Josh Hahn appointed to head Environmental Initiatives

Roberta Jenckes

, Archived June 30, 2009

Josh Hahn has been appointed Assistant Head of School, Director of Environmental Initiatives, effective July 1, 2009. Head of School Malcolm McKenzie announced the appointment following the work of a search committee and campus interviews by the finalists for the position. The process started in earnest in October last year, but the planning goes back to 2007. Despite the dire financial climate in the country, and indeed world, and belt-tightening that has become necessary in many aspects of the School, it was decided to go ahead with this appointment for three main reasons. First, Josh Hahn is a truly exceptional candidate. Second, Hotchkiss feels that the creation of this position, in the context of our world of growing environmental degradation, is an absolutely essential part of our educational mission. Third, we know that further energy savings will result from this appointment.

“The process was long but illuminating,” McKenzie said in an e-mail to the campus community. “The search committee certainly learned much that we want to follow up. We have an excellent result. I know that Josh Hahn will help us move forward significantly in the environmental area: this is work that many of us have been initiating in different ways, and it will be tremendous to have someone of his caliber to help us coordinate these efforts and develop them further. He is extremely well-known in the independent school network for his work in sustainability, and he will bring a rich and productive experience to Hotchkiss.”

Hahn earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He worked at The Lawrenceville School for four years, including service as the Aldo Leopold Fellow. In this post he was charged with looking at and extending the school’s sustainable systems across all aspects of its operations, including curriculum and instructional leadership, physical plant and infrastructure, and residential life. In 2006 he launched his own company, Stone Bridge Sustainability + Education, providing consulting services to schools in the areas of sustainability education and strategic planning. In this capacity he worked with numerous schools throughout the country. He served as the lead consultant to the National Association of Independent Schools Decade for Sustainability Leadership Project and helped to found the Independent School Adventure Network.
The Assistant Head of School, Director of Environmental Initiatives, is a new position at the School. This senior administrative post will support Hotchkiss’s objectives in addressing the environmental challenges of our time. In this post, Hahn will be charged with infusing an active awareness of environmental issues and sustainable living into all areas of the curriculum and helping to develop this in the School community. He will explore alternative sources and uses of energy as part of the process of making Hotchkiss a carbon-neutral school and oversee the development of a mixed organic farm on the School’s 250-acre property, Fairfield Farm.

“I am truly honored to become a member of the Hotchkiss community,” Hahn said. “With its strong commitment to ecological issues, which are increasingly important on both the global and local economic and political landscape, Hotchkiss is setting an example of how to define sustainability and the environment in the context of a school. Leading that initiative is a challenge I am eager to begin.”

Serving on the search committee were Malcolm McKenzie, Stacey Nicholson, Nancy Gaynor, Chris Oostenink, Tom Woelper, James Marshall, Nancy Bird, Keith Moon, Steve Albert, and Charlie Geyer.

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