Days of Glory, for 215 Years

Our Head of School

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Margarita O’Byrne Curtis was appointed Deerfield’s 55th Head of School in July of 2006. Dr. Curtis graduated from Tulane University and earned her doctorate in Romance Languages and Literature from Harvard University. Before becoming a faculty member at Phillips Academy Andover, she taught at Harvard and won, for four consecutive years, the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.

Dr. Curtis believes that Deerfield, because of its traditions, close-knit community, and dedicated faculty, is uniquely positioned to provide a superior education, building character, along with a commitment to educational excellence. She engages the skills and talents of devoted and caring faculty and staff as she collaboratively develops a bold vision that will carry Deerfield into its third century.

The Early Years

On March 1, 1797, Governor Samuel Adams signed a bill granting a charter for the founding of an academy in Deerfield. The school’s trustees pledged the Academy to “the instruction of youth, and the promotion of piety, religion, and morality.”

The arrival of Frank L. Boyden in 1902 marked the beginning of the second significant phase of the Academy’s history. Thousands of Deerfield graduates fondly remember Mr. Boyden not only as the driving force of the Academy, but also as the major figure of their developmental years.

“The test of worth of any school… is the record of service of her alumni.”
— Frank L. Boyden

In 1968, after 66 years of leadership, Mr. Boyden retired as headmaster. He was succeeded by David M. Pynchon. Mr. Pynchon greatly expanded and strengthened the curriculum and faculty. He continued his predecessor’s efforts to solidify the Academy’s economic support.

Following the Boyden Legacy

Mr. Pynchon left Deerfield in May 1980, and Robert E. Kaufmann was appointed headmaster. Mr. Kaufmann, who had taught under Mr. Boyden in the 1960s, oversaw Deerfield’s transition from an all-boys school to a coeducational institution, and he also completed a major building and renovation program. Mr. Kaufmann retired as headmaster in 1994.

Eric Widmer, a graduate of Deerfield’s Class of 1957, was appointed headmaster in July of 1994. During his 12 years of leadership, Mr. Widmer strengthened the Academy’s commitment to financial aid, initiated exciting international learning opportunities, and enhanced the physical environment for both living and learning by introducing state-of-the-art technology throughout the campus. Mr. Widmer retired in June of 2006 to serve as the founding Headmaster of King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan.