Past, Present, and Future

Franklin continues a long legacy of educational leadership and innovation dating back to 1872 when our forefather school was founded in New York City. We’re proud of our rich and esteemed history as a premier independent school, and we eagerly embrace our role in educating the current generation of innovators — shaping tomorrow.

Our Roots

From the beginning, our School was dedicated to personalizing learning for each student and preparing graduates to attend prestigious colleges. Nearly 150 years ago, Dr. Julius Sachs, a leading educator of the day, founded The Sachs School for Boys and its Upper School, The Sachs Collegiate Institute, in New York City; in 1891 he launched The Sachs School for Girls. With the classics, mathematics, and German as principal areas of study, students were prepped for college and, over the course of the next several decades, led by other top educators, the Schools expanded and evolved. The all-boys Institute found its final footing at 18 West 89th Street in 1912. 

In the aftermath of WWI and anti-German sentiment, the Sachs German name was changed to The Franklin School in honor of Benjamin Franklin. Students continued to flourish, going on to leave their indelible marks on the world.  

Beginning in 1950, Dr. M.C. Spahn, a former professional basketball player-turned educator, spearheaded our School. During his 25-year tenure, Dr. Spahn made many advances, including opening the school to girls in 1951, providing scholarships, and expanding facilities and enrollment. His successor, Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill, who was educated at Oxford, brought the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum to Franklin, ultimately renaming it as the Anglo-American International School in 1980. It was this bold move that ultimately brought us together with our affiliated Dwight Schools in the following decade.

Our Affiliated Schools and Family Legacy

We’re proud to be affiliated with the global network of Dwight Schools, which have been guided by Dr. Spahn’s son, Stephen Spahn, for over half a century. Chancellor Spahn took the helm of Dwight School in New York in 1967 and, like his father before him at Franklin, quickly accepted girls and pioneered numerous firsts, including opening a campus abroad in London in 1972. Chancellor Spahn later joined forces with the Anglo-American School in 1993 at 18 West 89th Street under the Dwight name and became a world-renowned IB leader and innovator. Dwight’s global network grew with additional Schools in London, Seoul, Shanghai, Dubai, and in the cloud — Dwight Global Online School — educating students worldwide.

Joining Chancellor Spahn at the Dwight helm is his son, Blake Spahn, Vice Chancellor and third-generation educator. Together, they also lead our Franklin School here in Jersey City, where our community shares the same Dwight commitment to excellence, innovation, educating global leaders, and empowering students to drive their own learning.

A New Home in the Heart of Jersey City

Franklin is an exciting addition to the vibrant Jersey City community, bringing a new choice for students in grades 9-12 and reflecting the pulse of the city in which it resides. With a stunning skyline view of Manhattan, Jersey City has its own one-of-a-kind energy bursting with art and culture, science and technology, and so much more reflecting creativity and innovation in all its forms. Franklin is the school for students who can visualize themselves learning from, and contributing to, this vibrant community.

To that end, Franklin students have numerous opportunities to pursue their interests through local-area internship programs and to participate in community service projects within and around Jersey City, underscoring our commitment to providing meaningful experience-based learning beyond the classroom. 

Our Future

The next generation of Franklin students will chart their own course, inspired by visionary educators and propelled by their own curiosity. We’re excited to see where their quest takes them, as they help to write the next chapter in our history!