Page 1

Spring 2015 MOORESTOWN FRIENDS SCHOOL

Among Friends

Learning Leadership “Can leadership be taught?” Two new courses address the question.


Learning Leadership

Can Leadership Be Taught?

Two New Courses Address the Question Leaders in today’s complex and increasingly participative world need empathy, respect for others, and an ability to help build consensus. As a complement to existing Quaker education courses – which begin in Preschool – and the philosophy electives offered for older students, two new Upper School courses were introduced this year. They reflect Moorestown Friends’ commitment to instill these values in students and prepare them for future leadership. The first, Leadership: Style and Skills, is an introduction to leadership theory and practice. In addition to studying well-known approaches, the class focuses on Servant Leadership, in which serving others is prioritized. Popularized by Quaker management scientist Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership calls for those in leadership to share their power and encourage others’ growth. In November, the Styles and Skills class met with Howard Stoeckel, Vice Chairman and former President and CEO of Wawa. He emphasized Servant Leadership as one of the things that makes Wawa unique. “The days of a title signifying respect are disappearing,” Stoeckel said. “True leadership is the ability to influence people, with or without a job title. Good leaders give other people credit.” The class also enjoyed visits from business leaders such as Vernon Hill, Mindy Holman, and Len Shapiro ’60. Students gave oral presentations, role-played difficult leadership situations, and assessed peers’ strengths and weaknesses. The course culminated in a paper and speech by each student on his or her authentic leadership style. A second course, Peer Leadership, provides seniors with the opportunity to mentor ninth grade students on a weekly basis. The 16 upperclassmen, who must apply for the mentorship positions, lead discussions of moral and ethical issues relevant to the student body. As part of the curriculum, the senior leaders meet with faculty advisors, and they provide support to freshmen throughout their transition from Middle to Upper School. These unique offerings, combined with a rigorous academic program, aim to create productive and public-spirited leaders.

16

AMONG FRIENDS

SPRING 2015


Former President and CEO of Wawa Howard Stoeckel (center) with Head of School Larry Van Meter (right) and students from the 2014-15 Leadership: Style and Skills course.

Vernon Hill, the founder and chairman of Metro Bank, speaks to the Leadership: Style and Skills course.

SPRING 2015

AMONG FRIENDS

17


Learning Leadership

“The best part is that seniors understand what it’s like to be freshmen. They know that we are on our own journey to personal discovery, and they are unfailing in their efforts to help show us the way.”

Seniors Emily Tatum and David White leading their class of ninth grade students.

18

AMONG FRIENDS

SPRING 2015


Learning Leadership

Reflections on Ethical Leadership These alumni are just a few of the many MFS graduates recognized as leaders in their specialties. We asked them to share their personal leadership styles, as well as their thoughts on how to remain ethical in positions of power. Whether they are standing up for civil rights or breaking the glass ceiling, alumni bring the lessons they learned at MFS with them into the workplace.

Ted Kreider ’06 • B.A., M.S. University of Pennsylvania • M.D.-Ph.D. Candidate, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania How would you describe your day-to-day work? I am currently pursuing an M.D. and a Ph.D. with the hope of becoming a physician-scientist. I spend some days in the lab studying HIV immunology and vaccines, while I spend others in the hospital caring for sick patients. During my training, I have also become involved in developing medical school curricula, and I am a fellow at the Penn Medicine Program for LGBT Health. I am currently establishing an outreach program for LGBT-identified youth called Out4STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Four years ago, I could not have predicted that I would be involved in the variety of projects that I am currently spearheading, but each one holds a lot of meaning for me. What are you most passionate about in your line of work? Everything. I have had the extremely good fortune of loving every aspect of my training and all of my extracurricular activities. And nothing is more fulfilling than identifying a problem (a disease, access to education, or social inequality) and devoting yourself to fixing that problem. My thesis work involves studying the immune response against HIV-1 in hopes of developing new vaccination strategies. Over the course of my Ph.D. program, I have worked with collaborators across the country and around the globe to address this major international health problem. And while studying HIV has been fulfilling from the beginning of my training, I have also encountered new passions throughout the years. When I was a second-year medical student, I discovered that medical school curricula lacks representation of LGBT populations in its basic science training. After some research and discussions with many passionate experts in LGBT health, I realized that we could easily expose first-year medical students to the health problems that their transgender patients would present with. I proposed a Trans Health Symposium, and that same year the Endocrinology course directors implemented a three-hour lecture series on transgender health and tested first-year medical students on the material. The success with which we have seamlessly integrated health education regarding a vulnerable and often marginalized patient population still drives me today. I’m currently working to publish our curriculum so

20

AMONG FRIENDS

SPRING 2015


Learning Leadership

that medical schools across the country can prepare the physician workforce of tomorrow to care for each and every patient. Based on your experiences in medicine, what do you feel makes for an effective leader? Leadership varies depending on your objectives, the team you’re working with, and your level of experience. But there are a few underlying principles. First, always listen to each team member who wants to voice an opinion. When forging into unknown territory, one never knows what obstacles are ahead, and each person brings a unique perspective and set of experiences. Second, check in with the group frequently. Rapport among a team is essential for success. And finally, never lose sight of the ultimate goal. Sometimes the most difficult thing to do when you’re starting a new project in lab, admitting a patient to the hospital, or establishing a new program is to stay on track. Using milestones or frequent reassessment (and reflection after completion of a project) allows you to accomplish your goals more readily and learn from mistakes you have made. Did anyone from MFS have an impact on the field you chose to pursue? While countless members of the MFS community contributed to my development, one who stands out is Judy van Tijn. Judy taught social studies, and she was faculty advisor for the Service Club while I was in Upper School. I remember sitting in Judy’s classroom during lunch each week and discussing service opportunities for current students. I had the sense that anything was possible – when it pertained to service, Judy never said no. Whether it was volunteering at a local shelter, implementing a new fundraising activity, or simply raising awareness about a cause that someone felt strongly about, Judy supported us. With her support, we took initiative, identified organizations or causes that we wanted to contribute to, and simply went for it. When starting a new endeavor, I still have doubts – is this actually a worthwhile cause? Will people care? Will I be able to accomplish my goals? With Judy’s help, I have developed the ability to brush off that self-doubt and incite changes that seemed improbable from the get-go. What is one memory from MFS that you feel has shaped you as a person? High school was a time of significant development – I discovered academic passions, I challenged myself with activities that I had no particular talent for (as most people who sat next to me in choir can attest), and I went through normal adolescent changes. But one memory that stays with me is the incorporation of the Operation Smile Penny Drive into Upper School Spirit Week. As a freshman, I came up with a proposal to include a fundraising aspect in the school’s Spirit Week, which was full of inter-class competitions like tug-of-war, hallway decorating, and airbands. I remember being placed on the Meeting for Business agenda and standing in front of the entire school, scared out of my mind. Despite my fear of public speaking, I knew that I was in a loving community that would support me even if I fumbled. The Upper School voted to include the Penny Drive in Spirit Week, and each year we raised more money than the year before.

SPRING 2015

“It doesn’t matter what drives you, all that matters is that something drives you. I believe every student can find that passion, and once you have a passion, hard work doesn’t always feel so hard.” When I went to college, I couldn’t find a service group that excited me as much as Op Smile did at MFS. So I helped establish the Penn Op Smile chapter, and I stayed with that group all four years of undergrad. I look back on the Penny Drive experience with fondness and realize how much the work I did with Op Smile has molded my professional interest in International Health and Pediatrics. How did Quaker values encourage leadership and personal accountability in your life? I basically grew up at MFS, so before college I didn’t know there were other ways of assuming responsibility for your actions (or inactions) than those based on Quaker values. The “I Care Cat,” “Rules for Fighting Fair,” mediation, and the Quaker propensity for service have all been ingrained in my psyche, and I subconsciously base all my decisions on these principles to this day. I think these lessons have helped mold my passion for infectious disease work and biomedical research in general. My future career, which will take one of many possible paths, will be centered on one principle: helping those who are sick and in need. On the whole, I feel like Quaker values pervade every aspect of my being. And I couldn’t be happier about it. What advice would you give to current students pursuing leadership positions? An important component of being a good leader is passion. Without passion, adversity will overwhelm you and lead to failure. Every project I have worked on has hit roadblocks, and my success in each endeavor has always hinged upon whether or not I felt passionate about the outcome. It doesn’t matter what drives you, all that matters is that something drives you. I believe every student can find that passion, and once you have a passion, hard work doesn’t always feel so hard. To discover that passion, I would suggest putting yourself in a variety of situations. While I didn’t become a star soccer player or actor, playing on sports teams and trying out for the musical each year taught me valuable lessons that I am sure still influence me today. The obvious lesson from those two activities was that I would not always be able to meet my aspirations (or even reasonable expectations!). This highlights an important balancing force to the passion that is essential for successful leadership: Leaders must always recognize their limitations and accept that things will not always work out perfectly. The right balance between passion and humility results in effective leadership.

AMONG FRIENDS

21


Learning Leadership Chiyo Moriuchi ’73 • B.A. Mount Holyoke College • M.B.A. Columbia University • M.P.H. Candidate, Columbia University • Board Member, Medford Leas and Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation You spent many years in real estate investment. How did you decide to go into that field, and how did it meld with your worldview? When I was first coming out of school – it was at the end of all the social movements of the 1970s – I wanted to make a difference in the world. My dad said, “Everyone has different skills and abilities,” and he took an economics perspective on it; he explained my career choices in terms of the concept of comparative advantage – if everyone does what they are best at, the whole community is better off. Now, my dad was a businessperson. But even though he wasn’t working directly in peace and social justice, he was able – because he was good at business – to contribute his time and money to organizations and causes he believed in. He told me, “You don’t have to be employed directly in good works. You can do other things and be instrumental in supporting those good works.” So even though I went first into banking and later into real estate investment management, I felt good about being involved in the financial industry. Hard-working people were going to be relying on the investments my firm made for their retirement. Think of pension funds: they are for people like public school teachers and firemen and police officers. A lot of people think of big investors as being bad, but those pools of money are often for the benefit of ordinary folks. Making sure that those funds have strong returns is a social good. How would you describe your leadership style throughout your career? The highlight of my real estate career was working in Asia for nine years with LaSalle Investment Management. That was where I gained the most leadership experience, because I was building a team and running a chunk of an organization. It was much like clerking a Quaker committee, where you’re trying to bring out the best in

