David Gulden

Class of 1987

African Wildlife Photographer

Faculty member standing inside of classroom at The Green Vale School, our middle school with a STEM program

David Gulden '87

Beyond Green Vale

Education: Pomfret School, Roanoke College

David Gulden is a visual artist specializing in African wildlife photography. He resides in Karen, Kenya with his wife and two daughters. In addition to solo gallery exhibitions in New York and London, Gulden has published two books of photography and deep e personal connection to his environment: The Centre Cannot Hold and Nor Dread nor Hope Attend. 

As The Wall Street Journal explains, "Mr. Gulden works in two great photographic traditions—that of Edward Curtis, who devoted his life to documenting the passing of a way of  life, and that of Ansel Adams, who wanted to make photos of nature that were indelible. To have combined them is another remarkable accomplishment."

Recalling Green Vale

"“My memories of GV: It’s wonderful green playing fields, it’s welcoming classrooms, and many of the closest friends I’ve ever come across. GV ignited my imagination and set me on a path to other worlds.”"

Dhruv T. Kothari

Class of 2021

Student at The Hotchkiss School


Dhruv T. Kothari '21

Beyond Green Vale

Education: The Hotchkiss School

Recalling Green Vale

“I deeply appreciate the fantastic and caring teachers at GVS. From an early age, they instilled in me that the true value of an education is much more than academic achievement. It is about character and community, the two pillars of GVS’s mission. Our responsibility is to serve others in our community and the world at large, utilizing our skills and talents to their fullest potential. To be inclusive of others in everything I do and respect diverse viewpoints. I have learned that personal integrity matters more than popularity and that being kind is better than being cool. I also appreciate the life-long friendships and happy memories I made, which I will cherish forever.

Through academic, artistic, and athletic pursuits, the GVS experience has taught me the life-long skills of critical thinking and curiosity. It enabled me to learn from every experience, big or small. It fostered the values of grit and graciousness. It opened doors to new experiences, whether learning a new language like Latin or a new musical instrument like the Viola. It laid the foundation for pursuing advanced mathematics in high school. It taught me to be engaged and to apply lessons from history and humanities to modern-day events. But, most importantly, I learned the importance of being an upstanding citizen, finding unity in diversity, finding friends who bring out the best in us, and doing what’s right, especially when it’s hard.

 I am currently a sophomore at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. I attended GVS from 2nd to 8th grade. Before GVS, I attended public schools in the Mineola and New Hyde Park school districts from Pre-K to 1st grade.”

Courtney Lenoir

Class of 2007

Teacher at GVS


Courtney Lenoir '07

Beyond Green Vale

Education: Friends Academy High School, New York University
Current Position: World History and Wellness Teacher, Secondary School Placement at GVS

Recalling Green Vale

“As an alum of a school where every child is truly known, I can honestly say that the sense of belonging and community that was cultivated during my time at Green Vale has stayed with me. Knowing that my teachers were invested in my personal and academic growth made all the difference in my education and development.

When I chose to pursue a career in education, I knew that it would be incredible to give back to the community that had given me so much. So, when the opportunity arose to join the faculty at Green Vale, I jumped at the chance. It has been an absolute joy to watch my own students flourish in the same supportive and inclusive environment that I was fortunate enough to experience. I am constantly amazed by the growth and development of my students, and I am grateful to be able to play a small part in their journey.

My first two years as a teacher were spent at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia before moving back to New York to teach at Green Vale. I started as a 4th-grade teacher, then a 5th-grade teacher, and now I teach World History and Wellness as well as being part of the Secondary School Placement team.  I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a special community and I am proud to be now able to give back as a teacher.”

Shelby Renjifo

Class of 2012

Visual and Media Arts & Author


Shelby Renjifo '12

Beyond Green Vale

Education: Our Lady of Mercy Academy, Emerson College
Current Position: Visual & Media Arts Production, Writer (and working on my next book!)

Recalling Green Vale

“GV provided a comfortable environment to learn and grow with some top tier teachers and a tight-knit, respectful group of peers. Some of my best memories are from my early childhood years spent here.

My experience gave me the confidence to not only pursue my dreams, but excel. I particularly want to praise the English department for nurturing my creativity; I still reread some of the essays presented in Mr. Wood’s class!”

Elizabeth Putnam

Class of 1948

Founder at Student Conservation Association (SCA)


Elizabeth Putnam '48

Beyond Green Vale

Education: Miss Porter’s School, Vassar College
Current Position: Founder at Student Conservation Association (SCA)

Recalling Green Vale

“I am so grateful to Green Vale for what was an excellent education. I was there first through ninth grade which was during WWII. I felt so grateful to all the faculty. Each and every one of them helped me to feel safe, and inspired me both academically and athletically. I feel very fortunate to have been a Green Vale student and genuinely enjoyed and appreciated the opportunities afforded by my time there.

Green Vale gave me a strong foundation academically, athletically, and socially. I am still in touch with some friends I made there. I felt well prepared for my next academic and athletic endeavors and have always been very grateful to Green Vale for helping provide those critical basic skills.”

Claudia DeBrun Boldyga

Class of 1982

Non-Profit Executive


Claudia DeBrun Boldyga '82

Beyond Green Vale

Education: Lower Merion High School, Delaware State College
Current Position: Founder & President of Bosom Buddies Charities

"I did not take the normal path that most of my classmates did with college and big careers but instead I focused on giving back to different charities that would speak to me throughout the years. It is very rewarding to be able to help others navigate different hardships in their lives and give them the confidence  to move forward, to not be afraid, and to ask for help so that they can shine through any type of darkness."

Recalling Green Vale

“The Green Vale School will always have a special place in my heart.  I can honestly say that every year I had the same feeling when we would pull up to the main steps of GVS and it was pure joy. The campus has grown into such a beautiful school that it still makes me smile and beam with pride. 

I was not one of the" high achievers" in school but  I was a social butterfly and loved school and all the activities that GVS had to offer. They had so many wonderful traditions and I will treasure them forever. GVS was like a huge family and I always felt so comfortable there. I always knew how lucky I was to be at GVS. What was there not to love right? 

I know that I am the person that I am today because of the guidance and life lessons that GVS and all the teachers taught me. I still remember all the teachers that I was lucky enough to have in my life at GVS: Mrs. Clark, Miss Dorst, Mr. Zaloom, Mr. Vaninne, Miss Notley, Mrs. Kaleis, Mrs. Wheeler, Mrs. Manson, Ms. Webb, Ms. Thurston Mr. Rucker Mr. Simonds, Mrs. Bowman, the school nurse Mrs. Hotop...just to name a few.  I feel that my education at GVS gave me the confidence to do anything.

When I entered Upper school my parents had decided to end their marriage and I was just crushed . It was a difficult time for me but I always knew that I had people that cared which is so important when you are young. All of my teachers who had known me for years were so supportive. I can still remember how kind all the teachers were throughout my last year at GVS. [After graduating], I did very well throughout the years but I would always look back and wonder what would have happened if I did not have my big GVS family?

Augusta Read Thomas

Class of 1979

Classical Composer & University Professor


Augusta Read Thomas '79

Beyond Green Vale

Education: St. Paul’s School, Northwestern University, Yale University, Royal Academy of Music
Current Position: Professor of Composition, Northwestern University; Director, Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition