- From the left: Richard Ekdahl, Rhonda Durham, Geoffrey Butler
“The Association of Texas Preparatory Schools,” ISAS’s predecessor, was founded. It consisted of a football league among Kinkaid, Lutheran, St. John’s, St. Mark’s, and St. Stephen’s and a girls and boys basketball championship.
ISAS was founded in 1955 by Casady School in Oklahoma and seven Texas schools: The Hockaday School, The Kinkaid School, Saint Mary’s Hall, St. John’s School, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, St. Mark’s School of Texas, and Texas Military Institute. The first meeting of ISAS involved 13 schools – 5 in addition to the founding schools: Allen Academy, Concordia, Peacock Military Academy, Radford School, and St. Mary’s Hall. The moving spirit in the organization of ISAS was Alan Chidsey, Headmaster of St. John’s.
Richard Ekdahl, ISAS Executive Director Emeritus, became the first Executive Director of ISAS and served until 1996.
Original Constitution Statement of Purpose was composed: “To encourage, support, and develop highest standards of attainment in the independent schools of the area and to recognize those schools in which they are maintained.”
The phrase "to recognize by formal accreditation” was added to the purpose. In addition to traditional standards, ISAS accreditation depended upon the requirement that 75% of each graduating class successfully complete the freshman year of college.
Geoffrey Butler became the second Executive Director of ISAS. The offices were moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Fort Worth, Texas.
Independent Schools Association of the Southwest reached its fiftieth anniversary honoring its advancement of high standards for independent schools in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Kansas, and Mexico.
Southwest Preparatory Conference (SPC) separated from ISAS to become a free-standing athletic conference.
ISAS schools showed extraordinary camaraderie and heroic leadership in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart and Academy of the Sacred Heart, Grand Coteau, took in over 420 students. At least 37 other ISAS schools made places for students from New Orleans.
Rhonda Durham became the third Executive Director of ISAS. ISAS offices were moved from Fort Worth, Texas, to Midland, Texas.
ISAS had grown to a membership of eighty-nine schools that stand for exceptional independent education across the region, enrolling over 50,000 students.