Congratulations to the entire, greater Putney School community for reaching and surpassing our very ambitious 2006 Annual Fund goal! Meeting the Annual Fund goal contributed significantly to our balancing the budget for the tenth consecutive year. This was no small feat, especially by the development office team, who had to deal with the simultaneous end-of-year departures of Development Director Doug Gortner and Annual Fund Director Alicia Connors. We offer both of them all good wishes in their new professional pursuits.
Taking over the director of development position is Christie Baskett, who comes to us from the Greenhill School in Dallas, Texas, where she served three years as director of development, followed by five more as chief advancement officer. During her tenure at Greenhill, Christie managed a $25 million capital campaign with over 70 volunteers and exceeded an $8.5 million goal of major gifts for a new athletic center and $1.1 million goal for a new tennis center. Christie also increased annual giving by 65 percent. It appears that our fundraising efforts are in good hands.
Other end-of-year departures include Jazz Instructor Don Glasgo, interim Dean of Students Mary Jenkins, and Spanish Instructor Kathryn Tolbert. History Instructor Kristin Dawley will be away next year on a combination maternity/sabbatical leave, and English Instructor Jay Jenkins will be away on a personal leave of absence. Most of these positions we are filling by redeploying current employees, and other new hires will be announced shortly.
New additions to the faculty and administration include Dean of Students Ben Freeman, fresh from the Klingenstein graduate program at Columbia, and College Counselor Jennifer DesMaisons. Jennifer comes to us from Marlboro College where she was associate director of admissions. Jennifer will work closely with Joyce Vining Morgan this year in Joyce’s semi-retired state. Putney celebrates Joyce’s recognition by the New England Association of College Admission Counseling (NEACAC) by virtue of her receiving the Harry S. Carroll Award for contributions to the profession.
Much of the community’s energy was focused this year on our efforts to begin a long-range strategic planning process. The school community produced five excel- lent task force reports, which are now in the hands of the board of trustees. The board is in the process of undertaking further research and identifying the critical choices to be made in order to present a final strategic plan later this year.
Meanwhile, the search committee for a new school director under the direction of Committee Chair Matt Lorentzen ’81 is making good progress. The position has been advertised nationally and the search consultant is already receiving appli- cations. The school is arguably in the strongest condition it has ever been and the committee is optimistic that the search will attract many first-rate candidates. This will be my twelfth and final year at Putney and I intend to enjoy it immensely.
I expect to visit a number of alumni around the country, and I look forward to the usual high points of the Putney annual cycle of events. At some point in the school year, before too long, I especially look forward to briefing my successor on the joys of being director of this very special school on a hill. I am confident that the alumni and friends of The Putney School will continue to support this remark- able school and its director, both financially and in spirit.