22

AMONG FRIENDS

SPRING 2015


Learning Leadership

everyone at the table, but sometimes the path isn’t obvious. People often don’t know what they’re good at, and they often can’t articulate to you what they’re concerned about or what’s getting in their way. I think you need to see the Light in each person and look for what’s special about them. In my leadership roles, I’ve found that there are a lot good people who are put in the wrong places and asked to do things that don’t fit them well. And I’ve found that if you can shift them around, or shift what you’re asking them to do, they’ll flourish. You need to have respect for the individual. What do you view as the role of Quakerism in business? When I was growing up, it seemed like the Quaker community was a cross section of all sorts of folks, including large and small business owners. Now the Quaker community is largely made up of people in education and social work – the caring and nurturing sectors of society – and not so many people are involved in business. That’s a real problem, because Quakerism has created all of these great organizations and institutions (like Moorestown Friends and the Scattergood Foundation and Medford Leas and AFSC), and all of these great organizations need monetary support, financial management, and business skills. They need people with experience in the wider world to keep them healthy. I’m all for Friends School graduates going into business and becoming really good, ethical leaders. I recently helped organize a gathering of Quakers in Business in association with Friends General Conference, for exactly that reason. Do you believe Quaker values are relevant to the business world? Yes. Last year, I clerked the search committee for the new General Secretary (executive director) of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. It was quite wonderful, and it made me think that Quaker process is very applicable to many business situations. A lot of the business management literature talks about “Level 5 Leadership” and similar catchphrases, and in actuality it’s exactly what a good committee clerk does. The Quaker business process is powerful that way. It has to do with respecting each other, facilitating deep listening, and focusing on the common purpose. What is your current focus? I’m currently pursuing my master’s degree in public health at Columbia University. Public health covers everything from biostats and epidemiology to social science, policy, and management related to population health. Specifically, I am studying aging, and trying to understand the science as well as the policy issues. People of all ages need more support than they are getting – young families, single moms, the elderly – so the question is, is it possible to come up with supportive solutions that are not age segregated? I’m hoping to take my real estate and business background and combine it with a more in-depth understanding of these policy and management issues related to taking care of people. Most of the initiatives to date rely on donations and volunteers, I think we’ll need a business solution to create a financially sustainable and scalable solution.

SPRING 2015

“If everyone does what they are best at, the whole community is better off.”

What prompted your shift toward public health? I’m on the board of Medford Leas, a senior living and continuing care community, as well as the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation. As part of my involvement with Medford Leas, I became very interested in the growing population of older people, who need support and care but don’t want to be segregated from the rest of society. As we were looking at our strategic planning process at Medford Leas, we considered how baby boomers (and most people in the United States) have not saved anywhere near enough for their retirement and how family and community structures no longer provide the connections and support they once did. So that’s what I wanted to study in a more rigorous setting: “How can we deal with this problem, and how can we build communities that provide connection and support for all ages?” Did any faculty members at Moorestown Friends have an impact on your career path? The Upper School faculty members who stand out in my memory are Cully Miller, Stu Wood, and Dick Tyre. Of course, I loved Miss Engel (who taught me to read), Mrs. Stiles (who had the Dutch feather bed and our own little town) and Mrs. Caughey (who read us The Iliad) in elementary school. They were all so dedicated to the development of each student. I still remember not so much the actual words of conversations that I had with them, but just the feeling of how well they knew me. Dick Tyre had a way of looking at you and making you feel like he was looking right into your soul. Cully and Stu were involved in issues of peace and social justice, and while we might not have been directly doing things with them on those points, knowing that they were very personally committed and involved made a difference. Do you feel the school helps create leaders? The respect and attention you receive at Moorestown Friends helps develop people who understand their own worth and their own abilities. By the time I was a senior, I was comfortable in the school and starting to feel comfortable in my own skin. I remember having this thought: “I’m really comfortable here. Everyone has great confidence in me. So if I can just carry that feeling with me to other places that I go, then I can do as well there as I’ve done here.” I felt like, “This is my turf. And I just need to make myself feel that wherever I am, that’s my turf too.”

AMONG FRIENDS

23


Paul Pinsky ’68 • B.A., M.Ed. George Washington University • Member of the Maryland Senate since 1994, Teacher and Union Organizer How would you describe your day-to-day work as a Senator? I only work full-time in the state capitol for three months of the year, but I do political work year-round: speaking to town councils and meeting with constituents. During the months we are in session, I often start the day by meeting with an advocacy group to discuss legislation. I work with many advocates for progressive causes such as the environment, healthcare, and tax reform, and I spend time working with people coordinating grassroots legislative actions. The Senate goes into session in the morning. However, most of our time is spent in committee, where I serve as Vice Chairman as well as Chairman of the Education subcommittee. We spend anywhere from two to six hours in committee listening to bills and asking questions so that we gain a better knowledge of the issues. At least one day each week, we have a voting session where we debate bills and pass or kill them. If I get out of committee early, I’ll work in my office on drafting amendments, or I’ll meet with my staff. What have you learned from your experiences in government? I don’t buy into the “Great Man” (or woman) theory that one or two charismatic people make the difference or make history. Any change in policy comes about because people speak out, get mobilized, and work together. I believe in collaboration: getting

24

AMONG FRIENDS

“You need to hold fast to what makes life meaningful; be aware of it, come to grips with it, and don’t just pander to people to make them feel good.” the best ideas from a broad array of experts. This happened when I authored the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act about five years ago, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Maryland by 25 percent. I like to bring people into my office and knock around ideas. Frequently, this will push the envelope and develop a better idea. I’m not happy settling for the status quo. What is your greatest passion in the public sector? Helping people attain more social and economic justice. I know we’re making progress when I see people engaged in improving the quality of their lives. If I can put the finishing touches on progressive, public demands and help turn them into actual law, that’s when I get excited. I think our state (and our country) can be a better place. It’s not going to get there with just one person – we have to change the culture “on the ground” to educate people and move people and get them engaged in the political process. I work with grassroots organizations to encourage people to demand what they need, and I frequently fall back on a quote from Frederick Douglass: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will… the limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” How did you become involved in politics? I became a history teacher. I chose to teach through a “people’s history” – how events were driven by and affected regular working people. I used an economic and class perspective in teaching how and why things happened and how issues were resolved. I ran a fairly large organization as a teachers association president and

SPRING 2015


Senator Pinsky speaking to Maryland constituents about his legislation to fight oyster poaching. Oysters help filter pollutants, and 99 percent of Chesapeake Bay’s native oyster population has been lost to disease, fishing, and poaching.

then decided that electoral politics would be a good way to move from educating students to educating adults. I see a lot of my work in the senate as educating people and working with them to change public policy. Did anyone at MFS have an impact on your career path? I think it was the whole culture of the school, as exemplified by the teachers and the students. I came to Moorestown in tenth grade, so I was not a “long-timer.” There was a general culture in the school of caring for others and not beating other people down to get ahead. We learned that there is never just one answer to a problem. Our teachers were thoughtful people who made us think critically. I do remember Senior Projects and the Mock Political Convention fondly.

Learning Leadership

correlation: the greater the ambition, the more ethics tend to fall to the wayside. You can’t check your entire ego at the door, but you need to check most of it. Sometimes you’ve got to fight the good fight, even if it doesn’t result in immediate victory. I’ve proposed legislation that, at times, has gotten crushed. Ultimately, if you keep fighting, people will come to realize the right decision. You need to hold fast to what makes life meaningful; be aware of it, come to grips with it, and don’t just pander to people to make them feel good. In the end, you need to be ethical.

What advice would you give to current students pursuing leadership positions? It’s easy to go astray. I encourage students to make improving the lives of the broader populace a driving force in their lives, not simply personal ambition. I hate to say it, but there is an inverse

SPRING 2015

AMONG FRIENDS

25


Learning Leadership

“MFS also taught me the importance of quiet. In my profession, everybody talks – litigators love to talk. It’s important for me to have a moment to center myself. That comes from years and years of attending Meeting for Worship.” The legal profession is indeed stressful – and young associates tend to be tightly wound. I tell them, “I don’t expect perfection, but I expect you to try your best.” I expect things to be done in a timely manner, but I recognize that people make mistakes – I’ve made mistakes. There’s nothing that can’t be fixed. That’s something my mentor taught me, which I greatly appreciated, as it gave me room to breathe.

Danielle DeCou Garno ’93 • B.A. University of Miami • J.D. Pepperdine University School of Law • Shareholder and Attorney, Greenberg Traurig LLP • Chair, Board for the SE Division of the Children’s Home Society of Florida How would you describe your day-to-day work? I am a partner at an international, multi-practice law firm serving clients from 37 offices globally, and I work out of our founding office in Miami. I am a member of the litigation department, and my practice focuses primarily on issues faced by the fashion community, including commercial contract disputes, employment issues, anti-counterfeiting, and trademark infringement. A significant part of my daily practice is to serve as a trusted business advisor to my clients, which requires ongoing communications and delivering a high-quality work product. How do you incorporate your views on leadership into your law practice? It’s important that the people who work on my team not only enjoy what they are doing, but also understand what we are trying to accomplish and our overall strategy. When I was younger, it was hard for me to see the big picture when I was assigned a one-off task. Now, when I mentor young ambitious lawyers, I make a concerted effort to explain, “This is what we are doing, and this is just one small piece of a larger puzzle.” We couldn’t have the puzzle without pieces like them. Their work and their contributions are significant.

26

AMONG FRIENDS

What are you most passionate about? What I love most about law is interacting with people. We solve problems. People come to us when things aren’t necessarily going their way, and we help them navigate through a sticky situation. I love being able to help somebody do that. There’s so much more to law than litigation: it’s emotional, it’s dealing with people who are in a really stressful situation and trying to reassure them through a very tough process. Outside of law, I currently serve as the Chair of the Board for the Southeastern Division of the Children’s Home Society of Florida. It’s a wonderful organization, and I love it. The program has an adoption and foster care component to it, but what I find to be the most attractive quality is the preventative side. It targets at-risk families, and it provides families in need with basic parenting skills, including how to cook, how to breastfeed, and how to change a diaper; it reinforces the importance of obtaining an education. The impact of this business model is critical, as it can help to prevent a child from going into the foster care system, thereby ensuring a better quality of life for the child at risk. For those children who are taken out of their home unit, Children’s Home Society provides facilities. One of the things that I love most about the organization is that it won’t separate siblings: it always keeps them together. Often times, you’ll have seven, eight, or nine siblings staying in a children’s home together until they’re sent back to their families. It’s a very special organization. My board is full of motivated people who have a passion for children and for the cause. We organize a lot of events to raise both awareness and money for the charity. Do you feel you’re able to find balance between your separate passions? I’m not sure that it’s possible to achieve a perfect work-life balance. I think it’s more of a day-to-day process. I have four daughters:

SPRING 2015


Learning Leadership

a six-year-old, a three-year-old, and one-year-old twins. I ask myself, what needs attention at the moment? Is it client issues, the nonprofit work, or something related to one (or all) of my kids? I have learned that you need to prioritize matters based upon the needs of that moment, that day, or that week.

Are there specific faculty or staff members who influenced you? Joe McAleer, my tennis coach, really shaped my leadership style. He taught me that I wasn’t a tiny cog, but I was part of a larger machine.

