Our British Legacy

Woven into Dwight’s rich history are several proud Anglo traditions, deep and abiding connections to Britain, and seven decades of Anglo-American leadership. With the founding of Dwight School London in 1972, Dwight became the first independent school in the U.S. to establish a campus abroad and the decision to do so in England was a natural choice.

Long-standing Anglo-American Partnership

Chancellor Stephen Spahn was first inspired to forge an Anglo-American partnership while a graduate student at Wadham College, Oxford University, by mentors Sir Maurice Bowra, Warden of Wadham College; and Alec Peterson OBE, Oxford’s Head of Education and the Founder of the International Baccalaureate.

After the IB was launched in 1968, Dwight School London was among the earliest to adopt the curriculum, along with the Franklin School in New York. The headmaster of Franklin, which was closely allied with Dwight, was Chancellor Spahn’s father, Dr. M.C. Spahn, whose Principal for 20 years was the Eton- and Cambridge-educated diplomat, Dr. Arthur Neale. 

When Dr. Spahn retired in 1975, he passed the baton to Oxford-educated Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill MBE, who established the first cricket team in the U.S. and brought the ideals of the IB to the forefront. Under his leadership, Franklin adopted the IB in 1980 and changed its name to the Anglo-American International School. In 1993, Dwight and Anglo-American joined forces and Dwight relocated to its home base on West 89th Street. The Anglo-American school was a Cambridge Examination Center and offered "O" and "A" level options.  

Dr. Beresford-Hill, Ambassador to the United Nations, as Permanent Observer of the Sovereign Order of Malta, created the annual National Shakespeare Competition. He did so in 1983 when he was Headmaster of the Anglo-American School, which joined forces with Dwight in 1993. The competition grew under his leadership and has since engaged more than 300,000 high school students across the country. Today, Dwight students proudly participate in this program and, most recently, Dwight graduate Abigail Arader ’18 won third place in the Manhattan finals. 

Dr. Beresford-Hill also serves as Chairman of the English Speaking Union of the United States and Director General of the Mountbatten Institute, a business school specializing in international training. He received an appointment from Queen Elizabeth as honorary Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his contribution to international education and British American cultural relations.   

For years, Dwight graduates have been accepted by prestigious British independent schools, colleges, and universities in London and throughout Great Britain, extending the Anglo-American connections forged at Dwight.