Falmouth Academy opened in the basement of a retirement home in 1977 with 43 students in grades 7-11, and 16 teachers. Those founding teachers harbored a vision for a small school where the ideal of close teacher-student relationships would be fully realized and at the center of learning. The educational objective was to develop a shared foundation of knowledge across all subject areas, through which students’ abilities to engage in deep and dynamic conversation, with teachers and with each other, would be greatly enhanced. Along with the acquisition of traditional academic skills, such an ongoing dialog would support each student’s search for meaning—the ultimate goal of a liberal arts education.
In 1979 the school moved to another rental property, this time on the Massachusetts Military Reservation in Bourne. In 1982 the trustees appointed Bruce E. Buxton, the school’s longest serving headmaster to date. The fledgling school established its permanent campus in 1985 when Josiah K. Lilly III donated a generous parcel of 34 acres close to town, next to prime conservation land, and between Falmouth centers for medicine and the arts. With the help of families, faculty, trustees, students and friends, the school moved into a new 16-classroom building in time for the opening of the 1989-1990 school year. Under Mr. Buxton’s leadership the school also launched three successful capital campaigns, built enrollment and became a national model for a small American high school.
Falmouth Academy has since undergone two significant renovations. The first, in 1997, added a gymnasium to accommodate our inclusive and competitive sports teams. The second was a three-story, 15,000-square-foot addition completed in 2006 that created more space for our students’ and teachers’ imaginations: state-of-the-art science labs, two art rooms, a computer lab, and the Bruce and Patrice Buxton Library, named in their honor upon their retirement.
David C. Faus was appointed FA’s sixth headmaster in 2005. During his eight year tenure, he oversaw the completion of the new wing, the expansion of the school’s summer programs, the installations of a 333 panel solar array on two of the school’s south facing roofs and the first wind turbine in Falmouth.
Upon completing a national search in 2013, the trustees appointed Stephen A. Duffy as seventh Head of School in 2014. During his first year he oversaw the construction of Morse Hall, a meeting space at the heart of the school. Completed in January 2015 and named in honor of longtime friend and trustee, Susan Morse, Morse Hall is the setting for daily All-School Meeting as well as many school and community events.
Since its founding in 1977, the school has become one of the Cape’s largest and greenest employers and a leader in town recycling efforts, earning regional and state awards. In addition to building the first wind turbine in Falmouth, the school annually recycles almost 70 percent of its waste paper, cardboard, metals, Styrofoam and other packing and food and beverage container materials, and collects more than 2,000 pounds of vegetable matter for compost, which is used on campus gardens and fields.
Falmouth Academy is an important and respected community center for meetings, music, art and environmental activism. The school has hosted the Cape Cod Theater Project, the Simon Sinfonietta, the Woods Hole Film Festival, Falmouth Chorale and the Cape Symphony’s Nth Degree Chamber Series, to name but a few. Its Community Series lectures bring experts from all fields to campus to deliver talks several times a year.
As Falmouth Academy looks ahead to the 40th anniversary of its founding, the school has established itself as a leading educational institution in southeast New England, with an impressive reputation for scholarship and community.