It’s important to me that my daughters know that, as women, they can be successful. Their mommy works, and people rely on her. I want my girls to know that they can achieve whatever they want. I think that’s something Moorestown Friends instilled in me: that there is no limit. One of the things about the school that I liked so much is that the teachers really fostered us as individuals. They weren’t trying to put us into one mold, and we were all cherished and respected for our differences. That’s difficult to find at a school, but I try to instill that in my daughters, and that’s something that MFS definitely instilled in me.

Tennis was in the fall, and I remember that our team would watch the geese flying south for the winter. Coach Mac would always say, “Look at the geese up there, remember this moment. You’ll look back and remember times like this and how special they are, and that you might never have them again.” I just turned 40, and he sent me a text saying, “Remember the geese?” I look back on those times with tremendous fondness. MFS is an incredibly special environment that you really don’t get anywhere else. Do you feel that Quaker values have played a role in your life? Quaker education taught me the importance of finding the Light of God in everyone. It taught me that you need to foster what is personal to you, and not become a lemming. MFS also taught me the importance of quiet. In my profession, everybody talks – litigators love to talk. It is important for me to have a moment to center myself. That comes with years and years of going to Meeting for Worship – sometimes I just need a moment to be quiet and to think. I remember in fourth grade, my teacher Larue Evans would lead us in meditation exercises. To this day, I still do those exercises when I’m stressed. Mrs. Evans would have us lie down on the ground and close our eyes, and we would imagine that our bodies were empty jars and someone was slowly pouring water into us one drop at a time, until it filled up our toes. Her voice and the visualization of it has stayed with me. For a fourth grader, it was a pretty profound experience. Do you have any advice for young people pursuing leadership roles? I encourage everyone to do something that they are passionate about. If you are not passionate about it, then you are less likely to succeed.

Danielle DeCou Garno ’93 speaking at an event for the Children’s Home Society of Florida.

SPRING 2015

AMONG FRIENDS

27


Learning Leadership Martin Lehfeldt ’57 • B.A. Haverford College

If I were to generalize, I’d say that I spend most of my time building bridges – trying to connect good people with good causes.

• M.Div. Union Theological Seminary

What do you feel differentiates a truly ethical leader? Ethical leadership to me consists of being guided by empathy when • Former President, Southeastern Council of Foundations making a major decision: thinking through who’s going to be left • Author of Notes from a Non-Profitable Life, Thinking About out, who’s not going to benefit, and who’s going to be hurt by Things: Selected Columns, and The Sacred Call: A Tribute your decision. You try to look at the world through a lens that permits you to see opportunities that will benefit many people, to Donald L. Hollowell rather than just a few. What was your work like with the Southeastern Council of I’ve been struck by the fact that so many folks look around them Foundations? The Southeastern Council of Foundations is a 10-state, 330-member and see a world of scarcity. I think there’s great abundance that we need to tap into, particularly in assisting the most neglected people. association of grantmakers. I took over as President in 1998 and I think good leaders are willing to tap into that abundance, and ran the organization for 11 years. It involved providing technical they are willing to have the courage to promote change. assistance to foundations, organizing legal seminars, taking people to D.C. to lobby for their interests, and leading many meetings Can you give an example of a time you needed that kind of about the proper role of philanthropy. courage? Courage may be too strong a word, but I mentioned the seminary What advice would you give to someone pursuing a similar that I’m involved with: Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary. It leadership position? began in Charlotte, NC as part of a freedman’s school after the Civil A lot of people think they need to start high up on the ladder, but War. Then it was part of a theological consortium for the past 45 I think a willingness to do the grunt work of an organization has years here in Atlanta. Recently, my colleagues and I decided that the enormous benefits. You learn humility you’re going to need if you church needs a new model of theological education. We pulled out go into the nonprofit sector: how to make your own coffee, type of the consortium and are now re-inventing ourselves with a new your own letters, move your own furniture. And if you feel that’s community-oriented mission and a very non-traditional curriculum. beneath you, you’re never going to go very far. It was a pretty gutsy change that initially upset a lot of people, but I I also believe you should look for opportunities to go into unfamiliar think history will show that we made the right move. and uncharted territories. That’s going to mean something different Do you feel Quaker education impacted the way you make for everybody: working in a soup kitchen in Camden, or traveling leadership decisions? to the Middle East to learn about Israeli-Palestinian relations. I’ve Moorestown Friends validated a great deal of my own upbringing; learned the most when I have been the outsider and newcomer. my father was a Lutheran minister in Camden who was very That was certainly the case when I came south to work at a involved in social justice issues. He was an avowed pacifist. My historically African-American college, and here I am, 40 years later, Friends education, combined with the education I received at home, still passionate about encouraging diversity in education. worked to shape my character. Would you say your main priority as a leader has been giving Looking back, Chester Reagan and Cully Miller tapped me to do back to the people you lead? some things that in a way constituted real leadership training. Cully To say “yes” would sound arrogant, but I am a big proponent made it possible for me to go down to Washington, D.C. by myself of what has been called servant leadership. When I decided not – that was a big deal! That weekend exposed me to the world of to go into the ministry, I ended up coming south to promote policymaking and national affairs. It was an incredibly memorable African-American higher education, and I did that for many years. Eventually I formed my own consulting firm with a variety of clients, experience for me. Then I was the first exchange student from MFS to go to Nuremberg, thanks to Chester Reagan, and that had a but most of them tended to be struggling organizations that didn’t huge impact on my life. He was also the first person who exposed have much money but were on the side of the “good and true and me to a sense of environmental stewardship. I used to go on bird beautiful.” I was willing to charge a lot less than the going rate in walks with him at dawn through the backyards of Moorestown. order to help them. How do you stay involved with nonprofit work now that you’re retired? For many years now, I’ve been on the board of the only historically black Presbyterian seminary in the country. I chair a development committee that supports the homeless, I work on several church committees, and I am president of my college class. I’ve also been working with a colleague on writing a history of philanthropy in the South.

28

AMONG FRIENDS

I remember Chester Reagan speaking in assemblies, and in my blurred memory it seems he always spoke from the same text: “What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Every time I hear that – Micah 6:8 – I flash back to Chester Reagan expounding on it. It was a remarkable privilege to attend Moorestown Friends.

SPRING 2015


Fall 2014 MOORESTOWN FRIENDS SCHOOL

Among Friends

Alumni Making a Difference in Education 2013 -14 Annual Report

Don Orth ’91


Alumni Making a Difference in Education The alumni on the following pages represent a small sampling of the many MFS graduates paying it forward in the world of education. In addition to those contributing through classroom teaching, alumni also share their love of education through academic technology, consulting, financial aid services, school leadership, and many other roles.

William Fearn ’93 Closing the Achievement Gap for Historically Underprivileged Students

Kennette Banks ’02 Helping to Create Equal Access to Educational Opportunities

Naomi Harper ’04 Empowering Students through Bilingual Education

NEW YORK, NY

LOS GATOS, CA

Don Orth ’91 Working at the Crossroads of Technology and Education 18

AMONG FRIENDS

LOVELAND, CO

WASHINGTON, DC

MOORESTOWN, NJ

Mark Mitchell ’86 Striving to Ensure Economic Diversity in Independent Schools FALL 2014


Don Orth ’91 • B.A. Tufts University • M.F.A. Vermont College, Poetry and Modern Letters • Ed.M. Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Teaching and Curriculum • Worldwide Education Markets, Apple, Inc., Los Gatos, CA

Working at the Crossroads of Technology and Education How did you first become involved in the world of education? I majored in English and followed a pre-med track at Tufts. After college, I found a job as a lab assistant in a molecular biology lab at Harvard. It was wild, particularly when the whole field changed with the sequencing of the human genome at the end of the century. But I still cared about writing, so I pursued an M.F.A. in poetry while I was feeding cell cultures and cutting DNA. I eventually decided to pursue a master’s in education so that I could teach. In the fall of 2000, I landed my first job teaching English, at Gloucester High in Massachusetts.

and watch the challenges spin and float and collide into each other. In other words, I love throwing all the challenges at hand into a single space and looking for connections, without letting logic and reason limit the solutions. For me, poetry is a tool I use to solve problems by making unlikely connections. That creative process helps me discover and make meaning where it didn’t exist before.

What are you most passionate about in your line of work? While I’ve been working in schools for 15 years, I’ve played many different roles — from teaching English and math, to directing marketing and leading a technology program. I like a challenge and I love exploring possibilities. I do best when I have the freedom to create. While I loved teaching English, I found grading papers and designing formal lesson plans difficult — I never felt like I was doing enough for my students.

What was your role at Hillbrook School in California? As Director of Technology and Strategic Partnerships, I was hired to rethink how technology played a role in education at Hillbrook. We brought in iPads, and a world of possibilities opened up. We redesigned the traditional computer lab to develop an agile learning space called the Idea Lab (iLab for short). We filled the lab with mobile flip-top tables and mobile whiteboards and whiteboard walls. And we changed the way teaching happened in that space: students had more choices about how and where they learned. This significantly changed the dynamic of the classroom: the “front” of the classroom often disappeared, and students didn’t rely on the teacher as often. So the teacher’s role changed.

In education and all areas of my life, I relate most to what John Keats refers to as “negative capability”: the idea that one can inhabit a place of “uncertainties, mysteries, and doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” I’ve found that wonderful, creative things happen when I allow myself to slip into this space

This year, Hillbrook is redesigning nine or ten more classrooms. It was wonderful to help grow a school. We became an Apple Distinguished School in 2012, one of about 100 in the world, and in 2013 I became an Apple Distinguished Educator, joining a remarkable community of teachers.

FALL 2014

AMONG FRIENDS

19


Where do you hope your career takes you? I always look to collaborate with passionate, smart people, who are dedicated to what they do. Silicon Valley is filled with people like this and it’s exciting to be in the middle of it. It feels like anything is possible. It’s an amazing time to be focused on education. Human beings are built to learn, and I think the technology available now taps into that. The challenge for schools is to make changes and take advantage of it. It feels like education is at a crossroads, and we need visionary leaders to help shape a new generation of learning. How have your education and interests informed your work? Language and poetry have been essential in every place I’ve worked. Before I started teaching, I worked as an editor for scientists who were brilliant but couldn’t communicate their ideas. If they couldn’t explain their work coherently, the work wouldn’t be funded and their research would end. Eventually, I became the Director of Communications at Cate School, and I needed to define the school for those who didn’t know it, who hadn’t lived it. I realized again how language shapes perception, and in a way, reality. I’ve always found that distilling language down to its essential elements is powerful. When you do it well, it lives with those who read it, hear it, see it, and it affects them deeply. And that’s poetry. And poetry can change the world. Did your experience at MFS influence your professional life and interests? Yes. All of it. From Ms. Binder’s art class in Lower School, to Ms. Opalenick’s music, to Mr. Smith’s sixth grade science class, to Mrs. Gagliardi’s fourth grade, to poetry with Mr. Goodman, to literature with Doc LaVia; ceramics with Mr. Marcucci, woodshop with Mr. Boothby, science with Mr. Wilhere, soccer with Mr. Koski, and of course two years of kindergarten with the wonderful Mrs. Marino. These teachers loved what they did, but more more importantly, I felt like they loved me.

