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explore our CAMPUS

What's cool about our campus is that it's spread out over seven acres in Philadelphia's historic neighborhood of Germantown. The buildings are an eclectic mix of old and new, a unique look and feel more consistent with a college campus. With three gyms, three auditoriums, a student center, numerous open, green spaces and nine classroom buildings, it's a place worthy of adoration and exploration. The Meetinghouse, at the center of it all, provides a beautiful and spiritual focal point.

1. Main Building 2. Meetinghouse 3. Sharpless 4. Hargroves 5. Wade Science Center 6. Alumni Building 7. Admissions 8. Living Graveyard 9. Dead Graveyard 10. Loeb Performing Arts Center 11. Smith Gym 12. Cary Building 13. Friends Free Library 14. Field House 15. Scattergood Gym

we have deep roots in this place

Values Container

The Pillars of A

Quaker Education

At GFS, students and teachers gather in Meeting for Worship once each week. This is a time for shared, silent contemplation. Anyone who feels moved to speak may rise and do so. It is a simple formula, and can be a remarkably powerful experience.In these days of constant connectivity, the ability and opportunity to sit in silence have special value. Meeting for Worship is a cornerstone of the GFS culture that many come to cherish throughout their lives.

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speak the truth

We strive to deal fairly, equally and honestly with everyone. We aim to do as we say, reflecting our beliefs in our actions. even when it is inconvenient or challenging, we stand by our convictions, striving to lead lives of integrity.

Shine Together

We are all blessed with remarkable gifts. We are equally qualified to seek truth and to hear the voice of God. Every person deserves equal respect. For these reasons, we work against prejudice and discrimination and for equality.

stay connected

"Alone we can do little; together we can do so much."* We know there is strength in cooperation and wisdom to be found when many perspectives come together. We believe in the power of community.*
The words of Helen Keller.

keep it simple

In every way we can, we try to minimize the distractions that can draw our attention from the important things in life. This means not becoming overwhelmed by the busyness of daily routine. It means seeking balance. It means embracing simplicity.

care for all

This planet we inhabit, the talents we've been given, the community of which we are a part- all hold remarkable value. We must be responsible, imaginative and proactive in protecting these gifts and caring for the world and people around us. We must exercise good stewardship.

promote peace

We believe each life is precious and unique. We stand against war and violence and work to eliminate their root causes, including ignorance, racism, hatred and oppression. We are committed to creating peace.

  • Truth
  • Shine
  • Connected
  • Simple
  • Care
  • Peace

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Farewell to Our Retirees

As the school year closes, we're wishing the following talented and committed members of our community well as they prepare to retire.

Anna Ferguson

Anna has been an integral member of our community for 17 years, facilitating a joyful, creative, wonder-filled learning experience for a generation of GFS students. Anna assumed her role as Lead Kindergarten Teacher in 2000, taking over for Babo Stern.

Anna is a member of Germantown Monthly Meeting and has offered important insights on our school's community and spiritual life as part of the GFS Quakerism Committee. She has also served tirelessly on the Admissions Committees throughout her tenure. She is the mother of two GFS alumni, Eve '12 and Paul '13 Maxson.

Margaret Fleisher

Margaret started at GFS in the business office, where she worked from 1976-79. After some time away, she returned and continued in the business office from 1983-87. In 1987-88, she became a Lower School assistant in both Janet Kalkstein's and Will Terry's 6th grade classes, and she subsequently worked with Susan Shechtman and Geoffrey Selling. In 1990, Margaret became the lead teacher in a newly formed 3/4 vertical class, which she taught for 20 years; she later moved to the 4th grade.

Margaret has served on a number of committees, most recently offering tremendous leadership and stewardship of GFS as a member of the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) Steering Committee. She also serves on the Lower School Quakerism Committee and the Diversity Leadership Team, clerked the first Health and Safety Committee and has written curriculum for the Lower School. Margaret is an avid quilter and the mother of two GFS alumni, Nicholas '97 and Will '00.

Teri Gemberling-Johnson

Teri came to GFS in 1986 and has been an involved and integral member of the music department for the past 30 years. She was the accompanist for the Upper School Choir for 27 years. During her first year at GFS, Teri started weekly singing classes with children in the Little Nursery, which she continued doing for 10 years. Teri taught Middle School music for many years, and with Judith Mallery, taught the 8th grade choir (now the Middle School Choir, which she continues to accompany). She has accompanied the 8th grade Project Time musical since its inception.

