The Frederick Gunn School
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The Frederick Gunn School: Led by the best

The role of a head of school is of utmost importance in any educational institution. In schools, they serve as leaders and chief executives, transcending mere administrative duties and playing a crucial role in shaping the overall vision, direction, and success of the institution. Ultimately, they set the overall tone while ensuring every ambitious learner receives the extraordinary educational journey they deserve.

Knowing this, The Frederick Gunn School — a co-ed boarding and day school for 325 students in grades nine to 12 — appointed its Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning, Emily Raudenbush Gum, after conducting a global search for a new Head of School last winter.

“She is about learning; she is about education; she is about the values that Abigail and Frederick Gunn thought about 173 years ago,” says Jonathan Tisch ’72, Executive Chair of the Head of School Search Committee. To Gum, “Yes” was the only answer. Her appreciation for the school’s long, rich legacy of excellence dates back to her very first day on campus.

“Frederick and Abigail’s vision first captured my imagination six years ago,” she explains. “And my commitment to the school hasn’t wavered. What we stand for is rare and beautiful. We believe that the world needs us to be people who are always learning, not fixed in our mindsets but open, striving to understand ourselves and others.”

It all begins with a quality education. With over 120 unique courses and 35 Advanced Placement & honours classes, The Frederick Gunn School’s philosophy is focused on challenging academics that encourage character development, curiosity, risk-taking, problem-solving, and independent thinking. Currently, 325 students are broadening their intellectual horizons here — all of whom will graduate to join a global network of 5,530 thriving alumni.

The Frederick Gunn School

As the 12th head of school, Emily Raudenbush Gum is committed to upholding the school’s values. Source: The Frederick Gunn School

Gum has a clear vision for the future, which will include leveraging this network to advance the school as a whole. “I am thrilled to be able to step into the leadership of this work, setting our standards high and getting on the road to share our story and build partnerships with our alumni and friends,” she says.

Beyond building partnerships with alumni, Gum will focus her attention on keeping the school’s on-campus community as close-knit as it has always been. Located 90 miles from New York City on a 220-acre campus, The Frederick Gunn School has long believed in the significance of human connection. Guided by this ethos, Gum aims to preserve and nurture them as beacons of open-mindedness and open-heartedness — poised to shape a world infused with compassion, empathy, and boundless potential.

While some might think this is asking too much of high schoolers, Gum believes The Frederick Gunn School’s students can do anything. Here, they are encouraged to embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery, honing their unique learning styles, exploring their passions, and nurturing a deep sense of purpose in the world. Educators view learners as catalysts for pioneering civic-minded impact, driving innovative change in their communities and beyond. In order to nurture and cultivate this potential, the school maintains an average class size of 12, coupled with an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1. This way, students receive prersonalised attention while happily extracting the utmost value from their educational experience.

“When they are on the field, they represent Gunn with pride, fair play and grit,” she says. “On the stage, they lead with heart; in our classrooms, they are explorers. Our students are amazing, not because they’re perfect, but because they are capable and committed. And that’s what we’re all here for.”

The Frederick Gunn School

Students experience a balanced educational experience at The Frederick Gunn School. Source: The Frederick Gunn School

Of course, it’s not all about the development of skills and the acquisition of knowledge here. The Frederick Gunn School understands students must have healthy balances and positive relationships to grow and evolve.

“We believe in fun and rest as essential to living a well and happy life,” Gum explains. “We understand that competition and risk-taking build our resiliency and determination. We accept that no community can exist without a bedrock of trust. And so we commit ourselves to building trusting relationships between students and teachers.”

With Gum at the helm, The Frederick Gunn School is heading for great success. Her passion and drive for creating the ultimate schooling experience is something that students will benefit from — and faculty, too.

“The leaders of this school are among the very best at work in schools today, and leading and collaborating with that group will be an incredible experience,” she says. “I am grateful to the board and the search committee for this opportunity. And I am inspired and clear-eyed for the task before us.”

For a virtual tour of The Frederick Gunn School, click here.

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