Mom of the Week – Jaime Quackenbush – Head of Putnam Indian Field School!

Mom of the Week – Jaime Quackenbush – Head of Putnam Indian Field School!


What do you love to do with your children? How old are they? What is your greatest wish for them?

I have two boys – 11 and 5. The age difference can be tricky, but lately I’ve been appreciating that I have “little kid” and “big kid” time with them. It lets me enjoy each stage with them individually. Right now with my kindergartener my favorite things to do are reading with him and playing all of the games (he calls them “pretend stories”) that he makes up for us. With my 5th grader, it’s been fun to share some more “grown-up” outings like cultural events in town. We’re going to see Hadestown together this month because he loves Greek mythology and I love Broadway! My greatest wish for my kids is that they continue to be happy and healthy and have the confidence and perseverance to follow their dreams.

Who has had the biggest influence upon you?

My parents and grandparents have been such a huge part of my life and I’m so grateful to have grown up surrounded by extended family. My mom and dad are fantastic parents who taught my brother and me so much about family and love. Both sets of my grandparents were closely involved in our childhoods, especially my grandmothers. More than anything, they wanted us to be happy, and they allowed us to follow our paths to get there (and loved us even when things went off track!).

What quality do you most admire in a mother?

I probably would answer this question differently at various times in my life, but right now I really admire a mother’s ability to maintain her own sense of self. I definitely lost mine when my kids were younger and only saw myself as their mother; now that I have started to actively pursue my own interests again I’m aware of what a positive impact it has on my kids to see independence and personal passion modeled for them.

Besides motherhood, what other careers/opportunities have you enjoyed? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I’ve worked with children since I was a teenager, and even though I dabbled in other things in college (music, anthropology) ultimately my mother nudged me toward a career in education and I never looked back. I’ve been a teacher, a curriculum coach, and now a school director, which I love because it allows me to spend time with kids, parents, and faculty and staff. Running a school is a little like being a mother to a really big family!

I worked in New York City for a number of years but since moving up to Westchester I’ve been working at Putnam Indian Field School in Greenwich. This is my second year as Head of School and I couldn’t imagine a better place to spend my time. The community is so kind and supportive, and you really can’t help but have a constant smile on your face when you’re hanging out with preschoolers all day long. I feel so lucky to have landed at PIFS!

What are your strongest qualities?

I’m generally a pretty happy person. I also really like people, and enjoy getting to know them and talking with them.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

It’s so hard to pick just one perfect day! There’s something so lovely about enjoying early morning coffee and a walk outside followed by some cozy home time with a book, but also a day spent on a fun outing and a night of karaoke can’t easily be beat.

Favorite books? Movies or TV Shows?

Books – The Cider House Rules (John Irving), Stargirl (Jerry Spinelli), State of Wonder (Anne Patchett), The Wicked Trilogy (Gregory Maguire)

Movies – Empire Records, When Harry Met Sally, Kicking and Screaming (Noah Baumbach)

TV: Ally McBeal, Freaks & Geeks, Firefly, The Expanse

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?


Tell us what your dream house would look like and where would it be?

I’m in love with my house in Sleepy Hollow! We bought it almost two years ago. It’s 120 years old and we’ll probably be working on it forever, but right now that’s my dream.

Where is your go-to restaurant to Party with Moms and what is your drink of choice?

Because I don’t live in Connecticut, I’m still getting familiar with local places. I was really impressed with Townhouse when I was there in the fall, and I love a glass of German Riesling.