Anne M. Glass
Head of School
Throughout her career, Anne Glass has been an ardent supporter of single-sex education for young women and a strong advocate for students with learning differences. Anne is the 2019 Sam Kirk Educator of the Year, an award given annually by the Learning Disabilities Association of America to "an educator who has made outstanding contributions to the education of persons with learning disabilities."
Prior to joining Purnell, Anne was a Reading and Learning Specialist at The Chapin School in New York City where she provided individual assessment and academic support and was a member of the Admissions Committee. While at Chapin, Anne led a task force to conceptualize and enact a model of academic support for students from kindergarten through grade 12 to optimize access to curriculum and engagement for all learners. Anne has also been an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Special Education at CUNY Hunter College and in the Learning Disabilities Program and the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Anne received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College, and earned a Master of Arts in Reading and a Master of Education in Learning Disabilities from Teachers College, Columbia University. During the summer of 2015, she was awarded a fellowship to the Neuroscience of Reading Institute at MIT to study what is currently known about the brain basis of reading development and disability as well as implications for early identification and intervention.
Anne is a Delegate to LDA’s national committee. She is also a member of LDA’s Nominating Committee for next year’s Board of Directors of LDA and a member of their Neuro-Developmental
Director of Student Life
Vicky Browne’s educational philosophy has always centered on building an inclusive and respectful environment in order to foster student-centered excellence in education.
Prior to joining Purnell, Vicky taught and coached at Greenwich Academy in Connecticut, after relocating from the UK. Vicky has held administrative positions for 14 years in both academic and student support. Prior to her move to the U.S., she was the Director of Tutoring and Wellness at Nescot College, where she was responsible for leadership across the school on student life and well-being, as well as coordinating a whole school approach to student development. Vicky has 16 years of teaching experience, including lecturing and co-writing a Foundation Undergraduate Degree in Sports Coaching and Performance in the Department of Sport at Berkshire College of Agriculture and Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College.
Vicky received her undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Postgraduate Teaching Certificate from Oxford Brookes, and Graduate Diploma in Management Studies from Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College. She also earned a Master of Education in Leadership and Management from Chichester University. Vicky has also represented England in Field Hockey and coached for over 30 years, winning two National Championships back to back before relocating to the USA.
Dean of Students
Donna Andeskie is an accomplished and innovative educator and artist. Since joining the Purnell community in 2005, Donna has distinguished herself as a steady and compassionate steward for students and a leader in establishing a vibrant and caring school climate.
In addition to her role as Dean of Students, Donna teaches and acts as Chairperson of the Studio Arts Department. She also directs our Off Campus Studies and develops the Project Exploration travel curriculum. Donna has experience teaching art history and studio courses in many disciplines, and her previous teaching experience includes roles at DuCret School of Art, Middlesex County College, Middlesex County Arts High and Middle School, and The Center for Visual Arts.
Donna holds a BFA from Syracuse University and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Outside of Purnell, Donna is an avid equestrian. She keeps and trains her horse at a nearby cooperative stable where she describes herself as a part-time farmer. She also paints and creates ceramic works of art.
Director of Alumnae Relations
Donna Martin was hired by Lytt Gould, Purnell’s first Head of School, in October of 1966 to oversee Purnell’s riding program and has remained an active member of the community ever since.
Donna was the sole member of the Advancement/Alumnae Office for its beginning years, and still oversees alumnae relations. She also organizes the school’s special events and traditions, which create a bond for Purnell students across generations. Donna continues to be the Equestrian Program Coordinator for Purnell. She teaches Hunt Seat Equitation classes as an adjunct professor at Centenary University. She has known and worked with all of Purnell’s leaders and is connected with many alumnae, families, and friends from throughout Purnell’s proud history. Donna’s daughter, Kelly, graduated from Purnell in 1988, and her granddaughter is a member of the Class of 2019.
Kaila Stark has spent her entire teaching career working with students who learn differently. She is dedicated to supporting and training the Purnell faculty in classroom best practices.
