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.