Our History

Since our founding in 1941, we have always been a community of leaders and doers, who are continuously looking forward. For more than 75 years, we have been leading the way in education and our history is chock-full of "firsts."

Check out our
75 Years of Firsts

How It All Started

Early 1940s

In the spring of 1940, our founding headmaster, Dr. Thomas Burton, rallied Charlotte leaders around a visionary new concept in education—the independent day school. On September 22, 1941, Charlotte Country Day School opened its doors with 18 students in a leased home on Morehead Street. By the start of the 1945–46 school year, our fledgling school for grades kindergarten through eighth had grown to 56 students and moved to a new six-acre site on Sardis Road. We added ninth grade in 1955, and the school began gaining a reputation for preparing students well for top boarding schools and colleges. In 1960, Country Day moved to its permanent home on Carmel Road with six buildings on 30 acres, and in 1962 graduated its first class of 15 seniors.

Then and Now

Today we have a diverse student body of more than 1,660 students in JK–12. We are proud of our long history of offering students an unsurpassed opportunity to prepare for the future—an opportunity grounded in the strength of tradition and shaped by generations of visionary leaders. Check out what has changed and what has remained constant throughout our history.

Then and Now button

An Oral History

Treasures from the Archives

Audio-Visual Man

In this undated photo, we get a glimpse of technology from the past. Now teachers have an app for that!

Best Foot Forward

To help kick off the "Expanding Future Opportunities" campaign in 1990, the school held a sock hop and everyone received their own pair of Country Day bobby socks.

Great Teachers, Great Support

This Charlotte Observer article from 1983, shares the story of beloved retired teacher Mary Todd and her passion for Shakespeare. That year, the senior class raised $500 to send Mary to a three-week summer seminar at Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Daily PE circa 1983

Back before Bruton Smith Athletic Center was built, PE teachers Madeline Frosch and Julie Shaw taught PE indoors on a rainy day. There is a Country Day parent and a member of the Advancement Office among these young kindergarteners!

First Grandparents' Day

This favorite Lower School tradition got its start in 1979, when the other Mr. Reed was Head of School (that would be, Horton C. Reed and he was called headmaster). From the looks of the original letter and invitation we found from 1983, the event has evolved over the years.


In Headmaster David Howe's final commencement address before leaving the school in 1969, he shared these words about Board Chair William Wade Wood: "He has been much responsible for the innovative APSL-Dyslexia reading program which, though controversial, is in line to be a real breakthrough in the process of teaching reading to those who do not take to it readily and easily."