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Mission, Vision & History


Tilton School challenges students to embrace and navigate a world marked by diversity and change. Through the quality of human relationships, Tilton School’s community cultivates in its students the curiosity, the skills, the knowledge and the understanding, the character and the integrity requisite for the passionate pursuit of lifelong personal success and service.


Tilton School was founded in 1845 as a secondary school for boys and girls. Both dormitory students and day students were accepted. About 76 boys and girls formed the first student body. Two buildings, a boarding house and a classroom building were built for the School in Northfield, N.H., which is just across the Winnipesaukee River from the present campus. In the 1860s, a fire burned part of the school and forced relocation across the river, to the present campus. Several brick buildings were erected, to be replaced in the 1880s by Knowles Hall.

Over the years, Tilton School has served many purposes, which were always related to the needs of the times. It has been a coeducational boarding school, a boys' boarding school, a public school, a female college, a junior college, and a secondary school with both college and general courses. In 1939, Tilton ceased serving as the local high school and became strictly an independent boarding and day school for boys. In 1958, the "general diploma" was dropped and only college preparatory courses were offered. In 1970, Tilton once again became co-educational.


The Vision: Tilton School will be a recognized leader of independent schools, known for creating an environment where its graduates reach their potential in ways that are real and lasting and live fulfilling lives with personal success and active citizenship in the world.

As a result, the most qualified students and families will seek us out, enabling us to reach a student population of 275 and a male/female ratio of 50:50; our graduates will be sought by well-regarded colleges and universities and will be leaders in their communities; our faculty and staff will be inspired and engaged; and our alumni, parents, and friends will provide unprecedented support to our future.

How We Will Do It:
Tilton School will evaluate and enhance five key areas of impact through its Strategic Vision. The five areas are Student Experience, Educational Program, Faculty, Campus, and Financial Sustainability.

Key Areas of the Strategic Vision

List of 5 items.

  • Student Experience

    We believe in the intrinsic value of a community enriched by a range of students - each contributing his or her knowledge, talents and passions. This belief reflects our responsibility and promise to propel each student to his or her greatest potential in the passionate pursuit of lifelong personal success and service.  To fulfill our promise, we will undertake a thorough examination of the Student Experience and re-envision a distinctive program informed by best practices in secondary education program design, measurement/assessment tools, teen behavior and community engagement.
  • Educational Program

    With targeted enhancements to our educational program, we will graduate students who possess:

    • Exceptional skills, curiosity, knowledge and understanding organized around critical thinking, communication, creativity, community and character.
    • Personalized plans for college and life beyond Tilton based on their specific academic abilities, personal passions, skills and aptitudes.
    • Abilities to collaborate, problem-solve and express their beliefs thoughtfully and effectively.
    • Practical life and leadership skills attained through the many experiences they had as students in our program and our community.
    • Empathy for others and an appreciation for and responsibility to the world beyond themselves.

    Specifically, we will:

    • Refine academic offerings and initiate programs in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), business, entrepreneurship and sustainability.
    • Provide guidance and coaching for students in their academic, life and leadership skills to best prepare them for college and life. 
    • Enhance our evaluation system by measuring both academic and effort-based achievement through constant review.
    • Offer college credit for upper-level courses. 
    • Consider the role of the “Off Campus Experience,” including possible project periods or field courses during the academic year, a study abroad program and internships. 
    • Rebuild the Outdoor Learning program to connect students and faculty to their greater community and build appreciation for the out of doors that are an intrinsic part of life in the White Mountains. 
    • Make a significant investment in the Performing Arts to provide a program commensurate with our excellent visual arts program, to nurture and develop the creativity of Tilton students and to infuse the entire community with the Arts.
  • Faculty

    The men and women of the Tilton School community – in their roles as faculty and staff will be essential to inspiring and guiding our students to achieve their potential in all aspects of the Tilton Experience. We will demonstrate our commitment to attracting, retaining and enhancing the lives of our faculty and their families by:

    • Having a parallel plan for professional growth that closely resembles our process for students. 
    • Growing professional development funds to support the overall growth and development of our faculty and staff and the training and tools needed to deliver on the transformed Student Experience.
    • Improving faculty housing.
    • Increasing the competitiveness of salaries and regularly reviewing and enhancing our benefit programs.
    • Hiring Performing Arts faculty to support the enhanced program.
  • Campus

    Guided by our updated Campus Master Plan, we will enhance our existing campus in the following ways:

    • Dining Experience: Redesign the food service program and dining facility so it becomes a distinctive attribute of Tilton School.
    • Residential Life: Renovate select current dormitories and construct additional residences that enhance the living experience for students and faculty.
    • Athletic Facilities: Upgrade select athletic facilities and reposition athletic fields to locations contiguous to the main campus.
    • Enhance Campus Entrance: Create a more visually appealing approach and sense of arrival to campus.
    • Arts Facilities Upgrades: Upgrade theater, music, dance and visual arts facilities and equipment.
  • Financial Sustainability

    To secure the future of Tilton School and to achieve our Strategic Plan’s objectives, we will carry out a multi-year comprehensive capital campaign, fundraising with passion and focus. Specifically, we will:
    • Conduct a capital campaign feasibility study.
    • Increase the endowment to grow salaries, professional development funds and student scholarship programs.
    • Address capital campaign and Tilton Fund staffing needs.
    • Increase the Tilton Fund to $1.0m by 2020.