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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

Steve BurwellSteve Burwell is co-chair of the Board of Trustees. He and his wife Heidie are the parents of Ellis, class of 2023, and Scarlett, class of 2026. 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.

ed-oliverEd Oliver is co-chair of the Board of Trustees and 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 Director – Finance at Dataminr, a real-time information discovery company, supervising a New York and London based team.

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.”

lakisha-grantLakisha Grant is the mother of a current lower school student. She is a member of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting and serves as co-clerk of the Childcare Committee. After graduating from Westtown School, Lakisha received her BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management. She also holds a MS in Human Resources Management and a MFA in Acting. Lakisha has worked for NYC for 10 years and is currently the Deputy Director in Human Resources at the Office of the Mayor. She and her son reside in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Ben HornerBen Horner is a Middle School Science Teacher at Berkeley Carroll, formerly at Friends Seminary. He 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.”

Audrey Jaynes ’03 

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.”

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, class of 2023, and Emme, class of 2026.  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.”

Brad MulderBrad Mulder, BFS class of 1983, has served on the Board of Trustees for eight years. He is a former co-chair and sits on the Finance Committee and the Head Support and Evaluation Committee. 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. 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.”

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.”

adam-rashidAdam Rashid attended Brooklyn Friends School from 1984-1991 as a member of the class of 1994 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.”

Jud Reis graduated from Pomfret School where he is currently a trustee, Washington and Lee University, and Harvard Business School.

“I feel fortunate to have had 2 and 1⁄2 careers, 24 years as an investment banker, primarily with Morgan Stanley, 26 years in investment management, and still at it, at Sire Management, a company I founded in 1991 and, for the 1⁄2 career, one full academic year as the Morris Visiting Professor at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia, followed by several years of teaching a short course at Darden in the spring.”

Jud served as a Director of Pilobolus, a modern dance company, is currently a Trustee of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where he was President from 1994 to 2008, is a Trustee of the Pomfret School, and is a Trustee of the William T. Grant Foundation, whose mission is to improve the lives of young people. He serves on the investment committee at all three.

Jud co-authored “The Fine Art of Valuation” in The Mergers and Acquisitions Handbook, published by McGraw-Hill in 1987 and “Determining the Value of Restructuring Alternatives” in Corporate Restructuring, A Guide to Creating the Premium-Valued Company, published by McGraw-Hill in 1990.

He resides in Manhattan, is married and has five grown sons and five grandchildren, two of whom are at BFS. Charlie is a member of the class of 2030 and Nick is a member of the class of 2033.

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 son in the Preschool at Brooklyn Friends.  “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 Watkins “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.

Dot brought to her service as a trustee of the BFS board a thoughtful, clear and compassionate perspective on all issues addressed by the board. Grounded in her sense of Quaker testimonies, her belief in Quaker education, her practical experience as a classroom teacher and her love as a BFS parent, Dot provided unique and important insights.  She often expressed her great appreciation for BFS.  The board expresses our appreciation to Dot for her service on the board with deep gratitude.

Wade Black brought his astute insights, thoughtful discernment, and a warm sense of humor to his service on the Brooklyn Friends School Board of Trustees. He served from 2009 to 2014 and played a key role on the Finance and the Building and Property committees, supporting upper school expansion efforts. A BFS alum, a member of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting, and a parent, Wade made a significant contribution to the work of the Board and the future of the school. He will be missed, and the Board of Trustees expresses its deep gratitude for his service.

Fern served as School Committee member for three full terms. She served as Clerk of the Nominating Committee and School Affairs Committee. Fern never hesitated to work on School Committee special projects. On short notice last year, she hosted in her home, our School Committee February Retreat. It is obvious Fern is committed to the value of a Quaker Education; her three children have been active students in many school plays, sports and musical events. We will miss Fern’s open and direct candor, “thought leadership” and passion for our school.

We would like to express appreciation to Sharon for her innumerable thoughtful, tireless and enthusiastic contributions to Brooklyn Friends School as a School Committee member. We will miss not only her many specific efforts and the projects she shepherded so reliably and effectively but also her intensely committed and intelligent presence.