At the start of her career, Kaila was trained in The Orton-Gillingham approach and fully embraced the philosophy that instruction for all students should be direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential and diagnostic. She embodies the importance of compassion and fostering confidence within her students by teaching to their strengths. She believes meeting students where they are and developing unique and individualized goals for each student is paramount to student success. Before coming to Purnell, she taught English, tutored in Reading & Writing, served as the Testing Coordinator and Dean of Girls at The Kildonan School. Before stepping into the role of the Academic Dean at Purnell, she has taught English and served as a Department Chair and a Class Dean.
Kaila earned undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Childhood Education from SUNY Binghamton and SUNY New Paltz. She completed her Masters of Science in Education in Adolescent Literacy at Canisius College. She holds professional teaching certificates in secondary English Language Arts and Literacy. As a lifelong learner, Kaila regularly attends professional development conferences and workshops run by The National Writing Project - Hudson Valley Chapter, The Vermont Writing Collaborative, The National Association of Independent Schools, and Landmark College’s Institute For Research and Training.
Director of Advancement
Jen Gursky brings 14 years of experience as a frontline fundraiser, parent philanthropy director, alumni relations liaison, and business owner. She began her fundraising career at her alma mater, Shenandoah University, as Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs. As the alumni relations liaison to Shenandoah's Conservatory of Music, she contributed to SU's Capital Campaign and alumni relations engagement efforts. After relocating back to New Jersey, she opened Encore Music Studio and Dramatic Arts, LLC, a private music school offering individual and group lessons in several disciplines for students of all ages. Jen enjoyed supporting arts education across Hunterdon County and surrounding areas.
In 2016, Jen returned to higher education as Associate Director of Parent Giving at Muhlenberg College. As the leader of the program, she oversaw the prestigious Muhlenberg Parents Council and maintained a portfolio of donors. While at Muhlenberg, Jen was able to grow parent contributions to the Annual Fund by 20% and surpass the overall parent giving goals.
Most recently, Jen served as the Associate Director of Alumni Relations at Rider University. As a member of the Advancement team, she was responsible for the creation and organization of alumni engagement programs which fed alumni prospects into Rider’s fundraising pipeline. Through a comprehensive communications and special events strategy, Jen was able to partner with faculty/staff across the University’s five colleges to recruit and qualify alumni as active supporters of the University during Rider’s $81M Capital Campaign, Transforming Students – Transforming Lives.
Jen holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from Shenandoah University. In her free time, she enjoys performing in community theatre. Jen is thrilled to be contributing to the success of Purnell's vibrant living and learning community.
Director of Admissions and Enrollment
Eric Swartzentruber has extensive experience in single-sex boarding and day schools. He has traveled extensively in the US and abroad to recruit students for boys’ as well as girls’ schools and served as founding Director of External Affairs at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart in Princeton, NJ. Most recently, Eric served as Director of Admissions at Stoneleigh-Burnham School, a boarding and day school for girls in grades 7-12 in Greenfield, MA.
An early connection to Purnell, the Headmaster at Eric’s first boarding school was the late Thomas E. Thompson, a former Dean of Students at Purnell School. Mr. Thompson encouraged Eric to pursue a career at independent schools.
Before his career in independent schools, Eric owned and managed two retail record stores in and near Princeton. Eric maintains an active singing career and has performed with ensembles in and around Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. He has also appeared on over a dozen commercial recordings.
Eric holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies, summa cum laude, from Rider University.
Chief Financial Officer
Joe McPeak has focused his career on the financial management of Not-for-Profit organizations. Prior to independent schools, he was employed in the administration of a community center and a large faith-r. Prior to Purnell School Joe was the Chief Financial Officer at The Academy of Notre Dame, Tyngsboro, MA, and Cushing Academy, Ashburnham, MA. Before moving to New England, Joe was the Director of Business Services at The Hun School of Princeton, Princeton, NJ.
Joe has always believed in community service and has held various positions within community organizations, both elected and appointed. Most recently, he was a member of the Planning Board for the Town of Ashburnham, MA and the Chair of the Finance Council for St Denis Parish both in Ashburnham, MA as well as several advisory boards.
Joe is happy to be back in New Jersey close to his children and grandchildren and is looking forward to serving as an integral part of The Purnell School.
Joe holds a B.S in Business Administration from Glassboro State College, now Rowan University.based organization. For the past 20 years, Joe has concentrated solely in the independent school sector.