“MFS gave me a deep and unshakable confidence that if I worked hard at something, I could become competent and even excellent.” What’s one MFS project that stands out in your memory? My tenth grade teacher, Mark Goodman, assigned us a poetry journal. We had to collect different types of poetry and write our own. It was hard, and my poetry was pretty horrific, but I remember enjoying it. I’ll never forget some of my friends reading their poetry, too: Raj, and Wendy, and Larry. There was something liberating about that class. Mark gave us the freedom to be creative. That combination of elements helped shape my life. Overall, MFS gave me a deep and unshakable confidence that if I worked hard at something, I could become competent and even excellent. From singing, to writing, to math — it always felt like I could accomplish anything. Over the years, I’ve realized that I’m not wired to be an astrophysicist or an opera singer (although I’ve had my moments). But that general confidence and sense of possibility has given me courage to try new things and to trust myself when I face challenges. If you could share one insight about your educational philosophy with others, what would it be? I believe children should have choices. So often, kids go to school and every moment of the day is predetermined, structured, defined. I think that’s why I loved MFS so much — the arts were an important part of the curriculum, and other classes gave us permission to make our own choices as well. The more children are supported in making their own learning choices, the more likely they are to find and pursue their passions, care about the work they do, and ultimately, live deeply and make the world better.

In fact, I learned more (and remember more) from my classes at MFS than any other formal learning experience. And I was a real handful, too. I visited the principal’s office more than a couple times. I couldn’t sit still and I couldn’t stop talking, but I never got shut down by my teachers — it must have taken a lot of patience on their part. I can’t imagine what I would have done if I had me in one of the classes I taught!

20

AMONG FRIENDS

FALL 2014


Alumni In Education Banks with one of her students at Leadership Prep Bedford Stuyvesant.

How would you describe your organization? My school, Leadership Prep Bedford Stuyvesant, is part of a network of high performing charter schools — across Brooklyn, Newark, Rochester, Troy, Boston, and now Camden — called Uncommon Schools. Leadership Prep is located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn and has approximately 440 scholars from kindergarten through fourth grade, with about 47 staff members and teachers. Our mission is to prepare all of our scholars to attend and succeed in a four-year college.

Kennette Banks ’02 • B.A. Swarthmore College • M.Ed. University of Pennsylvania • Director of Operations, Uncommon Schools, New York, NY

Helping to Create Equal Access to Educational Opportunities Who inspired you to become an educator? My mother had a lot to do with my involvement in education. Growing up, she pushed me to work hard and not take anything for granted. The other piece that helped solidify my interest was my mother’s own experience desegregating schools after Brown vs. Board of Education. As one of the first African Americans to attend an all-girls school in Baltimore, my mother had to fight for her education. I see my work now as an extension of that: I am continuing her fight for equal access. What other factors influenced you in your journey? I first became involved in education academically at Swarthmore, when I took an Introduction to Education course. It was known as “the class you had to take” and the one that would contextualize your educational experience. After taking the course, I gained a better understanding of the ways in which privilege and education are connected in our country: not everyone has the same educational opportunities or access. There are discrepancies in our educational system, and I saw more clearly how these discrepancies often fell along the lines of race and class. My first job after college was working in admissions at Swarthmore. I wanted to provide access to higher education to students who were smart and deserving, but who may have not had the privilege of strong preparation. This was relatively naive of me, as I soon learned that the admissions process (especially at elite colleges and universities) kept more people out than it let in — I realized that it was already too late for many of the applicants. Without adequate college preparation, students’ chances of getting into a strong fouryear university were severely limited. This experience prompted me to work with younger students in a more direct way.

What is your current title, and what do you do on a daily basis? My current title is Director of Operations. Leadership Prep operates on a co-leader model, where the Principal is the Instructional Leader of the school. She observes classroom teaching, gives feedback, reviews curriculum, and identifies the highest-leverage factors for teachers to address in order to improve student achievement. So that her focus can remain on instruction, I manage the day-to-day operations of the school: everything from managing our budget, to making sure we are in compliance with the state, to overseeing our facility and building the school schedule. I support teachers to make sure they can do their jobs effectively, I make sure that our buses drop off our scholars on time, and I make sure that each student receives a hot lunch — all of the logistics that help our school succeed. How would you say your experience at MFS influenced your professional life and interests? I think that my lifelong Quaker education at Haddonfield Friends, Moorestown Friends, and Swarthmore instilled in me a strong sense of justice and equality. If I saw something that I thought was unjust, I believed I should do something to fix it. I couldn’t be a bystander to injustice. Did any faculty or staff members have an impact on your career? Brooke Smith, Karen Washington, and Tina Corsey are teachers who stand out to me now. They all pushed me to work hard and to never settle, but they also played a major role in supporting me as an individual. They helped me to understand my experience at MFS both as I was experiencing it and after graduating. If you could share one insight about your educational philosophy with others, what would it be? I think that we often focus on the students themselves and their need to achieve (which places both the blame and responsibility to fix it on them). In the majority of situations, however, the achievement gap exists and persists because of disparities in opportunities. We need to focus on erasing the opportunity gap as a means to addressing the achievement gap.

What do you value most about your work with students? I am most passionate about creating opportunities, both educational and otherwise, for students of color and low-income students for whom various opportunities might not be readily available.

FALL 2014

AMONG FRIENDS

21


Our team’s motto is “Making Dollars Make Sense,” and that’s what we try to help schools and families do through the financial aid process.

Mark Mitchell ’86 • B.S. Northwestern University • School Committee Member, Moorestown Friends School, 2005-2014 • Vice President of School and Student Services, National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Washington, D.C.

Striving to Ensure Economic Diversity in Independent Schools How did you become interested in K-12 education? I built my financial aid expertise in higher education, at Northwestern University and Lake Forest College. I brought those skills to the K-12 world when I wanted to move back East. At that time, I applied to be the new Director of Financial Aid Services for NAIS, which I thought presented a perfect opportunity to combine my professional skills with my personal history as a Camden Scholar and financial aid recipient at MFS. I couldn’t imagine a better way for me to help independent schools keep the doors of access and opportunity open to all kids. What are you most passionate about in your line of work? At NAIS, I see it as a blessing that I am able to make information and inspiration available to private school leaders. These leaders want their schools to make a difference in the lives of kids who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to attend them. I’m passionate about challenging schools to affirm the value of economic diversity in their school communities, keeping themselves accessible to families whose children only lack the financial resources to achieve their greatest potential. I’m passionate about ensuring that every child who shows promise to succeed has the chance to do so. How would you describe your position, and what do you do on a daily basis? I manage a team that ensures that school leaders and financial aid practitioners have what they need to make the best decisions possible about funding and awarding financial aid dollars. On a daily basis, this takes the form of helping to design formulae and software for evaluating financial aid eligibility; delivering presentations to school administrators on making sound financial aid decisions; helping parents and students navigate the financial aid process; and writing articles on best practices and industry trends. 22

AMONG FRIENDS

How would you say your experience at MFS influenced your professional life and interests? Without MFS, I wouldn’t be doing what I do today. In the workshops and talks I give to school leaders, I emphasize that it is a pleasure and a joy for me to help them do for students and families what MFS did for me and mine. Based on my personal experiences at MFS, I know firsthand the transformative power and value of access to high-quality education. Helping schools make that transformation happen for others keeps my work authentic, true, and rewarding. Moorestown Friends also taught me that there is “that of God” in everyone. This belief has undoubtedly influenced my professional life and interests. I strive to honor the Light in others by providing opportunities for people to grow and learn how to be better, whether it’s a financial aid director seeking new skills or a parent seeking the right school for her child. Which faculty members had the most impact on your life? I’d say that three people really stand out: English Teacher Louise Morgan (Geary) taught me how to think for myself and express my thoughts. Research, writing, and speaking are core components of my work, and every time I am complimented on doing those things well, I am grateful for her influence and guidance. The skills I learned in English class constantly help me find my voice on issues that matter to me, and help me to be open to shaping and reshaping my viewpoint on things — engaging in meaningful, respectful dialogue that ultimately leads to improvement. My chemistry teacher, Steve Edgerton, gave me the best summer job I’ve ever had as a counselor at Camp Dark Waters. That experience encouraged me to try new things every day, to be myself in bold but humble ways, and to seek out the joyful spark in everyday things and everyday people. Finally, Math Teacher Steve Bartholomew taught me that what’s really most vital in friendships is the degree to which you can be available to others who need a boost, a helping hand, a sounding board, or just an ear to listen to troubles. He taught me to be sincere. If you could share one insight about financial aid with others, what would it be? In the words of President Obama, “there has never been anything false about hope.” Hope is what the promise of financial aid brings to schools and families: the hope for making a difference in the life of a child who needs it. The hope for making sure that the school can meet its mission to find, support, and nurture the best and the brightest, no matter the economic circumstances. The hope for pushing society further along the path of equity and justice. Private schools can make all of that happen, but it takes commitment, planning, and sacrifice on the parts of so many (students, parents, administrators, trustees, donors, and others) to make it work the way that it should.

FALL 2014


Alumni In Education

The AVID elective class at Brentwood helps sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students prepare for high school and college. I teach organizational and note-taking skills as well as how to take on leadership roles, how to work in collaborative groups, and how to take responsibility for their own learning.

William Fearn ’93 • B.A. Mount Saint Mary’s College • J.D. Rutgers University School of Law, Constitutional Law and Federal Indian Law • Science and Social Studies Teacher, Brentwood Middle School, Loveland, CO

Closing the Achievement Gap for Historically Underprivileged Students How did you discover your talent for teaching middle school students? During my senior year of college, I looked into a variety of different volunteer opportunities. I found information about Red Cloud Indian School’s volunteer program, and once I began working in their classrooms I caught the “teaching bug.” After three years as a volunteer teacher, I used an AmeriCorps stipend to enroll in law school. I completed my clerkship in the Tribal Courts, working with juvenile offenders, and eventually felt that I had a more profound positive impact on children’s lives as a teacher. After conducting research for a time at a mortgage firm, I found myself longing to get back into the classroom. I missed the community and culture on the Reservation, and the sense of meaning that comes with spending life as an educator. I enrolled in education courses and returned to Red Cloud as a full-time teacher.

