For 25 years, Kathy Paulmier has been the life-force of both Quakerism and community action at GFS (and longer if you count her years as a student; she graduated in 1979). As our Director of Community Engagement and a longtime resident of Germantown, her steadfast commitment to equity and community involvement in the neighborhood where she lives and works helped the school make important strides forward. Whether teaching Quakerism in the Middle School; leading or serving on countless committees, including Quakerism, Agenda, and the Germantown Project Team; collaborating on projects (establishing the Quaker Voluntary Service program) and self-studies (such as AIM and Quakerism); organizing innumerable grade-wide community outreach days, food and clothing drives, and Martin Luther King Jr. days of service; or encouraging hundreds of students to advocate for and get involved in causes they believe in, Kathy has inspired us with her passion, optimism, energy, and heart. During her tenure, she expanded both our mission-driven community engagement and Quakerism programs in all divisions.
Recalls Jim Barron, recently retired GFS classics and history teacher, who worked closely with Kathy for 16 years, "The Kathy whom I met my first days at GFS is still led by the spirit of spiritual seeking, always open to welcome, instruction, and the Light as it abides in everything and everyone. To know her as a friend is to touch the reality the lies at the core of GFS' greatness: We strive to be what we say we are, we seek the truth and find it in and through each other. Kathy is the model for doing this, and in that she has been a true friend to us all."
Adds former GFS history teacher Marnie Kerr, "I don't know how Kathy single-handedly met and strategized with every school, church, and nonprofit in Germantown to plan community outreach. She is a much beloved member of Germantown, always [collaborating] with community leaders rather than trying to take over ... How did she do it, never losing that focused empathy in every conversation, her enthusiasm, and that great sense of humor. She was the very model of a community worker for me."
We wish Kathy all the best in her exciting next chapter and will miss her warmth, kindness, grace, generosity of spirit, and, most of all, seeing her smiling face on campus.