close icon

History of NYSAIS

NYSAIS Early Years and Incorporation

On April 17, 1947, Paul D. Shafer, President of the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, sent out a letter to ten of his colleagues at other New York independent schools to discuss the founding of an association for New York independent schools. Those who received the letter from Paul D. Shafer included Mrs. Harold S. Osborne (The Spence School in NYC), Miss Anne Wellington (Emma Willard School in Troy), Mr. Philip M. B. Boocock (The Nichols School in Buffalo), Mr. Charles W. Bradlee (Pebble Hill School in DeWitt), Dr. Howard I. Dillingham (Manlius School in Manlius), Mr. Morton Snyder (Rye Country Day School in Rye), Dr. Frank Hackett (Riverdale Country School in Riverdale-on-Hudson), Mr. Wilson Parkhill (Collegiate School in NYC), Mr. Harold C. Amos (Adelphi Academy in Brooklyn), and Dr. Joseph Allen (Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn). The New York State Association of Independent Schools held its first official meeting on October 8, 1947, at the Albany Academies. At the meeting on October 8, 1947, it was moved by Mr. Bradlee and seconded by Mr. Amos that they “set up the nucleus of a State organization (and) that the name be the New York State Association of Independent Schools (whose) membership…shall be limited to those elementary and secondary schools organized under a State charter as non-profit institutions.” (Peters, 2014, pgs. 18-20)

According to the book, Independent by Design (Peters, 2014), the first Annual Meeting of NYSAIS was held on January 18, 1949, at the Emma Willard School in Troy. The first officers were Paul Shafer (President), Anne Wellington (Vice-President), and Harry E. P. Meislahn (Secretary-Treasurer). The first guest at a NYSAIS meeting was Dr. Henry V. Gilson, New York’s Associate Commissioner of Education. (Peters, 2014, pg. 23)

On October 25, 1968, NYSAIS was incorporated under a Provisional Charter granted by the New York State Board of Regents. The Provisional Charter required that NYSAIS draft a constitution and that a Board of Trustees be established. This was accomplished at the 20th Annual Meeting held on November 12, 1968, at Schrafft’s Motor Inn in Albany. At this meeting, President Walter Clark announced the appointment of the first Executive Director, Appleton A. Mason, Jr., who had previously served as the Head of School at The Harley School in Rochester, New York, and Headmaster at the Lake Forest Country Day School in Lake Forest, Illinois. The first official office for NYSAIS was at Appleton Mason’s home in Canandaigua, New York. (Peters, 2014, pg. 60)