How did your time at MFS affect your trajectory? I really feel that my experiences at MFS engendered a drive to make a difference through service. I first became involved in the Care Walks (homeless outreach) through MFS, and that experience led me to take a more active role in issues I felt ardent about. I spearheaded the Gulf War Study Day Committee in 1991, was on the Diversity Day Coordinating Committee in 1992, and was a member of the Religious Life Committee throughout Upper School. My senior Intensive Learning experience was with the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, and that also helped me to appreciate how a small group of dedicated people can have a major impact. How would you describe your educational philosophy? I realize it’s a cliché, but I truly feel that the goal of education should not be teaching students what to think, but rather how to think for themselves. That has been one of the most enduring gifts I’ve treasured from my own experience at MFS. Did any faculty or staff members have an impact on your career? Several of my former teachers at MFS had a significant impact on me, including Chuck Boothby, Marge Overholt, Michael Omilian, and Matt Baird. They transformed my view of education into a life-long curiosity about the world. They challenged my ideas and assumptions, and I feel that I grew tremendously as a result. I think I’m in education in part because I would like to be the spark that might help to kindle that kind of fire in others.

What matters to you most in your line of work? During my career as a teacher, I have worked primarily with Native American and Hispanic students in high-poverty communities. I am passionate about providing socio-economically disadvantaged students with the same opportunities that others take for granted. At the school where I teach now, students are primarily Spanishspeaking and more than 76 percent receive free or reduced-cost lunch. What do you do on a daily basis at Brentwood Middle School? I am currently chair of the Social Studies department at Brentwood, and I teach Geography, World History, and U.S. History. I have also taught Physical Science and Biology. I’m currently an Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) instructor, and I have worked with the U.S. Department of Education GEAR UP Grant in the past — both of these are college readiness programs that work to close the achievement gap for historically underprivileged students. FALL 2014

AMONG FRIENDS

23


Title

graduating I lived for a year in the Dominican Republic and a year in Mexico, doing educational work in both places. Then I began to apply for master’s programs in bilingual education in New York City. What are you most passionate about in your line of work? I am passionate about empowering bilingual children, as well as empowering monolingual children by helping them become bilingual. Recent studies have shown that apart from the social, cultural, and economic advantages that often accompany childhood bilingualism, fluency in another language enhances higher order cognitive skills. It allows for more flexible thinking and problem solving. The best time to learn to speak, read, and write in another language is when you are young. What is your mission as a bilingual teacher? The theory behind bilingual education is that when children are taught academic content in their first language at the same time as they learn English, they can remain on par with their monolingual peers academically, and are less likely to eventually lose their home language. I don’t personally believe it makes sense for children who grow up speaking Spanish at home to be thrown into an “English only” environment in school. They may lose their Spanish, or never learn to read and write it, only to be retaught Spanish through foreign language classes in high school. It is not equitable to expect young children to learn academic content solely through a language in which they are not proficient.

Naomi Harper ’04 • B.A. Middlebury College • Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, Oaxaca, Mexico • M.S. City University of New York City College • Dual Language Teacher, New York City Department of Education, New York, NY

Empowering Students through Bilingual Education When did you realize that you wanted to be a teacher? My first work experience in the field of education was through my Senior Project at MFS. After an internship with a literary magazine fell through, my mom suggested I contact a friend of hers who worked in the outreach department of a health center. The internship involved traveling to “camps” at local blueberry farms where Mexican migrant farmworkers lived, giving “health talks” in Spanish, taking people’s blood pressure, and setting up appointments at the clinic. The project led to a paid position for two summers while I was in college, doing the same kind of work. The outreach job made me realize that I loved working with people, using my Spanish language skills to break down barriers and help educate. It inspired me to continue studying Spanish in college, and to volunteer teach English as a second language to immigrant populations. I studied abroad in Peru while at Middlebury, and after

24

AMONG FRIENDS

How would you describe your day-to-day work? I work for the New York City Department of Education as a dual language teacher in elementary schools. “Dual language” indicates that students learn all academic content in both English and Spanish. At my school last year, we had “English days” and “Spanish days.” The idea is that 50 percent of the students in a classroom come from an English speaking background and 50 percent are stronger Spanish speakers (although it doesn’t always work out perfectly in practice). So the English dominant students learn Spanish while the Spanish dominant students learn English. They learn from each other in an organic way, through content and social interaction rather than isolated language courses. On a daily basis, I work with my co-teacher to lead reading, writing, math, science, and social studies in both languages. I usually spend a minimum of eight hours each week writing lesson plans, grading assignments, and analyzing data around student progress. It feels worth it because the work is so rewarding. How would you say your experience at MFS influenced your professional life and interests? I think my education at Moorestown Friends gave me a strong foundation to pursue my passions. I learned to think critically, appreciate diversity, and to fight for the causes in which I believe. In my opinion, these are the most important skills in becoming successful and leading a happy and meaningful life.

FALL 2014


Title

Did any faculty or staff members have an impact on your career? My Spanish teachers, Mr. Console and Ms. Washington, made learning a foreign language fun. Ms. Rinehart, Mr. Larson, and Mrs. Caldwell were very influential in helping me learn to think critically about all kinds of ideas and issues. Mr. Omilian even made me kind of enjoy Calculus — math is now one of my favorite subjects to teach to young children. If you could share one insight about your educational philosophy with others, what would it be? Good teaching isn’t about imparting knowledge or filling empty minds with new information. It’s about building on what students already know, and forming a relationship to get them excited about learning in general. Twenty years from now, I don’t know if my students will remember the facts I taught them in social studies or the algorithm for three-digit subtraction. But I hope to instill a love of learning that will help them approach the world with curious and critical minds.

FALL 2014

AMONG FRIENDS

25


Spring 2014 MOORESTOWN FRIENDS SCHOOL

Among Friends

The Science of Food


Title

Food for THOUGHT Here in Room 4, glass-encased beetles sit on the window ledge next to a paper wasp nest. A line of biological curiosities decorates the back wall: an elephant femur, the skulls of various animals, fish swimming circles around duckweed and snails. Chemical Test Rules are posted in purple marker: “Don’t eat it! Wear goggles. Listen. Wash your hands.” Fifth Grade and Lower School Science Teacher Rebekka Schultz stands in the front of the room under a display of favorite classroom words like displacement, sedimentary, and hypothesis. This is definitely a science classroom. And that’s why there are fluffy marshmallows on every table. “What do we know about a marshmallow?” asks Ms. Schultz. “Do we think it would be a good snack to take with us on a hike?” One student raises his hand and says marshmallows would need to contain both fats and starches in order to be the right snack. The other fifth graders nod and look down at the handouts in front of them. The class has been studying food chemistry, performing physical and chemical tests on foods to analyze nutrition content. In previous classes, they learned how to test for nutrients 14

AMONG FRIENDS

The Food Education Program at MFS Food Chemistry - Grade 5. Introduction to the chemical components of food. “Today we will be testing chocolate syrup for the presence of sugars and fats.” Kitchen Science - Grades 6-8. The study of the physical and chemical changes that happen in cooking. “Today we will be making chocolate syrup — we’ll vary the proportion of ingredients in order to observe changes in our product.” Food Science - Grades 9-12. Examination of the processing, manufacturing, and marketing of food. “Today we will learn about different commercial recipes for chocolate syrups and then taste different brands.” Nutrition - Grades 11-12. Investigation of the balance of foods needed to maintain health. “Today we will discuss where chocolate syrup might fit into a healthy diet.”

SPRING 2014


Food for Thought ‘awesome, good choice,’ or ‘Ms. Schultz, you’ve let me down’?” “‘Ms. Schultz, you’ve let me down!’” says Mikey. “Because we’d only have enough nutrients for a little hike.” “But Mikey, I’m confused.” Ms. Schultz puts her hands on her hips. “Because they also contain starch, which gives us great, longlasting energy.” She turns to another student. “What do you have to say about that?” “Well, glucose is the first ingredient, the second sounds like sugar, and the third ingredient dextrose is also a sugar,” he says. “Starch isn’t listed until fourth.” “So chances are, your body’s going to break down all of those sugars pretty fast,” says Ms. Schultz. “Based on our results, marshmallows wouldn’t be the worst choice for our hike, but we could probably choose something better.” •••••

Fifth grade Food Chemistry students conduct tests on marshmallows for various nutrients. one at a time, but in this final challenge they’ll be conducting all four tests in one class period: starch, glucose, fats, and protein. Each table makes their own predictions about which nutrients they think the marshmallows contain. They work together to review how to read the different nutrient test results: “What happens with glucose again?” “What color is iodine?” Students reference their food chemistry workbooks, developed by the Smithsonian Institution, for answers. They begin their fat and protein tests first, because those results take longer to process. Some of the tables have conflicting results. Ms. Schultz moves around the room, photographing the different results on her iPad so they can review them as a class on the interactive whiteboard. With about 15 minutes to go, she distributes a copy of the marshmallows’ nutrition label to each table. The room buzzes with questions and speculation. Ms. Schultz switches off the overhead lights. “Eyes and ears, friends,” she says. “I’ve given you the nutrition label that lets you know which ingredients are in the marshmallows. That should help you fill in your post-lab results. When we all finish, I’ll show you the rest of the marshmallow food label, where it lists the amount of each nutrient.” A little while later, Ms. Schultz directs the class’s attention to the screen at the front of the room. “Alright, ladies and gentlemen. Up on the board you will see each table’s results. So looking at the ingredient label now: if we were going on a hike, and I brought marshmallows, would you say SPRING 2014

All the way down the hallway, in Room 22, Dr. Barbara Kreider is teaching Nutrition to Upper School students. If you asked her, she would tell you that the Food Education Program at MFS has been one of her greatest passions as head of the Science & Engineering Department. “Our textbook publishers have noted that we may be the only high school in the country that uses a college textbook for Nutrition,” says Dr. Kreider, warmly. “We have two sections of it as a major course, and it’s a uniquely independent school offering. The Nutrition class amplifies the message that every senior gets in Health class — eat well to be well.” Within the science curriculum, the Nutrition course meets the emerging need for deliberate pre-college education around being a consumer in a country with an obesity epidemic. Within the broader context of a balanced education, MFS faculty have been cognizant of how instruction on food — at both the local and global levels — contextualizes the role of food in driving social systems. “Lifelong learning is a goal of our Nutrition course. We want to create an educated citizenry prepared to make informed decisions around issues of food sustainability and food equity,” says Dr. Kreider. “Student interest in this class has grown over the past five years as public discourse around food issues has intensified.” The Nutrition course includes weekly eco-friendly cooking and food planning. All students enrolled in the course compete in a local Senior Sarah Kezbari assists Dr. Barbara Kreider during a Middle School Kitchen Science lesson.

AMONG FRIENDS

15


Title

Dr. Kreider oversees Middle School students making ice cream from scratch. business competition, in which they design social media campaigns to convince target audiences to eat healthfully. The students also provide produce to the entire school on “Free Fruit Fridays.” In addition to offering Nutrition as an Upper School major course, MFS also offers Food Science as an Upper School minor course, Kitchen Science as a Middle School elective, and Food Chemistry as a course in fifth grade. The different age levels are able to interact with one another, particularly because the Nutrition course has a strong emphasis on learning through teaching others. Upper School students design activities around vitamins and minerals that they then share with fifth grade Food Chemistry, and they also design nutrition-based competition events for the New Jersey Science Olympiad.

