New Faces at Gunn: New Faculty Profiles

5 mins read

By Corbin Carkner and Karl Hammer ’25

The 2023-2024 school year at the Frederick Gunn School has officially kicked off, and with it comes a new crop of FGS faculty members. Varying from math teachers to strength coaches, the Frederick Gunn School is proud to welcome the new staff who are excited to share their experience and expertise.

The newest addition to the math faculty is Mr. Jiang. Born in Qingdao, China, Mr. Jiang moved to Shanghai for elementary school before attending Trinity-Pawling School for four years in New York. Mr. Jiang graduated from Trinity-Pawling as class valedictorian in 2019. He then graduated from UCLA in June of 2023, majoring in psychology and minoring in statistics. Becoming a teacher interested Mr. Jiang, as he wanted a hands-on experience in education before attaining his goals of a master’s degree and license in psychology. Mr. Jiang is interested in psychology and helping students become their best selves. Choosing to teach at a boarding school, Mr. Jiang gets “a holistic experience” by being able to live the day-to-day life with students. Mr. Jiang’s first weeks, characterized by the enthusiastic and passionate atmosphere of the campus, make him excited for what the future holds at Gunn.

An exciting addition to the Center of Entrepreneurship is Mr. Rees. Having grown up in Germany on the German-Danish border, Mr. Rees got a law degree in Germany before earning a Masters in International Relations at Tufts University and an MBA at École des Ponts ParisTech. Though Mr. Rees says he has “never taught in a high school setting before,” he is certain he will quickly learn how to inspire the young minds at Gunn. For quite some time, Mr. Rees has lived in the Washington Area, which is how he connected with the Frederick Gunn School. The more he learned about the school, the more he became impressed and eager to be part of the community. Mr. Rees describes his first weeks as having been a “whirlwind of activity and learning.” Ready for what the future holds at Gunn, Mr. Rees is always excited to tell his family about his day.

One of the newest additions to the history department is Dr. Durning. Originally from Pelham, New York, Dr. Durning was raised in and around New York City. He attended Regis High School in Manhattan, where he ran cross country. He then attended Duke University, studying physics and philosophy, before receiving his Ph.D in Philosophy from Brown University. With an interest in making the world a better place through the study of philosophy and an interest in understanding fundamental truths about the universe through the study of physics, Dr. Durning quickly found himself interested in teaching. Dr. Durning teaches economics and history at Gunn, passionately teaching students how to be able to think critically about important issues. When at Brown, Dr. Durning’s wife got a job teaching at St. George’s School. Living on campus, this experience gave Dr. Durning his first whiff of boarding school life. Attracted to the philosophy of Mr. Gunn, Dr. Durning is quickly finding himself at home here at The Frederick Gunn School.

Another new addition to the history department is Mr. Braithwaite. Mr. Braithwaite grew up in Milton, Massachusetts, south of Boston. He attended Milton High School, where he graduated in 2019. Mr. Braithwaite graduated from Bates College, where he was an avid rower for their Crew Team. Mr. Braithewaite has experience with teaching, coaching, and counseling. Having been a camp counselor and Sunday School teacher, Mr. Braithwaite loves to teach. Most importantly, he wants every student to be the best student they can be. Majoring in history and economics, it was at Bates College where he met a fellow rower and Frederick Gunn graduate who connected him to the school. Mr. Braithwaite underlines the wonderful experience he has had in his first weeks, mentioning the welcoming and positive attitudes of Gunn students and faculty.

Miss Dest has lived up in Bantam, CT, for her whole life and will be our new librarian this year. She has three siblings and attended Litchfield High School, a short drive from Gunn. Right after COVID-19, Dest graduated from college, where she majored in journalism. Miss Dest’s favorite book is The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde. She has always loved reading, writing, and working with kids. Her favorite part about working in the library is helping and referencing students with books. It’s her first private school setting, and she loves it here so far. “I just love the values of the school; everyone is friends with everyone and so kind and polite. It’s a real and true community.” Miss Dest is a great attribute to Gunn, and she is very happy and excited to be here.

The new Strength and Conditioning Coach at The Frederick Gunn School is Mr. Josh Bannon. He grew up and went to school in Western Massachusetts and received his bachelor’s and undergraduate degrees at Westfield State University. He then got his Masters degree at Sacred Heart University in Exercise Science and Nutrition. Mr. Bannon has always been into fitness ever since he was 12 or 13 years old. He started working in a team atmosphere in his junior year of college. Bannon interned at Yale, working with the football and lacrosse teams. He eventually got into boarding schools because he claimed, “I find in this age group that an instructor can really affect younger kids as they start to work on body mechanics awareness and then start to progress quite quickly through the year.” After Bannon’s year at Avon Old Farms, he knew that he really loved working with boarding students. Over the summer, he heard about the full-time job here as a strength coach, and he couldn’t think of a better place to be.” The Frederick Gunn School is lucky to have such a dedicated strength coach.

Mr. DePreter grew up in Chicago with one brother, who is now a lawyer. He says, “I explored lots with my brother around the world. During high school, Mr. DePreter worked at day camps and has always enjoyed working with kids. Mr. DePreter received his Master’s Degree from Truman State College and started teaching during grad school. He did both indoor and outdoor teaching in Maryland. Then, he taught and trained in Uganda on a goat farm. He learned many things while working in Uganda. Mr. DePreter has lots of passion and positivity in the classroom and has already become a favorite teacher here at FGS. Mr. Depreter states, “My favorite part about teaching is having the chance to see students grow over time. Younger people help me realize that today is what matters.”

Before Mr. Schatz arrived at The Frederick Gunn School, he studied at two outstanding universities: the University of Oregon, and Boston College. He first studied mathematics at the University of Oregon, where he received a bachelor’s degree. Then Mr. Schatz received his master’s from Boston College in philosophy. He claims he never really knew he was going to become a teacher, but he just started “stepping into it.” Mr. Schatz stated, “Once I found the topic I was interested in, the teaching kind of came along naturally.” When asked what made him decide to come to Frederick Gunn,  he shared, “Immediately as I stepped foot on campus, it just felt right for me. Everyone made a really good impression, I enjoyed talking with everybody. It was only good things.” The Highlander News Network welcomes Mr. Schatz and hopes he continues to have a wonderful time at our great school. 

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