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Comings & Goings Spring 2023

Comings & Goings Spring 2023
Kim House

As we prepare for the excitement, celebration, and reflection of the end of the school year, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge a few departures and welcome a number of new members to the SFFS community. It’s been an incredible year at SFFS - a year of transition, a year of reflection, and a year full of joyful, challenging learning for all of us. 

As we prepare for the excitement, celebration, and reflection of the end of the school year, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge a few departures and welcome a number of new members to the SFFS community. It’s been an incredible year at SFFS - a year of transition, a year of reflection, and a year full of joyful, challenging learning for all of us. 

Lower School 

We’d like to acknowledge four members of our Lower School community are departing at the end of the school year:

Elissa Fitterman, 3rd Grade Teaching Assistant
Elissa joined our community in 2021 and recently completed her MA in Teaching and will finish up her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential this summer through the Bay Area Teaching Training Institute. Throughout her time here, Elissa has been drawn towards the Quaker value of Continuous Revelation, ever perfecting her teaching craft. Elissa hopes to remain flexible next school year, so that much of her year can include traveling before settling into a full time position. We look forward to hearing all about Elissa’s adventures this coming year and to hear where she lands afterwards!

Amanda Mack, 3rd Grade Teaching Assistant
Amanda also joined our community in 2021. During her time here, she completed her Masters in Education, concentrating on Equity and Social Justice. Amanda has taken a lead in our community in many ways. Most notably, she co-led one of our affinity groups and created a name that would make the students in the group feel proud: All FAM (all Families are Meaningful). She created lessons to support these students feel like they belong and facilitated a safe environment to talk about their experiences and make connections with others. Amanda leaves us with plans to teach internationally. We wish Amanda all the best as begins her next chapter in South Korea. 

Lily Layman, 1st Grade Co-Teacher
Lily joined our community in December, 2020. She began in kindergarten and looped up this year with her class to first grade. During her time, she stepped up to provide emotional and academic continuity for our first graders during Gavin’s maternity leave. She is adored and admired by students and parents alike, for her unfailing patience, wisdom, and insight. Lily is moving on from Friends in order to attain her masters in counseling at San Francisco State University in order to pursue a path as a counselor for children. We are deeply appreciative of the presence and empathy Lily has brought to our early childhood program.

Rebecca Mallabone, Lower School Learning Specialist
Rebecca joined us in 2020. She began in third grade and moved into a learning specialist position with our developmental services team. During her time at Friends, she provided academic support for students across divisions, ranging from teaching pull-out groups in fourth grade to small reading groups in first grade. Rebecca has a gift for connecting with students where they are, and collaborated with the teaching team to support classroom curriculum. Her calm demeanor, patience, and kindness will be missed, and we wish her the best as she continues her journey. 


We’re looking forward to welcoming four people who will be joining our Lower School next year!

Jessica Klokow-English, Lower School Associate Teacher
Jessica is a well-known face here at Friends, having been a substitute and assistant teacher this year and is well-respected in our community. Jessica grew up in many different places (Flagstaff, Piedmont). Having fond memories from her own experience at Berkeley Montessori School, as an adult, Jessica earned her Monterssori teaching certificate. Additionally, Jessica holds a B.A in Child and Adolescent Development. Jessica has worked at a variety of educational settings in San Francisco for twenty years, including some of our peer independent schools. On her time outside of school, Jessica loves to walk her dog, Stevie, on Ocean Beach, hang out with her family and eat Thai food! We are thrilled that Jessica will continue her time here at Friends.


Berlin Behari, Lower School Associate Teacher
Berlin was born and raised on the East Coast, living her first five years in Virginia, and then growing up in Pennsylvania. Berlin comes to us with two years of teaching experience, and her interest in Friends education stems from the dynamic environment and the mission-based experience. She is currently working towards her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of San Francisco, which is part of what piques her interest in working with children. She is eager to inspire young minds to learn more about the academic world of writing, to attain important life skills that build upon all aspects of creativity. “To create, to invent, or to discover, one needs not only to have the freedom of thought but to have well-driven educators to help create an environment that allows freedom of thought to grow and flourish,” she attests. We are eager to welcome Berlin and all the expertise she brings to our community.


Arturo Paz, Lower School Associate Teacher
Arturo was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. He earned his M.A. in Film, Television, and Media Studies, and is currently working towards his TOEFL certification.  Arturo has worked with youth in a variety of settings, including as a Latinx Outreach Specialist, supporting a residential therapeutic program for foster youth, and as a tutor. More recently, when he began substitute teaching, he realized why his parents are both teachers. “Being around children is inspiring,” he reflected, and he is particularly interested in supporting our heritage-speaking families, as Spanish is his first language. A lifelong Dodgers fan (with apologies to all Giants supporters!), he enjoys going to baseball games, seeing as many films as he can, and spending time in his family’s hometown of Durango, Mexico. We are incredibly fortunate to welcome Arturo to San Francisco and to our Friends School community.


