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    Each season we have the privilege of interviewing hundreds of potential trip leaders, all of whom are qualified college graduates, excited to share their specific passions and expertise. Of these inspiring candidates, we choose only those who best combine the practical knowledge of place, language, and culture with a deep desire to share such experiences with Putney Students and the leadership tools to do so effectively.

    This powerful combination means Putney leaders are friends, mentors, cheerleaders, role-models, experts, and travelers, all rolled into one. They know that a Putney experience doesn’t end with the plane ride home — that their advice, perspective, support, and camaraderie often form part of a life-long connection. It is, in our view, the single most important ingredient in the recipe for “Putney magic.”

    Below we feature stories, interviews, and highlights of past and present leaders. We also encourage you to read through the bios of all our leaders from last summer (a majority return each year) on the leader bio page.

    • Featured Leaders •


    Ben Gardner, a leader of Putney’s Community Service Tanzania program for much of the 1990s, recently published his book, Selling the Serengeti: The Cultural Politics of Safari TourismIn his book, Ben explores varying approaches to community conservation and their impacts on northern Tanzania’s pastoralist, Maasai people.


    Sasha Milonova, a three-time Putney leader, recently earned a master’s degree from the London School of Economics. We caught up with Sasha to discuss her academic focus, her own formative experience with community service, and her thoughts on the valuable impact that conscientious travel can have on students.


    Ben Karl has led Putney programs to Paris and France since 2011, making him a big part of our leader family. Read on to hear about how he started a business as a translator, his perspective on the one real commonality among all Putney students, and how Putney trips are like “potions of experiences.”



    More Leader Spotlights


    Alum-Turned-Leader Spotlight: Dagan Rossini

    In 2007 Dagan Rossini traveled with Putney on a community service program in Senegal. Nearly a decade later, Dagan returned to the Putney fold in a new role — as a leader for our community service program in Ghana. Read our interview with him to hear about his... read more

    Leader Spotlight: Julia Drake

    We spoke recently with veteran leader Julia Drake, a published writer who has led Putney Language Learning trips to Spain for several years. Read on to hear about her current writings, how travel taught her to “find joy in the unexpected detour,” and how Putney... read more

    Leader Spotlight: Nick Wolters

      Nick Wolters has led Putney Language Learning programs in Spain and Costa Rica. We spoke with him recently and he shared his thoughts on the value of learning a foreign language, the benefits of Putney’s immersive approach to travel and language learning, and a... read more

    Interview: Writing in Prague Guest Writer B.J. Hollars

    We are thrilled to announce that author and educator B.J. Hollars will join us as the Guest Writer for our 2016 Writing in Prague program! Our two-week summer program for high school students offers young writers individual and small-group instruction in all genres as... read more

    Long-time Putney Tanzania Leader Publishes Book

    Ben Gardner, a leader of Putney’s Community Service Tanzania program for much of the 1990s, recently had his book, Selling the Serengeti: The Cultural Politics of Safari Tourism, published by the University of Georgia Press. The book has already received exceptional... read more

    An Interview with Jessica Lee Richardson

    We are thrilled to announce that author and educator Jessica Lee Richardson will join us as the Guest Writer for our 2016 Writing in Ireland program! Based in Dublin and Ireland’s western coast, our two-week summer program for high school students offers young writers... read more

    Meet the Pre-College at Amherst College Instructors

    Our Pre-College instructors return to Putney high school summer programs year after year because they love each summer’s possibilities. Instructors are dedicated to collaborating with students and catering to their interests —  creating unique, engaging curriculum,... read more

    Pre-College Paris with Director Ben Karl

    Originally from upstate New York, Ben first fell in love with France during a three-week family trip in 2002. After high school, he was a Rotary Youth Exchange student in rural France, further solidifying his love for French language and culture. He attended McGill... read more

    We <3 Our Leaders

    In honor of Valentine’s Day this past weekend, we want to celebrate the many people who make our programs special. At the top of the list are our amazing leaders, who are not only well-rounded college graduates and experienced travelers, but also mentors, teachers,... read more

    Leader Story: Finding Wildness & Solitude in Costa Rica

    After directing our Middle School Costa Rica program this summer, Putney leader Ansley Rubinstein spent time exploring the Osa Peninsula, the southernmost region of the country. While there, she stayed with local Ticos in mountainside cabins without electricity, went... read more

