Gum named assistant head of school at Gunnery
Published 12:00 am, Thursday, January 18, 2018
The Gunnery in Washington has named Emily Gum of Charlottesville, Va., as assistant head of school for teaching and learning effective July 1.
Gum’s appointment follows an intensive, three-month search process that attracted a diverse pool of applicants from across the country and around the world to The Gunnery, a coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school founded in 1850 by educator, abolitionist and outdoorsman Frederick Gunn.
“Emily is a boarding school graduate who brings to this position, and to our school, her leadership and management experience and skills within academia, as well as a philosophy of education that is deeply aligned with Frederick Gunn’s focus on moral character, citizenship, and the formative power of schools — boarding schools in particular,” said Head of School Peter Becker.
“She is skilled at turning ideas into action, and is, in her words, ‘driven to make the theoretical practical,’ ” Becker said.
“She has a gift for listening and learning across disciplines and for implementation, and managing change,” he said.
“She is also passionate about the outdoors, which is a key component of the educational philosophy of Frederick Gunn with regard to the development of character and preparation for life,” Becker said.
“Following his example from the earliest days of our school, we strive to support our students in the development of character and citizenship — the active life — as much as the life of the mind at The Gunnery today,” he said.
Gum serves as interim executive director of New City Commons, a nonprofit organization in Charlottesville that “seeks to support institutional leaders in the work of reimagining the common good, reinvigorating cultural institutions, and renewing civic life.”
She previously served as managing director there.
Before that, she worked at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia in multiple roles, including as managing editor of The Hedgehog Review, an academic journal discussing contemporary culture.
One of the first 91 girls to matriculate at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., Gum was captain of the varsity field hockey team for three years, played lacrosse and squash, and ran track.
Gum credits the caliber of The Hill faculty and their commitment and care for giving her “a compelling vision for what schools can be.”
“It is with this experience in mind that I am excited by the opportunity to serve the faculty and students of The Gunnery in the same way,” she said.
“The Gunnery stands for educating whole students: to be knowledgeable citizens with coherent leadership capabilities, honed civic sensibilities, and a commitment to the character of lifelong learning,” Gum said.
“This is a compelling vision and is an important counterpoint to many of the leading public narratives for the purposes of education in America today, whether those narratives are driven by job readiness, global competition, or techno-utopia,” she said.
After graduating from The Hill School, Gum earned her undergraduate degree in international relations and theological studies from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, graduating with joint honors.
She received a master’s of philosophy in theology and religion, passing with distinction, from the University of Oxford.
She is working toward a doctor of philosophy in ethics from the University of Oxford based on her dissertation, “Neighbors, Virtues, and Schools as Civic Spaces.”
In her new role at The Gunnery, Gum will be a senior member of the school’s leadership team and share responsibility with the Head of School for defining The Gunnery’s vision for academics and intellectual life within the context of the school’s mission and strategic goals.
She will be charged primarily with oversight of the school’s academic office, including curriculum development and management of the day-to-day details of student scheduling and parental inquiries, lead the curriculum committee, serve as a member of the Campus Life Committee and Core Administrative Council, be a student advisor and teach one class per term.
Gum and her husband, Wheeler, engage in outdoor pursuits, including hiking, Nordic skiing and canoeing, and in different seasons have enjoyed running and yoga.
They have a son, Hezze, 1.