A Brief History
ASP is proud to have provided a top level international education for more than 60 years. Today's 4-hectare campus and its 800 students is a far cry from the converted social rooms of the the American Church where the story started... But our spirit and values remain every bit the same.
June 1945: Americans in post-war Paris ask Ms. Edward Bell, whose husband was a Director of Missions for the Northern Baptist Conference, to come to France and open an American school in the American Church on the Quai d’Orsay. Founders include the American Embassy, Guaranty Trust, the Morgan Bank and the American Express Company.
Spring 1946: The American Community School is established through efforts of the American Embassy and the American Express Company. Paul G. de Rosay, who had directed American schools in Paris in the 1920’s and 30’s, is named as Headmaster. The school uses the premises of the American Church and the American Students and Artists Center on the Boulevard Raspail.
September 1949: Older students in the American Student’s Center move to 45 Boulevard d'Auteuil in Boulogne-sur-Seine.
Early 1952: Younger students move from the American Church to 12, rue de Sèvres in Boulogne.
Autumn 1956: Ernest A. Wedge becomes Headmaster. The American Community School is the first overseas school to be accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the first to join the prestigious Cum Laude Society.
1960: The American Community School becomes the American School of Paris. Grades 10-12 move to new premises in the Pavillon Dubarry in Louveciennes.
1961: Grades 6-9 move from Boulogne to premises adjoining the Pavillon Dubarry in Louveciennes, with the elementary school regrouped on the Boulevard d’Auteuil in Boulogne.
June 1962: John B. Chapman becomes Headmaster.
September 1964: All ASP grades united in Louveciennes. November, 1964:Headmaster John Chapman killed in Rome airplane crash. Long-time ASP English instructor Doug McKee is named Acting Headmaster.
1965: Paul Coste becomes Headmaster.
1966-67: France drops out of NATO. Through the good offices of American Ambassador Charles Bohlen, a lease is acquired for part of the property on what had been the American military school in Saint Cloud – our present site.
August 1967: The American School of Paris moves from Louveciennes to Saint Cloud. ASP enrollment reaches 800. ASP has on-campus sports fields for the first time.
“A few minutes ago, an American flag and French flag went together up those high poles. This may have seemed to you a rather unimportant fact, not much more than a pretty sight. Yet I would like you to remember these few seconds all your life. Those two flags side by side are a symbol of the longest and finest friendship that ever was between two nations.
In the course of time you may hear people who don’t think so. Sometimes people in very high positions are misled by prejudice or short-sighted interests. But, please, whether these people live on one side of the Atlantic or the other don’t ever believe them. Remember these two flags. They will last longer than any individual.” Mayor Chaveton, Saint-Cloud, December 1967
June 1970: Burton MacLean, who had headed the Iolani School in Honolulu, becomes Headmaster.
September 1974: With a large influx of IBM and Raytheon families, ASP enrollment reaches its highest total: 1150 students. Following the American model, an autonomous Middle School is established.
July 1976: Jean Hague, ASP teacher and administrator, is named Acting Headmaster.
January 1977: Dr. Philip Eby McPherson becomes Headmaster, after a long educational career in Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington, and Princeton.
Summer 1977: ASP’s first Alumni Office is established, with Doug McKee in charge.
July 1978: 140 alumni and teachers attend ASP’s first alumni reunion in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Class of ’53.
1982: Completion of the Multipurpose Building at the west end of campus, incorporating a gymnasium, stage area and cafeteria.
Summer 1982: ASP veteran math teacher and administrator Neale Austin, an alumus of the school, is named Acting Headmaster, and is confirmed in the position of Headmaster the following year.
Summer 1983: George Cohan , Upper School Director, is named Headmaster.
1983: A weekend fire in a classroom building on the eastern end of campus causes damage to the ground floor of the building.
Summer 1987: James Moriarty, previously Middle School Director, is named Acting Headmaster and is confirmed as Headmaster the next year.
1990: Construction is completed of ASP’s new, purpose-built Upper School building and renovation transforms a small gymnasium into ASP’s state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center. Improvements also include a new entrance, soccer field and softball diamond.
September 1993: Due to a serious illness, Jim Moriarty steps down as Headmaster and Upper School Director Dr. John Guse is named Acting Headmaster.
August 1994: Dr. Donald Billingsley arrives from Friends Select in Philadelphia to become Headmaster.
July 2000: Pilar Cabeza de Vaca, formerly Head of the American School of Quito, becomes Head of School.
2003: ASP is awarded dual accreditation with both the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the European Council of International Schools.
January 2004: “Building for the Future” is launched, a complete campus renovation project to be completed in six phases, and the school undertakes an ambitious new Strategic Plan.
Sepember 2005: ASP’s spacious new cafeterias open along with completely renovated gymnasium and changing rooms as well as a new Physical Training Center.
Spring 2006: The new entrance and administrative offices open at the western end of campus, completing the first “Building for the Future” phase.
April 2006: A flash flood devastates the school causing 3M€ of damage with the Lower School classrooms, library and the Performing Arts Center the worst damaged. A new capital campaign is launched to not just repair, but to totally upgrade the facilities.
June 2006: ASP celebrates 60 Years “At the Forefront of International Education”. More than 300 alumni, past faculty and staff from around the world converged on Paris to join the ASP community for a weekend of celebrations.
August 2006: School opens with an entirely transformed Lower School with new classrooms and play areas.
August 2007: School opens with the opening of the totally refurbished, state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center.
June 2008: ASP says farewell to Head of School Pilar Cabeza de Vaca who had served ASP for 8 years.
July 2010: After two years with interim heads, ASP welcomes the new permanent Head of School, Mark E. Ulfers, who moves to Paris from Frankfurt International School. From the Head's Desk