    Leader Matthew Salesses Publishes New Novel

    We caught up with author and veteran Putney leader Matthew Salesses to talk about his forthcoming novel The Hundred-Year Flood. Due out in August, Matt’s first full-length novel is a coming-of-age story set in Prague, where he lived for a year and also led our Writing... read more

    Art and Architecture with George Philip LeBourdais

    A native Mainer, George Philip loves being in museums almost as much as being outdoors. His research, writing, and photography have led him from the mountains of Switzerland, where he was a Fulbright Scholar, to the coast of California, where he now resides. George... read more

    Featured Instructors: Pre-College at Amherst College

    Pre-College instructors return to Putney high school summer programs year after year because they love each summer’s possibilities. Instructors are dedicated to collaborating with students and catering to their interests —  creating unique, engaging curriculum,... read more

    Pre-College at Amherst College with Carter Carter

    We recently caught up with Carter Carter, a three-time Putney student in high school, and longtime Putney community service leader and Pre-College at Amherst College psychology instructor. Carter is a clinical social worker and psychotherapist who maintains a clinical... read more

    Global Action Leader Launches Anti-Poaching Campaign

    As we put the final touches on our programs for this summer, we are excited to share stories from some of our amazing leaders who bring together Putney’s detailed planning and in-country connections, along with their love of education and travel, to create the Putney... read more

    Writing in Ireland Guest Writer Megan Mayhew Bergman

    In Honor of #StPatricksDay, Please Welcome Writing in Ireland Guest Writer Megan Mayhew Bergman! We are thrilled to announce that author and educator Megan Mayhew Bergman will join us as the guest writer for our 2015 Writing in Ireland program! Based in Dublin and... read more

    An Interview with Alan Huffman

    We are excited to announce that Alan Huffman will join us as the guest writer for our 2015 Writing in the American South program. Based in New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta, this two-week summer program for high school students is designed to give young writers... read more

    Top 10 Colleges Represented by Putney Leaders

    Putney Student Travel leaders and Putney Pre-College instructors come from all walks of life. They distinguish themselves in fields ranging from the arts and athletics to journalism, law, medicine, and international development. Collectively, the leaders from our... read more

    Author Tim Weed Talks Books, Travel, and Writing

    We caught up with author Tim Weed to talk about his recently published young adult novel Will Poole’s Island. The book, a gripping coming-of-age story set in colonial New England, has garnered some great reviews. Kirkus Reviews describes Will Poole’s Island as an... read more

    Spain Summer Program Leader Announcement

    Buenas noticias! We’re thrilled to announce that we have two amazing returning leaders committed to lead our summer language program in Spain for 8th and 9th graders! Brock Schardin and Lucia Donatelli will be headed to Spain this summer. Brock, a Fulbright... read more

    Veteran Putney Leader Dispatched to the Philippines

    Brian Hoyer, who led our 2013 summer public health program in Rwanda, was recently dispatched to the Philippines to take on relief responsibilities after Typhoon Haiyan. Brian is the Director of Post-Emergency Programs for AmeriCares, a non-profit emergency response... read more

    Pre-College Writing Instructor Releases Epic Fantasy Novel

    Brian Staveley, who taught Creative Writing and Medieval History on our Pre-College Oxford and Pre-College Tuscany programs, has a debut novel of epic proportions hitting the press in January with fantasy publishing giant Tor. Brian, who taught at Buckingham Browne... read more

    Top 10 Colleges Represented by Putney Leaders

    Putney Student Travel leaders and Putney Pre-College instructors come from all walks of life. They distinguish themselves in fields ranging from the arts and athletics to journalism, law, medicine, and international development. Collectively, our leaders from Summer... read more

    Cambodia leader Matt on Transformational Travel

    We loved reading a recent article in the North Hawaii News by our very own veteran leader Matt Piercy. A Middle School social studies teacher at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Matt led our summer program in Cambodia for high school students focused on telling a... read more

    Psychology Seminar, Pre College Enrichment Amherst

    Carter Carter, an alumni and veteran leader of our high school summer programs abroad, will be teaching Psychology of the Criminal Mind and Psychology of Personality this summer on our Pre College Enrichment program at Amherst College. Carter is a psychotherapist who... read more

    Pre-College Leader Henk in The Paris Review!

    Henk Rossouw taught writing on our Pre-College enrichment program at Amherst College this past summer and will be directing the program in 2013! We recently caught up with Henk, who is a poet and PhD candidate at University of Houston, to talk about his experience... read more

    Veteran Leader Karen Russell Releases New Book!

