2007-08: Report from the Chair of the Board

Many thanks to the entire Putney community for supporting the school this year with your gifts of time, expertise, and resources. Despite a difficult economy, your financial contributions set another record year for the annual fund and doubled the annual gifts to the endowment fund. Putney ended the year with a balanced budget and an increased endowment fund, not to mention educating 226 students to be the future keepers of our world.

It was an exciting year at Putney as we welcomed our ninth director, Emily Jones, and her husband Gordon. As chair of the Search Committee, it was my pleasure to work with many members of the Putney community in the intensive search process, and the success of Emily's first year is a great indicator that the community and committee chose wisely. I speak for the entire board when I say that it has been a pleasure to work with Emily this year and we are thankful for all the support that Emily has received from the community. I would also like to thank Emily, the board and the community for their support in my first year as chair of the board of trustees.

The board was involved in two significant accomplishments this year. This spring the board adopted our Strategic Plan for 2008-2013, completing a process that began over two years ago with much input and insight from so many people. It was particularly important that we were able to incorporate Emily's vision for Putney in the final document. (The Strategic Plan can be found in the spring 2008 Putney Post at our web site.) In broad terms, we identified the following priorities to guide Putney over the next five years: commitment to excellence, sustainability, cultural fluency, and external relations and development. Throughout the strategic planning process, it was clear that Putney's mission and Carmelita Hinton's beliefs in founding the school are as relevant and sound today as they have always been.

In June the board approved the construction of the Field House to commence this fall. Our Building Committee worked closely with Bill Maclay and Associates and the campus community to develop several options for the board's consideration. Many charrettes were held on campus to develop ideas on every aspect of the building and its location. I am very pleased to report that the board has chosen a building that will be a living classroom of sustainability, capable of producing as much energy as it consumes while providing a much-needed space for the physical and social well-being of students and staff. Such high goals, including a minimum Gold LEED rating, have increased the cost of the building to construct. Remaining consistent with our mission of teaching sustainability, the savings in operating costs over time, and the generous initial support from major donors made the additional investment obvious. Many thanks to all of you who have already helped this project move from a dream to reality. By June we had raised $4.1 million of the $6.7 million budgeted for the project. Raising the remaining $2.5 million will require the support of the entire Putney community. All going well, we hope to complete this building by the fall of 2009.

As we begin to look forward to celebrating Putney's 75th anniversary in 2010, we can be proud of Putney's unique position as one of America's oldest progressive schools. With leadership from Emily and support of our community we have the opportunity to advance our progressive vision and secure our place in an increasingly challenging environment for boarding schools.

With your continued support, we will sustain our commitment to the arts and land-use programs that distinguish us, and offer an educational experience that is outstanding and that teaches and enriches the lives of young people in ways that are not possible elsewhere.

Thank you for your support.

Matthew Lorentzen '81

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