Welcome from the Head of School

I remember the first time I heard of The Putney School. I was young and idealistic, at the beginning of my career in education. I envied a community that valued work alongside academics, that prioritized laughter and relationships. I admired Putney’s commitment to the farm, the natural world, and the arts as vehicles to help adolescents realize their potential and contribute to the greater good. I wanted all schools to emulate Putney, to understand that students needed real responsibility to achieve great outcomes. “This is it,” I thought. “This is where I want to work.”

I am honored, humbled, and excited to serve as Putney’s head of school. All around me, I see a community committed to Putney’s mission. Faculty and staff are working to imagine inventive and progressive teaching methods that address what students need to excel, as learners today and as future leaders who will grapple with some of the world’s greatest challenges. This thriving community lifts the individuals who give so much to it.

Putney is in a position of strength and can take tremendous pride in its accomplishments. At the same time, if we are to live Putney’s Fundamental Beliefs, there will always be work to do. This is how we learn. If, like me, you find this invigorating, Putney may be the home for you. I invite you to join us. 


Danny O’Brien
Head of School 

About Danny

Danny O’Brien joined Putney in 2022 as the tenth Head of School. With deep roots in Vermont, he’s served as a history teacher, wilderness leader, director of admissions, and head of school at the High Mountain Institute in Colorado. Living on campus with his wife Ellie and his children Vivie and Henry, O’Brien leads our progressive education vision as a robust, diverse, equitable and inclusive community.

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