Head of School Welcome
Welcome to Purnell School. As parents, our number one responsibility is nurturing our children’s success. As educators, our responsibility is to provide the tools necessary for children to flourish and succeed. As the Head of Purnell School, my top priority is leading a strengths-based learning environment that assures that each girl’s unique potential is discovered and developed.
Purnell is an all girls’ boarding and day school with a tradition of Progressive Education since 1963 that celebrates diversity in abilities, ideas, needs, cultural identity and relationships. Both Purnell and Progressive Education believe deeply in individual differences with an emphasis on the role community plays in the development of critical thinking and self-advocacy.
Purnell School’s location is unmatched with the global appeal of New York City a little over an hour away while also enjoying the small town community feel of Pottersville, NJ. When a young woman steps foot onto Purnell's campus, not only is she drawn into the idyllic scenery, but she instantly becomes part of a community. The real magic lies with Purnell’s faculty and their understanding that all learning takes place within the context of relationships. When a young woman steps foot onto Purnell’s campus, not only is she drawn into the idyllic scenery, but she instantly becomes part of a community.From her dorm parents to her teachers to her advisor, every adult on the campus has a stake in her success. For generations, Purnell has been a place where a young girl can find her passions, learn to take academic risks, and discover the woman she was meant to become.
Purnell has always taught the whole girl across the entire curriculum and community. Purnell’s faculty have a comprehensive understanding of how adolescent girls learn. Our structured advisory program assures every student has the opportunity to reach her potential.
Purnell is a place where girls can learn about themselves, find support from their peers and mentors, and explore what they are passionate about. Toward this end, our founding and continued aspiration is to align everything in the school including academics, co-curricular activities, and residential life. Purnell’s approach remains a total human development approach to teaching and learning.
I warmly invite you to visit Purnell and experience our campus, and meet our students and faculty. Each day, the School's Founding Guidelines: Consideration of Others, Use of Common Sense and Truthfulness in All Relations, fill the spirit of the campus.
With best regards,
Dr. Jeffrey P. Beedy
Head of School
I strongly believe that Jeff Beedy is the finest educator (and human being) I’ve met in two decades of teaching and doing educational research.
- Pulitzer Prize Winner Dr. Robert Coles
Dr. Jeff Beedy, Purnell’s 7th Head of School, studied at Harvard with renowned child psychologists Carol Gilligan, Lawrence Kohlberg, Robert Selman, and Sesame Street founder Gerald Lesser, and taught Social Reflections of Literature for Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Robert Coles. Jeff is the author of the Total Human Development (THD) and Positive Learning Using Sports (PLUS) models of education and child development. He worked at Milton Academy and founded the innovative Positive Learning Using Sports summer camp that combines sports with learning and literature. After Milton Academy, Jeff led New Hampton School to be the only private boarding high school in the U.S. to win the coveted “National Character Award” in 2002. During two successful capital campaigns, he helped raise more than $20 million and built six new buildings at New Hampton School. In 2006, Jeff was invited by the Olympic Doves Movement to bridge peace between the Greek and Turkish children on the island of Cyprus. Jeff has led Episcopal, Montessori, boarding and international schools. In 2010, Jeff became the founding head of Korea International School, which was one of the first boarding schools to open in South Korea’s two billion dollar Global Education City on Jeju Island, South Korea.
During college, Jeff played in the Cape Cod Baseball League and later skied in the freestyle tour. Jeff and his wife Karyn are musicians and play professionally. They live on campus in Johnson House with their two dogs, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, who were adopted in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Jeff has two grown daughters, Amanda and Bailey, both of whom grew up on boarding school campuses and are in the field of education. Jeff and Karyn have five grandchildren and love to spend time with their family whenever possible.
Check out our Innovation & Education page to read Jeff's blog, plus recommended books, videos and research.
“As a leader, I believe developing a sense of community is the first step in creating a positive learning environment. Research suggests that a school’s sense of community, as defined by people feeling known, needed, cared for, and having an authentic opportunity to shape their learning environment, trumps all other factors in influencing student performance.”