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School News

From moving up ceremonies, to commencement, the Friends campus was filled with much joy and celebration during the past few weeks of school! To view more photos of campus events, follow Friends on Instagram at

Long-Serving Administrators Depart for New Adventures

After 11 years as Middle School Division Head, Pankti Sevak has left Friends to become the Head of School at San Francisco Friends School. Pankti cites her years at Friends as formative in her growth, especially in preparing her to lead another Quaker school.

After 11 years at Friends, Leitzel Schoen has left NYC to pursue new adventures in Atlanta, Georgia. The programming she has built in CPEJ will be a lasting legacy.

Hassan Wilson, long-time science teacher, Science department chair, and Assistant Head of Upper School for the last three years, is leaving Friends to take on the position of Executive Director of the Constellation Learning Institute, the School’s online learning consortium partner. Hassan is a national leader in online learning, and this role is a natural progression for his talents.


Friends Welcomes New Administrators

Michelle Cristella has joined Friends as the head of Middle School. Michelle previously served as the Middle School Head at Speyer Legacy School in New York City. In that position she has been a leader of the School’s COVID Task Force, and as an educator, agrees that school is the best place for students to be at this moment. She is also keenly aware of the responsibility the job carries for the health and well-being of those in her division. She has also done significant work at Speyer in curriculum development; diversity, equity and inclusion programming; and building community in and among those in the Speyer Middle School.

Kara Kutner joins Friends as the new Director of the Center for Peace, Equity and Justice. Kara comes to Friends from Marymount School where she has served in many roles over the past 20 years—most recently as Director of Academic and Global Programs and Director of College Counseling. Fluent in Spanish, Kara has taught Spanish at Marymount as well as English and English as a Second Language in American Samoa and Spain. Her experience as an administrator developing curriculum, leading global education programs, and extensive DEI/B have prepared her for this important appointment at Friends Seminary.

Cat Guerriere has been hired in a new position as Co-Director of Athletics. Cat has been in the Friends community since 2011 and has served as the PE Department Chair since 2017. Cat has also been involved with the MS and LS Health and Wellness programs as both teacher and curriculum developer since her arrival at Friends. Cat is eager to get to work with Co-Athletic Director, David Leiber, to assess the School’s programs, to make changes where needed, and to take the Athletics Department to the next level and help increase its visibility.


Friends Community Completes More Than 17,000 Hours of Service in 2021-2022

Upper School Students logged a total of 12,551 hours during this academic year. As a whole community we have completed more than 17,106 hours of community service. Friends students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff worked in their local parks, participated in annual events like God’s Love We Deliver and Friends Unite to Serve, packed medical supplies for Ukrainian refugees, made lunches for City Harvest, enjoyed Day of Service and so much more.

Special congratulations go to Tenzin '22, Anya '22, and Abigail '23 who earned the 2021-22 National Community Service Ambassador Award for completing more than 100 hours of service this academic year!

Thank you to everyone who helped us live out our mission, to bring about a world that ought to be. We look forward to continuing to serve with you all next year. See more photos here.


Lower School Entrepreneurs Raise Money for Microloans

On Friday, June 6, Grade 4 students held their annual Small Mall—a social-entrepreneurial marketplace. The funds raised from the sales of the students’ handmade goods helped to fund their microloans to KIVA borrowers around the world. This is all part of their Project Based Learning (PBL) class project in which students learn about access to banking, microfinance, and the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Muhammad Yunus. Friends' young entrepreneurs sold handmade magnets, bookmarks, jewelry and more!


Lower School Students Move Up with Concert and Ceremony

On June 10, Lower School students celebrated their Moving-Up Ceremonies in the Meetinghouse. Photo gallery and video from their ceremony can now be viewed here!


Middle School Celebrates End of Year

On June 10, Grade 8 students celebrated their graduation from Middle School as they prepared to start Upper School in September. To view the ceremony video and photo gallery click here.


Class of 2022 Graduates in Central Park

Congratulations to the Class of 2022! We were thrilled to be able to celebrate in person at Summerstage in Central Park. To view the ceremony and photos from the day, click here.

Senior Celebration

On June 6, the senior class celebrated the end of their Upper School journey and Athletic Awards in the Meetinghouse and Outer Courtyard. View more photos from the celebration here.


Alumni Students of Color Address Teachers and Faculty

On June 14, alumni of color bravely led a panel to address their experiences at Friends in front of faculty, staff and adminstrators in the Meetinghouse. Space was held the next day for faculty, staff and administrators to process what was shared before breaking for the summer, and plans are underway for continuing this important conversation when faculty return in the fall.

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