FRIENDS’ CENTRAL SCHOOL Office of the Head of School
Dear Friends, Some of the most important decisions a Head of School makes are choosing the right leaders to embrace and carry out the mission of the School. Rarely does a Head have such good fortune as to announce the results of not one but two very important searches for the future of Friends’ Central School. I would like to thank you for your time, engagement, and patience during these searches and for your commitment to our School and our future. I believe both of these educators are exceptional, experienced thinkers who, with their unparalleled excellence, are exactly what Friends’ Central needs at this moment in time. Joining us from the Flint Hill School as our first Assistant Head of School for Academic Program is Shannan Boyle Schuster, Ed.D. Stepping into a new role as our next Middle School Principal is Alexa Dunnington Quinn ’98. Through our deliberate and thorough search processes, I am confident that Friends’ Central has chosen the right people from an outstanding pool of candidates. Both Shannan and Alexa possess the key leadership qualities, rigorous academic background, and passion for independent school education that will serve our School well as we continue to grow and embrace the goals and initiatives of Vision 2020. Please read the following pages for more details about Shannan and Alexa, and stay tuned for opportunities to meet and congratulate them in their new roles. Sincerely,
Craig N. Sellers Head of School
A Letter from the Head of School
A Letter from the Head of School
Assistant Head of School for Academic Program Shannan Boyle Schuster, Ed.D.
Middle School Principal Alexa Dunnington Quinn ’98
I find it hard to contain my excitement over Shannan’s Schuster’s appointment. Her impressive educational background, diverse experience, expertise, and leadership qualities clearly set her apart from an outstanding set of candidates. When Shannan visited campus, our positive impressions were affirmed and amplified—she seems to be uniquely qualified to be Friends’ Central’s first Assistant Head of School for Academic Program. She will complement our program where we are already strong and support growth in areas identified through Vision 2020, internal evaluations, and in consultation with the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (PAIS).
There is a special pride a Head of School feels when a graduate emerges as the frontrunner in a search. Alexa Dunnington Quinn, Friends’ Central School Class of 1998, has spent the last 11 years growing into a Middle School leader. At each stage of this search, she emerged as the candidate with the most exciting ideas, the most grounded understanding of Middle School children, and the candidate most prepared to implement dynamic, thoughtful change.
to the Friends’ Central Community
Currently the Dean of Faculty, Assistant Director of Studies at Flint Hill School, a Pre-K–12 school in Oakton, Va., Shannan’s work has been most impressive. She joined Flint Hill as the Math Department Chair in 2001. In 2003 she became the Assistant Director of Flint Hill’s Middle School and in 2005 became Dean of Faculty for PK-12. Her achievements as Dean of Faculty include: rolling out a one-to-one iPad and MacBook program, leadership in the design of a learning center, and directing professional development for a faculty of 200. Her innovative work in the area of faculty evaluation and hiring helped Flint Hill grow from a school of 700 in 2001 to its present enrollment of 1,100. In 2007 Shannan accepted a faculty appointment at the University of Virginia, where she teaches a graduate-level class for young independent school teachers. Shannan is a graduate of Vanderbilt University where she double-majored in mathematics and secondary education. She went on to Teacher’s College, Columbia University, where she received her master’s degree, and the University of Virginia where she received her Ed.D. in school administration and supervision. Shannan also attended Harvard University where she became certified as a “Mathematical Quality of Instruction Rater.”
Says Shannan about her appointment: When I visited Friends’ Central in December, I immediately felt the sense of community, drive for excellence, and commitment to students. I am thrilled—and humbled—to join the FCS team, and I look forward to helping the School achieve its strategic initiatives and conceptualize its vision for the future. With such an incredible history and outstanding program, I am eager to learn more about the School and immerse myself in the community.
Shannan’s leadership style is collaborative and inclusive and has garnered impressive results. From professional development and evaluations to the implementation of new programming, her infectious energy engages both adults and students. I look forward to introducing Shannan to the Friends’ Central community and am confident that you will show her the same warm and embracing welcome you gave me and my family.
to the Friends’ Central Community
Currently, Alexa serves as our Middle School’s Administrative Advisor for Curriculum Development and Grade 7 Liaison. In this role she facilitates and supports curriculum across all Middle School grades and subjects, organizes programming for faculty, and recently spearheaded the first phase of Middle School curriculum mapping. She has worked on and supported new communications initiatives, such as gradelevel newsletters to parents, and coordinates the Middle School service program. Alexa also served as co-clerk of the Vision 2020 facilities team. Alexa is an Oberlin College graduate with a B.A. in art history and a minor in law and society. She has two master’s degrees, one from Middlebury College, Bread Loaf School of English and one from the University of Pennsylvania in Independent School Leadership. Alexa was also selected for the Friends Council on Education’s Institute for Engaging Leadership, a two-year training program specifically for aspiring leaders of Quaker schools.
Notes Alexa: Friends’ Central has a long, impressive history as a vibrant learning community anchored by Quaker values. Throughout the search process, I have been inspired by my conversations with members of the community and by the profound commitment to Friends’ Central and to Friends education that we share. I feel honored and privileged to be given the opportunity to serve Friends’ Central in this role. I look forward to working in partnership with students, their families and the faculty as we continue to celebrate and to strive for excellence together.
At its best, Quaker education shapes learners and educators who embrace a culture of continuous reflection and learning. From the moment she arrived here as a third grader, Alexa has modeled this passion for growth and improvement. I look forward to the thoughtful and well-reasoned, yet passionate approach she will bring to her leadership of Middle School faculty and students as their new principal. Please join me in welcoming Alexa to her new role.