The Food Education Program was partially the result of Dr. Kreider’s work on a nationally distributed nutrition textbook, for which she worked as a development editor for two years. She realized how little Americans know about the food industry and sought to better educate her students. A course such as Food Science is intended to increase students’ knowledge of how prepared and processed foods are made, while also teaching them about the history and sociological impact of food. A lesson on Cocoa Puffs examines how the ingredients are formed into a cereal product, but it also introduces students to the history of cereal foods: for example, the first modern cereals were created by Seventh-day Adventists as a dietary solution for hospital patients. In contrast to Nutrition, which focuses on healthfulness and whole foods, the Food Science course focuses on the industry behind processed foods. Students gain insight into the food system by considering how a product such as ketchup is made, marketed, and then distributed nationally — essentially, how to understand the list of Ingredients on a food label as opposed to the Nutrition Facts. The goal is to teach them how to navigate an ever-changing food system by learning the fundamentals of how food is commercially prepared. “The study of food at MFS is an applied science,” says Dr. Kreider. “When kids understand that Cocoa Puffs are cornstarch, they can associate the cereal with their chemistry knowledge. We teach them the process of using evidence to decide what they should eat.” ••••• A number of students who have taken Dr. Kreider’s Food Science course have gone on to study food science or nutrition at the college or graduate level. One such student, Kayla Fox ’08, majored in food science at UC Davis and is currently Assistant Research Scientist at Marrone Bio Innovations. She took Dr. Kreider’s Food Science elective twice. “If they had offered nutrition while I was at MFS, I would have taken that as well,” says Fox. “If it weren’t for Dr. Kreider, I would have never even known about food science. She told me I should consider majoring in it.”

As part of her unit on the Five Senses, Preschool Teacher Jennifer Yeung conducts taste tests with her students to help them differentiate between sweet, salty, bitter, and sour.

16

AMONG FRIENDS

SPRING 2014


Amanda Connell ‘12 studies sustainable agricultural practices at Cornell, where she has academic access to farms.

Amanda Connell ‘12 conducts an experiment in the Food Science Department at Cornell University. Fox’s degree led her to Marrone Bio, a company that produces biopesticides and bioherbicides. She is in charge of making field trial material for the products that are currently in development. “What I like most is that I feel that I am working on products that will make a difference in the world. With the world’s growing population, there is a need for more sustainable food production, with higher yields. Biopesticides help improve yields, can be used in organic farming, and have less of an environmental footprint.” Amanda Connell ’12 is currently pursuing a double major in Food Science and Environmental Science at Cornell University. Her studies focus on sustainable practices in the food industry, from small-scale farms to large-scale production lines. Upon graduation, Assistant Research she hopes to find employment in the Scientist Kayla Fox ’08 growing field of food sustainability.

“I believe it would be extremely rewarding to be involved and to use my skill set to push the development of food sustainability. I would also eventually like to pursue an advanced degree either in food science or in environmental sustainability,” says Connell, who had also never considered studying food science before taking courses with Dr. Kreider. “After observing my interests in science and food, she was the one who suggested the combination of the two and introduced me to a subject she believed I would love. Barb encouraged me to help her run the Middle School Kitchen Science elective, and she pushed me to apply to the top schools for food science. She supported me every step of the way.” The school has also been fortunate enough to benefit from Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. Chef Kathy Gold, who runs In the Kitchen Cooking School in Haddonfield, was invited to the White House for the 2010 launch of the Chefs Move to Schools Program; there, she and other prominent chefs were asked to adopt schools and participate in schools’ food education. Chef Gold adopted MFS, and she has visited the school cafeteria to offer tweaks to healthy recipes. She also hosted an MFS Intensive Learning group at her cooking school for five days. As part of Michelle Obama’s initiative, a significant donation of equipment was added to the collection of cookware used in the Nutrition course. Lower School teachers have also been exploring ways to expose the school’s youngest students to the science of food. “Before coming to MFS, I worked with farm-to-table programs, teaching students about where food comes from,” says Lower School Science Teacher Rebekka Schultz. “Research has shown that the more students are exposed to healthy foods, either by close observations or growing them from seed, the more interested students are in eating them. Our Lower Schoolers are beginning to think beyond the classroom walls, understanding the role of food and the environment in their lives.” Looking towards the future, the Science & Engineering Department is designing comprehensive nutrition education materials for the Lower School. For Dr. Kreider, this means keeping MFS on the cutting edge of education. “A truly exceptional educational program is informed by current research and maximizes student engagement. Come to our classrooms, look and listen, and I think you will discover excellence.”

Inside the laboratory at Marrone Bio Innovations, where Kayla Fox ‘08 makes field trial material for biopesticides. SPRING 2014

AMONG FRIENDS

17


Friends in the Food Industry The alumni on the following pages represent a cross-section of those who have followed their interest in food education through college and into the working world. A broad range of MFS graduates work in nutrition through the lenses of medicine and food policy, as well as food research, food-related academia, and the culinary and agricultural industries.

Lauren Eni ’04 • B.A. Barnard College • Vice President of Brand Strategy, Dietz and Watson

How would you describe Dietz and Watson to someone who has never heard of it before? We are a premium meats and cheese producer. We are a family business. And our focus, since 1939 and into the future, is the quality of our products — we really focus on the people who are consuming those products.

Did you always know you wanted to work at Dietz and Watson? I always thought that I would eventually have something to do with the business... why I came when I did, a few years ago, was to grow our brand. I’ve been focusing on who we are as a brand, modernizing that a little bit, and spreading it nationally. As a consumer-facing retail brand, we need to figure out what our packages should look like in the store. Then being in a service department, we need to figure out what kind of signage we need around the products — how do we tell people about the attributes of our products so that they will choose our products over others? And when people leave the store, how do we continue to get consumers engaged in the brand? We find that consumers are going online to engage with the brand and learn about the products. Still, most people are making a final decision at the point of purchase, when they are physically in the store.

What do you do in your current position? My main goal is to figure out just where our brand should be in terms of different locations in the country, and where we should be in terms of new media and getting customers engaged in the brand. In the past two years, we’ve shifted away from traditional media, and we’re focusing more on grassroots marketing, digital marketing, and events. What does a typical day look like for you in your line of work? I’m part of the fourth generation of the family that owns the business, so I’m actively involved in learning the business. We’re in every state now, so I travel and visit our customers and stores. I spend a lot of time looking at data and working with local ad agencies on our creative strategy. I also spend a lot of time in production looking at how our products are made.

Dietz and Watson

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Dietz and Watson is one of the largest preparers of premium deli meats and artisan cheeses. 18

AMONG FRIENDS

SPRING 2014


Title

Following in the footsteps of their parents, D&W executives and MFS alumni Louis Eni ’71, Chris Eni ’74, and Cindy Eni Yingling ’75, the next generation in this multi-generational family business is coming to the fore: CJ Eni ’15, Dylan Eni ’16, Michael Eni ’10, Lauren Eni ’04, Greg Yingling ’11, Chris Yingling ’05, Tim Yingling ’09, and Chase Eni ’21. In what ways is food a big part of your life? Well, it is my life. I don’t know if that’s more of a natural choice or something that has grown out of my interest in the business, but I do find food to be an obsession. Working in the food industry, you can never be complacent. Especially now, with everyone becoming a foodie and wanting to try new things. We constantly need to innovate ourselves, not just with our products but with how we’re helping our consumers consume. That’s why a lot of our content in store and online focuses on recipes. From a personal perspective, I constantly feel that my job is never done… whether it’s researching or experiencing new food, I spend a lot of my time going to trade shows and different restaurants to stay ahead of the trends and see what new things people are doing. What would you say you’re most passionate about, professionally? I’m most passionate when I see new consumers try our products. We do a lot of demos and taste tests, and we even do a deli challenge where we conduct a blind taste test against our main competitor — we win over 80% of the time. When you see the reaction of a deli shopper, it’s always pretty exciting to me because people say, ‘Wow, that’s real food! That’s something I would make at home.’ It gives me a sense of pride that we are doing something right. We could very easily cut costs and use cheaper ingredients, or use more machine processes, but we don’t. We really believe that the success of our company and the continued growth of our company is going to come from the consumer loyalty we’ve gained… as a member of the fourth generation starting out here, I can say we’re not willing to make changes to that quality. That’s a key to our success. In what ways was your college experience related to what you’re doing now? I went to Barnard and majored in economic history. I had a good foundation in economics and business, so I definitely think that helped. I would probably say that what relates the most to what I’m doing now was living in New York City — that’s really where I solidified my relationship with food. I was lucky to be in the center of the culinary universe, and I really started to understand how quickly food trends change and how people engage with some of those trends. I did my senior thesis in college on the urban grocery gap: how grocery deserts actually came to be. It was an historical thesis that also focused on urban development. The modern grocery store is big, which is expensive in the city. To shop at a big grocery store SPRING 2014

like that, you need a car. City life has inhibited the development of large scale grocery stores that suburbs benefit from, and that’s had a negative nutritional effect on inner city areas… at the time, in 2008, this really was not a big topic. There wasn’t a lot of current research. With Michelle Obama, it really exploded. There’s also a movement here in Philadelphia with one of the local ShopRite owners, and that’s an interest of mine. Did MFS have any impact on where you chose to go in life? I definitely think that, especially in the Upper School, my friends at MFS gave me a certain level of confidence — that I could do anything. I actually think the fact that we didn’t have to pick specific focuses and we had so many options to explore gave me the outlook that there were endless possibilities, and I was lucky enough to have the education to prepare me for life. Being part of a family business, you need a certain level of confidence to be heard. One of the most enlightening experiences I had at Friends was being able to go on the Mexico service trip. Being able to travel as a sophomore during Intensive Learning was great in terms of confidence and self development — just seeing how another part of the world lives, and how extremely different it was from your own life but also how comfortable you could be in that environment. I do remember exactly what I ate every day on that trip: tortillas with peanut butter. Do you feel it’s important for young people to study food science and nutrition? Yes, absolutely. I think we need better education on nutrition, which I think is starting. I’m actually a member of the Junior League of Philadelphia and I’m on a committee called Kids in the Kitchen, which is about implementing nutrition curricula in public schools for kindergarten, first, and second grade. I also think that, especially in some urban public school districts, schools should try to pass on some of that education to students’ homes. Then maybe beginning in high school, I think people need to know how the food industry and food supply chain works. It boggles my mind when people assume that the retail prices are driven by the manufacturer: they don’t understand how supply and demand drives the cost. Food is the only thing that touches every person alive, and yet the average person knows very little about the supply chain behind the food they consume.

