Last fall, after 30 years of waiting, I (finally) stepped through the doors of this renowned school. Honored to be on campus as part of the search process for the next Head of School, I recognized that I had found my way home. For years I admired Germantown Friends from afar, and my experience these past nine months has confirmed my long-held belief that this school is unique among all institutions of learning, and that it is a place where alumni, faculty, students, staff and parents feel at home.
There are countless reasons why GFS is recognized as a truly great and singular independent Quaker school, why it is cherished by the community and why it remains inimitable. At GFS, Meeting for Worship and the Quaker Testimonies—Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship—underscore all else we do. Meeting (unprogrammed, silent, reflective communal time) is a weekly event, experienced school-wide. This foundation is reinforced by our annual celebration of two Quaker Testimonies, which serve as curricular threads and inform all of our work throughout the school year. (This year, we will focus on the testimonies of Simplicity and Integrity.)
At GFS, we do not preach our beliefs and values, we practice them.
Because we believe that every individual has “that of God within,” the search for and celebration of each student’s inner light extends well beyond the walls of the Meetinghouse. For us, the arts, community involvement, the life of the mind, the care of the body and the inclusion of distinct voices and perspectives (ensured via our commitment to creating and maintaining a diverse community of students, faculty, staff and administration) are concomitants of the GFS mission.
At GFS, our philosophy of education and our mission go hand-in-hand.
Although I still have much to discover, I have had the privilege of attending the fifth-grade May Day celebration, watching math in action in Lower School classrooms, visiting the Middle School art studio, meeting with leaders of Upper School clubs and affinity groups, listening in awe to the transcendent sound of the choir, and getting a flavor for the enthusiasm around our athletics program. In each of these experiences, I witnessed a joy of learning, a celebration of individuality and a deep commitment to community.
Clearly, at GFS, we live our mission.
I encourage you to explore these pages, taking particular care to look for those places where you can see your child—or, if you’re a student, yourself—searching, learning, growing, being challenged, finding a distinct inner light and thriving. I am wholeheartedly confident that in doing so, GFS will come to feel like your home, too.
Dana Okeson Weeks
Head of School