About Us
Since 1839: A Brief History of EHS
Heads of School

1839-44: William Nelson Pendleton

"Having in large measure that enthusiasm for imparting knowledge which is the most essential attribute for a successful teacher, his first effort was to gain the attention of and excite the subject before him." - Susan Pendleton
In 1839, Episcopal High School opened its gates with 35 students and William Nelson Pendleton as its Principal. Mr. Pendleton’s task as the School’s leader was complicated by the financial challenges of managing a new school, but by the following year, three new teachers joined the faculty and enrollment soared to 101. Despite the strain of leading the fledgling School, Mr. Pendleton led with spirited fun, gentleness, and most importantly, a sense of humor. For instance, the consequence of an unauthorized fishing expedition was a long day of boys casting lines from an upper floor window.

Mr. Pendleton described the mission of the School as “[providing] for boys during the critical period of middle youth and incipient manhood the safest and best superintendence, the soundest and most healthful moral influences and the most faithful Christian guidance, associated with the most useful and extensive course of learning practicable.”

Mr. Pendleton left Episcopal in 1844, having set the School on a firm academic foundation with a rigorous curriculum, including mental and moral philosophy, Latin, Greek, physics, geometry, algebra, arithmetic, engineering, and geography.