The Shipley Magazine

125 Years of Leadership

Hannah, Katharine, & Elizabeth Shipley
1894-1916
Pioneers in education for women at a time when it was controversial, the Shipley sisters founded The Misses Shipley’s School for Girls Preparatory to Bryn Mawr College. Their fundamental philosophy embodied the whole student: academics, spirit, character, and health, including sports. The sisters’ focus on academic excellence, intellectual integrity, and character continue today.

Alice Howland & Eleanor Brownell
1916–1941
“The Hownells,” as they were known, guided Shipley through wars, epidemics, and economic depression, building a national reputation for the School. They hired strong and highly regarded teachers, a large number of whom stayed for many years. In 1932, they oversaw Shipley’s incorporation as a non-profit with a Board of Directors.

Russell & Mildred Akin ’28 Lynes
1937–1944
Hired in 1937 as Assistant Heads in anticipation of the Hownells’ retirement, the Lynes became principals in 1941. They guided students in a necessary transition from pre-war gentility to preparedness for the modern world, and were quite a contrast to the “austere” Hownells.

Margaret Bailey Speer
1944-1965
Overseeing significant campus growth, Miss Speer maintained high academic standards while emphasizing compassion, community, and civic responsibility. She encouraged the Board to accept Shipley’s first African-American students.

Isota Tucker Epes ’36
1965-1972
Gave firm guidance in a period of social turmoil with a sympathetic ear to the conflicting views of parents and children. In 1967, she established the endowment fund. She initiated the Episcopal Exchange in 1971–72 which led to coeducation.

Nancy Lauber
1972-1979
Managed Shipley’s transition to coeducation. Miss Lauber encouraged the broadening of Shipley’s curriculum and stressed the importance of relationships between students and teachers. She advocated for the addition of a health curriculum.

Frederic L. Chase III
1979-1985
Broke a longstanding Shipley tradition as the School’s first male head. Oversaw significant modernization of the curriculum, with the addition of computer courses and a Russian Studies program, as well as the end of the boarding department at Shipley.

Gary R. Gruber
1985-1992
Shipley’s mission is updated during Gruber’s tenure. Focused on integrating “goodness” with high academic standards, he also addressed the changing needs of the American family and the shifting role of independent schools, which was becoming increasingly complex.

Steve Piltch
1992-2019
Over the course of his 27-year tenure, Piltch has overseen significant growth in enrollment, the transformation of the campus, and the launch of Positive Education and other 21st century education initiatives, while ensuring financial stability at Shipley. Read more about him in this profile from the Spring 2019 issue of the Shipley Magazine.
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The Shipley Magazine - Spring 2021

The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.