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Upper School

Upper school students working on a project together in a classroom.
Upper school students taking a picture together.
Upper school students performing in an auditorium.
Upper school students & a teacher outside taking pictures.

Upper School at GFS is a world of choices and no two students leave having traveled the same path. We encourage each individual to rise and meet his or her own standards of excellence. What our ninth through twelfth graders share, in the process, is an experience of intellectual challenge and curiosity. 

Signature Programs

In Upper School, there are many educational opportunities beyond the expected—one-of-a-kind learning experiences that are there for the taking.

Our Curriculum

Upper School offers a remarkable palette of classes. The curriculum—rich, varied and challenging—aims high.

College Counseling

We view the college process as a reflective, critical journey comprised of research, campus visits, applications, and much more.

Upper School Athletics

Our athletic program stresses participation and encourages all student-athletes to develop their capabilities to the fullest extent possible.

Through a vast offering of required and elective programs, our students pursue directed independent studies, participate in professional internships, take college seminar-style classes, and have the chance to explore multiple educational opportunities outside the Upper School academic program.  For those eager to not only learn but also innovate, Upper School is the place.

Upper School News

Meet Matthew Young: Director of Upper School

Matthew Young

Matthew's diverse career in independent school communities has spanned continents and embraced a wide range of roles. Prior to joining GFS as the Director of Upper School in 2018, Matthew served as the Associate Dean for Learning and Innovation at African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he has been immersed in schools and youth programs as an educator and administrator in the US and abroad for over 30 years. Prior to joining ALA, Matthew served as a science educator, division director, and development officer at Hawken School in Cleveland. He administered and taught elementary, middle, and high school science courses at Laurel and Old Trail schools in Ohio, and the National Cathedral School in Washington, DC. 

Matthew served as Assistant Head of School at NOVA International Schools in Skopje, Macedonia, and instructed undergraduate field ecology and animal behavior courses in the East African Serengeti. He graduated from Hampshire College with a dual degree in Field Biology and French and earned a Master’s in Biology from Binghamton University. Matthew and his wife, Sara Mierke, have three adult children: Sally, Oliver, and Cloe.

Upper School Office

To contact the Upper School Office, please call 215-951-2315.

For help with Upper School Admissions applications, please email

Matthew Young
Upper School Division Director

Behnaz Varamini
Assistant Director of Upper School

Karen Barbarese
Assistant to the Director of Upper School