About Suffield

We take our mission statement to heart in all we do at Suffield. It is an essential part of who we are and guides our philosophy and program. This is a school that combines challenging academics and high standards with an encouraging, supportive faculty. This unwavering mission rests at the heart of why our school is thriving. Students come to this small New England town from all parts of the world, dedicating themselves to their studies and self-discovery. Each year brings new surprises as students discover unknown talents—sometimes it is the sports star who unearths an affinity for acting or the technology whiz who is surprised to find a passion at the potter’s wheel.

MISSION STATEMENT  Suffield Academy is a coeducational independent secondary school serving a diverse community of day and boarding students. Our school has a tradition of academic excellence combined with a strong work ethic. A commitment to scholarship and a respect for individual differences guide our teaching and curriculum. We engender among our students a sense of responsibility, and they are challenged to grow in a structured and nurturing environment. The entire academic, athletic, and extracurricular experience prepares our students for a lifetime of learning, leadership, and active citizenship.
413 students make up our student body
22 states & 27 countries represent our student body
1,060 students applied last year
144 new students
83 faculty live & work on campus
5:1 is the student to teacher ratio
10 students are in the average class size
35 options are offered in the afternoon
30 opportunities to be a student leader

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • » The History of Suffield Academy

    The history of Suffield Academy is unique and interesting, as the school has constantly evolved since its start in 1833. Initially established as the Connecticut Literary Institute (the school was renamed Suffield School in 1916 and then Suffield Academy in 1937), the mission of this school with Baptist roots was to educate young men for the ministry. As the Connecticut Literary Institute was the only high school in Suffield, the town tax dollars paid for local students to attend. Although town and local Baptists served a major role in getting the school underway, the founders soon moved away from a denominational focus. In fact, the 1835 school charter stated that “no student shall be debarred the literary privilege of said institution on account of his religious opinions or denominational peculiarities.” From its inception, therefore, this school has had a commitment to diversity and inclusion, with women joining the community in 1843, the arrival of international students in the late 1830’s and African-American men and women bringing about integration during the latter part of the nineteenth century.

    Interestingly enough, although aspects of the Academy have been in existence for well over 170 years, some would argue that the Suffield Academy that we recognize today—its physical plant, academic, athletic, and arts programs, and its overall position in the independent school world—began anew in 1952. It was in this year that Appleton H. Seaverns, a dynamic young educator from West Hartford, Connecticut, was named Suffield’s Headmaster. As the Academy had been facing several hurdles after the establishment of Suffield’s first public high school in 1939 (such as a dramatically smaller enrollment), Ap Seaverns brought new energy and focus. Under his leadership the physical plant grew, with the addition of several new buildings, and the enrollment strengthened dramatically. In short, Ap Seaverns built a strong and powerful school and established a foundation for Suffield’s ongoing success.

    There have been a number of leaders—such as Headmasters Paul Sanderson Ken Lindfors, and David Holmes—who helped oversee events and moments that shaped today’s Suffield. For instance, in 1974, Suffield Academy returned to a co-educational community (it was characterized as a “Military School for Boys” in 1918, offering drill and riflery training). As the first alumnus to lead the school, Dr. David R. Holmes (1991-2003) helped position Suffield as a technologically innovative school with a distinctive program in a supportive environment. During his tenure, Suffield introduced the Laptop Initiative, the Leadership Program, and the outdoor leadership program.

    Suffield’s current leader, Charles Cahn III, was appointed as our twenty-fifth Headmaster in 2004. Charlie has held several positions at Suffield, learning about all of the school’s many facets. Under his leadership the school has reached an exceptionally strong position, with a gifted and talented student body and faculty, a meticulously maintained physical plant, and a strong and stable resource base. There is great clarity of purpose and a deep commitment to Suffield’s mission and core values. As we move forward, our unique and important mission will continue to drive what we do at Suffield. The school’s history will only become richer as we blend important school traditions with an open eye to appropriate evolution and change.
  • » Academics

    Our broad-based academic offerings derive from our faith in the liberal arts as a foundation for learning. The programming balances strong core curriculum with unique elective courses and a distinctive Leadership Program. From 16 AP prep courses, to our regional studies program, to our peer tutors and academic support—we have excellent offerings for everyone. The same is true in our extracurricular programs, where outstanding interscholastic athletic teams are complemented by robust arts and non-competitive options like SOLO.
  • » Facilities

    Over the past decade new facilities have been constructed for academics, athletics, the arts, college counseling, residential life, yoga and mindfulness, and a recently expanded dining room and student center.  We care about what it feels like to be at Suffield and want each student to be successful and inspired. The soul of our school is its tremendous clarity of purpose, with young women and men being guided by nurturing, deeply invested adults.  The success stories we see each year are remarkably uplifting—whether they be graduates enrolling at the most selective colleges and universities, students heading out to focus on areas they had never tried before arriving here, or most importantly, young women and men leaving with self-confidence and the knowledge that they have the skills to succeed. There is so much more going on at Suffield than what happens in the classroom, and this clarity about who we are gives Suffield an important position in the independent school world.
  • » Faculty

    At Suffield, faculty members serve as teachers, dorm parents, advisors, and coaches. The close-knit relationships between students and faculty are at the heart of what makes Suffield so special. Our community is large enough to allow for a richly diverse population, yet small enough to make every face on campus familiar. This is an environment that has a profound impact on people’s lives, where lifelong friendships are made, and where individuals can make a difference.
Suffield Academy is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and is a member of NAIS and TABS.
Suffield Academy   185 North Main Street   Suffield, Connecticut 06078   Phone 860.386.4400  |  Fax 860.386.4411