School History

All stories have a beginning.

Our story begins with Dr. Edwin Cole, a neurologist from Mass General whose specialty was children with learning challenges. He heard the best work was being done in New York City. Cole packed up and headed to Manhattan where he worked with Dr. Sam Orton and psychologist and teacher, Anna Gillingham.

Orton and Gillingham’s techniques working with children struggling to read were cutting edge and showing results. Impressed with Orton and Gillingham’s proven methods, Cole headed back to Boston and opened a clinic and private practice. Over the years, he helped families to encourage schools to offer academic supports to the students he worked with.

There was never a “best” solution until…1966.

When Dr. Cole met F. Gorham Brigham. Brigham was helping two longtime friends, Vernon Alden and Samuel "Junie" Lowe, to find appropriate school placements for their dyslexic sons. Brigham heard the Miss Carroll School was closing its doors in Newton and he invited Cole to take a look. In an instant, Cole realized the solution - a school designed for children with dyslexia.

The Carroll School was born.

Once the building was acquired and the new school formed, they hired Dean Roberts, who had previously led Browne & Nichols' lower school as its first Head of School. Thanks to the dedication of the three founders—Cole, Brigham and Lowe—and Orton and Gillingham’s groundbreaking work, the school began to take shape. Dr. Cole credited new trustee Noah Herndon for his optimism and energy for getting things done with his banking and business background. He and fellow trustee Vernon Alden both had children with dyslexia and were dedicated parents. The Herndons would host trustee meetings in their Weston home. With their commitment and generosity as trustees as well as being parents who were desperate to find a school where their children could thrive, the new Carroll School opened with 7 students in the fall of 1967.

50 years later, a lot has happened.

The school has expanded its capacity and footprint with three campuses and 419 students. The Carroll today aims to give each child what he or she most needs. By working in tandem with researchers, doctors, and scientists, faculty are able to infuse the data to re-shape the curriculum, in real time, emphasizing what kids are good at.

The Carroll School of today will not be the Carroll School of tomorrow.

We look forward to shaping the Carroll of the future.

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Carroll School History


1967: Carroll School opens its doors with 7 students and 3 faculty.
1971: Carroll School moves to the Storrow Estate in Lincoln.
1971: Bounders program starts under the leadership of Michael “Strats” Stratton.
1974: Lincoln gymnasium is constructed.
1975: Alice Garside is appointed Director of Carroll’s Teacher Training Program.
1975: Carroll’s drama program launches with You Are a Good Man Charlie Brown.

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Steve Wilkins - Head of Carroll School

1975: Art and Woodworking Studios opens.
1977: Larry Brown joins Carroll School as the gym teacher.
1977: Steve Wilkins joins Carroll as a volunteer teacher.
1978: Gerry Wile joins Carroll as the woodworking teacher.
1979: Carroll High School opens with 13 students and 4 teachers.
1979: Carroll holds its first Fall Festival.

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Carroll School Bounders Program


1981: Bounders is featured on Evening Magazine, a WBZ-TV show.
1982: Students participate in Carroll’s first Egg Drop Challenge.
1982: Carroll’s High School celebrates its first year of graduating seniors.
1984: Mary Coombs becomes Science Department Head, a position she’ll hold until 2017.

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Michael Stratton of Carroll School Bounders

1984: Michael “Strats” Stratton is selected by Esquire Magazine as a person who is changing America.
1985: Mike Kmetz joins Carroll School as the high school gym teacher.
1987: A Bounders ‘Ropes Course’ is built in Lincoln.
1987: Carroll starts a Math Teacher Training Institute.
1987: Carroll celebrates its 20th Anniversary.
1989: Thomas Needham starts a weekly all-school assembly.

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Breaking Through Carroll School Play about Dyslexia


1991: Carroll raises $1 million in its largest endowment campaign to date.
1992: Carroll hosts its first Special Visitors Day.
1992: Carroll celebrates 25 years of educating children with dyslexia.
1993: Students perform Breaking Through, a play about dyslexia, written by Carroll teachers.
1995: The Lower School holds its first Step Up Night for 5th graders.

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Michael Stratton of Carroll School Bounders

1996: Carroll opens new building, later dedicated as the Copacino Building.
1996: The new Spaulding Performing Arts Center opens.
1997: Carroll hosts its first Homecoming event.
1999: Hillcrest School grants Carroll $298,000 for its Center for Teaching and Learning.
1999: Carroll School celebrates Alice Garside’s 90th birthday.

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Angie Wilkins Graduate School of Education


2000: Carroll students talk about dyslexia for a segment on the cartoon, Arthur.
2000: Lincoln’s Needham Station is dedicated to former Head, Thomas Needham.
2001: Carroll receives its first $1 million gift from a Carroll family.
2001: Carroll hosts its first Parents’ Visiting Day.
2001: Students honor firefighters from Brooklyn Battalion 57 who lost their lives on September 11.
2002: Carroll launches the graduate program, now known as the Angela Wilkins Program of Graduate Studies in Education.

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Gatehouse Birdhouse Company at Carroll School

2005: Steve Wilkins is appointed Head of School.
2005: Carroll adds the Beginning Readers program.
2005: The Gatehouse Birdhouse Company project starts in the 5th grade program.
2006: Everyone@One launches to provide ongoing professional development.
2007: Cognitive program begins in the lower grades based on the work of Dr. Jean Piaget.
2009: Carroll purchases the former Bartlett School in Waltham.

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Carroll School Opens Lower School Campus in Waltham


2010: The Lower School moves to its new Waltham campus, under the leadership of Sue Kingman.
2012: Carroll Nine program launches, helmed by Kurt Moellering.
2012: Carroll School students participate in Dyslexia Leadership Summit.
2013: Targeted Cognitive Intervention program starts for students in grades 6-8.
2013: Carroll begins 5-year plan to exit the MA Chapter 766 program.

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Carroll School Opens Upper School Campus in Wayland

2015: Carroll rolls out new class schedule to better meet the academic & social needs of each student.
2015: Carroll celebrates the 100th birthday of co-founder, F. Gorham Brigham, Jr.
2016: Carroll develops and launches the Targeted Cognitive Intervention platform.
2017: Carroll purchases property in Wayland, creating space for the Upper School campus and new athletic fields.

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50th Birthday Celebration - Students Singing


2017: Carroll celebrates 50 years of educating remarkable students.
2017: Osa Osagie is hired as Carroll's Director of Equity and Inclusion.
2018: "Carroll Courses" launches to train teachers in Carroll's five core teaching strategies.
2018: Diversity Professional Learning Communities start to provide a space for faculty and staff to have brave conversations about race and social justice.

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2020: Carroll successfully raises $32.7 million in its first ever capital campaign, If Not for Carroll.
2020: Carroll reinvents its programs for remote learning to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2021: Steve Wilkins retires as Head of School after 16 years of extraordinary leadership.
2021: Dr. Renée Greenfield returns to Carroll as Head of School.