Institute for Engaging Leadership in Friends Schools

Application Deadline for 2022-24 Cohort:
March 1, 2022

The Institute for Engaging Leadership in Friends Schools was created by the Friends Council on Education as a strategic network of Friends school leaders working together in a learning community. Throughout the two-year program, members strengthen their capacity and skills for the unique role of Friends school leadership and the peculiar art of sustaining the Quaker value-based ethos of a Friends school. Institute members collaborate as learning partners with heads of Friends schools and conduct action research projects that benefit the network of Friends schools.

Description of the Leadership Institute 
This is a two year experience for those exploring or feeling called to leadership in Friends schools. Candidates are expected to have had full-time work experience in a Quaker school. Applications are invited every second year. The next opportunity to apply will be in 2016, for the cohort that will first gather in the fall of 2022. The process is not complicated. One's head of school writes a letter to nominate the candidate, and the candidate completes an application. Then there's a group interview process in Philadelphia.

During the two years of the program, the cohort gathers four times (three days, two nights) at Pendle Hill, the Quaker retreat center near Philadelphia, for a wonderful program of well-paced exploration, including leadership assessment, strengthening of skills, and other leadership learnings and doings, facilitated by Irene McHenry, Drew Smith, and guests (including panels of school heads and search professionals). It is a dialogue-rich two years, producing personal growth of all sorts, empowered selves, and wonderfully supportive colleagueship and co-mentoring.

Each participant works with a carefully matched leadership partner (all are current heads) and undertakes an action research project. Short reports on the action research projects done by those in the program's first three cohorts are archived on the Council's website.

I have spent 25 years in Quaker Schools as a teacher and leader. Friends Council has been instrumental in providing leadership training and professional development throughout my journey.

Participating in the Institute for Engaging Leadership was the most important and meaningful experience I have had so far through Friends Council. It provided a cohort of colleagues to network with, and it provided the necessary mentorship to move into servant leadership as a Head of School.

Melissa Carroll
Head of School, Princeton Friends School
Graduate, FCE Institute for Engaging Leadership in Friends School 

Click HERE to download and view the 2020 Leadership Reunion Slideshow.

Retreat Dates for 2022-24 Cohort

Retreats held at Pendle Hill Retreat Center

  • November 8-10, 2022
    Tuesday to Thursday 
  • April 17-19, 2023
    Monday – Wednesday
  • November 1-3, 2023
    Wednesday – Friday
  • April 16-18, 2024
    Tuesday to Thursday