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From: Centennial History of the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators' Association 1884 - 1984
by Bertram H. Holland


The MSSAA is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, statewide professional association of secondary school administrators in the United States.

The organization now known as the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators' Association got its start in 1884 when a group of high school principals met to form the High School Masters' Club of Massachusetts (HSMCM ). The club was primarily a social gathering to promote fellowship among the members.

The first officers were elected in 1885 with William F. Bradbury of Cambridge as president and George E. Gay of Malden as secretary.

Anyone who reads the minutes and other documents of the Association from its earliest days to the present time cannot help but be struck by the contrast. When the founders came together to start the Association in 1884, they surely could not have envisioned the extent to which their modest club would grow.

The wide ranging scope of the Association's activities today developed gradually in parallel with the growth and complexity of the high school principalship. The dozens of committees created to treat the many facets of secondary school administration include terms that the Founders would not even have heard of.

Since the formation in the Bay State of the first of its kind state association of secondary school principals, similar associations have been formed in all of the fifty states. These state associations have brought steadily increasing benefits indirectly to the students in the high schools and directly to the secondary school administrators in each state. In the words of Governor William Bradford in his 1647 "History of Plimoth Plantation"; "As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone to many, yea in some measure unto our whole nation."

On July 1, 1995 a new Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators' Association was formed when it formally joined with the Massachusetts Middle Level Administrators' Association. This new MSSAA now is the professional association for middle school and high school administrators in public and private schools. MSSAA is affiliated with the National Association of Secondary School Principals ( NASSP ) with both middle and high school principals presently serving on their national boards.

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