Board of Trustees

Most of our Trustees are graduates of the school and/or former parents or teachers. All have deep connections to the school and will be happy to reply to any questions you may have about The Putney School.

2014-2015 Officers:

Tonia Wheeler P’99, Chair

Ira T. Wender P’77, ’89, Vice Chair

Randall Smith, Treasurer

Katy Wolfe, Clerk

2014-2015 Trustees:

Lakshman Achuthan '84

New York, NY

Co-Founder & Chief Operations Officer of the Economic Cycle Research Institute

I married another Putneyite in 2001 and work as the managing editor of ECRI's forecasting publications. I also serve as a trustee of the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College.

Wilfredo Benitez '81

Montclair, NJ

Wilfredo Benitez LLC

I've been practicing law since 1993, formed the law firm Wilfredo Benitez, L.L.C. in 2000, and am a member of the CT, NY, NY, and PA. A member of The Putney School Class of 1981, I am also a 1985 graduate of Columbia College and a 1993 graduate of Rutgers Law School, Newark. I was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Harlem, NY and speak fluent Spanish. I live in New Jersey with my wife and three children.

Dinah Buechner-Vischer P'14

Concord, MA

I got to know Putney while my middle son Brendan was a very engaged and happy student here. He just graduated this June. When I describe Putney to people, I always tell them it’s a “joyful” place, the students fascinating, the faculty open minded, and the location heavenly. I am deeply impressed by Emily’s leadership and Putney’s conscientious progressive community of learners and workers.  When I see something I admire I want to be an active part of it, so I offered myself to the Putney Board.

Maeve '16

The Putney School

Student Trustee

Lee Combrinck-Graham '59

Stamford, CT

Medical Director, FSW, Inc., Bridgeport, CT

A member of The Putney School Class of 1959, I am a medical doctor who has also been a psychiatry department faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Hahnemann University, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. I have been a board member of ARI, Inc. (Always Reaching for Independence) since 1999 and secretary of the board since 2002.  Currently, I am medical director of FSW, Inc. (Family Services Woodfield) in Bridgeport, CT.

Tim Daly '74, P'07

Santa Monica, CA


I was born in New York City and now reside between Los Angeles and Vermont. I am an actor, director, producer, and the president of The Creative Coalition, a national, non-profit arts advocacy organization. I am on the board of Inside Out Writers, an organization dedicated to helping juvenile offenders through creative writing. I am on the board of The Putney School because it had a profoundly positive effect on my life and the life of my daughter.

Freddy Friedman P'12

Southfield, MA

My love for the school and philosophy of the community is what attracted me to this board. The Putney School is dedicated to educating the whole child.

Joshua R. Goldberg '75

New York, NY

Financo, New York

A member of The Putney School Class of 1975, I am one of the founding principals of Financo following its re-establishment as an independent firm in 1989, and serve as its General Counsel and a Managing Director, as well as the Chair of its Engagements Committee.

Stephen Heyneman '61

Nashville, TN

Professor, International Education Policy, Vanderbilt University

I am involved in Putney because it helped shape my own character and because, globally, it may be a unique institution.

Dana Hokin '84

Chicago, IL

CEO, Bitter End Yacht Club International

Though the resort was started by my grandfather, I took the reins 20 years ago, overseeing the company from within its Chicago headquarters. Bitter End has since grown to employ nearly one in every five people on the island of Virgin Gorda — and it now boasts one of the most impressive water-based recreational facilities in the Caribbean.

Libby Holmes P'15, '17

Putney, VT

Director International Student Programs/ ESOL Teacher/
Faculty Trustee

Emily Jones

Putney, VT

Head of School

It is a great honor and a great delight to work with this group of trustees to shape the future of this school - a place that has been so powerful in the lives of so many people, and which holds an important place in progressive educational history.  I did not get to attend Putney as a student, but feel very lucky to be here now.

Mike Keim

Putney, VT

Math Teacher/Faculty Trustee

I am involved with Putney because it might provide a way to make students' education meaningful and effective for the long term.

William P. Kellett G'02, '15

Salisbury, CT


Past President of The Hospital Fund

Bill Kellett graduated with an AB from Harvard University, later earning and M.P.H. from Yale. He was with the investment office at Yale University for a number of years before becoming president of The Hospital Fund, a non-profit corporation that provided investment management services to healthcare organizations. The Hospital Fund was acquired by the Commonfund from which Bill retired in 2003. He maintains an active interest in outdoor activities including hiking and gardening.

Joshua Laughlin '82

Putney, VT

Independent Contractor

I have recently been getting reacquainted with the culture of The Putney School as a result of having two young children growing up in the Putney community. My wife Alice (Class of '86) and I have gotten to know some of the faculty through our shared experience of daycare, school, and community activities. Many of my closest friends date back to my years at Putney from 1978-1982 and I feel that I was well prepared for life's challenges by my Putney experience.