    Kudos to veteran Putney leader and highly acclaimed fiction writer Karen Russell!  Her debut novel, Swamplandia!, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and her most recent short story collection Vampires in the Lemon Grove has garnered tremendous acclaim.... read more

    An interview with David Hanson

    David Hanson has led Putney and NGSE summer programs for high school students to Costa Rica, Spain, France, and California. Read on as he catches up with us about his favorite experiences, his advice for prospective adventure travel students, and his exciting work... read more

    Pre-College Alumna and Leader Now a Civil Rights Lawyer

    Rachel Ray, an alumna of one of our Pre-College summer programs in Cuba and a veteran staff member, reconnected with us recently to give us the scoop on her exciting new career as an immigration and civil rights lawyer.  You’ve participated in Putney summer... read more

    Six-Time Leader Talks Travel, Language, and Learning

    Christian Cousins, a six-time Putney leader, has led high school students on summer programs abroad including a  high school language trip to Argentina, a summer language program in Spain, and a Pre-College Enrichment program in Spain. Click here to read his full bio.... read more

    Pre-College Amherst Staff Member Illustrates New Book

    Catherine Rand, herself an alumna of our high school Pre-College program in Spain, was a staff member on our Pre-College Enrichment Program at Amherst College in 2012. Click here to read her full bio. We caught up with Cat recently and she filled us in on her exciting... read more

    Brock Schardin teaching in Madrid on a Fulbright Grant

    We recently caught up with veteran leader Brock Schardin, who currently teaches in a Spanish public high school in Madrid as part of a Fulbright grant. Brock has led our high school summer language program in Spain twice. Read on as Brock talks about the education... read more

    Jorge Gaviria and Farm to Table in Italy

    Veteran leader of our high school summer program in Argentina and current Farm to Table in Italy co-leader Jorge Gaviria has a busy schedule at the highly acclaimed restaurant Maialino in New York City. He’d be the first to tell you, though, that his thoughts often... read more

    Featured Leader: Evan and the Trinity Yard School

    Evan Ross-Miller, a veteran leader of summer community service programs, has recently taken on a new and exciting project with a distinctly Putney story behind it. Evan currently works as the director of the Trinity Yard School in Cape Three Points, Ghana. Founded by... read more

    Featured Leader: Brian Orland

    Brian Orland, one of the co-leaders of our high school summer development program in India, is currently studying climate change and river management in the rural Brahmaputra River Basin in India through the Fulbright Program. He is a regular contributor to the New... read more

    Featured Leaders: Tim Eliot

    Tim Eliot, an actor, director, and educator in New York City, co-led our high school summer theatre program in Britain this past summer, a summer travel abroad program for high school students interested in theatre. Tim holds a BA from Yale University and an MFA from... read more

    Feature Pre-College Instructor: Paul Murray

    Paul Murray, a leader and Video Production instructor on our summer Pre-College enrichment program at Amherst College program last summer, will be returning for 2012! Check out our interview with Paul, including some great advice for high school students preparing for... read more

    Featured Leader: Mike Schwebel

    We recently caught up with returning Putney leader Mike Schwebel. A Ph.D. student in Geography and Urban Studies at Temple University, Mike studies and teaches sustainability and environmental planning. He and co-leader Lily Chestnut led our Community Service Costa... read more

    Featured Leader: John Linsley and Mount Kilimanjaro

    We are excited to announce that John Linsley, a four time Putney veteran, will be leading our 2012 high school summer program to Tanzania! His particular program for high school students will summit Mount Kilimanjaro. John is an alumnus of St. Lawrence University and... read more

    Leader Submission: Matt’s Take on Turkey

    Matt Kostakis, a veteran leader of high school summer travel programs to both Costa Rica and the Mediterranean, will be leading our exciting new Cultural Exploration Turkey program for high school students this summer. Matt comes from a Greek American family in New... read more

    Featured Leader: Ted Samuel

    Ted Samuel has led four high school summer programs abroad. He began in 2008 with a Community Service India program, went on to lead two consecutive summers of Community Service Vietnam programs, and recently headed our Global Awareness in Action Cambodia program in... read more

    Leader Profile: Anthony Wins Teacher of the Year

    We are proud to announce that veteran Putney leader Anthony Poullard was recently awarded the Teacher of the Year award at Coppell Middle School West in Dallas, Texas. A Spanish teacher and Latin America enthusiast,  Anthony has led high school students on community... read more