About

History

The difference between a dream and a vision is commitment.
Harvey G. Woodward, a Birmingham industrialist who attended MIT, had both a dream and a vision. But for the commitment of others, his dream could have died along with him in 1930. His enterprising peers understood what he wanted to do: create an educational center of excellence in Alabama, where young men could learn, develop, and grow. Woodward had bequeathed the money and the means to make such a dream happen. All that was required was a person with the commitment.

Dr. Louis E. (“Doc”) Armstrong was such a man. In 1952 he led 10 faculty and 62 students onto campus. Filled with the belief that learning was as much about the capacity to better the world as it was about the ability to process information, Armstrong created the environment through which Woodward’s dream was achieved. Young men graduated and went to the best colleges and universities in America, knowing they could make positive contributions for the betterment of humankind.
Over the subsequent decades that belief has never wavered. Students and faculty work together in a model of shared governance, approaching life on campus as they would in a small town; they use town meetings to build understanding, to model behaviors, and to reflect the values embodied in the school’s written constitution.

The best way to evaluate this approach is in its outcomes. Student-directed learning, in the in the classroom and in student-initiated activities, is key. The choir is renowned worldwide for its participation in concerts across the globe, while the soccer team—the first ever in a school in the state of Alabama—reflects the school’s values of courage, teamwork, and innovation.

Most importantly, both the dream and the vision continue to expand. From opening the school to coeducational students in the 1970s, to reaffirming its commitment to boarding students with the construction of new dorms in 2006, Indian Springs School considers its mission and the enduring importance of Learning through Living in every decision it makes. Our successes are measured through the support that Indian Springs School receives from its parents and alumni, including through Springs Eternal, our largest-ever capital campaign, which made possible our state-of-the-art classrooms equipped for virtual learning.

To date, over 2,000 alumni have experienced our vision. We invite you to join them in contributing to the history of Indian Springs School.

Leading Springs

These distinguished and dedicated educators have led Indian Springs since 1952:

  • Louis E. “Doc” Armstrong (1952–1972)
  • Joe Jackson (1972–1986)
  • Mac Fleming (Interim, 1986–1987)
  • Doug Jennings (1987–2002)
  • Mel MacKay (2002–2007)
  • Lee Pierson (Interim, 2007–2008)
  • Gareth Vaughan (2008–2016)
  • Dr. Sharon Howell (2016–present)

Historical Timeline

M.D. Smith '59 maintains an excellent ongoing archive of the story of Indian Springs School.