Welcome From Our Head of School

Emily Raudenbush Gum

Welcome to The Frederick Gunn School!

As I look toward the coming years, what I see is that there is no boarding school in the world more sincerely focused on the future of education than The Frederick Gunn School, while remaining true to our founding ideals. 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. We believe that high school students have incredible capacity to learn about themselves, how they best learn and grow, to investigate what they care most about in the world, and to set themselves on a path towards innovative, civic-minded impact in the world. We believe in fun and rest as essential to living a well and happy life. We understand that competition and risk-taking build our determination and resilience. 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. This kind of earnest idealism is hard to find, but it was all laid out for us when Frederick and Abigail Gunn set themselves the task of putting into place what they called “an ideal of a school.”

We work hard, compete fiercely, and have a lot of fun. This is what it means to have the heart of a Highlander.

If you want to understand what commitment to seeing our founding values brought up to 21st century standards looks like, we have been gifted this embodiment in the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Center for Innovation and Active Citizenship, set to open in January 2024 right in the heart of campus. With “The Lizzie,” our academic spaces on campus will clearly rival any school in the country. This building is the new hub between the Quad, Bourne, and the Glade, and it activates a greenway from the new upper parking lot down through the Quad and across to the athletic campus. I sincerely welcome you here to experience the transformation.It is our students who drive our ambitious focus on the future. Highlanders are incredible kids. They are open-minded and openhearted, and they are looking to be a force for good in the world. When they are on the field, they represent Gunn with pride, fair play, and grit. On the stage, they lead with heart. In our classrooms, they are explorers.

Our students are amazing not because they are perfect, but because they are capable and committed, and that’s what we are all here for. We are a school that cultivates confident and caring young adults to thrive as innovative, active citizens. We are a community built on the belief that trust between students and teachers cultivates a life of learning and strength of character. We work hard, compete fiercely, and have a lot of fun. This is what it means to have the heart of a Highlander  If you have not been to campus, please schedule a visit. We hope you see yourself here.

Always learning,

Emily Raudenbush Gum

About Emily Raudenbush Gum

Emily Raudenbush Gum became The Frederick Gunn School’s 12th Head of School in 2023. A graduate of The Hill School, Emily holds a Master of Arts with Joint Honours in International Relations and Theological Studies from the University of St. Andrews. Following the completion of her studies in Scotland, Emily earned a Master of Philosophy in Theology and Religion, with distinction, from the University of Oxford in England. Currently, she is nearing the defense of her Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford, where she has presented her thesis, “The Role of Identity Formation in the Education of Children.”

Emily joined the Gunn community in 2018 as Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning. Among the most transformational impacts of her leadership in this role was to define school founder Frederick Gunn’s educational philosophy for the 21st century as four pillars — learning yourself and how to learn; risk taking and innovation; a sense of rootedness and place; and public character and active citizenship. As a member of the school’s Senior Team, Emily engaged in all strategic planning and initiatives. She developed a comprehensive set of objectives on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which were adopted by the Board in 2020. She was a key contributor in the initiative to write the school’s current Core Values, the most recent review of our Strategic Plan, and actively engaged in marketing and enrollment strategies.

Prior to joining The Frederick Gunn School, Emily served in several leadership roles with the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture (IASC) at the University of Virginia and its affiliate foundations over a 13-year period. During her tenure, she achieved a multi-million dollar fundraising initiative, managed daily operations and annual budgets, accomplished branding work focusing on inclusivity, edited The Hedgehog Review, launched a social impact non-profit, and wrote and spoke about ethics, character education, contemporary social and political theory, religion, questions of identity and diversity, and educational theory.

Emily and her husband, Wheeler, are the proud parents of two young children, Hezze and George.