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.