Mr Gordon E Speed and Mr Emmanuel J Poularas
Back in 1967 our founders opened their first school with one division and 35 students. Today ACS is a leader in the field of international education, enrolling 3,700 students, aged 2 – 18, at 3 schools in Greater London, and 1 in Doha, Qatar. Importantly, the ACS character Mr Speed and Mr Poularas created all those years ago remains fresh and constant – a genuinely caring, engaged community with a strong sense of its role and responsibilities to the local and global families we serve. A place where innovative teaching drives a dynamic learning environment.
Gordon E Speed was born in 1935 into a Scottish-American family living in Florida USA, where he attended school and received his MA from Florida State University. After teaching in Florida, the Dominican Republic, France and Italy, Mr Speed moved to London in 1965.
Emmanuel J Poularas was born in 1943 into a Greek-Armenian family living in Port Said, Egypt. He came to London in 1962 and quickly progressed in the maritime industry.
Founding ACS International Schools
In 1967, Mr Speed and Mr Poularas founded ACS at Netherhall Gardens in Hampstead, London. At the time, both men were actively involved with every aspect of school life, from painting classrooms to registering admissions and leading field trips. Their energy and drive established the values and principles that continue to inspire and enrich our international community today, and guide us in our commitment to deliver excellence in all that we do.
E J Poularas Performing Arts Centre
Mr Speed retired in 2003, and now lives in London. Sadly, Mr Poularas passed away in 2008, shortly after ACS celebrated its 40th anniversary – it was an anniversary that meant a great deal to him, and stands in affirmation of his life's work. In 2014 we opened the magnificent E J Poularas Performing Arts Centre, with a 509-seat theatre at its heart – realising a dream he long held, yet never saw.
The Founders' Award
In 2008 ACS inaugurated the annual Founders' Award for students, which recognises academic achievement, contribution to school life, service to others, and exceptional leadership.
In 2018, we became a UK-registered charity and ACS International Schools In America Inc. a 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation, was established in the US.