Friends Council Timeline


1931 Led by Hadassah and Morris Leeds, representatives from three yearly meetings, Friends General Conference, twelve secondary schools, thirteen elementary schools, and three Quaker colleges found the Friends Council on Education: “a national consultative organization for all Quaker schools.

1931 Friends Council issues its first publication to 300 educators, John Lester’sThe Place of the Quaker School in Contemporary Education.

1933 The Friends Council launches the Interne Council for graduates of Quaker schools and colleges hired by Friends schools during the depression years.

1934 The first “peer network meets – for Upper School Religion Teachers.


1939 The Council speaks out against the national Teacher’s Loyalty Oath.

1941 Friends Council assembles “Statistics and Attitudes on Enrollment of Negroes after surveying all U.S. Friends and independent schools.

1940sIn response to World War II, Friends Council helps the schools take children from overseas, later in cooperation with the American Friends Service Committee.

1950 The first edition of the Courier, the Council’s newsletter, is sent to member schools.

1962 After consulting with Friends schools, the Friends Council takes a position against the installation of fall-out shelters in schools.


1949 Teachers gather at Pendle Hill for first residential Conference on Friends Education for teachers new to Friends schools.

1958 The Friends Council launches a Teacher Training Program through monthly seminars and school visitations.

1963 David Mallery joins the Council staff, offering enrichment programs for teachers, providing “brief inoculations of inspiration with plenty of space for dialogue and inordinate doses of encouragement.

Photo: Adelbert Mason, 1981


1967 Support from Susannah Vanderpoel Clark’s will provides resources for the Council’s Board to hire its first executive director, Thomas S. Brown.

1968 The Council launches an annual Grants Program for school projects that promote Quaker testimonies.

1970 Nan Brown volunteers to edit a new publication, Q.E.G.(Quaker Educational Graffiti), reporting news among the schools and to meetings.

1970s Friends Council supports the Carolina Friends School in its struggle to prevent the state of North Carolina from taking control of non-public education.

1978 Holly Locke begins providing programs and consultations for Friends schools.

1980At a meeting at Wilmington College in Ohio, educators representing 16 Quaker colleges and universities form the Friends Association of Higher Education.

1981 Rachel Letchworth, Clayton Farraday, and Bert Mason lead 50th “Birthday Party for the Friends Council on Education.

1988 The Moral Growth Study Team, led by Irene McHenry, completes a study of moral growth in Quaker secondary schools, published as Embracing the Tension.

Photo: Holly Locke, 1980

1996The Council’s Technology Committee launches the E-Quakes Listserv to facilitate electronic dialogue among Quaker school educators.

1998 Chronicles of Quaker Education arrives in schools, a newsletter that promotes the Quaker philosophy of education in school practice.


2001 The Council’s Membership Committee develops aNew Schools Kitin response to many requests for developing new Quaker schools.

2001 Responding to the crisis of September 11, 2001, the Friends Council compiles and publishes Coping Strategies and Positive Actions, a sharing of Friends’ initial reactions to the tragedy.

2001 First annual workshop for heads new to Friends school headship.

2002 The Council and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting co-publish the Governance Handbook for Friends Schools.

2002 A financial aid fund is established to support schools in need and educators of color in Friends schools with fees for Council workshops.

2003 SPARC begins (Spirited Practice and Renewed Courage for Teachers in Friends Schools).

2003Council’s five-year Strategic Plan is launched, including initiatives for Leadership, Governance, School-Meeting Relationships, Renewal for Teachers, National Voice, and Financial Stability.

2003Thanks to 356 individuals, 186 of the new supporters, the Council matches the Clark Foundation’s challenge to raise $100,000 for the Friends Council’s strategic initiatives.

Photo: SPARC retreat, 2004

2003 The Institute for Engaging Leadership in Friends Schools launches.

2004 Readings on Quaker Pedagogy is published, reflecting back to schools that which makes a Friends education distinctive – our philosophy and practice.

2004 The Friends Council Board approves a new membership category, Affiliate Educational Organizations, including Vihiga Friends Council on Education, Kenya; Bolivian Quaker Education Fund; Farm & Wilderness Camp; Pendle Hill; and William Penn House.

2005 In response to Hurricane Katrina, the Council creates an online message board for sharing news of relief efforts and student placement.

2005The Council Board works with Arthur Larrabee to prepare and publishPrinciples of Good Practice for Friends School Boards and for Every Trustee.

Photo: Leadership Institute, 2004

2005 The Council publishesSchooled in Diversity Action Research: Student and African-American Alumni Collaboration for School Change, through research coordinated by Pat Macpherson.

2005 Council Executive Director Irene McHenry named as Vice President of the Board of the Council for American Private Education.

2006 The Council publishes The Care Relationship: Friends Schools and the Religious Society of Friends, which presents best practices for school/meeting relationships.

2006 The Council welcomes its newest member school, San Francisco Friends School.

2006 The Council consults in the founding of two new schools in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Portland, Maine.


2006 Building the Leadership Fund Endowment to support the Leadership Institute.

2006-2007 Seven one-day Governance Matters! workshops for trustees in different regions of the country.

2006-2007 Co-sponsoring with Philadelphia Yearly Meeting colloquiums on the Meeting-School Care Relationship.

2006-2007 and beyond Building the financial stability of the Friends Council through the Evergreen Circle of Friends.

The Friends Council on Education will continue to provide leadership in drawing Friends schools together in unity of spirit and cooperative endeavors.