Gardner has been a leader in New York City independent education for three decades.

Other Division Heads

Gardner Dunnan
Academic Dean & Division Head: Upper School

Gardner Dunnan is highly regarded for his career in public and private education as a leader and creator of new schools. For 23 years Gardner was headmaster at the Dalton School, consistently recognized as one of the finest K-12 schools in Manhattan. During Gardner’s tenure, the school expanded facilities, created a department of student support services, and achieved national renown for its Dalton technology plan. Endowment, scholarships and faculty salaries were all increased dramatically.

Prior to joining Avenues, Gardner was associate provost at Columbia University for 10 years, during which he led many new initiatives, most significantly the planning and leading of The School at Columbia, a new K-8 school for children of Columbia faculty and children of the Columbia neighborhood.

Gardner has advised Avenues on educational and operational matters since its inception. Among his many duties in the coming year will be chairing our Admissions Committee.

Gardner is a graduate of Harvard College, with an M.Ed. in the teaching of science from Boston University and an Ed.D from the administrative career program at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Gardner has taught math and science in grades four to eight, and biology in high school. In addition to his career leading independent schools, Gardner was an administrator in the public schools of Shaker Heights, OH and superintendent of schools in Briarcliff Manor, NY.

Through the years Gardner has taught educational leadership at Teachers College, consulted to several projects launching new independent schools and charter schools in the public sector, and served on numerous boards and advisory committees. He is currently on the board of the Abraham Joshua Heschel School and on the advisory committee of St. Aloysius Catholic School in Harlem.

Recent articles by Gardner Dunnan

Update on Curriculum: Upper School

by Gardner Dunnan

February 16th, 2012 - The Upper School curriculum will offer the culmination of the many unique features of an Avenues education. Students will both experience most fully the opportunity to study at Avenues campuses in other cities and host those visiting from other cities. The World Course, the Avenues mastery program, service-learning and More...

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Planning Avenues: The World School

by Gardner Dunnan

December 16th, 2011 - In our parent information events, the question is frequently asked, “How long have you been planning for Avenues?” Chris Whittle responds, “Four years.” Strictly speaking that is correct, if one only considers the current design. However, I always think in these moments that I have been planning for Avenues for four decades. All my professional experience, in which I have been privileged to work in some premier public, independent and university-related schools, has been preparation for creating The World School.  More...


A New School of Thought: The Advantages of Starting a New School

by Gardner Dunnan

October 7th, 2011 - Members of the educational leadership team at Avenues: The World School have had the privilege through our extensive careers of working in a number of very successful independent schools. Chris Whittle often says that four years of planning have gone into forging a design for Avenues. That is correct; but for all of us, our entire careers have been preparation for this adventure, so literally decades of practice inform our design. More...