Bill Kuntz brought to his service on the Brooklyn Friends School Committee significant and welcome legal expertise and a long history in the stewardship of independent schools. He was able to share a broader view of the obstacles and opportunities facing the school. He also shared a gift for discerning the larger context when, on occasion, the committee’s discussions were mired in particulars. Bill advised the committee on several difficult internal issues with clarity and sensitivity. The school will miss his judgment and counsel.

Sam’s service on the board was marked by an incredible level of generosity in every aspect of his involvement.  His insightful and thoughtful questions, particularly related to financial matters, and his creative, out of the box development ideas, sparked important discussions and thinking on critical issues before the board.  Sam brought to his board service a rich personal experience with Friends education, which was evident in all he did for Brooklyn Friends School.  The board greatly appreciates his spirited commitment to our school.

We wish to express our sincere gratitude to Martin for his service on the Brooklyn Friends Board of Trustees. Martin’s fifty plus years of dedication to the school along with his experience as a convinced Quaker guided us to better understand the school’s soul. We will miss his wisdom, spiritual guidance, attention to detail, and great wit. Undoubtedly, Martin has helped the school and board of trustees maintain a trajectory toward simplicity and integrity. Thank you, Martin.

The Brooklyn Friends School Board of Trustees minutes its profound gratitude to Karen Robinson for her eight years of service on the board, four as co-clerk. She was present at a uniquely exciting time, from the School’s becoming independent, the School’s ownership of its own building, to the School’s early steps in implementing its expansion.  Perhaps her most extraordinary characteristic was her grace in the midst of dispute, her ability to see that people with very different ideas were motivated by the same goal, the good of the School.  But apart from her skills as co-clerk, Karen was a gentle, strong presence whose humor allowed her to keep running when others would have expired at the twentieth mile.  We shall miss her very much, and we wish her and Lowell all the best in Pennsylvania.

Ninon brought to her nine years of service to the Board of Trustees a thoughtful, respectful and often passionate approach to board issues. As someone who was neither an alum nor a parent, Ninon’s role as a Friend and active supporter of the school was particularly meaningful. Bringing forth her sense of Quaker process to every decision, she often spoke from within, encouraging fellow trustees to open their minds and hearts to take into consideration all aspects of every decision. Ninon was also always willing to grow her own self, welcoming new thoughts, learn new skills and appreciating the input of fellow trustees. Ninon’s perspective was always welcome and valued, and board decisions were often made better as a result of her presence on the Board.

The Brooklyn Friends School Board of Trustees minutes its profound gratitude to Lisa Sack for her six years of service to the Board, of which she served three years as Co-Chair. Lisa served as the first non-Quaker Co-Chair after the school incorporated separately from New York Quarterly Meeting and felt deep responsibility for her role and strove to maintain strong ties to the Quaker community. Her limitless energy, love, and indefatigable advocacy for the school was felt by all who worked with her. The school’s recent accomplishments, including its progress on its expansion plans and fulfillment of its strategic plan goals, were markedly advanced by her service. Her example of fiduciary stewardship has been an inspiration to all who have served with her and will continue to be felt for many years to come. We thank her and will strive to continue the efforts to which she so tirelessly devoted herself.

The Board of Trustees of Brooklyn Friends School wishes to Minute its appreciation for Board member Lara Holliday.  Lara has served on the Board of Trustees at Brooklyn Friends School for nine years, which is the maximum time a Trustee can serve, and in those nine years she served on virtually every Board committee.  For her final three years on the Board she served as the Quaker Co-Chair for the Board and prior to becoming Board Co-Chair, she clerked the Development committee.  The Board and its members have assumed a stronger, more enhanced role in the School’s fundraising efforts, thanks in great part to her leadership within the Development committee and as Co-Chair of the Board.  Her tireless work and time spent working for the Board, Trustees, and the School in general, are inspiring and will be greatly missed by the Board.  In her time on the Board the school faced many challenges but also saw unprecedented growth in the school’s history.