Synergy School was founded in 1973 by three young teachers who sought to bridge the ideals of progressive education with a structure that would ensure that educators were the primary voices in shaping the educational environment.
From the beginning, founders Russ Messing, Katherine Czesak, and Jill Goffstein Stocks were strongly influenced by the work of world-renowned philosopher and psychologist Alfred Adler, who held equality, mutual respect, collaboration, and community as core values. An important part of his teachings focused on logical and natural consequences versus reward and punishment. Adler believed that children should be encouraged rather than praised, which would then teach them the value of learning and growing for their own personal development. It was within this framework of empowerment that the founders established a teachers’ cooperative, a community of teachers who were themselves empowered and could model the core values.
The founders called their school Synergy to convey the idea that the collective effort of students, teachers, and families would create something larger than the individuals themselves.