Greenhills' Founders

Greenhills’ Founders and Trustees

The history of Greenhills School is a story of how Greenhills came into being and how, since its founding, the school’s various constituencies have described the Greenhills experience. Though the people have changed over the years, the vision has not. Greenhills School has existed and prospered because those who have joined the school since its founding have shared the commitment and drive of the seven founding families.

In the late 1960′s, a group of concerned and energetic parents discussed the possibility of founding an independent school in Ann Arbor. Today, Greenhills School remains remarkably close to the initial ideal vision of the founding families. The values and principles on which the school was founded have remained strong and intact, the quality of the student body and the faculty has grown even stronger, and Greenhills has earned for itself a reputation as a humane and caring school that offers an excellent education to a wide range of students.

Greenhills Opening Day

Greenhills Opening Day

In making preparations for establishing Greenhills, the founders thought a great deal about what the school should offer and to whom it should be offered. From the beginning Greenhills School was committed to attracting the best qualified students from the widest range of backgrounds—social, economic, geographic, religious, and racial. The founders wanted to ensure a strong financial aid program at the school that would enable those who might not otherwise be able to afford a Greenhills education the opportunity to enroll. Their goal was to create an environment in which everyone would enrich and be enriched by this special school.


The Foundations of a New School

In their proposal to the State Board of Education regarding “the establishment of Greenhills School,” the founding families and board members wrote of the basic purpose of the school:



“Greenhills School will endeavor to focus on each student as an individual and to advance his education by means particularly suited to his interests, abilities and level of development. It will also seek to encourage its students continually to expand their education in future years; to develop in them the habit of making sound judgments; to stimulate in them generosity of spirit and ethical behavior; and to heighten their appreciation and enjoyment of the arts.”


The document continues:

“More specifically, the purposes of Greenhills School will be to stimulate youngsters to develop their individual talents and capabilities to the utmost, to help them learn through well-rounded school experience to work effectively with other people, and to aid them to acquire character, judgment, social awareness and concern, and a sound set of values about themselves and the world in which they live. In brief, Greenhills hopes to assist young people to grow into alert, useful and responsible citizens whose lives will be full of meaning and inner satisfaction.”

Greenhills opened as an independent, co-education, non-denomination college preparatory day school serving the entire geographical area of Ann Arbor and its surrounding communities. The school opened in September 1968 with grades 7, 8 and 9, adding an additional grade each year until a complete program, grades 7-12, was in place by the fourth year of operation in 1971-72. Target enrollment for Greenhills was 240, with 40 students enrolled in each of the six grades.

In the 1988-1989 academic year, a pilot program for sixth graders was initiated, and a full class of sixty students was added the following year. Through gradual planned expansion, the school has reached its current enrollment of approximately 550 students in grades 6-12. Its relatively small size has much to do with the relaxed, open, and personal atmosphere that has developed at the school in its brief history. The school is intended to broaden the secondary educational program in the Ann Arbor area by reflecting the community’s intellectual and cultural resources, civic and social concerns, and desire for excellence in all things.

Founders included Mr. and Mrs. William Conlin; Mr. and Mrs. William Edwards, Jr.; Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Gibson; Dr. and Mrs. Richard Judge; Mr. and Mrs. John Mersereau; Mr. and Mrs. James C. Riecker; Mr. and Mrs. Donald A. Roach; and Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Upton, Jr.