Our History

Susan E. Wagner High School began as a dream in 1964 and turned into a reality four years later. With the advent of the Verrazano Bridge, Staten Island's population was expanding rapidly and a new high school had not opened on the Island for more than three decades. Therefore, the Board of Education saw a need to build another high school and Seaview was the chosen site. At a cost of nearly nine million dollars and named for the late wife of Mayor Robert Wagner, Susan E. Wagner High School opened in the fall of 1968. The school was created as a comprehensive institution dedicated to meet the educational needs of both general and special education students. Careful attention was given to ensure the development of academic, vocational, and social skills.

The first Principal was Joseph Brennan, followed by Dr. Samuel Altman in 1970. During the 1970's, our Athletic Program expanded at an accelerated rate as our sports teams excelled in many different sports areas. By 1971, Wagner needed to expand its athletic field to meet the needs of the student body. Through the hard work and dedication of many members of the Wagner community, a football field became a reality. The team has gone on to win more than fifteen PSAL Island Championships, and six New York City PSAL Championships.

Our extensive trip program uses the New York City metropolitan area as an extension of our campus, as it introduces its students to our community. Students have enjoyed archaeological digs, excursions to Europe, sightseeing and dining in ethnic New York City, myriad trips to Broadway, and visits to every museum that has opened its doors in the greater New York area.

In 1980, Dr. Ralph Musco became Principal of Wagner High School. During his administration, the school enjoyed an excellent record of academic and athletic achievements. In 1989, Wagner was selected for national recognition as one of the most outstanding high schools in the nation.

In 1985, Wagner High School established the Scholars' Academy. In order to quality for the Academy, students need to pass a series of challenging academic examinations and obtain the recommendation of their middle school advisors. Scholars' Academy students, as well as students in the mainstream, have the opportunity to participate in a vast array of Advanced Placement courses. Wagner High School currently offers eleven Advanced Placement courses that enable students to obtain college credits while still in high school. Wagner also offers a student-teaching program that allows foreign language students to teach in nearby elementary schools and gain experience in the field of education. In 1994, Wagner was recognized by Redbook Magazine as one of the fifty best high schools in the United States. Wagner is proud of the money its students receive for college scholarships. The Class of 1999 earned more than five million dollars in college scholarships. Principal Michael Tobin arrived at Wagner in the fall of 1994. Under his tenure, Wagner has experienced continued growth and prosperity. Our Peer Tutoring Program, Peer Mediation Program, Conflict Resolution Program, Law and Politics Institute, and Honors' Program demonstrates our school's dedication to offering our students a high level of education and success in their future endeavors.

In August 2002, Gary Giordano became Wagner’s fifth Principal. In the past four years, under Mr. Giordano, Wagner has continued to undergo positive changes. We have added several new programs including Air Force Junior ROTC, the Academy of Finance, the Academy of Travel and Tourism, and College Now. The Wagner High School auditorium has undergone renovation including a new sound and lighting system. Integrating advanced technology continues to be a priority as evidenced by our Distance Learning Lab and the automation of the school library.

Susan E. Wagner High School continues to remain a school of excellence, empowering students through instructional excellence.
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