History of Greens Farms Academy
Greens Farms Academy currently educates over 700 students each year in an expansive facility over 44-acres at 35 Beachside Avenue. As the school nears its centennial in 2025, we consider the rich history of The Bolton School, the Kathleen Laycock Country Day School, and Greens Farms Academy. This chronicling is the work of many devoted people who have served as archivists – compiling the people, places, and advancements that made GFA what it is today.
Mary Bolton: 1925-1960
Kathleen Laycock: 1926-1963
Wiliam Posey: 1963-1964
Nancy Lauber: 1964-1972
Jim Coyle: 1972-1998
Peter Esty: 1998-2003
Janet Hartwell: 2003-2018
Bob Whelan: 2018-present
1925: Mary Bolton leased a room for her School on Church Lane in Westport. Mrs. Bolton’s School for Girls opened in October 1925 with four students, including two of Mary Bolton's daughters. Her sister, Kathleen Laycock arrived in Westport in the spring of 1926.
1926: Mrs. Bolton’s School for Girls moved to East State Street in Westport. Enrollment continued to grow though no children were admitted who were older than Mary Bolton’s daughter, Betty.
1929: The school moved again to King’s Highway and Wilton Road.
1936: The first class of seniors graduated, including Mrs. Bolton’s daughter, Betty. The school now spanned Pre-K through 12th grade.
1957: Parents Lucie Bedford Cunningham, John D. Upton, and William Reeves suggested the school become a not-for-profit institution so they could raise funds for a new facility. Mrs. Bolton declined and retained ownership of the Nursery School and Lower School, while Kathleen Laycock agreed. The school became known as the Kathleen Laycock Country Day School serving students 6th through 12th grades and the Vanderbilt property on Beachside Avenue, where the school stands today, was purchased.
1959: In November 1959 nine faculty members and 71 students, grades 6th through 12th moved into the renovated Vanderbilt mansion. Mrs. Bolton’s Lower School followed in the spring.
1963: Ms. Laycock retired and William M. Posey became Headmaster for the next year.
1964: Nancy Lauber, Bolton Class of 1951, became Headmistress. Enrollment was around 250 students with 30 faculty members.
1970: The Board of Trustees decided to admit young men. Recognizing admissions would be a challenge under its current name, the Kathleen Laycock Country Day School became Greens Farms Academy and 23 young men joined the roughly 300 female students.
1972: James M. Coyle became Headmaster. The school grew exponentially adding academic wings, a library, language labs, computer rooms, and a large gymnasium.
1998: James Coyle retired after 26 years at the helm and Peter Esty became the sixth Head of School at GFA.
2000/2001: GFA celebrated its 75th Anniversary.
2003: Janet Hartwell became the seventh Head of School.
2018: Bob Whelan was appointed the eighth Head of School.