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Saying goodbye to Jessie and hello to Andrea in the Second Grade

Friday, April 20, 2018
Jessie Radowitz with her class this fall. 

Second grade lead teacher Jessie Radowitz came upon us a few years back, and we all knew immediately that we had to find a way to reel her in to work at Friends. Via Skype from New York, she charmed us with her thoughtful, calm, but clear and authentic approach to thinking about the pedagogy and purpose of education. From her work in the south with Teach for America, and a highly revered career pursuing her Masters degree at Columbia Teachers College, Jessie has brought to us, in spades, more than we could have imagined.

She is kind, connected to children, organized, clear and supportive with parents and colleagues alike. She is a sometimes quiet, but very big thinker; when she has something to say we know it has been considered—she does not waste words. With her eye always leaning towards social justice and Quaker values, she has elevated her work and engaged us all. Jessie has navigated the most difficult passage in losing her mom to cancer so quickly while she has been among us. Now, she has to go back east, with her partner, Jake, to be closer to her father, who lives In D.C. The only single happy news for us with this departure is that Jessie has landed a job at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia teaching first grade. This means we will be in touch and close in our missions across the country, and when we visit Quaker Schools in Philly, and Germantown (which is often), we can see Jessie and share ideas. We are determined to stay connected, and Jessie will always be part of the SFFS community.

We are very excited to be welcoming (soon!) Andrea Snyder to our SFFS community, and to the Lower School team as our new second grade lead teacher. Andrea will be working alongside Anhvu Buchanan next year as they build on the great work that the team has developed. Andrea is a seasoned educator, having taught many grades from fifth to kindergarten; she has been working abroad for the past seven years in London and, most recently, Hanoi, both in international schools. She hails from Philadelphia but also lived in Nashville and Atlanta, and taught for several years at Packer Collegiate School in NYC. Most recently, Andrea has been teaching at the United Nations International School in Hanoi, where she further developed ways of bringing peaceful conflict resolution, global perspectives, stewardship, and responsibility to the classroom, which ties in beautifully with our Quaker values. Quaker principles and practices have just naturally aligned with her work. Andrea was really searching for the “right next step” for her career, and a home in San Francisco and at Friends felt right, almost right away. She sees herself as an advocate for children, and we know that her deep pedagogical background will contribute so much to our team. Andrea loves fresh air, hiking and baking, so we are confident she has made the best choice to come to SF. Moving here from Hanoi this summer is no small feat, so we are already working on helping her land on her feet once she arrives. We know she will be a great addition to our school and community.