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt '52

Bronx, NY


After Putney, I went to Swarthmore College (B.A., 1956) and the Yale Drama School (M.F.A., '59); spent six months in the U.S. Army Reserve; got a job in book publishing; and went to work for The New York Times in 1965. Between then and now I've written about 4,000 daily book reviews, a couple of hundred obituaries, and three books. I'm married to the writer Natalie Robins. For recreation I fly cast for trout and garden around our house in Riverdale. And very occasionally read a book.

Mollie '15

The Putney School

Student Trustee

I became a trustee because of the incredible insight it gave me to the school I love. To live and study here, and to be privileged to the objective understanding, is an amazing opportunity. I am encouraged to ask questions, and the entire board respects what I have to say and wishes me to speak. We have a unique board, like our school, and I am honored to be a part of it.

William New, Jr.

Palo Alto, CA

Novent Group

My particular interest is in building economically sustainable institutions across multiple dimensions: income stream, diversification, cost control, faculty/staff efficiencies, effective fund raising, and investment strategies. I was founder and executive chairman of Nellcor where I developed the pulse oximeter in use today in virtually every operating room in the world. I have received degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University, his M.D. from Duke University, a Ph.D. in physiology from UCLA, and a master in management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Franz Paasche '79

Riverdale, NY

McKinsey and Company, New York

I graduated from Putney in 1979, Swarthmore College in 1983 and Columbia University School of Law in 1987. Independent of my work as a trustee, I hear a Putney "voice" every day, whispering to me (sometimes loudly) as I raise my children, live in my community, and help conduct the business of my company. The voice reminds me to consider problems from many angles, to respect and value the opinions and labor of others, to try to do as many tasks as I can myself, to cherish nature, and to work to contribute positively to each community in which I am involved.

Peter Pereira '52

Chicago, IL

DePaul University, College of Education (retired)

Putney has had a big influence on my values and commitments to education. By serving on the board, I want to help the school continue to provide an example and inspiration to others and thus have an impact beyond the hilltop.

Robert G. Raynolds '69

Longmont, CO

Consulting Geologist and Research Associate, Denver Museum of Nature and Science

I attended Dartmouth and Stanford and became a geologist. I taught for a year in Pakistan and for another year at Dartmouth. I have worked for the U.S. government, for oil companies, and as an independent geological consultant. I am passionate about teaching and about Putney. As a trustee I hope to champion our great teachers and our great staff, and will strive to ensure that every student at our school is exposed to a comparably extraordinarily rich and fertile medium to the one I knew as a Putney student.

Marni Rosner '69, P'04,'04,'07

Beijing, China/ Putney, VT


I am Carmelita Hinton's granddaughter and the mother of three Putney School graduates. Many schools have wonderful teachers and programs, but The Putney School continues to inspire me because here young people are plunged into a training of their hearts, bodies, and minds that empowers them to take on the greatest challenges facing our world.

Anne Stephens S'54

Vershire, VT

Educator (retired)

I am a retired English teacher and administrator, most recently as director of the Mountain School of Milton Academy. Putney entered my life when I fell in love with David Stephens '54 who loved his time at Putney. His parents, Steve and Isabel, also taught there during the early fifties. I joined the Putney board after he died.

James Thompson '74

Mableton, GA

Thompson, Maxwell-Thompson and Associates, LLC

I've worked as an independent contractor to the U.S. military providing various sorts of help in the social services field and have managed the training of National Guard soldiers and airmen in the field of victim advocacy and first responder services. I graduated with a degree in political science from Lake Forest College and a masters of science in clinical psychology from Benedictine University.

Iris Wang P'16

Beijing, China/ Putney, VT


As someone who works in education and non-profit development, I see progressive education not only as innovations in pedagogy but also as engines for social change. The Putney School is progressive in both senses. I feel lucky to be here.

Ira T. Wender P'77,'89

New York, NY

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

I was introduced to The Putney School on arrival at Swarthmore College in the fall of 1942. A number of my friends at college were graduates of Putney and, as my wife, Phyllis, has observed, it became the school I always wished I had attended. I have been on the board almost continuously since 1985. I have practiced law from 1949 to date with several interruptions, including work as assistant director of the Harvard Law School International Program in Taxation from 1953-55. I am of counsel to my law firm, Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler LLP, having retired as a partner in 1995.

Tonia Wheeler P'99

Brattleboro, VT

Head of School (retired), Hilltop Montessori, Brattleboro, VT

In 2005 I retired after 22 years as head of Hilltop Montessori School in Brattleboro, VT. I returned as interim head for the 2012-2013 school year. Besides being the parent of Suzannah '99 who was a student trustee and loved Putney, I have watched many Hilltop students thrive at Putney in the broad variety of challenges that Putney offers.




Trustees Emeriti

  • Barbara Barnes '41
  • Kate Ganz Belin '62
  • Joan Farr '49
  • Sarah Gray Gund '60
  • George Heller '42, P'70, '72, '74, '79, G'99, '01*
  • Kendall Landis '42, P'73, '79
  • Bici Binger Pettit-Barron '48, P'77, '79, G'07



The Putney School | Elm Lea Farm, 418 Houghton Brook Road, Putney, Vermont 05346-8675
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