The purpose of the Board of Directors is to carry out our organizational mission:

“The Walden School inspires artistic expression and personal growth through experiential music programs.”

Emeriti Directors

Michael Cornog
Charlton MacVeagh, Jr.
Laura Mehiel
John O’Meara


Advisory Council

The purpose of the Walden School Advisory Council is to further the mission of the Walden School. Its members are made up of luminaries in the fields of music and education, as well as key supporters of the Walden School.

Samuel Adler
Martin Bresnick
Nansi Carroll
Chen Yi
Jeffrey Cohen

George Crumb
Leon Fleisher
Jennifer Higdon
Paul Lansky
Eugene O’Brien

Elmar Oliveira
Christopher Rouse
Allan Schindler
Joseph Schwantner
John Weaver

The Walden School 1974
Students gathered singing around the piano, 1974
The Walden School history photo, Tamar and Shayla Cheeks, 1992
Tamar and Shayla Cheeks, 1992
Our history

Walden School’s philosophy and curriculum are rooted in a program for creative music education developed by the late Grace Newsom Cushman, founder and director of the Junior Conservatory Camp, Walden’s predecessor, which flourished from the 1940s until 1972 and was held annually each summer in various locations in northern Vermont. Mrs. Cushman held the conviction that creativity is the primary purpose of education, and that the most successful program is one through which students discover new materials and concepts for themselves and learn to think independently. An outgrowth of her original work, the Walden Musicianship Course is a cornerstone of The Walden School’s academic program.

Following Mrs. Cushman’s passing, the Walden School was founded in 1972 by the late David Hogan, Pamela Layman Quist, and Lynn Taylor Hebden. Operating in Maryland or Vermont, the school settled on the Dublin School in New Hampshire in 1983. David Hogan and Pamela Layman Quist served as the school’s first directors from 1972 until 1994. At that time, Stephen Coxe became the Executive Director. He enlisted the help of Patricia Plude (Academic Dean), Seth Brenzel (Director of Admissions), Anne Deane (Director of Development and Public Relations), and Laura Mehiel (Business Manager).

In 1996, Patricia Plude became Executive Director, and she was joined by Anne Deane, Seth Brenzel, and Laura Mehiel. Under Patricia Plude’s direction, the school formed a Board of Directors that was, for the first time in the School’s history, separate from the administrative team. The School also opened a year-round administrative office in September 2001 in San Francisco, while maintaining its programmatic headquarters in New Hampshire. In 2001, Anne Deane and Laura Mehiel joined the Board of Directors, and Seth Brenzel became Associate Director.

In 2003, Seth Brenzel became Executive Director. During his tenure, the School has launched two new programs, the Teacher Training Institute and the Creative Musicians Retreat, and has garnered national recognition for its programs. He is currently assisted by a stellar team of full- and part-time administrators in San Francisco and around the United States.


Past Board Members

Stephen Astle
Anne Deane Berman
Sandra Bessières
Seth Brenzel
Michael Brotchner
Carol Brown
David Callan
Todd Cleary
Sarah Cornog
Stephen Coxe
Arno Drucker

David Drucker
Tom Ewing
Corty Fengler
Ruth Franklin
Bill Gilbert
Jamie Hamilton
Cynthia B. Harkum
Rebecca Hawkins
Lia Haskin Fernald
Lynn Taylor Hebden +*
Lucy Henningfield
David Hogan +*

Tonya Y. Ingersol
Andrew Jacobs
Amelia Lukas
Jim Mobberley
Gary Monheit
Nnenna Ogwo
Mary Anne O’Meara
Denise M. Ondishko
Bob Passmore

Molly Pindell
Patricia Plude
Pamela Layman Quist+
Susan Rosen
David P. Ruschke
David Saslav
Chad Shampine
Leslie Stephens
Noël Theodosiou
Marissa Tirona
Leo Wanenchak

+ Founding Director   |    * In Memoriam