Our Mission and Core Values
Thornton Academy prepares students for a changing world.
A rigorous and broad-based program of academic, arts and athletic opportunities challenges students to reach their potential in readiness for lifelong learning and productive participation in our dynamic world.
We are TA, We are proud!
Thornton Academy is a historic independent school educating 6-12th graders in beautiful, coastal Saco, Maine. We are co-educational and non-sectarian. The majority of our students are day students from the towns of Saco, Dayton, Arundel, and other towns in the Greater Portland area. They are joined by students from 35 different countries who live in dormitories on campus or in the homes of local families.
A Historic, Independent School
Founded in 1811, Thornton Academy is one of the nation’s oldest independent schools. Originally named Saco Academy, the name was soon changed to Thornton Academy by the Board of Trustees in honor of Thomas Thornton, one of the Academy’s earliest and most generous benefactors.
In the early days of the Academy, students attended from nearby towns and from around New England. When publicly-funded, mandatory education became law in the late 1800s, Thornton Academy’s Board of Trustees contracted with local communities – those that lacked schools beyond grade eight – to provide high school education for their children. Much later, in 2006, Thornton Academy expanded and built a middle school for grades six, seven, and eight.
Throughout its history, Thornton Academy has welcomed and educated students from near and far – through public contract and private admission. As an independent school, Thornton Academy is governed by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees and operates independently of local school boards and municipalities.
Thornton Academy is accredited by the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC), and adheres to the rigorous standards of NEASC’s Commission on Independent Schools, considered the gold standard of quality assurance.
Thornton Academy’s independence provides the autonomy to innovate, while remaining true to our traditions, values, and mission of preparing students for a changing world.
Located in sunny, Saco, Maine, Thornton Academy's campus is large, beautiful, and welcoming to students, staff, alumni, and community members. Thornton Academy receives no tax funds from municipalities, so therefore does private fundraising to finance capital projects and improvements.