In the beginning, 24 students, Rev. Peabody, and two colleagues, Rev. Sherrard Billings and Amory Gardner, formed the entire school family. As Billings wrote years later, in 1930, the men shared “the conviction … that there could be a school where boys and men could live together, work together, and play together in friendly fashion with friction rare.”
Groton School was an immediate success and by 1920 had grown to about 180 students and 22 faculty members. Peabody, having found his calling, ran the school for 56 years. Rev. John Crocker, a Groton graduate from the Form of 1918, succeeded him.
Crocker led Groton School for 25 more years, from 1940-1965, adapting the school to changing times. Since the 1920s, the School had broadened its student base, attracting boys from beyond the eastern United States and boys of limited financial means. In 1952, the first African-American student was admitted. About 20 years later, the school was studying the prospect of coeducation, and in the fall of 1975 welcomed the first female students to campus. Today, the Groton family includes 370 students—about half of them girls—and 87 faculty members. Groton has deliberately remained relatively small, believing, as Rev. Peabody did, that a School embodying the best characteristics of a family creates the optimal environment for learning and living.
As the School diversified, it also broadened its religious offerings. While the School continues to emphasize the need for spiritual awareness, it meets the needs of a culturally varied family that practices a wide range of religions. Today, attendance at services is still required, but the services once purely Episcopalian are now offered in Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and other traditions.
After Rev. Crocker, Rev. Bertrand Honea, Jr. led the School from 1965 to 1969; Paul Wright from 1969 to 1974; Rev. Rowland Cox from 1974 to 1977; William Polk from 1978 to 2003; and Richard Commons from 2003 to 2013. Our current headmaster, Temba Maqubela, joined the Groton family in July 2013. More than a century after the School’s founding, Mr. Maqubela continues the ideals of Rev. Peabody—to lead a school that offers the highest quality academic education, instills good character, builds leaders, and inspires lives.