The Legacy of John Harris, Jr.

Harrisburg Academy, the 17th oldest non-public school in the country, was founded in 1784 by John Harris, Jr. in a room of his mansion (now the Historical Society of Dauphin County on South Front Street in Harrisburg).  Harris brought in a schoolmaster from Lancaster to teach his and his neighbor’s children. Soon after, he granted “the rent, issues and profits of his ferry for the endowment of an Academy where German and English should be taught.”  On April 4, 1809, the State Legislature officially chartered the Academy under the Law of the Commonwealth as “an academy or public school for the education of youth in useful arts, sciences and literature." 

More than 230 years later, Harrisburg Academy thrives as the Harrisburg metropolitan area’s only independent, nonsectarian, coeducational day school.  The Academy is made up of a diverse population of students who come from six Central Pennsylvania counties, 27 school districts, and several foreign countries.  We are fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges and the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools, and we belong and ascribe to the policies and best practices of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).  We are also the first school in the Harrisburg metropolitan area authorized by the prestigious International Baccalaureate Organization to offer the IB Diploma Program.  We are proud of the outstanding education we provide to our students in our continued efforts to be the best private school in Central Pennsylvania.


In celebration of the Academy's longstanding ties to the Harrisburg area as a leading educational institution, we invite you to join The John Harris Circle, our philanthropic society recognizing distinction in leadership giving.  Members support a belief in the Academy’s vision and core values, and honor the leadership of our founder and those who followed who have made the Academy an extraordinary school. 

Leadership gifts through The John Harris Circle represent the Academy’s top priority for giving.  Through your membership, you are preserving the integrity and value of an independent school education that makes our students thoughtful and involved global citizens.


Harrisburg's Only Independent School,
Serving Students Preschool - 12th Grade.

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10 Erford Road | Wormleysburg, PA 17043
Tel: 717-763-7811 | Fax: 717-975-0894 | Contact Us