Our History

The story of PBDA is as unique as the history of our town of Palm Beach. Our school has maintained academic excellence for generations, cultivating deep traditions that alumni value so much that they enroll their own children to carry them on. Our school continues to change as it always has to meet the challenges of changing trends in education, society, and technology, but we remain what we have always been — a family.

For a more in-depth look at the past, present, and future of our “school by the water,” please visit:

Click each photo below to view captions and to see additional timeline photos.

Field Day is Founded

The annual Field Day event was established in 1931 with Pelican Captains Alice Wyeth and Wiley R. Reynolds, Jr., while Flamingo Captains were Marie Bassett and Frank Quigley.

Expansion of Palm Beach Private School

In 1959, the Matthews Auditorium was built with support from Mrs. Jean Flagler Matthews in honor of her three sons: George, Robert and William Matthews.

Palm Beach Day School is Established

In 1965, Palm Beach Private School became Palm Beach Day School and Walter H. Butler Jr. began his 23-year tenure as Headmaster of Palm Beach Day School.

The Wean Library

The school broke ground on the construction of the Wean Library in 1970 with support of the Raymond J. Wean Foundation.

Children's House of the Palm Beaches is Founded

The school for young children was established in 1981 under the direction of Barbara Durrer. Founding Directors were Mr. & Mrs. H. Loy Anderson, Mr. & Mrs. Murray Goodman, Mr. & Mrs. A. Faxon Henderson, and Mr. & Mrs. John F. Koons.

The Children's House becomes the Academy of the Palm Beaches

In 1995, the school became the Academy of the Palm Beaches.

The Halmos Gymnasium

Seaview Avenue's Halmos Gymnasium is built with support from Vicki and Peter Halmos.

The Lower Campus

The Lower Campus Academic Building with the Library and Media Lab is built. The Library & Media Center were constructed with support from William I. Koch. The classroom portion was later named by the Lloyd-Roman Family.

The youngest Bulldogs get their own space

The Lower Campus Primary Building, now called the Pitt Building, is purchased and renovated with support from the William H. Pitt Foundation.

Palm Beach Day Academy is born

Palm Beach Day School and The Academy of the Palm Beaches join forces to become Palm Beach Day Academy.

The Matthews Center for the Performing Arts

The official dedication and opening of the Matthews Center for the Performing Arts and Tracey & Matt Smith Family Theater on Seaview Avenue.

The Hatching of Hatching

The very first Pelican and Flamingo Hatching Ceremony is held.

The Mandel-Palagye Education Center

The Mandel-Palagye Education Center on the Lower Campus is built with support from the Barbara and Morton Mandel and Stacy and Keith Palagye. The dedication was held on the morning of September 18, 2018.

PBDA Turns 100

On February 18, 2021, Palm Beach Day Academy celebrated the 100th day of our 100th year.