Kate Heller, Lower School Associate Teacher
Kate grew up in Southern California, attending a Jewish elementary school that was building out the grades as she attended (as our pioneer class was). She then attended Windward High School, which, at the time, was a progressive experience, incorporating ample creative outlets and academic electives into their student experience. Kate has a B.A. in Biology from Wesleyan University and a Master of Environmental Management from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (now Yale School of the Environment. Kate is in the newest cohort with the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute, where she’ll be working towards her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters in Education. Kate enjoys art that makes her think, a well-told bad joke, animal facts of all sorts, and hosting friends for crafternoons, potlucks, or other adventures. We are excited to welcome Kate to our community!


Middle School 

We want to acknowledge the departures of two members of our Middle School community:

Jennifer Stuart, Director of Collaborative Curriculum 
In her 15  years at Friends, Jennifer has shaped multiple facets of our program and school culture. From her exceptional work as faculty in the SFFS arts program, to her leadership in the development, implementation, and evolution of our Collaborative Class curriculum, Jennifer has inspired colleagues and students alike. Her attention to the Essential Question when curriculum planning and unit planning have helped us elevate our program. Examples include: How does the making of a mark affect us emotionally and physically? When does abstract art speak to us? How can art educate? Jennifer focused on the process of art for students, taking the air out of "the product" -- which is at the heart of what we do, but also made art interesting and accessible to so many more individuals. We wish Jennnifer well in her next chapter as she returns her focus to her art studio where she will be creating art and leading workshops for artists across the Bay Area. 

Lissie McAlvey, 8th Grade Math
Since 2020, Lissie brought mathematical inspiration to her students, and joy to the 8th grade team. Her creativity when combining art, math, data, and current events was instrumental to further developing the 8th grade math curriculum, and incorporating exciting and dynamic projects into the program. As an advisor, Lissie balanced fun and groundedness – a special skill valued especially in a middle school environment. According to a colleague on the math team, “her organization, combined with her sense of humor, made her a delight to work with!”  We wish Lissie all the best as begins her next chapter with her family in Chicago. 


We’re delighted to introduce you to two people who will be joining our Middle School next year, though both are already familiar faces on campus!

Eliza Cohen, 8th Grade Math
Eliza is thrilled to be stepping into the role of a Middle School math teacher at Friends. Most recently, Eliza has been teaching our current 8th graders in a leave replacement role, and we’ve been impressed by the skill, joy, and deep intelligence that Eliza brings to her work. She holds a BA in International Development and Mathematics from Kenyon College and had the joy of studying abroad in Chile where she developed her Spanish language skills. Before joining the Friends School, Eliza worked in the year-round office of Camp Tawonga in both Program and Finance roles, including managing the financial assistance program. Eliza recently completed the Justice Outside Rising Leaders Fellowship, which focuses on creating more inclusive and just spaces in the outdoors and education. In her spare time, Eliza loves to attend drawing classes and swim in the ocean.


Maddy Buzbee, Middle School Associate Teacher
Born and raised in San Francisco's Inner Sunset District, Maddy grew up in a creative household, parented by a couple of eccentric writers and teachers. Maddy was first introduced to San Francisco Friends School and Quaker life when she transferred there as a student in her 7th grade year (Class of 2012). Maddy went on to attend Drew School in San Francisco. She graduated with a BFA in Studio Arts from Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (Class of 2020). Since her graduation from Bard, Maddy has worked at Camp Urban Adamah as a camp counselor and youth educator, teaching kids about urban farming, stewardship and sustainability through the lens of Jewish values. Most recently, she has joined the A3 Team at SFFS, working with 7th and 8th graders in the afterschool program, as well as substitute teaching across all subjects. When Maddy's not at school, you can usually find her painting in her studio or DJing disco and house music at the local community radio station!


In addition, we'd like to share a few changes to our administrative team: 

Emma Sonduck, Assistant Director of Development, will be departing Friends at the end of June. During her tenure at Friends, Emma has been an exceptional fundraiser, managing our annual fund with care and gusto. In addition, Emma has stewarded the Blue Party for many years! Emma has a keen eye for event planning, organizational skills that are second to none, and a passion for education. We wish her well in her next endeavor as Assistant Director of Advancement at The Bay School. 

Simultaneously, we are pleased to announce that Lauren Becker will step into the role of Assistant Director of Development for Friends this summer. Lauren comes to Friends with extensive development experience at Bay Area independent schools, including Drew School, San Francisco Day School, and Katherine Delmar Burke School, as well as experience at Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco. 

Kim House joined San Francisco Friends School in April as Director of Communications. Kim is a passionate storyteller and communications expert, having spent her career helping retail brands reach and engage customers through strategic marketing programs and PR initiatives. 

Please join us in welcoming our new community members and thanking our departing Friends for their many contributions! 


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