Our Strategic Vision

BFS Appoints New Head of Upper School

With unparalleled excitement, unwavering anticipation, and sincere gratitude to all colleagues, parents, and students who participated in this comprehensive national search process, I proudly announce the appointment of Liz J. Fernández as the formidable leader of our Upper School Learning Community, embarking on her transformative role starting July 1.

The thoughtful decision to welcome Liz as a BFS leader reflects a thorough exploration into the rich dynamics of the BFS Upper School Learning Community, delving into its history, present state, and the limitless potential that lies ahead. As we endeavor to further activate our purposeful strategic vision, we do so with a steady focus on continuing to educate “compassionate, curious, and confident global citizens who let their lives speak in the spirit of leadership and service.” BFS is at a time of boundless opportunities, and Liz’s resolute dedication, entwined with a career distinguished by unyielding educational leadership, makes me look forward with confidence and excitement at the many ways in which she will contribute her light in service to our mission in the years ahead.

As one colleague noted,

“Liz has a wide breadth of experiences in independent school education and leadership that make her uniquely qualified to lead the BFS Upper School at this critical moment in the school’s history. Her understanding of the distinct needs of multiple constituencies (students, colleagues, parents) will enable her to make decisions and create structures that strengthen the US experience for everyone. Liz strikes me as someone who creates a vision/plan and then takes strategic action to bring that plan to fruition. I have little doubt that Liz would accomplish great things for the Upper School as its Head.”

This sentiment, among many shared on her full visit day, captures much of what makes Liz our person. Indeed, for more than two decades, Liz has indisputably set herself apart as an exemplary educator and leader, earning widespread respect for her exceptional skills in strategic decision-making and curriculum development on a local and national scale. In the last two and a half years, she has assumed the pivotal roles of Principal Consultant and Director at the globally respected JONES School of Inclusive Leadership, concurrently applying her expertise as an independent strategic consultant for a diverse array of schools and organizations. From 2009 to 2021, Liz orchestrated a profound “educational transformation” at Ethical Culture Fieldston School, navigating various roles including, Ethics teacher ​and department chair, US Grade Dean, Interim Director of Progressive and Multicultural Education, and Assistant Head of School for Ethical Education and Social Impact. Notably, she also played a pivotal role as the Director of Diversity at The Dalton School from 1997 to 2000.

My confidence in Liz’s ability to serve as a values-led and astute thought-partner for our Upper School colleagues is resolute. Her strong leadership is poised to instill our community with a steady devotion to all that we stand for and seek that will resonate profoundly with our students, families, and all within BFS.

Please read the message from Liz below.

Wishing you a weekend of connection and joy,


Dear BFS Community,

I am thrilled to embark on the journey as the Head of the Upper School Learning Community at Brooklyn Friends School beginning July 1, 2024. During my recent visit, it was heartwarming to interact with parents, colleagues, and students, all of whom have much love and respect for one another. I witnessed lots of smiles and felt how cared for BFS students are. I also noted the daily dedication colleagues bring to their work and their continuous support of one another and of the students. 

Observing their interactions at Pearl and Lawrence Streets was impressive and inspiring. Central to my enthusiasm is the prospect of engaging deeply with the vibrant tapestry of students, colleagues, families, and alumni, all united by a profound belief in the transformative power of a Quaker education. I am deeply inspired by the opportunity to join colleagues in fostering an educational environment where each individual is honored, respected, and empowered to grow intellectually, ethically, and spiritually. 

Together, our Quaker principles of simplicity, peace, stewardship, integrity, equality, service, and community will pave the way for a learning community that continues to value empathy, collaboration, and social justice while honoring the rich traditions of Brooklyn Friends School. One student I met mentioned that BFS is indeed “magical.’ I look forward to witnessing Panther magic on the stage, in the art studios, in the classrooms, hallways, on trips, during Meeting for Worship, within social impact projects, in athletic events, and beyond. I look forward to fully immersing myself within the BFS community in the months and years ahead, furthering our relationship with one another, honoring the breadth that is present and working together towards the most optimal version of all that BFS can be.

With gratitude,