Incoming Head of School: Mrs. Gum 

2 mins read

By Jenny Macler ’23

Mrs. Gum, current Associate Head of School for Teaching and Learning, was announced as the next Frederick Gunn Head of School on March 25, 2023.  The announcement came out in an email to all constituencies over spring break and was formally announced during a school meeting in late March.

The search process lasted many months and spanned across the globe, but according to the committee, Mrs. Gum exhibited the characteristics of “academic excellence, visionary leadership, and integrity” that the Board of Trustees sought.  Mrs. Gum found the process to be comprehensive and purposeful, commenting that “There was a part of it that was really life-giving and fun because I got to talk to all kinds of people who really love the school and want what’s best for the school and a part of it that demanded my best.”  The search committee prioritized the wants of the community by searching for the qualities found most important in a survey that was sent out to the FGS community.  The committee showed their eagerness to carry out the will of the school and Mrs. Gum mirrors this ambition.

Prior to coming to Gunn, Mrs. Gum worked with a research group at the University of Virginia, where she also launched a non-profit.  She is currently working on her Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford.  

Mrs. Gum will be leaving her current position in academics and, although she enjoys her work, she is proud to be the incoming head of school. “I’m really eager to help the school move into all of its potential and have a really strong future.”  In order to do this, Mrs Gum says what’s most important is  “staying true to who we are.”

In stepping into the position of Head of School, Mrs. Gum calls on the student body to help.“I will need you to tell me how you think the school is doing.”  She added, “I’m interested in student voices.  For instance, how do we make sure that students are helping us understand what the student experience is and get feedback?”  Mrs. Gum credits her current advisees with helping her in this task of staying connected to the student body.  Mrs. Gum believes that the past successes of the school and the future possibilities are really about staying connected.  “The best components that you can possibly have at a school is figuring out how to stay connected to your past and to your community and to your story and be constantly asking what we need to do to make sure our students are thriving.”

Mrs. Gum is also extremely enthusiastic about the new Center for Innovation and Active Citizenship due to open next school year. “I think it embodies a lot that we stand for as a school right in the heart of campus.  It’s a sustainable building, it’s a contemporary forward looking building, it is a place where we’re asking questions about citizenship and what impact kids are going to have in the future alongside the sciences and engineering.” She also issues a challenge to the student body in regards to the much anticipated robot: to build our own.  

Mrs. Gum, in furthering the betterment of our school says, “I want us always to be learning and asking ourselves what we don’t know yet and I want the administration and faculty to always be ourselves modeling what it means to be living an open-minded and curious life.”

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