Welcome from the Head of School

At Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, our mission is to balance a rigorous comprehensive college preparatory curriculum with healthy social and emotional development. Our students thrive in a supportive and warm environment in which it is safe to learn, reflect and commit to academic achievement and social responsibility. The opportunities available at CGPS are as diverse as our student body, which is made up of children with a wide range of talents, interests and backgrounds.

Over 250 years of history in independent school education has taught us that a  balanced education leads to a powerful life. Through engaging a child’s mind and supporting a child’s curiosity, we champion outstanding students who are prepared to excel with the flexibility and innovation needed for global success.

Our students have been scholars and upstanding citizens since before the American Revolution. The history of Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School is uniquely woven into the fabric of our nation and New York City itself. Originally founded downtown on Little Queen Street in 1764 as a boys’ preparatory school for Kings College (now Columbia University), the School functioned for 100 years under the direct auspices of the college, providing more than half of its student body. In 1864, the School’s formal relationship with Columbia ended, and the school moved to midtown. In 1956, we became a co-educational institution and found our current home on the vibrant Upper West Side of Manhattan. Today our multi-building campus, steps from Central Park, is the perfect home for our inspiring and supportive academic community.

If you are a current CGPS student or parent, I look forward to seeing you on campus. If you are a prospective student or parent, we invite you to come visit in-person and experience New York City’s leader in student-focused education.

We look forward to meeting you.

Dr. William M. Donohue
Head of School

Head of School's Office

Elaine Kingman
Assistant to the Head of School
212.749.6200 x202

Or please contact us through our form here.



Dr. William M. Donohue was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. He has a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland, College Park, a Master's Degree in Counseling from George Washington University, an advanced degree in Educational Administration from Harvard University and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Dr. Donohue has worked in the field of education for his entire career, in both independent and public schools. He began by teaching English at Good Counsel High School, in Montgomery County Maryland, where he remained for 14 years in the roles of teacher, Guidance Counselor, Director of Admissions and Director of Studies.

He then served as the Director of Guidance in the Byram Hills Public School District in Armonk, New York, where he remained for 27 years, serving as High School Principal, Assistant Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent and, finally, District Superintendent. During his tenure as Superintendent, Byram Hills High School became one of the few public schools in the nation to send more than 50% of its graduates to Tier One colleges. The district was also recognized by Intel for developing one of the five best Authentic Science Research programs in the world. 

In 2017, Dr. Donohue became only the 14th Head of School at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School since its founding in 1764.