School History

William Annin Middle School has a very interesting history. It was named after William Annin, a colonial patriot who settled in Basking Ridge in 1722 and lived there until his death in 1794. (More information on Annin is listed below.)

The school dedication took place on September 28, 1969. It had been designed to be "functional but plain" and was completed at a cost of $2,465,000. Of interest to today's students: there was not a single computer in the school. Its first principal was Mr. Paul Wagner.

Although originally a junior high school, Annin became a middle school in 1982, under the direction of principal, Joan C. Tonnarelli. It houses grades six, seven, and eight and uses an interdisciplinary team approach. It is the objective of the school to develop in our students an understanding and appreciation for our democratic way of life. The middle school wishes to "preserve the best of the past, to teach an understanding of the present, and to provide guidance in the expectation that our young people will create a meaningful future."

In September 1999, new additions to the school opened, providing a new media center, computer and technology labs, gymnasium, health and weight rooms, science labs, extra cafeteria space and faculty dining and several classrooms. Newly renovated choral music and orchestra practice rooms were opened also. In September 2007, a new wing of eight classrooms was opened.

In July 2003, Francis T. Howlett, Jr. became principal. Nick Markarian became principal in 2005. Karen Hudock became principal in July 2008.

Additional information about William Annin:

John Johnston came to the United States in 1722 with his wife and three children. One of those children was his son William. The family was seeking religious freedom and did not want to be found in the New World, so they adopted an alias in the name of Annan, which came out of Annandale, Scotland (their homeplace.) Over time the Annan became Annin because one day someone said Annin instead of Annan and it went on as Annin. He purchased a thousand acres of land from William Penn and that is where the family settled. The William Annin Middle School is built on a piece of what was originally part of those thousand acres.

Annin was a patriot during the American Revolution. He lived on a parcel of land in the section of town that is now known as Liberty Corner. Unfortunately in the 1920's the original home fell into disarray and all that remains today are two stone walls from the original structure. The structure is slated to be torn down by a developer who has purchased the property, but he will be erecting two stone pillars at the entrance of the development, which will be called Canterbury Estates, in honor of the Annan family.

William Annin married when he was thirty-four years old. He had purchased 191 acres of his own from William Penn. In those days the right to vote was granted only to property owners.