Mission & History

Over a century of life-changing education

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Our Mission
The mission of The Kiski School is to prepare students to succeed in college and in life. 
Statement of Beliefs
We believe in an environment of living and learning that is based on best practices for teaching students, where each student is challenged to reach their full potential and their unique qualities are cherished.
We believe in a community that nurtures success in two ways: the cultivation of academic excellence and the development of a student’s character, integrity, civility, and citizenship.
We believe in a dynamic educational environment that fosters formal and informal learning through stimulating programs in academics, athletics, the arts, extracurriculars, and service to the community.
We believe in helping boys and girls develop life-long habits of personal and social responsibility through active participation in a wide range of rich and rewarding leadership opportunities.
We believe in an academic program that ignites a passion for learning and inspires habits of creative thinking, collaboration, critical analysis, and self-discipline.
We believe in the transformational power of teachers who are well-equipped to support the learning of boys and girls in classrooms where rigorous traditional instruction and new innovative methods are carefully balanced.
We believe in an inclusive school community that celebrates diversity and ensures that everyone is respected, accepted, and appreciated.
We believe in a residential living program that is built upon the essential themes of community, friendship, healthy choices, and an awareness of the needs of others.
Kiski's recent strategic plan outlines our long-term goals and ambitions, many of which have already been initiated.


The Kiski School sits on a wooded bluff high above the confluence of two sparkling streams that form the Kiskiminetas River, which then flows north and west toward the Allegheny River. To the Native Americans who originally fished and hunted near this junction, Kiskiminetas was a metaphor for enlightenment. Early settlers to the area also recognized the energy of this place in the form of its rejuvenating mineral springs, whose refreshing attributes came to be so well known by the mid-nineteenth century that a group of enterprisers built a resort hotel on the grounds where the school now stands.
In 1888, Andrew W. Wilson, cousin of President Woodrow Wilson, purchased the resort for the purpose of transforming the facility into a first-class preparatory school for boys to rival any of its East Coast counterparts. Appropriately, Dr. Wilson named his institution The Kiskiminetas Springs School, based upon his belief that the beautiful setting would enhance the education of the young men who studied here. From its beginnings, academic rigor in the classroom and healthy competition on the athletic field were the hallmarks of the educational experience at Kiski. By 1894, Kiski had graduated 42 boys, 26 of whom matriculated to Princeton University, the alma mater of Dr. Wilson.
Dr. Wilson brought a talented and loyal faculty to The Kiski School, a tradition that endures to this day. Originally, the faculty numbered two: Wilson, who received a degree from Pennsylvania Law School after graduating from Princeton, and R.W. Fair, who co-founded the school and taught mathematics. An early addition came through the appointment of Dr. W.H. MacColl, who eventually succeeded Wilson as president in 1930. Other faculty members, such as J.L. Marks and Colonel J.J. Daub, also made significant contributions to the character and traditions of the school during these critical early years. Currently, a faculty of forty men and women serve the school’s two hundred students.
Upon his election to the presidency of the Board of Trustees in 1941 and his appointment as Headmaster of Kiski in 1942, Dr. L.M. Clark began a tenure that would result in many additions and improvements to the campus and the school. When Dr. Clark retired in 1957, the trustees chose the promising young assistant to the Headmaster of Deerfield Academy, John A. Pidgeon, to succeed him.
Under Mr. Pidgeon’s tutelage, The Kiski School commissioned the construction of a new classroom building, dining hall, library, fine arts center, and renovated the administrative complex. A new baseball stadium, swimming pool, outdoor track, and field house were also added. In addition, all of the buildings and student rooms were wired for our local area network, and, in order to take advantage of this capacity, the school began to issue laptops to all students and faculty at the start of each academic year.
The evolution of the Kiski campus continued with the appointment of Mr. Christopher A. Brueningsen as Head of School in 2002. The physical plant has been modernized to surpass the standards and expectations of parents considering Kiski for their children. Two outdated dormitories (Clark and Wilson Halls) were taken offline and razed. Since 2005, five of the six current dorms have undergone major renovations to improve their sustainability measures and amenities, while maintaining student capacity.
The Swank Student Center was constructed in 2009 to serve as the social hub of campus and house the College Counseling Office. The versatile Great Hall hosts events throughout the year. It’s also the preferred location for study halls and other downtime activities for students that have earned those privileges by maintaining good standing in the classroom and community. The athletic facilities experienced sweeping renovations and expansions: in 2014 the track was resurfaced to surround a multi-purpose turf field and in 2015 the Ross Athletic Center was completely renovated and expanded to include a new fitness center and multi-use gymnasium.
Academic facilities were expanded in 2015 with the addition of a dedicated Makerspace complete with cutting-edge hardware and with the completion of the Zeigler Science Center in 2019, including upgrades to the wet science labs and other classrooms within the building. A major renovation is also being planned for the most frequently visited structure on campus, the E. William Turley dining hall. In 2020, Kiski made a historic announcement under Mr. Brueningsen’s tenure, leading the nation by becoming the first private preparatory school to enact a tuition reset. 
In 2023, Kiski's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to open enrollment to girls, launching Kiski into a new era. Co-education at Kiski had been considered seriously at several points between 1990-2020, but its implementation in fall 2024 was the result of extensive study and important conversations about securing the school's future and longevity in the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic and in the face of a rapidly changing landscape for small boarding schools in the United States. Ultimately, the Board and the school's senior leadership team concluded that Kiski's life changing, transformational experience is one that can benefit so many young people- boys and girls. Excellence in the classroom, the arts, athletics, and a focus on developing young people into leaders, are not limited by gender. Furthermore, civility, Kiski's core value, is needed now more than ever. The decision to introduce co-education was a decision to expand Kiski's mission, impact, and permanence, and Kiski remains committed to preserving the traditions of excellence, civility, and concern for the community that Dr. Wilson initiated in 1888.
A Life-Changing, Co-Ed Boarding School.
(877) 547-5448
1888 Brett Lane, Saltsburg, PA 15681