St. Johnsbury Academy was founded in 1842 by Erastus, Thaddeus, and Joseph Fairbanks to provide “intellectual, moral, and religious training for their own children and the children of the community.“ Unlike most New England boarding schools, St. Johnsbury Academy has educated both boys and girls since its founding.


The school was reincorporated in 1873 in order to accomplish the founders’ goal of providing exemplary educational opportunities to a wider range of students, not just those destined for liberal arts colleges and universities. The result of this reincorporation was a comprehensive school, offering technical training as well as college preparatory studies. With this change, the founders created a school that was unique among New England academies, greatly changing the character of the school, and enabling it to serve the educational needs of St. Johnsbury and the surrounding communities.


A long-standing voucher system providing area students with educational choice continues to allow the Academy to enroll the majority of students from the St. Johnsbury area while maintaining its own independence. For more than a century and a half, this commitment has remained at the very heart of St. Johnsbury Academy’s educational philosophy. Employing authentic and traditional methodologies, the school remains committed to personally relevant instruction and the education of all students.

Thaddeus Fairbanks,
founder of the Academy

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