Thomas Jefferson School

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Thomas Jefferson School is a small coeducational boarding and day school located in Sunset Hills, near St. Louis, and consistently rated among the United States' top boarding schools for academic standards and college matriculation.

School History

Thomas Jefferson School, or TJ as it is known to students and faculty, was founded in 1946 by Robin McCoy, Charles E. Merrill Jr., and Graham Spring. They planned to establish, in the Midwest, a boarding school with academic standards equal to those of its more famous New England peers. They also tried to create a school whose governance rested with the faculty, patterned after the colleges that comprise Oxford and Cambridge Universities, which are faculty-governed institutions. Teachers who remain at the school for a relatively long period of time automatically become board members.

For its first twenty-five years, TJ remained a boarding and day school for boys in grades 9-12, with a demanding curriculum and success in sending students to top colleges. For a time, due to its founders' status and connections (Charles Merrill, for instance, is the son of a founder of Merrill Lynch), it was a feeder for Harvard. The school became coed in 1971. During the 1970's, the school also began admitting students as five-day boarders, an option for families who live in the "middle distance" and for some others who live closer to the school. The school added an eighth grade in 1976 and a seventh grade in 1981.

Robin McCoy remained Headmaster for 34 years, and Lawrence Morgan (TJ '53) succeeded him in the summer of 1980. William C. Rowe (TJ '63) succeeded Mr. Morgan as Head of School in July, 2000.


The school is located on twenty acres in the middle of St. Louis's South County suburbs. It is somewhat unique in that it is extremely small for a school of its kind, with only 82 students from grades 7 through 12, a large share of whom are international students.

TJ is focused on the classics, and the ideal of a classical education in general, though some students may find that this detracts focus from the math and science programs. The Greek program, in particular, is among the best in the nation. Classes are extremely discussion-oriented and only take up two or three hours a day. Students spend the remainder of the day studying independently, engaged in athletics and other extracurriculars, or consulting privately with the twelve faculty members, many of whom live on campus.

As ranked by the Boarding School Review, the median SAT score of seniors is the highest in the nation among boarding schools: 710 verbal, 710 math. The school also has a good deal of success in sending its students to top colleges and universities, with a large share of its alumni going on to attend liberal arts colleges.

The school has long held membership in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), and Midwest Boarding Schools (MWBS), and in 1997 TJ gained full accreditation by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS).

Contact Information

4100 South Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, Missouri 63127
Phone: (314) 843-4151

External Links