About Us

Our History

Incorporated in 1964, Canterbury School was originally founded as a coeducational elementary school to promote Christian education in downtown Fort Myers. The founders were Dr. Joseph Selden, Dr. Edward Saunders, Dr. Vercil Senseman and Mrs. Bernice Grimsley.
One of the original students highlighted the nurturing and inspiring teachers, and said it was the best experience of her young life. A year later the campus moved to “The Bungalows” on Royal Palm Avenue and by 1968 had added grades 7 and 8. By 1969 the little school had grown to 200 students compelling the trustees to find a new site on College Parkway and secure funding to construct a new school. Students, faculty and trustees helped move into the new facility over winter break in 1970.

In 1971 Canterbury received accreditation from the Florida Council of Independent Schools and adopted the Individually Guided Education philosophy. The athletic program gained strength as the school added high school grades in the 70s. In June of 1977, Canterbury celebrated its first high school graduation at South Seas Plantation on Captiva Island. In the next decade, the school, now non-sectarian and more diverse, dedicated itself to a college preparatory curriculum. Headmaster Frank Romano (1987-1993) and board president Dave Lucas (1988-1997) presided over a period of academic rigor with a comprehensive honor code, increased enrollment and campus expansion.

Canterbury continued to grow and thrive...

In the nineties with its experiential school curriculum, close teacher/student relationships and comradery between older and younger students. The first decade of the 21st century saw a focus on community service, adoption of a Statement of Diversity and the construction of the Torpey Touch Tank stocked with marine life courtesy of board president, Amanda Cross. The architecturally unique and cutting edge High School complex opened in 2007 to the joy of students and faculty alike. Under J. Anthony Paulus’ headship (2008-2015) Canterbury established curriculum templates at every grade level, approved technology and professional development plans, embraced the Distinguished Artist program and founded the Bridges Program, an international exchange program. The Canterbury Cougars won the Florida State Championship in Six-Man Football in 2011. In 2012, the Alumni Association welcomed the 1,000th school graduate. We celebrated our 50th anniversary during the 2014-2015 school year.