Heads of York Country Day School

Kenneth Snyder (1953-1969)
John Colbaugh (1969-1973)
Timothy Bray (1973-1975)
David L. Seavey (1975-1977)
John Polhemus (1978-1983)
Brian P. O'Neil (1983-1985)
Dr. Gilbert Smith (1985-1988)
Taylor A. Smith (1988-2000)
Dean Cheesebrough (2000-2001)
Daniel J. Rocha (2001-2004)
Robert Shanner (2004-2007)
Dr. Nathaniel Coffman (2007-2013)
Dr. Christine Heine, Ed.D. (2014-present)


York Country Day School is a private Preschool through Grade 12 independent school located in York, Pennsylvania. An affiliate of York College of Pennsylvania, it is the living legacy of the York County Academy founded in 1787. Below is a short history:

  • YCDS was founded in 1953 on Springettsbury Avenue, led by Mr. Henry M. Thornton and assisted by Headmaster Mr. Kenneth Snyder. The original house was purchased for $15,000 and renovated for another $15,000.
  • Thirty-nine students enrolled, and teachers were hired to instruct sixth through ninth grade in all subjects: reading, writing, arithmetic, history, French and Latin.
  • After two years, the house on Springettsbury reached its capacity. In need of more space for more students and a set of athletic fields, Mr. George Whiteley generously donated 10 acres of land on Regents Glen Boulevard. He later donated another 5 acres, to complete the current 15-acre footprint.
  • In 1956, the school officially opened and classes began with seventh through 12th grades filled.
  • In 1957, the first YCDS all-female class of 13 students graduated from high school.
  • As years passed, the school continued to expand to include grades one through six.
  • In 1976, York Country Day School and York College of Pennsylvania combined operational efforts under one organization.
  • In 1983, the YCP Board of Trustees created the comprehensive Plan for Excellence to guide the school through its fourth decade and beyond.
  • In 1985, the first phase of that plan was completed with the construction of a preschool wing, science laboratory, and lower level dining and athletic facilities.
  • The second phase of the plan focused on a new curriculum that emphasized academics, expanded extracurricular activities, and athletic opportunities. The Board of Trustees augmented the school’s graduation requirements and added more language, social studies, and science to the curriculum, and a new preschool program for 2- and 3-year-olds. All of these improvements were designed to prepare students for admission to the most demanding institutions of higher learning.
  • In 1990, the Multi-Purpose Room was completed. This provided space for lunch, small dramatic productions, physical education, social events and athletic practices.
  • In 1992, a strategic plan was adopted to enhance and update the facilities, as well as to grow enrollment.
  • In 1994, the East Wing of the upper school was completed, that included six classrooms, an additional science lab, office and commons area.
  • In 2014, the 13th Head of School Dr. Christine Heine successfully launched a $14.6-million campaign that the York College Board of Trustees unanimously approved. This strategic plan supports the already rigorous program in place through the construction of the Ann B. Barshinger Center for the Arts and the Brougher Center for Innovation and Technology in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) building. The STEAM center includes a Robotics and Bionics lab, VidCast Studio, Digital Arts Workshop, Metal and Wood shops, numerous collaborative learning spaces and much more.
  • In 2016, the school entrance shifts from Regents Glen Boulevard to Indian Rock Dam Road, creating a dramatic new entry way for drop-off and pickup.
  • Renovation to the Upper and Middle Level classrooms and the creation of an outdoor classroom in lower school are part of the construction, as well as numerous collaborative learning spaces.
  • In August 2016, the performing arts space and STEAM building opens.
  • In Spring 2017, the final renovations in the Upper and Middle schools are complete.

York Country Day is accredited by the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools and the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges, as well as a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS).