Spring Gala for Financial Aid is 5/2

Our Board of Trustees

Long-Term Vision & Strategic Planning

The Board of Trustees of Brooklyn Friends School is entrusted with the stewardship of the institution so that it is strong and vital for the next generation of students and families. We work to ensure the fiduciary health of Brooklyn Friends and devote ourselves to the nurturing of and adherence to the school’s mission. We do this with a purposeful grounding in the Quaker values that are the underpinnings of the academic strength of our school.

The role of the Board is one of long-term vision and strategic planning. Our purview includes the following:

  • Setting high-level policies;
  • Hiring, supporting, and evaluating the Head of School;
  • Planning for and supporting the future of the school; and
  • Leading the financial support of the school.
  • Evaluate the performance of the School

Board meetings are conducted in accordance with the practices of Friends Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business.  This practice calls for each Trustee to search deeply for truth, to bear witness, and to ask questions while actively searching for unity within the group.  Decisions are made not by majority vote but through open and worshipful discussion of issues until the group reaches unity.  This does not necessarily mean unanimity, but it does mean that each voice is heard, and that all Trustees accept responsibility for decisions.

The Board entrusts the Head of School with supervision of all operations, programs, and personnel. The Head of School is the final arbiter of any disputes that may arise, including those involving parent issues or student disciplinary actions. The Board of Trustees does not sit in review of administrative decisions.

Meet Our Board Members

Brad MulderBrad Mulder has served on the Board of Trustees for seven years and currently serves as a Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees. He also sits on the Finance Committee, the Head Support and Evaluation Committee, the Executive Committee, the Board’s Working Group on Diversity and is the Board Liaison to the PAT. Brad is an alum and attended Brooklyn Friends from fourth grade through graduation. He is an attorney with degrees from Brooklyn Law School and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Brad’s son is in seventh grade and has attended Brooklyn Friends School since Kindergarten. He is a lifelong resident of Brooklyn. “I serve on the Board because the school gave so much to me and formed me as a person with a strong sense of service, to be an active listener and leader. I am truly amazed at the incredibly gifted students that attend Brooklyn Friends School, and I hope that my service can contribute in some way to their continued success.”

Kathy RameyCatherine Ramey is an artist and educator employed by the non-profit organization Studio in a School. She is a Quaker and a member of 15th Street Monthly Meeting. She is also the parent of a Brooklyn Friends High School student. Catherine was appointed to the Board in 2012 and serves on the Nominating and Governance Committee and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Diversity.

“Brooklyn Friends School has been a perfect fit for our daughter and for us. We are moved by the numerous ways that Friends’ Testimonies are woven into the curriculum and the social fabric of the school. I feel honored to contribute to an institution that helps our youth to unveil their gifts, as they become ethical members of society. What better service, than to support this beacon that sends bright lights out into our world.”

Barbara von Salis is an alumna of Brooklyn Friends School (Class of 2007) and a Quaker and member of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting. She was appointed to the Board in 2014 and is currently a teacher at Mary McDowell Friends School.

“I care deeply about the future of Quaker education and believe in the power of Quaker community. I began attending Brooklyn Friends when I was in Kindergarten and the people I have met through the school have wholly impacted my life. The experiences I had at Brooklyn Friends helped to inspire me to become an educator. I have been a part of many Quaker organizations, both national and regional, and yet Brooklyn Friends holds a special place in my heart.”

Richard Cutler 62Richard Cutler is an alumnus of Brooklyn Friends School (Class of 1962) and was appointed to the Board in 2008. He is a Trusts and Estates Lawyer.

“I have always felt close to the school. I taught a poetry-writing class back in the 1970s and have been involved in development for the last several years. My profession requires a moral commitment to do pro bono work, and helping Brooklyn Friends the best I can certainly qualifies as that kind of work. I consider it a high honor to have been asked to serve and couldn’t imagine saying no.”

Macon JessopMacon Jessop is a Partner at 3Walls, a contemporary salon dedicated to exhibiting and promoting significant new work by emerging artists. Macon grew up in Philadelphia and received a BA in Art History from Connecticut College. After she moved to New York, she worked in 19th century American Art Gallery before pursuing her Master’s in Reading from New York University. She is a graduate of Friends’ Central School in Philadelphia and taught at Mary McDowell Friends School for five years. Macon is also a parent at Brooklyn Friends.

“I have been involved with Quaker schools throughout much of my life. I always knew that I would want my children to be educated at a Quaker school and am so happy that they are students at Brooklyn Friends. I am honored to serve on the Board of Trustees and hope to use my knowledge of Quaker Schools and my work as the clerk of the Development Committee to help carry out the mission of the school as it expands.”

Ben HornerBen Horner is a Lower School Science Teacher at Friends Seminary and was appointed to the Brooklyn Friends Board in 2015. He grew up Quaker, attended a Friends school and is a member of Uwchlan Monthly Meeting. Ben values Friends education and Quaker values and processes. During his time at Friends Seminary, he has grown increasingly interested in the various community roles that comprise a school.

“I joined the Brooklyn Friends Board because I want to better understand how a school best supports its community. I am eager to serve the Brooklyn Friends students, families, alumni, faculty and staff as we move forward.”

Steve BurwellSteve Burwell and his wife Heidie are the parents of Ellis (5th grade) and Scarlett (2nd grade). They have been involved with the school since Ellis started in the Preschool 3s program. Steve and Heidie were parent co-chairs of the Brooklyn Friends Fund during the 2012-2013 and 2013-14 school years and continue to serve as Brooklyn Friends Fund Committee members.

Steve is a Managing Director and Associate General Counsel of Deutsche Bank AG. Prior to that, he was an Associate at the law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP from 1998 to 2003. He also worked from 1993 to 1995 at City Year in Boston, a youth community service program which was a model for the national AmeriCorps program.

Steve received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1998 and a B.A. in English from Amherst College in 1993. In his spare time, Steve can be found cooking dinners at home or biking in Prospect Park.

salomeM Salomé Galib is a writer and an attorney. She promotes, and fundraises for, not-for-profit organizations that advance issues close to her heart.

Besides serving on the Board of Trustees of Brooklyn Friends School, she is on the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and the Hostos Community College Foundation Board. She also serves on the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust’s Advisory Council, and the Sila M. Calderón Center for Puerto Rico’s Diaspora Advisory Council.

Early in her career, Ms. Galib was a business reporter and the Washington correspondent for El Nuevo Día, the leading daily newspaper in her native Puerto Rico. She was also a Clinton Administration appointee at the US Information Agency, now part of the US State Department.

Besides her past work as an associate at two NY law firms, Ms. Galib was the NY Office Director for the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico and Development Director for LatinoJustice-PRLDEF. Until recently, she owned Bebe Sol LLC, a purveyor of children’s apparel.

She holds a JD from Columbia Law School, an MIA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a BSFS from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

“We moved to Brooklyn on the first week of September 2007. Our oldest daughter moved into Kindergarten at Brooklyn Friends that same week. We cannot imagine our lives outside of either community and are grateful for it.”

GustavGustav Peebles is Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Associate Professor at The New School University where he is an anthropologist in the Departments of Global Studies and Liberal Studies. His longstanding interest in education has led to his recent work on experimental undergraduate programs for a project run out of The New School Provost’s Office. He is a Quaker and member of the Brooklyn Monthly Meeting.

“In my own daily work, I think endlessly about the powerful role of Quaker pedagogy and tradition, and how it can be harnessed in educational settings, as well as how it might help prepare people for success in college and beyond. I couldn’t be happier with the opportunity to serve on the BFS Board, where I can steep myself in critical educational issues that confront our community, while, I hope, also contributing insights gained from my experience in both higher education and Quaker practice.”

KamauruKamauru Johnson has been a member of the BFS community since 2011 and has been the Upper School Psychologist since 2015.  He also contributes to school life as the Clerk of the All School Guidance Committee and as a Faculty Adviser to the Debate Club.  During the summers, Kamauru works as a Reading Specialist with the school’s Horizons program, an organization that partners closely with BFS and other independent schools to reduce summer learning loss by providing out-of-school enrichment programming for elementary and middle school students who may not otherwise have access.  As a BFS Board member, Kamauru serves on the School Affairs Committee and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Diversity.

“During my time at Brooklyn Friends, I’ve been inspired and energized by the collective passion of the school community to push towards the ideals of its mission.  I am proud of our school’s commitment and I’m excited to be a part of that important work as a member of the faculty and as a member of the Board.”

Pam KiernanPam Kiernan is the parent to two children at BFS, Sean (6th) and Emme (3rd).  Pam became a BFS trustee and treasurer in 2015 and has been a member of the BFS finance committee since 2010 and the Horizons Board of Directors since 2011.  Pam is currently the chief administration officer at Two Sigma Investments, where she is responsible for operations, work place services, and corporate platform and initiatives.  Prior to Two Sigma, Pam was at Deutsche Bank for 18 years, most recently as a managing director and head of US Equities Prime Brokerage.  Previously, she held technology management roles at Morgan Stanley, Applied Business Technology, and Information Management Consultants.  Pam was named one of 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds by the Hedgefund Journal in 2013 and received the Future Legends of Securities Services award from Global Custodian in 2013.  Pam holds a B.S. in Economics from The Pennsylvania State University.

bill-morrisBill Morris is joining the Brooklyn Friends Board of Trustees after a 40-year career in education.  This June, Bill retired after 13 years as Head of School at Friends Academy on Long Island.   Prior to that, he spent 27 years at the Taft School in Connecticut, a boarding school for grades 9-12.  Bill began his career as a teacher, coach, and dorm advisor, and over time undertook a broad range of school leadership roles before becoming a School Head.  Bill has served on the New York State Association of Independent Schools Board of Trustees for eight years, and he has chaired the NYSAIS Commission on Accreditation for the last seven years.  He is a member of Country Day School Headmasters Association and The Headmasters Association.  He now lives near Lake Placid, NY.  He and Sue, his wife of 42 years, have 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren.

“The opportunity to continue my association with Quaker education, work closely with my long-time friend and colleague Larry Weiss, and offer what I can to advance the service Brooklyn Friends provides for students and families so excites me about joining this vibrant and forward looking community.  I have found that the values of a Friends community resonate deeply with me personally and spiritually.  I believe that the essence of Friends education is to develop in students a sense of gratitude, patience, and forgiveness.  My hope is that the graduates of Brooklyn Friends will appreciate how they owe the world a life rather than the world owing them a living, to paraphrase the words of Amy Willets, a Quaker.”

ed-oliverEd Oliver is the parent of a lower school student. Ed is a Quaker and a member of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting. Having served as a co-opted member of the Nominating and Governance Committee, Ed is excited to have the opportunity to continue his service to the Brooklyn Friends School community as a member of the board. Ed received his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and a BA in Business Administration from Morehouse College. He is the Senior Manager – Finance at Dataminr, a real-time information discovery company, supervising a New York and London based team.

adam-rashidAdam Rashid attended Brooklyn Friends School from 1984-1991, and is a member of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting.  Adam also serves on the Board of the Neighborhood Charter School of Harlem — he has been Treasurer of this school since its founding in 2011.  He is a former financial analyst in the alternative investment industry.  Adam lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with his wife and son.

“I have been fortunate to have attended Quaker schools for most of my formal education, and I cherish the time I was at BFS.  Many in my family also attended so I have a deep connection to the school.  I am impressed at how the school continues to grow and evolve while still staying true to its Quaker roots.  Service to the community has always been an important Quaker tradition, and I am honored to be able to serve on the Board of Trustees.

margaret-trisselMargaret Trissel joins the Board of Trustees in the 2016-17 academic year. She has been teaching at Brooklyn Friends since 2008. She spent her first eight years at the school teaching Second Grade and this year will move to Middle School as a Fifth Grade Humanities teacher. During her time at Brooklyn Friends, Margaret has served on the School Affairs Committee, the Lower School Curriculum Committee, and as the clerk of the Lower School Overview Committee throughout the BFS NYSAIS accreditation process. Margaret has also facilitated various LGBTQ community events, including the photo exhibit “People We Love” and the Lower School Affinity group “Rainbow Sprinkles.” Margaret is proud of the purposeful learning and critical imagination cultivated at Brooklyn Friends. She hopes that her stewardship on the Board of Trustees will allow her to support those things that are best about the school. Margaret lives in Brooklyn with her family, including her two-year-old son who begins at the Family Center this fall.

Like all schools, Brooklyn Friends School represents the dream of a new society. What makes us special is that we are uniquely positioned to educate people who will go make that society. I believe we do!”

willie-mae“I am a Brooklyn College graduate with a BA in Economics. I have been self employed since 1988. Prior to self employment, I taught basic accounting and English in the GED program at  Royal Business School.  When looking for a school with a healthy curriculum, I was fortunate to find BFS. It was love at first visit for both my son and me. I am the parent of a BFS graduate, class of 2005.  I am also a member of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting and strongly believe in  Quaker principles, values and practices. I am also a member of the Community Engagement Team, a group whose mission is to prevent the closing of the Boys and Girls High School of Brooklyn. I am privileged and honored to be a trustee for the school.”

Minutes of Appreciation

Minutes of Appreciation from the BFS Board of Trustees, established in 2006, recognize the contributions of board members upon their completion of service on the Board. These are in alphabetical order and the date after the name indicates the year the trustee completed board service.

Nancy brought to her service on the Brooklyn Friends School Committee a deep commitment to the school, a sure sense of Friends’ business practice and testimonies and an abiding belief in the value of Quaker education. Her voice was always welcome. In moments of turmoil or indecision, Nancy returned us to the issue at hand with wisdom, humor, clarity, firmness and affection. She was an empathetic, encouraging colleague and mentor and a gifted clerk, whose centered and resolute leadership guided us through both difficult and happier times.

