Deb arrived at GFS in 1982, after an illustrious multi-sport career at Ursinus College, as an assistant field hockey coach and physical education teacher in the Lower and Middle Schools. Her enthusiasm for introducing young people to the joys and benefits of movement–and the importance of prioritizing wellness and exercise alongside academics–was captured in an article she wrote for GFS’ former publication, Studies in Education, in 2002, titled, “Winning in Physical Education”: “GFS is a community where we engage fully our intellect, our spirits, and also our bodies. In the realm of physical education, we affirm ourselves as movers and celebrate daily.” Deb left GFS in 1987 to pursue a Master’s degree, but returned to the school’s PE department in 1992.
In 1995, Deb was promoted to head of the PE department, where she developed strong programming and provided excellent leadership for the next 25 years. Additionally, she coached numerous sports in the Middle School, including girls' soccer and softball, preparing young student-athletes for the challenges at the varsity level.
“As I look across our campus and see the many lives that [Deb] has touched, it is overwhelming,” says Director of Athletics Katie Bergstrom Mark. “It is in her very being to help others by guiding them, giving them room to fail and succeed, and proving the scaffolding by being there in support all the time. Deb has coached thousands of young people during foundational moments in their athletic careers. Her leadership in the PE department and on the playing fields has been instrumental in our ability to stay true to our core philosophy.”
In 2020, Deb stepped into the role of Interim Director of Lower School. A steady presence in this throughout her tenure at GFS, she brought her experience as a teacher and educator to her new leadership position. Deb completed the inaugural SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) program at GFS and was an adult facilitator for the fifth-grade anti-bias curriculum, supporting its expansion across grades 3-5, with lessons implemented in grades K-2. She spearheaded GFS’ beloved Girls Sports Camp for decades, bringing additional administrative experience from her years as Program Director at Chimney Corners Camp, a residential summer camp in the Berkshires. Deb also served as the clerk of the MS Quakerism Committee and was a member of the Religious Life Committee.
“I am excited to take on this new challenge,” she shared at the time of the appointment, “[and] have great respect for my Lower School colleagues.”
Deb remained in this interim role for two years, drawing strength from her PE background and prioritizing health and wellness during a time when it was particularly needed, as the school was coping with numerous challenges presented by COVID. A talented scheduler, problem-solver, creative thinker, and collaborator, Deb was a critical team member in the school’s efforts to keep students and teachers safely on campus as much as possible.
We are so grateful for all of Deb’s wonderful contributions to the GFS community over the past 35 years, thank her for her dedication to our students, teachers, and families, and wish her all the best in the next chapter of her life adventure!