OUR HISTORY

ICL Academy is the culmination of over 150 years of academic excellence, social impact, leadership, and innovation

1872

DWIGHT SCHOOL FOUNDED

For over fifty years, three generations of the Spahn family have helmed the Dwight School, a world-renowned private school with a history of excellence dating back to 1872. 

In 2001, Kirk Spahn expanded on his work with the Dwight School to create the non-profit Institute for Civic Leadership — dedicated to helping high-achieving underserved youth meet their academic and professional goals while developing the character and leadership skills to build a better world. 

Through a combination of global youth conferences, leadership speaker series, meaningful mentorship, and award-winning service and leadership courses, the ICL transformed the lives and futures of over 5,000 young people, and exponentially more through student service projects — from building schools to anti-gang education and healthcare initiatives.

ICL’s mission garnered support and affiliation from top global leaders and icons, from President Clinton and Michael Bloomberg, performance psychologist Dr. Jim Loehr, tennis champions Monica Seles, Tommy Haas and Novak Djokavic, Malcolm Gladwell, Neil deGrass Tyson, and Grammy winners Alicia Keys, Wyclef Jean, and David Foster.

Building on this incredible success, ICL aimed to create equity in the US school system. So, in conjunction with The Alcoa Foundation, Citibank, and Verizon, ICL developed an award-winning leadership and character building curriculum that was implemented in schools across the country.

Proudly, the ICL invested over $10 million in building a better world through student empowerment. By every measure, ICL’s Impact Learning model service leadership & character training, mentorship from world-renowned champions, and vibrant community building —was a success. 

ICL students went on to the Ivy League and the Olympics, starred on Broadway and in hit TV shows and movies, signed major record deals, become respected doctors, CEO’s, politicians, and received an astonishing 6 Congressional Medals of Service

And every single one of them have completed a high-impact service project ICL helped them envision, develop, and implement.

2001

Institute for Civic Leadership Founded

2011

United Nations Service Leadership Recognition

2016

ICL ACADEMY ACCREDITED

For its societal contribution, ICL has been honored with United Nations Service Leadership awards, the Dale Earnhardt Award for community leadership, and by opening the Nasdaq Stock Exchange in Times Square.

We are proud of what we have accomplished and are grateful for the tremendous support we have received. 

Meanwhile, however, the world of education was changing. ICL glimpsed the future back in 2013, once Kirk created Dwight Global, the #2 online program in the country. 

The natural evolution of ICL’s non-profit success was clear: wed ICL’s Impact Learning model with world-class academics in a year-round accredited online school: ICL Academy

And since he was once a professional student athlete himself, Kirk understood the need for a school tailored to fit a special kind of student — athletes, performers, high achievers —by offering flexibility, individualization and guidance, plus the high-profile mentorship afforded by the ICL Foundation’s champions and partners.

COVID-19 would soon introduce online education to the world in the crudest of ways. But long before the pandemic, ICL understood the potential of online learning to redefine private school education to its highest potential at an affordable cost. 

In 2015, the first incarnation of ICL Academy was founded and accredited as a hybrid school in Los Angeles, focused on performing arts students. In 2019, ICL Academy became accredited as a fully online school, expanded to meet the needs of students dedicated to any number of passion pursuits — especially tennis, skiing, soccer, dance, entrepreneurship, and music.

So, what is ICL Academy today?  

150 years of academic excellence
20 years of non-profit impact
10 years of online experience

We don’t think families should have to make compromises. With the ICL Foundation providing support, the ICL Academy is proud to offer families a complete affordable package: an accredited private school education tailored to your child’s passion, plus embedded leadership & character learning, a true, vibrant school community, and world champions guiding their journey.

Furthermore, since ICL is the Impact Learning-embodied online school that kids can join from every corner of the world, partners like Universal Tennis, The ATP Tour, IAE Dance, 6-8 Sports, US Diving, MLS junior Soccer, Stargate Music, USC Digital Media Lab and Bode Miller Ski Academy are using online ICL Academy to vastly expand the reach of our Impact Learning model, creating the world leaders we need now more than ever.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about our history. The future of education is here. Now.

Upcoming ICL Open House - Wednesday December 1 at 3PM ET
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