About Brooks

Established in 1926 in the town of North Andover, Brooks School provides an all gender, college preparatory program for 350 students on a 270-acre campus overlooking Lake Cochichewick.

  • Small classes allow students to work closely with teachers, fostering a relationship that is at the core of the warm, close-knit community.
  • With a challenging academic curriculum that includes 21 advanced placement courses, Brooks also offers opportunities to study abroad in Africa, Europe and South America.
  • The school’s exceptional athletic program has earned numerous league and New England championships.

The School's History

Brooks School was founded by the Rev. Endicott Peabody, headmaster of Groton School. Associated with him were Richard Russell, who gave the land and original buildings and who served for many years as secretary-treasurer of the board of trustees; the Reverend Sherrard Billings, senior master at Groton; James Jackson, a Groton graduate and trustee; Roger B. Merriman, also a Groton trustee and parent; and the Right Reverend Charles L. Slattery, a former Groton teacher and trustee.

Mr. Peabody believed that there was a need for another small boarding school built on the Groton model. The school was to be named after Phillips Brooks, the rector of Boston's Trinity Church, and the teaching was to be that of the Episcopal faith.

Frank D. Ashburn, a graduate of Groton and Yale, was appointed the school's first headmaster. Brooks School opened September 29, 1927, with 14 boys in the first and second forms and two masters, a headmaster and a headmistress.

Thereafter, one form was added each year until the school included all six forms. The first class graduated in 1932. 

After 46 years as headmaster, Frank D. Ashburn retired in 1973. H. Peter Aitken, who served as headmaster from 1973 to 1986, succeeded Mr. Ashburn.

In 1979, the school became all gender. (Female members of those first few coed classes shared their Brooks experiences in a retrospective published in The Bulletin).

Lawrence W. Becker was the school’s third headmaster from 1986 until his retirement in 2008. John R. Packard was appointed head of school in 2008, making him the fourth leader in the school’s history.

More Recent History

On October 30, 2018, Head of School John Packard welcomed the Brooks community into the school's just-built Center for the Arts. (Construction began in the spring of 2017, after Packard broke ground during Alumni Weekend).

The $28 million facility bonds together the visual, musical, and performing arts in the center of campus. Learn more about the impressive building and the ways that it elevates the arts in our curriculum on the Center for the Arts page

See photos of the transformation at brooksschoolphotos.com.

More Historical Information


Brooks School Archives

The Brooks School Archives, which serve as the repository for the official records of Brooks School, are housed in the lower level of the Henry Luce III Library. Archival materials are irreplaceable and are collected, preserved and organized so that they can be accessed and conserved for future generations. The Archives contain:

  • meeting minutes for the Brooks Trustees, faculty and student organizations
  • Correspondence from school administrators
  • financial records
  • personal diaries
  • Brooks publications including yearbooks, course offerings, admission brochures, alumni publications and student literary magazines
  • Scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper and magazine clippings about Brooks
  • Brooks memorabilia

Since archival materials have historical, legal, evidential and administrative value to the institution they may be used only under the supervision of the Archivist.