Dana served as School Committee member for three full terms. Dana never hesitated to do what was asked of her and consistently went above and beyond for the betterment of the school. She was known for asking tough questions that needed to be considered and for taking positions on occasion that caused committee members to reflect and re-evaluate their positions. Dana served selflessly and generously gave of herself in many ways — her time, hospitality, spirit and complete support. Her service exemplifies the value a Brooklyn Friends School, School Committee member can bring the committee. We thank Dana for her years of dedication and much appreciated service.

Conway brought to his nine years of service on the School Committee of Brooklyn Friends School balance, steady wisdom and humor. He often discerned the possible, unexpected consequences of committee actions, and he often returned the committee to its longer-term, strategic responsibilities. His guidance helped refine and improve many decisions, on occasion after the rest of the committee had seemed content with an earlier and, in hindsight, poorer result. His perspective was always valued, as was his informed and abiding commitment to the school.

Anita served on the School Committee of Brooklyn Friends School with great faithfulness, competently and cheerfully carrying out all tasks assigned to her. She brought to her work an impressive intelligence and logical mind, operating on a sound foundation of common sense and good judgment. She asked good questions and expected good answers. Anita’s work was consistently informed by her framework of Quaker understanding, enriching our collective approach to our stewardship of Brooklyn Friends School.

We wish to express our appreciation to Trefor Davies, faculty representative, for his service to the School Committee for the past two years. We respect his thoughtful, unique contributions to our process, and feel pleased we were able to have his participation on the School Committee.

Maura Eden was a wonderful part of the School Committee. In her gentle manner, she was constantly thoughtful, incisive and forthright as well as creative. She inspired us to pursue the truth and to use our knowledge to work to make things better. Her caring was always evident toward the rest of us on the Committee and for the essence of Brooklyn Friends School.

Cynthia Cohen served as a Board of Trustee member for three full terms.  She served the school in many capacities.  We are especially grateful for her leadership, as Clerk of the Expansion and Building Committees.  She is known for working tirelessly and selflessly to support the objectives of the school community.  During her last years on the Board, she remained committed to helping the school identify sites for our expansion and continues to serve on the Expansion Committee as a co-opted member.  We will miss Cynthia’s leadership and unique contributions to our school.

In his 9 years of service on the BFS Board, Benjamin Warnke made many valuable contributions, including serving as Treasurer, Assistant Clerk, and Clerk, as well as ongoing service on the Expansion Committee as the school searched for new space.    Perhaps his most significant effort was his leadership in helping the school and the New York Quarterly Meeting come together in a decision to allow BFS to separately incorporate.  To all his work, Benjamin brought a measured, thoughtful voice, a deep love for Brooklyn Friends School, and a sensitivity to the stirrings of the Spirit.  When clerking Board meetings, Benjamin’s skillful interweaving of humor, wisdom, and spiritual discernment showed us, again and again, the power of Quaker process in revealing truth and the right way forward.  His legacy remains in a Board that is committed to lifting up the school’s Quaker mission so that BFS graduates will always change the world through lives of leadership and service.

In her six years on the Board of Trustees, Verina worked on multiple committees, including Development, Head Search, Nominating, and as a liaison to the Parents and Teachers association. Among her many contributions were a set of guidelines for new Trustees and their mentors to facilitate professional growth, and service on the Horizons at BFS Board of Trustees from the moment of its inception. Verina’s love for BFS was apparent in everything she did. She never hesitated when asked to take on a new task and brought to each her keenintelligence, forthrightness, insight, and good humor. Verina will be sorely missed for her optimism and capacity to see and to appreciate the Light in all her colleagues. We are most grateful for her service.

The BFS Board minutes our profound appreciation for our former clerk, Alice Pope, for her 9 years of generous service. During her tenure as a Board Member and a Clerk, Alice was tireless in her efforts to advance the mission of the School. Alice was instrumental in the process of the School’s separate incorporation from the New York Quarterly Meeting. During that challenging process Alice taught us to meet adversity and anger with grace and patience so that we could work together to find a path forward. Alice’s leadership and steady hand leading the Head Search Committee to find our current head Dr. Larry Weiss allowed for a spirit led process that led us to a wonderful result. As a result of her guidance we are stronger Friends and better stewards of Brooklyn Friends School. We are deeply indebted to Alice for her leadership and direction.

The BFS Board minutes our great appreciation for our former board member, Whitney Thompson. During her tenure as a Board Member, Whitney offered an important and much valued viewpoint as a staff member and educator. She frequently contributed a informed and enlightened perspective on important board issues and worked tirelessly in the interest of the school. We are grateful to Whitney for her voice, integrity, her stewardship of Quaker process, education, and values, and her careful attention to moving forward the strategic mission of Brooklyn Friends School.