Emily started her education career at the Maru a Pula school in Gaborone, Botswana. After an interval in the United States (studying at Yale and teaching at the Taft School), she and her husband, Gordon, founded the American Pacific International School in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Immediately prior to coming to Putney, Emily headed the upper school at the Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon.
In most cultures in most periods of history, adolescents have not been considered ‘children’ as they are now in the US. They have been working, contributing to their families and communities. I believe it’s a great gift to adolescents to allow them to be useful, to be genuinely needed. At Putney, students work alongside us on the farm, in the kitchen, and in the woods. Usually it’s a lot of fun; sometimes it’s also very hard. That is invaluable.
I also believe that one of the best gifts that a parent can give their child is to put them in the company of smart adults who like teenagers. One of the aspects of Putney that most delights me is that the adults really want to spend time with the students. They want to learn with them and to work and play with them. Putney alumni tell me that they remember their years here as the single most pivotal, transformative time in their lives. It was a time when they felt respected and they learned to think, ask good questions, and participate fully. That suggests that Putney is a far cry from the kind of school that teaches students how to quickly and correctly answer questions on a multiple choice test.