School History

Our founder, F. Alden Shaw was born to Charles Joseph Shaw and Elizabeth Gahring Shaw in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota on December 20, 1885. Mr. Shaw graduated from the prestigious Boston Latin School in 1905 and Harvard College in 1909. He moved to Paris, France and enrolled in the School for Advanced Studies (Ecole des Hautes), and began raising funds and recruiting students to begin his dream of founding a private school for boys. He soon realized that circumstances in Paris made founding a school an unreasonably daunting task; he decided to return to the United States. On the ship back to America, Mr. Shaw recalls an acquaintance raving about the wondrous opportunities in the blossoming American city of Detroit, Michigan and decided to build a school there.
In the spring of 1914, F. Alden Shaw, under the name the Detroit Preparatory School, submitted the following advertisement to the local paper:
"Mr. F. Alden Shaw, A.B. (Harvard 1909), announces that September next, he will open a small school for boys. Having had experience as a teacher in Boston, and as a private tutor in the families of Mr. George Lee of Boston, and Mr. Edwin D. Morgan of New York, he comes to Detroit, where there would seem to be a larger field for him. Referring by permission to Reverend Eugene Rodman Shippin, Mr. D. Stearns of Fredrick Stearns and Company and to Mr. Charles Moore, Security Trust Company, Detroit, Michigan. (For appointments address F. A. Shaw, Care Y.M.C.A., Detroit, Michigan.)"
The legacy of Mr. Shaw is so intrinsically woven into the culture of Detroit Country Day School that, in many ways, the school is still a manifestation of his vision of what a school should be. His emphasis on academic rigor and preparedness for higher education is still eminent in the school today, as is his belief in the benefits cultivating athletics and the arts, as well as traditions of character-building, mutual respect among students and faculty, and embracing social and personal responsibility. As Detroit Country Day School moves toward the future, we do so with confidence in our conviction that these principles are part of the fabric of the school and will continue to guide our path to the future.


New Head of School in July 1, 2020!

We are pleased to welcome our first "Head of School." Rich Dempsey, from the Pomfret School in Pomfret, Connecticut, is our newest lead administrator and the first to hold the more modern title of Head of School.  From his 23 years plus experience, we anticipate Mr. Dempsey to continue his thought leadership in the development of innovative educational models designed to prepare students for their futures. To learn more about Mr. Dempsey read the email sent to the community on June 6, 2019.

Portrait picture of new head of school