentworth, Lillian, Thayer Academy archivist. Interview with Patriot Ledger, Braintree, MA (26 January 2009), accessed 12 February 2009
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