AMONG FRIENDS

19


Title

Red Rabbit

Rebecca Gildiner ’05 • B.A. Colgate University • Education Manager, Red Rabbit What piqued your interest in food education? I was exposed to the creative, sensory aspects of the culinary world during my jobs in a bakery and ice cream shop in high school, and my Intensive Learning experience at Heifer International’s farm in Arkansas was certainly the beginning of my education in food politics (also, where I became a vegetarian!). Other courses and internships through college touched upon food issues, but everything came together when I read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food the summer after college graduation. How so? Though I hate to be a cliché in claiming that Michael Pollan changed my life, reading his book really tied the pieces together for me. I returned from traveling abroad with an acute perspective on how far removed Americans were from real food (as opposed to the super-processed and packaged food that is so pervasive), and how this trend had negatively affected our health as a nation. When searching for employment, I was committed to finding a way to teach Americans that eating well isn’t about counting or reducing food to nutrients and grams. It’s about reconnecting with the origins of our food and learning how to prepare and enjoy these foods around tables with family and friends. How is your current work related to what you studied at Colgate? My majors in Behavioral Neuroscience and Women’s Studies exposed me to theories on how our neurological biology predisposes us to gendered behaviors based on our sex, and simultaneously how gender and gendered behaviors are socially constructed. From there my attention was drawn to a branch of psychology where there was a very natural overlap of my two majors; that is, eating disorders. I went on to intern the summer before my senior year at the

20

AMONG FRIENDS

Red Rabbit provides healthy school meals to schools in the New York City metropolitan area.

Renfrew Center in Philadelphia, working with adolescent women who struggled with a range of eating disorders and comorbid psychological disorders. It was during this internship that I really began thinking about the factors that play into our relationship with our food, whether for cases as severe as these women’s or those as mainstream as fad diets. How would you briefly describe Red Rabbit? Red Rabbit is a healthy school meal provider based in East Harlem. All of our meals are made from scratch and delivered daily to over 90 charter, private, and independent schools in the New York metro area. Our meals come under the federal reimbursement rate for the National School Lunch Program, so we’re able to serve these meals to students from low-income households. Of course, creating access to these foods is not enough; our Education Department teaches kids, educators, and parents about wellness and nutrition through hands-on cooking and gardening labs, so they can make healthy decisions for themselves when not in school. How did you become involved in the company? My first job out of college was at the New York City Charter School Center, where I gained a deep understanding of the city’s political landscape as Policy and Advocacy Coordinator. The more I learned about charter schools, the more I realized that they were ideal agents to spearhead initiatives around healthy school food and better food education. I began researching ways that my organization could connect charter schools with vendors and programs that could support such initiatives. I came across Red Rabbit as an option for schools, and built and nurtured relationships that eventually connected me with a position at the company.

SPRING 2014


Title

What is your role in the company and what do you do on a daily basis? As Education Manager, I am responsible for overseeing and coordinating the entirety of the education program. This requires logistical coordination such as grocery orders and transportation, and I take care of relationships with our school partners while seeking out new ones. We are constantly researching and developing curricula and recipes to build our repertoire of programs. I love that I get to engage with food both creatively and academically. How would you say your experience at MFS influenced your professional life and interests? My teachers at MFS encouraged me to think about the bigger picture: no event in history nor social issue is isolated. MFS instilled in me lessons in critical thinking and a broader understanding of the world that allowed me to see the overlap of my neuroscience and women’s studies topics and have such a meaningful college experience. This also contributed to my choosing a field such as food that is so dynamic and multi-faceted, and that requires an ability to understand the interconnectedness of systems and trends. Did any teachers have an impact on your career? I can honestly say that every one of my teachers at MFS had an impact on where I am today. Having transferred from a large, public school as a junior, every experience I had at MFS shaped me as the person I have grown to become. In particular I have strong memories of Mike Levy’s classes, as I’m sure most of his students do. [Former MFS History Teacher] Mr. Levy was a radical thinker, and a SPRING 2014

real thought-provoker of his students. He challenged everything we knew and always played devil’s advocate to really push us past our limits. He is one of those teachers I referred to earlier who allowed me to see the interconnectedness of everything; of history, politics, social welfare, public health, consumerism. Mr. Levy taught us to always challenge the status quo and to believe that we could change the world, no matter how radical or small-scale our idea. Was food education part of your learning experience at MFS? I took a course with Mrs. Taylor-Williams (or PTW, as we affectionately called her) in global food topics. I remember making tortillas in the D’Olier Room kitchen and studying the global banana trade. Although I don’t think it registered with me at that time, I now see what an interdisciplinary exposure this was to food, way before these were the hot topics in popular media. PTW was way ahead of the curve! What would you say you’re most passionate about in your line of work? I want to convince people that putting more thought and energy into considering what we put into our bodies is critical, especially in today’s food landscape. It can be wildly intimidating and overwhelming for people to think about eating healthily. My job is to show people it’s not, as long as we go back to our roots and eat whole foods that come from the earth. Nothing is more rewarding in my job than watching a parent leave a workshop completely enlightened by a new strategy for food shopping, or watching a four-year-old gobble down a bowl of vegetable soup. AMONG FRIENDS

21


Title

How did your time at MFS impact your later professional life? It had a major impact on my professional life. If it was not for Mr. Brunswick’s concern over my not-so-wise initial Senior Project choice, I have no idea what I would be doing today. Based on Mr. Brunswick’s suggestion, I reached out to my classmate Lauren Eni for a last-minute senior project placement at Dietz and Watson. In a matter of hours, my path was changed forever. I went on to work with Dietz and Watson through the rest of high school and college, almost seven years after that day. Did any faculty or staff members at MFS have an influence on what you chose to do? As stated previously, Mike Brunswick. It was his first year as Dean of Students. He looked out for my best interests and challenged me on my decisions. I am very grateful that MFS has faculty and staff who care for their students.

Adrian Concepcion ’04 • B.S. Montclair State University • Transportation Manager, Monterrey: The Natural Choice What made you decide to pursue a position in the food industry? My first exposure to the food business was at 14 years old, making hoagies at the Wawa in my hometown of Shamong, NJ. It wasn’t until my MFS Senior Project that I was given the opportunity to see the manufacturer side of the business at Dietz and Watson.

Do you feel that the study of food science and/or nutrition is important to young people? I do. Speaking from the perspective of someone involved in operations, our generation will be facing serious issues due to increasing population, freshwater shortages, and our continued reliance on cheap fossil fuels. Through the study of food science, we will be presented with new and fascinating ways of defining our view of food, today and tomorrow.

How would you describe Monterrey to someone who knows nothing about it? It’s a company with a fresh perspective on distributing to specialty retailers. In a mature industry such as food distribution, the nationwide consolidation of distributors in the past six years has eliminated competition in many markets, so service levels have slowly dropped. Monterrey has given better choices to many customers in the southwest and midwest United States, and we are currently operating two warehouses in San Diego and Oklahoma City. What are you most passionate about in your line of work? Our high service standards challenge all of us at Monterrey to get the job done, no matter the obstacles. The food industry is a fastpaced world. Things inevitably do not go as planned, and it’s the challenges presented every day that leave you with a sense of gratification. What is your current role, and what does that involve on a day-to-day basis? My current role is Transportation Manager, and I have recently begun to transition to the new role of Margin Manager. Much of the job is building and maintaining a well balanced logistics model. You are constantly looking at ways to improve the model based on changing customer demand.

22

AMONG FRIENDS

Monterrey is an industry leader in customized food distribution in the Midwest and Southwest.

SPRING 2014


Title

Kalisa Martin ’04 • B.S. Cornell University • Grand Diploma in Classic Culinary Arts, The French Culinary Institute • Brand Director, Tasting Table

What made you decide to pursue food science? I loved science and I loved food, so food science was the perfect (and only) choice for me. I had never heard of the field until Dr. Kreider introduced it. She began an elective where she read and led discussions from The Journal of Food Science. She also gave me Harold McGee’s book, On Food and Cooking, which literally blew my mind. How is your current work related to your studies at Cornell? I work on the business side of a digital food magazine. While my responsibilities do not involve food science directly, I use the skills that I learned while at Cornell on a daily basis. As an applied chemistry, food science demands (among other things) attention to detail, analytical sensibilities and a focused interest in food. That process-oriented way of thinking is what enabled me to thrive in the startup setting. I loved the challenge of developing the infrastructure for our back-end operations. How would you describe Tasting Table to someone who knows nothing about it? Tasting Table is the premiere food and drink email publication. We deliver the inside scoop on dining out in your neighborhood, food-focused travel destinations, kitchen tools that will save your life, and answers to the all-important question: What will you make for dinner tonight? Since our recommendations are thoroughly tasted and tested, we’re like a trusted friend in the know. What are you most passionate about in your line of work? My obsession with food has always gone beyond the consideration of my next meal. I love that the food media industry recognizes it as a lifestyle — an interest affecting all parts of who we are and what we do. What is your current position, and what does that involve on a day-to-day basis? As Brand Director, I’m responsible for initiating and maintaining strategic, third-party partnerships, both for general exposure and specifically for member acquisition. I develop the concepts, project-manage the workflow, monitor the budgets, and report on and optimize performance. You attended the French Culinary Institute. What did you study there, and how did that experience impact your life? I attended the French Culinary Institute, now the International Culinary Center, to study classic culinary arts. This was part of my mission to learn everything there is to know about food. I mastered SPRING 2014

Tasting Table

Tasting Table is a free daily email publication that promises to deliver the best of food and drink culture to adventurous eaters across the country. cooking techniques and concepts and gained first-hand experience in the fast-paced, high-pressure restaurant world. How did your time at MFS impact your professional life? My high school experience was a launching pad for my professional life. I’m grateful for the emphasis on leadership and service (and of course, the serious academics). More than that, I value the exposure of interests and encouragement for passion at MFS. Upon graduating, I truly felt like I could do whatever I wanted — it was just a matter of determining what that was. Did any faculty or staff members at MFS have an influence on what you chose to do? The most accurate answer is that they all did. There was Dr. Kreider‘s introduction to food science; Priscilla Taylor-Williams’ “Dimensions of Food,” which opened my eyes to the diversity of careers in food; Mrs. Corsey and Mr. Newman’s contagious love of science; and everyone in between who encouraged us to be interested in everything around us.

