2006-07: Report from The Director

Congratulations to the entire, greater Putney School community for reaching and surpassing our very ambitious 2006-’07 Annual Fund goal! Exceeding the Annual Fund goal contributed significantly to our balancing the budget for the eleventh consecutive year. This was no small feat, especially by the Development Office, which has coalesced into a smooth running, highly-effective team under the guidance of first-year Director of Development Christie Baskett.

In addition to surpassing such an impressive annual fund goal, it is very gratifying to observe that Putney’s endowment is now valued at $20 million.

The Putney School has, indeed, become a much more robust institution in the past decade or more, and I feel privileged to have been director during this time of consolidation and foundation-building for the future. Other highlights of this past decade include:

  • Significant strengthening of the educational program, thanks to our seasoned and dedicated faculty and to a creative and talented student body. Senior Exhibitions and Project Week performances and displays have rarely been so impressive. It is also still a point of pride that so many college admission directors save applications from Putney students for the end of the day, confident of the uplifting experience that they so often provide.
  • Mrs. Hinton’s Fundamental Principles have become arguably even more pertinent today than they were at the school’s founding. Everything we do at Putney revolves around those compelling principles. Putney has never had to redefine its identity, nor should it have to in the future.
  • The Work Program continues to be a defining feature of the educational program. The Farm, especially, once at risk of being closed down, has regained its milk processing plant and students produce much of the food that we consume in the KDU. A recent development is the on-site production of biodiesel that powers our farm equipment.
  • Wind generators and photovoltaic installations are now a visible reminder of the school’s imperative to steward our natural resources. Putney’s talented physical plant crew has retrofitted our many buildings to such an extent that, while square footage has doubled in the past decade, fuel oil consumption has not increased.
  • The arts are ever more central to our educational program. The quality of our music, drama, dance and visual art is enviable and the instructors are masters at awakening the talent that lies deep within our young charges.
  • While Putney students no longer populate Olympic ski teams, the occasional student still qualifies for regional and even national skiing or rowing competitions.
  • Many Putney students have explored other cultures as participants in exchange programs with schools in France, Switzerland, Russia, and Kazakhstan, or on school sponsored educational/service trips to Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Nepal, and Ghana.
  • For three consecutive years, Putney has represented Vermont at the World Affairs Council National Academic WorldQuest contest in Washington, DC.
  • The Putney School is once again a presence in national arenas, be it as a presenter at a national conference, or as an invited participant on a national task force examining standardized testing. On a regional level, Putney faculty members have been active on visiting accreditation committees.

It has been a rare privilege to have witnessed Putney’s growth over the past twelve years from my perspective as its eighth director. But, one must not be tempted into complacency.

Boarding tuition, the average income for a Vermont family of four, and the average Putney faculty salary are all just about the same dollar figure nowadays. This state of affairs is simply unsustainable. While Putney’s endowment has reached a record $20 million, it is not nearly enough to offset the pressure on tuition revenues to finance faculty salaries and growing financial aid needs. Whatever final shape the school’s long-range plan takes, central to that plan must inevitably be an urgent campaign to build the endowment.

Putney is poised to become once again a beacon of educational opportunity and to become the school of choice for discriminating families. I am confident that the alumni and friends of The Putney School will continue to support this remarkable school and its ninth director, both financially and in spirit.

Brian Morgan

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