For the past 25 years, Teri has been the musical director of the 9th grade show. More recently, she has been the musical director of both Upper School and faculty and staff musicals. The MadriGals, an Upper School girls' ensemble, has been under her direction since 2006. Two of Teri's children—Nathan, '06 and Ben, '08—were lifers at GFS. Jesse attended GFS through 9th grade.

Rita Goldman

Rita's relationship to the school began when her children, Kara and Justin, enrolled in our Lower School in 1985 and 1989, respectively. Shortly thereafter, in 1987, Rita was hired by Ellie Elkinton, then Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, to serve as Associate Director of Admissions, which included serving as the Director of the Community Scholars Program. In 1999, Rita was appointed as the school's first Director of Multicultural Affairs. As a result of Rita's care and stewardship, GFS's leadership in diversity work grew profoundly. In addition to creating and leading our Diversity Day program, Rita furthered school efforts to create a truly inclusive, culturally competent community at GFS. From 1992-2005, Rita served as our Director of College Counseling, guiding hundreds of students as they moved through the emotionally demanding process of college admissions.

Building on this work with Upper School students, Rita was appointed Principal of Upper School and served in this capacity from 2005-2014. And finally, never one to pass on an opportunity, Rita agreed in 2014 to serve as the first Associate Head of School. In this capacity, Rita has been instrumental in leading and supporting the ongoing evolution of our program, practices and policies.

Janet Kalkstein

Janet began her career at GFS in 1986 as a 6th grade assistant teacher for Vicki Nees and Will Terry. At that time, there was no Middle School and 6th grade was part of the Lower School. In 1987, Janet was a lead 6th grade teacher with current 4th grade teacher, Margaret Fleisher, as her assistant. In 1993-94, Janet was on the committee planning the new Middle School, which was founded in 1994-95, particularly focused on activities and Project Time structure. Janet served as clerk of the Middle School Assembly Committee and has run the annual Middle School Festival of Lights assembly for more than a decade, a wonderful celebration of a range of holiday experiences and an illustration of the Quaker testimony of Peace.

She has served the school in so many ways—Gender Audit; Safety and Security; three years on the Campus Planning Committee during the plans for the Common and other outdoor spaces; student talent show—but none of this should overshadow her decades of braving the 6th grade camping trips! Janet's children, Betsy and Mike, are both GFS alumni. Betsy graduated in 1999 and Mike was in the Class of 2003, but transferred and graduated from Saul High School.

Saku Longshore

In 1995, Saku joined GFS as the Middle School Administrative Assistant and Assistant to the Director of Studies, Rich Nourie. She continued both positions until 1998, when her role in the Middle School expanded to full time. Her son, Ian Longshore, graduated from GFS in 2011. She is an anthropologist and Marxist scholar who lectured on Hinduism and mystical religions in Malik Mubashir's seminar on religion, and on Marxism in Dan Shechtman's seminars of yore.

She has supported the production of student publications, coordinated the Middle School Fun Day Book Sale with great results year after year, and coordinated the Middle School ski trip every winter. Saku served as the staff representative on a number of committees, including the 2004 strategic planning committee and the search committee for head of school. She has been a cornerstone of the GFS Middle School.

Joanne Sharpless

Joanne assumed her post at GFS's front desk in 2003, serving as the reception liaison and purveyor of information about all things GFS. She provides directions and solutions for parents, students, faculty and staff, vendors and supporters alike. She knows everyone! She also coordinates student flow, event ticket sales, transportation, mail and package receipt, and security support.

Joanne is an active member of Germantown Monthly Meeting and has served as a liaison between the Meeting and GFS.

Marjorie Spaeth

Margie started at GFS in 1987, teaching Spanish and Comparative Cultures in the Upper School. She has subsequently taught all levels of Spanish and supported countless students in pursuing travel and immersion experiences. In 1995, Margie participated in a WHYY program that teamed up her Spanish V class with Edison High School/Fareira Skills Center in a bilingual, bicultural exchange that involved visits and joint activities. She has traveled with many student groups, often serving as the faculty overseer and coordinator of the 9th grade Tlaxcala exchange program. She has also served as a class advisor—most recently to the 9th grade.

Margie is a longtime member of Germantown Monthly Meeting and has served on GFS's Quakerism Committee. Her beautiful Castilian Spanish is comfortingly familiar to those who have frequented the second floor of Main over the years, and her infectious love of Spanish literature, art and history has been the source of inspiration for generations of enthusiastic students. Her husband Ted Spaeth graduated from GFS in 1969, and both of their daughters, Victoria and Liz, were students at GFS. Victoria now teaches in the Early Childhood Program.

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