School for Friends is governed by a Board of Trustees of no more than sixteen members. The Board consists of current parents, alumni parents, friends of the School and the Head of School.
New Board members are selected by a nominating committee appointed by the President from parents and others who are willing to serve and are approved by the acting Board.
Is School for Friends a parent-run school? The short answer is no. The group of parents who created the school did two things that determined how the school would be governed. They hired professional staff with knowledge of early childhood to direct and teach in the school. And they elected to be a Quaker school by accepting a generous donation for start-up costs from the Friends Meeting of Washington.
The founding families wrote these decisions into the by-laws of the School. As a result, parents have a voice in the school’s policies through their parent representatives on the board, yet theirs is not the only voice – the school is not a parent cooperative.
School policy decisions are made by consensus/unity.
Vice Chair, 2024
Jeremy is the parent of one current student (previously a Turtle, now in Tigers), and one former student (Sea Lions and Tigers). His family first joined School for Friends in 2019, and he joined the Board as a Parent Trustee in 2021. Jeremy is an attorney at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where he specializes in complex commercial litigation, and also maintains an active pro bono practice.
Si has two children who attended the school from 2016-2020. Her husband also attended when the school was founded. Si is the Director of Finance for Women Enabled International, a nonprofit that advocates for human rights at the intersection of gender and disability. She also serves as a founding board member for City Blossoms – an educational non-profit that maintains community green spaces, builds school gardens, and develops gardening, nutrition and art curriculum primarily for underserved communities in Washington D.C., and beyond. Through this organization, she is a recipient of the Center For Nonprofit Advancement’s 2015 Board Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding excellence in nonprofit board governance.
Stacey Karp is the Director of Communications of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), a nonprofit membership organization based in Washington, D.C., working to ensure a strong and financially sound public broadcasting system. She joined the organization in September 2009. Stacey manages a wide range of communications, public relations and online media activities that advance public television’s legislative and regulatory objectives. Additionally, Stacey directs the APTS What Works toolbox, a project featuring case studies of public television stations that align with public television’s three pillars of public service — education, public safety and civic leadership — as well as state funding.
Stacey was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a Certificate in Women’s Studies. Stacey lives in Washington, D.C. with her daughter, who has proudly attended School for Friends since 2019.
Alex DeFee is the proud parent of a School for Friends Alumni (2021-2023). He joined the Board of Trustees in 2022. In his work as an architect at STUDIOS Architecture, Alex focuses on designing K-12 educational buildings and breathing new life into historic buildings throughout the DC area.
Krissy Santiago grew up in Center City, Philadelphia and attended Friends Select School (FSS) from kindergarten through to 12th grade. Krissy remains connected to FSS and has served on various committees at FSS including serving as Class Agent for her graduating class, Co-Chair of the Alumni Giving Fund for around 10 years, the National Board of Visitors, and the Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. Krissy remains very close with many of her classmates, teachers, and coaches from FSS. While Krissy was not raised as a Quaker, she identifies as a Quaker and finds peace and rooting in Quakerism. Krissy has two young children who attend Marie Reed, around the corner from where she lives with her husband in Adams Morgan. Professionally Krissy works for LUNGevity Foundation which is a non-profit lung cancer advocacy and research foundation. Krissy is responsible for the Foundation’s Care Partner Initiatives as well as survivor and caregiver-focused policy activities.
Schwanda Rountree is an attorney and arts patron based in Washington, D.C. She has served as co-chair of the annual Spring Fundraising Fair. Both of her daughters have enjoyed attending School for Friends over the years.
Steven Hicks is the parent of one current student (Sea Lions). While not new to the Friends community as Steven is a graduate of Wilmington Friends School in Wilmington, DE, his family is new to School for Friends having just joined as both a Parent and Parent Trustee to the Board in 2023. Steven is a financial analyst at Fitch Ratings where he specializes in high yield medical device companies within the healthcare sector.
Virginia Avanesyan is an educator and a practicing Quaker. She earned an M.S. in Education Studies (Reading) from Johns Hopkins University, and works as a language acquisition content specialist in Montgomery County Public Schools, where she taught at the primary level for seven years. In the Quaker community, Virginia has served as Religious Education Coordinator at Friends Meeting of Washington and taught groups of PK and primary-aged children for Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Virginia has helped organize on behalf of School for Friends during two decades as a member of Friends Meeting of Washington.
Aileen Nowlan is the parent of two children who attended the school: one current Tiger and one first grader who attended fall 2020 to summer 2022. Aileen holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a law degree from Yale Law School. In her work as Policy Director at Environmental Defense Fund Aileen combines technology, community engagement, investment prioritization, public health communication, and regulatory decision-making. The consistent focus of Aileen’s current work is to enable and inspire state and local leaders to advance the health and equity impacts of policies and projects, and inspire and enable federal leaders to effectively support community-driven flourishing.