A Brief History of Friends Council on Education

In 1931, two Friends, Morris E. and Hadassah M. Leeds, invited 90 educators to form a Council on Quaker education. The aims of Friends Council were:

  • To develop the feeling of friendliness and mutual understanding among our institutions
  • To impress upon the schools and colleges the importance of reverence for the truth and respect for the divine element in each person, students and teachers alike.

In his initial address to the Council in 1931 on "The Place of the Quaker School in Contemporary Education," Dr John A. Lester, founding volunteer executive secretary, urged Friends schools to lead in preparing children to address contemporary problems, in words that still ring true today.

A bequest from Susan Vanderpoel Clark allowed Friends Council to expand its services and appoint an Executive Director.

Since its founding, Friends Council on Education has become an integrating force in Quaker education, serving Friends schools in an advisory, consultative, and nurturing capacity, developing mutual understanding and support among its institutions.

Over the years, Friends Council on Education has celebrated several landmark birthdays, including the 50th Birthday, 75th Birthday, 80th Birthday, and the 85th Anniversary in 2016.

Today Friends Council on Education provides publications and promotes professional growth for trustees, heads, administrators, and faculty to further the goals of Quaker education, and serves as a voice for Friends schools in the national dialogue on education.

For a more detailed history of Friends Council on Education, see the timeline, right.

History of Executive Directors

History of Executive Directors

Thomas Brown 1967-1977
Adelbert Mason 1977-1988
Kay Edstene 1988-2000
Earl Harrison 2000-2001
Irene McHenry 2001-2014
Drew Smith 2014 - present

History of Clerks

History of Clerks

J. Henry Bartlett 1931-1933
Stanley R. Yarnell 1933-1936
Harold E. B. Speight 1936-1940
Wilmot R. Jones 1940-1940
Anna Cox Brinton 1940-1944
Frances B. Blanshard 1944-1946
William Eves 1946-1950
E. Newbold Cooper 1950-1957
Rachel K. Letchworth 1957-1960
Oscar E. Jansson 1960-1968
Byron Forbush 1968-1971
Rachel Letchworth 1971-1975
Clayton Farraday 1975-1990
Dulany Bennett 1990-1993
Byron Forbush 1993-1997
Eleanor M. Elkinton 1997-2003
Lisa A. H. Darling 2003-2005
Darryl J. Ford  2005-2006
Martha B. Bryans  2006-2010
David Tomlin 2010-2012
Darryl J. Ford 2012-2015
Michelle Holland  2015-2016
Matt Glendinning 2016-present



Friends Council Timeline
Friends Council Timeline