AMONG FRIENDS

23


Title

Alex Levy ’07 • B.S. University of Pennsylvania • Planning Analyst, EAT Club

How would you describe EAT Club? We’re a corporate lunch delivery tech startup. We’re trying to give the Google cafeteria experience to smaller businesses who don’t currently have it. That means we offer a menu of about 15 options a day, from restaurants and commissary partners, spanning five or six different cuisines. What is the organization’s primary goal? EAT Club was founded to solve the fundamental problems people have eating lunch at work. You end up sacrificing something: taking a lot of time to go out and have a good lunch, or sacrificing quality by sticking to the options at your workplace. It solves that problem: you as an office worker can have a lunch that you really enjoy. Would you say that you care strongly about food? It’s something that I’ve always been interested in and passionate about, ever since I was a little kid. I remember when I was in first or second grade, most kids would have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I would bring in some kind of crazy pasta lunch. Were you able to take any courses about food at MFS? There are certain things at MFS that built on the innate interest I had in food. I was involved in the food science elective with Barb Kreider, and that was a fun and interesting way to get some insight into the science behind food. We had a project where we had to share a particularly interesting piece about food in the news: genetically modified organisms, etc. Previously, I always thought of food just in the context of my personal enjoyment of it, but the food science course opened up the implications of the science behind it. Do you think it’s important for young people to take a scientific approach to food? It’s important because it affects so many social, political, and environmental issues. It’s a way to talk about those larger issues: Where do you draw an ethical line? Is it done in the greater good? What are your current responsibilities at EAT Club? My current title is Planning Analyst. I’m involved with forecasting our demand and analyzing optimal menus that will drive customer conversion. My job also has some strategic aspects: financial planning, preparing our executive team for board meetings. How do you “analyze optimal menus?” We have corporate customers who are seeing roughly 15 menu options each day, and we have both qualitative and quantitative measures to see what is driving their purchase. From the qualitative 24

AMONG FRIENDS

EAT Club, a food delivery tech startup, is the fastest growing lunch service in the San Francisco Bay Area. side, we give our customers the chance to review every option they’ve eaten. It gives us a great basis of feedback on a meal-bymeal basis. From a quantitative level, we can look at conversion: cuisine breakdown, dish format, dish heaviness — you can look at all these variables and see how adjusting them impacts people’s likeliness to purchase. How did you become involved in the company? I worked in management consulting for two years right out of college. I developed business skills there and really liked the analysis that I was doing. I wanted to find a way to apply those skills towards my passion for food, as well as find a small entrepreneurial environment where I could have an impact at an early stage. I found five or six companies that fit that bill and started applying directly to them. That’s how I found EAT Club. What was the primary draw for the kind of business environment you’re working in now? Coming from a very large company, I was looking for a smaller environment, with more of a sense of community — where I really got along with the people. I think going to MFS, where that sense of community is so highly valued, probably influenced my desire to find that again. So coming from a small community — that helps you in your current position? Yes, definitely. I think it goes as far back as Middle School, when I had Mike Levy and Jack Schneider for history. Being in their classes really led me to question things and not take them at face value. I’d say that led me to look inwardly and figure out what I care about and what I want to do, and be willing to take the risk of jumping from a large management consultancy to a 50-person startup… Even outside of science, Barb Kreider was able to counsel me in other options such as business. The coaches I had at MFS, such as Mike Schlotterbeck in soccer, encouraged me to be a leader and apply that in my professional career. Do you have any advice for young people interested in pursuing a career like yours? For business, and business as it relates to food, I would say that you’re going to be more successful if you follow your passion and follow what you care about. That’s when you’re ultimately going to be more motivated to perform and go the extra mile. That’s how it is for me. SPRING 2014


ACORN North Shore Country Day School • Fall/Winter 2013


On Campus

André Robert Lee Visits On September 24, director and producer André Robert Lee was on campus to share his movie The Prep School Negro with students in grades 6–12. Following the presentation, he discussed with students the story of his journey and the making of the film. Lee and his sister grew up in a low-income area of Philadelphia. Their mother struggled to support them by putting strings in the waistbands of track pants and swimsuits in a local factory. When Lee was 14 years old, he received what his family believed to be a golden ticket—a full scholarship to attend one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country. Elite education was Lee’s way up and out, but at what price? While the exorbitant tuition was covered, this new world cost him and his family much more than anyone could have anticipated. In The Prep School Negro, Lee takes a journey back in time to revisit the events of his adolescence while also spending time with current prep school students of color and their classmates to see how much has really changed. What he discovers along the way is the poignant and unapologetic truth about who really pays the consequences for yesterday’s accelerated desegregation and today’s racial naiveté. Lee explained, “I have wanted to tell The Prep School Negro story ever since I first walked through the door of my private school. I was selected to attend Germantown Friends School (GFS) in Philadelphia, PA on a full academic scholarship. GFS is an elite prep school founded by the

Photos // 1 André Lee with Upper School students 2 Heather Mabie ’14, Darling Kittoe ’13 3 Focus on History

speaker Bennett Singer ’82 and Upper School History Teacher Kevin Randolph

16 Acorn Fall/Winter 2013

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) over 150 years ago. The school has been repeatedly rated by The Wall Street Journal as one of the best schools in the country.” “While at GFS, I also thought of the family and the community I had left behind. We had been trained to live as second-class citizens, and I felt guilty about gaining access to this world of privilege and knowledge. I wanted to share this new world with those who were not able to walk with me. My former elementary classmates were not reading The Iliad or traveling the world on a choir tour. The idea for The Prep School Negro grew out of my first days at GFS. It has been with me ever since. As I reflect back, I can see more clearly the internal struggles I faced as an adolescent and as a young adult.” Note: André returned as a Master-inResidence in February and March, speaking with multiple grade levels and advising faculty, staff and students on diversity initiatives.

Focus on History Speaker Bennett Singer ’82, an award-winning New York-based filmmaker, was North Shore’s 2012 Focus on History Speaker on October 8. His latest film, Electoral Dysfunction, features political humorist Mo Rocca, who sets out on a road trip to discover how America’s voting system works—and doesn’t work. Following screenings at the 2012 Republican and Democratic

National Conventions, Electoral Dysfunction was broadcast nationally on PBS in October. His feature-length film Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was broadcast nationally on PBS, and went on to garner more than 25 international awards. It was screened at the Kennedy Center, the United Nations and the Department of Justice, as well as at more than 250 festivals and community screenings around the world and has been used by an array of social justice organizations including GLSEN and Human Rights Watch. Bennett was an Associate Producer on the Emmy- and Peabody-winning documentary series Eyes on the Prize II and an editor of two books on civil rights history. For eight years, he was executive editor of Time magazine’s education program, where he produced award-winning teaching materials for a variety of film and television projects, including HBO’s Band of Brothers, John Adams and The Laramie Project. He is currently writing discussion guides for several American Experience films that explore the history of science. Bennett has also served as a juror for the Emmy Awards. The Focus on History Speaker series is dedicated to bringing working historians, and others working on history in the larger sense, to North Shore to interact with students. The series is funded by an anonymous, generous donation from a parent of North Shore graduates.


On Campus

Lower School Composer-inResidence Concert For one week last November, the Lower School Chorus welcomed New York City composer Jim Papoulis, who worked with them two hours each day to write a song and rehearse pieces. On Thursday, the students traveled to Studio Media Recording in Evanston to record their new song. The culminating concert took place that night in the Conant Science Center Atrium. The recording of their song was featured in the New Year greeting posted on YouTube. This was the sixth time Papoulis worked with the Lower School Chorus. He has also produced original music for UNICEF, the Dance Theater of Harlem and Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Use this QR code to see the video and hear the recording or visit http://goo.gl/mq7Yi.

Photos // 1 Lower School Chorus in the recording studio with Composerin-Residence Jim Papoulis: Quinn Turilli ’21, Ellie Winkler ’21, Conor

Fryer ’21 and Aris Chalkias ’21 2 Darling Kittoe ’13 (left) at the Seeds of Peace International Camp last summer

20 Acorn Fall/Winter 2013

Seeds of Peace At a summer camp in rural Maine, there is a sign that reads: “Welcome to Seeds of Peace, The Way Life Could Be.” North Shore’s Darling Kittoe ’13 spent three weeks there, living and learning with 200 young people from all over the world. Darling first heard about Seeds of Peace International Camp in 8th grade, when two North Shore alumni talked to her class about their experience. She decided to apply after taking world history and learning more about her family’s experience escaping civil war in Liberia. During her junior year, she received a scholarship from Seeds of Peace to attend camp in summer 2012. Darling, who is also a student ambassador for the non-profit Shoes for Liberia, was one of 20 teenagers in the American delegation.

Campers at Seeds of Peace eat together, bunk together, play sports and perform on stage. The hope is that by giving a name and a face to someone on the other side of a conflict, young people will learn to confront their prejudices and tackle global issues. “Before camp, people from different regions see the other side as their enemy without even knowing their names,” said Darling. “Change isn’t going to come after three weeks together. But their thought processes are different when they leave camp, and they’ve become like family to people who were their enemies. I realized that you have to understand the problem from a wide range of perspectives before you can act on it.”

Sign Up for eScrip to Support Our Students

The Parents’ Association (PA) encourages “In my session, there were teams from Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, every North Shore family, alumni, grandparent and friend to sign up with eScrip India, Pakistan, the U.K. and the U.S.,” so that every time they shop at Dominick’s, said Darling “Most of the kids were from a percentage of their purchase will benefit areas in the midst of conflict, and many the School. It’s free, it’s easy. Participants were mad at each other about what was need to renew eScrip every year. Here’s how: going on. I was scared about that at first, but then realized the reason they were • Go to http://www.escrip.com there was to create peace. I used that • Click on “Sign Up” as motivation. • Enter North Shore Country Day School as “At camp you engage in dialogue for two the Group Name hours each day. I was part of the Middle • Provide your information and Fresh Values East dialogue, and the main topic of discussion was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” card number said Darling. “We realized that it’s not OR about who’s right or who’s wrong, or who • Email your Fresh Values card number started the conflict, or who’s suffering to Dawn Steele at dawnchristensen@ more; it’s about the realization that no one yahoo.com and she will sign you up. gains anything from the conflict. It’s up to us to start going out and seeking peace and trying to make a difference.”


North Shore Country Day School • Annual Report 2012 –2013

Acorn Annual Report 2012–2013 2


“North Shore was such an instrumental part in molding me into the person I am today. I can only hope that my contributions can help keep the School going so that others might have half of the amazing experience that I had at North Shore. Not many people pine to relive their Upper School days, but I would love to go back and do it all over again, even if it was exactly the same in every way.” Benjy Blenner ’02

CHARACTER We believe in the importance of developing individuals who are resilient, creative, confident and who persevere. We teach students to be self-advocates and expect them to own their education and actions, preparing them for lives marked by integrity, kindness, respect and fulfillment.

“We continue to be pleased with the strong foundation North Shore provided our daughter. At college, her curious mind and her interest in exploring all facets of campus life reminds me so much of what North Shore Country Day achieves every day.” Carol Hunt, Parent of Blair Hunt ’09

Acorn Annual Report 2012–2013 7


RESOURCES Although people make up the core of our

educational experience, we recognize the value and importance of the campus environment and resources. Our thoughtfully designed classrooms, course materials, outdoor spaces and campus facilities provide the resources necessary to maximize learning.

“Through our song-writing workshop we give students a real-life experience. They write a song, go to a recording studio and give a concert with a professional composer. It’s something the students remember fondly.” Linda Kiracibasi, Lower School Music Teacher

Acorn Annual Report 2012–2013 11

Kat Clark: Magazine Work Portfolio  
Advertisement