Independent Girls School in Pennsylvania

Empowering Girls since 1869

Over 150 years ago, we were founded by Miss Agnes Irwin, the great-great granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin, first Dean of Radcliffe College, and advocate for the education of girls and young women — a radical concept in her time.

Today, Miss Irwin's legacy serves as our inspiration. In our Upper, Middle, and Lower independent girls schools, everything our students experience is rooted in what's best for girls: how they learn, how their brains develop, and what their social and emotional needs are. We know that when they feel known, understood, supported, and challenged, girls are empowered to be their very best selves.

Agnes Irwin Fast Facts


tuition assistance awarded to the 2023-24 student body


zip codes represented
in our student body


of our student body identify as students of color


average student-faculty ratios


of the Class of 2023 are recruited athletes


of the Class of 2023 are attending 45 institutions of higher education

Leadership and Legacy

Head of School

Meet Sally B. Keidel, 14th Head of The Agnes Irwin School.

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Board of Trustees

It takes a village to lead a premier all-girls' academic institution. Meet the distinguished leaders who come together and provide counsel for our school.

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Strategic Plan

Leading in girls' education requires vision. Learn about our Strategic Plan, which provides the framework for our school based our legacy and aspirations for the future.

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Our Mission

The Agnes Irwin School empowers girls to learn, to lead, and to live a legacy. 

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The Agnes Irwin Experience

Only at Agnes Irwin: The Center for the Advancement of Girls

We think of it as our superpower. Our Center for the Advancement of Girls helps infuse girl-centered research into the Agnes Irwin experience, impacting our curriculum, creating developmentally relevant programming, and forging strategic partnerships with leading researchers and institutions of higher learning that shape our student experience.

Learn about The Center

Our History

We've been empowering girls since 1869. Browse through Agnes Irwin's history — from the early days in Center City, to our beautiful 26-acre campus in Bryn Mawr — and meet a few of the notable women who have walked our halls along the way.   


At just 28, Agnes Irwin, the great-great granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin, becomes head of the West Penn Square Seminary for Young Ladies. She had a vision for the school (later called The Agnes Irwin School) that would make educating girls its mission.


“West Penn Square Seminary for Young Ladies” becomes “Miss Irwin’s of Philadelphia.” It was one of the first schools devoted entirely to girls' education in the U.S.


The School moves from the Irwins' family residence at 19th and Spruce to 2011 Delancey Place.


Sophy Dallas Irwin, Agnes Irwin’s sister, becomes Headmistress.


The Alumnae Association is formed to promote "a feeling of kinship to the school, and foster and extend school spirit."


Anne Shirk, Class of 1911, forms the Athletic Association. The school is divided into blue and gold teams for athletic competitions. First extramural game played.


After the deaths of Agnes Irwin and her sister, Sophy, Josephine A. Natt becomes the school's headmistress and renames it The Agnes Irwin School. She chooses the school's emblem, inspired by Sophy Irwin's old bookplate, featuring a drawing of her ancient Mediterranean oil lamp.


Ms. Natt, along with the sophomore class, decides to feature the school emblem on the class ring. This ring is now presented to students on Sophomore Day.


Bertha Laws, Class of 1897, succeeds Natt as Headmistress.


The Agnes Irwin School relocates to the Isaac B. Clothier estate in Wynnewood.


Standard uniforms are introduced, with a choice of four colors. The Agnes Irwin School receives accreditation from the Middle States Association of College and Secondary Schools.


The first May Fair is held to raise money for war orphans — although the Maypole dances aren't introduced until nine years later, by Lucetta Sharp Alderfer. "She used carpet binding to strengthen and stiffen the ribbons before dying the reinforced ribbons blue and gold."


Anne Farr Bartol and Edith M. Murphy are named Associate Headmistresses.


The Agnes Irwin School relocates to its current location in Rosemont.


Anne Stouffer Lenox becomes Headmistress.


The wise old owl is chosen as the school mascot, a suggestion from Patty Pittman, Class of 1963. Today the owl is known as Gus.


The first Medieval Day — later to be known as Medieval Night — is held. First Special Studies Program takes place for sophomore and junior classes, an idea conceived by Associate Headmistress Adele Griffin Sands.


Adele Griffin Sands becomes Headmistress.


Mary Kessler becomes Headmistress. Full-day kindergarten initiated. The Community Service Program begins.


Margaret Penney Moss becomes Headmistress. During her term, the title is changed to Head of School.


The Agnes Irwin School chapter of The Cum Laude Society is formed, and its first students inducted.


The Blue and Gold Society is launched in recognition of leadership support of The Agnes Irwin School.


The Laurel Society, recognizing planned gift arrangements, established by Class of 1953 members Annabelle Pierson Irey and Mary Pat McPhearson. 


Martha Cutts becomes Head of School. First PreKindergarten class begins. First Agnes Irwin School/Episcopal Academy (AIS/EA) Day of athletic competition is held. 


Helen Marter becomes Head of School.


Mary Seppala becomes Head of School.


On October 14, 2011 The Agnes Irwin School officially launches the Center for the Advancement of Girls.

Read more about CAG 


Dr. Wendy Hill becomes Head of School.


The Innovation Team, or iTeam, is formed in order to further integrate innovation, project-based learning, and interdisciplinary instruction into classroom practices.