Community Representatives

The Advisory Committee’s members represent key constituents of the FCS school community: parents, faculty, staff, and members of Adelphi Friends Meeting. The primary responsibility of the Advisory Committee is to represent these various school constituencies in presenting counsel and advice to the Head Search Committee regarding the selection of a new Head of School. In this role, the Advisory Committee will meet separately from the Head Search Committee to prepare and to interview semi-finalists and finalists, and will report their assessment of the candidates to the Head Search Committee.
Alexandra Whyte (Clerk) has fulfilled multiple roles at FCS: she has held both teaching and administrative positions and is also a proud parent of two FCS “lifers,” Maddy Sperber-Whyte (FCS 2011) and Grace Sperber-Whyte (FCS 2013). She started her teaching career in 2005 and joined the FCS faculty in 2006. In FCS’s Kindergarten, she has taught the youngest members of our community, welcoming families and helping to guide children and parents into understanding many of the procedures, learning goals, traditions, hopes, dreams, and expectations of our school community. Before becoming a teacher, Alexandra ran an electronic publishing department at a major financial services company. Alexandra has led projects, trained employees, and coordinated outward and inward communication throughout her career. She holds a Master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and is an amateur baker, photographer, and dancer. Alexandra is a city-girl at heart. Born and raised in New York City, one of her fondest memories from her own education was going on an all-night bike ride touring historic sights in all 5 boroughs of the city!

Jennifer-NeToi Claiborne, a writer and a teacher, has been working in education for 13 years. She received her B.A. in English from Jackson State University and her M.L.A. from Johns Hopkins University. She has worked for public and charter schools, non-profit organizations, and has held positions in higher education. At FCS, she is currently the 8th-grade Language Arts teacher, humanities coordinator, and adviser to the Diversity and Student Life committee. She is a member of the Capital Area Progressive Schools steering committee and a fellow of the Conference on English Leadership. Jennie loves book festivals and attends nearly every one of them held on the East Coast.

Tanisha Edmonds is the parent of Cole Edmonds (FCS 2018) and Bryce Edmonds (FCS 2022), both “lifers.” Over the years, she has served as a volunteer on Spring Auction class projects and Fall Fair class booths, chaperoned field trips, volunteered in the classroom, and been a regular on class trips to Catoctin Quaker Camp. Tanisha also serves as an admissions volunteer and as a member of the FCS Diversity Committee. Tanisha credits her training as a lawyer for her stellar advocacy skills, perhaps best shown in her ability to convince her Brooklyn-born-and-raised husband to consider the Turkey Run camping trip, complete with dressing in colonial garb and digging a latrine, a not-to-be-missed father-son bonding experience.

Mark Evans has worked at FCS for over 20 years, in a variety of roles, including Physical Education teacher, Assistant Director of the Extended Day Program, and Facilities Manager at the current campus. Mark is typically the first to arrive at school and among the last to leave, and he possesses deep knowledge and experience of life at FCS. He often says that the best part of his job is working with the students, watching them grow, and learning from them. As the Physical Education teacher for all grades, Mark is known for his energetic teaching style and expressive terminology, especially when it comes to the names of the teams when students split up to play games in groups. He brings the unique perspective of a teacher who interacts with every student at FCS, from the youngest Rainforest Nut Gatherer to the most mature Thrilla Gorilla MacGillicuddy, and every Peace-Loving Hippy and Wingnut in between.

Patricia Evans has been part of the FCS community since her son Andrew Evans (FCS 2022) started Kindergarten here. Over the past five years, she and her family have enjoyed being part of the new family mentoring program, which gives them a chance to meet and know new families, as they were once mentored. Patricia has also had the privilege of being an integral part of FCS’s annual Spring Auction, serving in the role of Co-Clerk for 2016 and 2017. She considers the Auction, which raises funds for tuition assistance, to be a testament to the dedication and hard work from every part of the FCS community. “A small fun fact about me,” she says, “is that my late father, a Quaker-educated courageous risk taker, became the first licensed Kenyan dentist.”

Sam Laury joined FCS as the 7th and 8th -grade math teacher for the 2016-2017 school year. Before the 2017-2018 year, he added the responsibilities of Math Coordinator and now works with all the math teachers to improve the organization and delivery of our math teaching throughout the math program for all grades, K through 8. Sam came to FCS from New York City, where he was the Dean of Mathematics at Grace Church School for the prior nine years. Sam is a career changer who became a teacher at age 40, after 20 years as a corporate auditor. He is thrilled that his path led him to FCS and hopes to contribute many productive years to our community.

Ken Leonard has been a member of the Society of Friends for 32 years and has attended Adelphi Friends Meeting since he moved to the area in 2003. He has four children who attended Prince George’s County public schools and is an associate professor at the University of Maryland. He has been teaching the 3rd through 5th -grade first day class at AFM almost since he moved to the area, so he knows virtually all of the FCS kids who have attended Adelphi Meeting. 

Hannah McCann is both the FCS Director of Communications and an FCS parent. She began working at FCS in 2013 and led the school's transition to a new portal and website in 2014. She is responsible for managing how the school communicates with parents as well as with the general public. She is a D.C. native who benefitted from attending a progressive school (Edmund Burke) for middle and high school. With three children enrolled at FCS [Jonah Witte (FCS 2019), Isaac Witte (FCS 2021), and Rachel Witte (FCS 2025)], Hannah is halfway through an anticipated 14-year journey as an FCS parent.  

Cynthia Mowery has always appreciated dynamic teachers, particularly since the time one of her sons was an FCS student. As FCS’s Business Manager for the past 10 years, she has considered it her role to remove obstacles to teachers, helping them to have the freedom to be great at their jobs. That role includes thoughtful budgeting, ensuring a safe environment, managing HR issues in a supportive and productive way, making school business practices a pleasant and trusted experience for those who pay tuition, and managing the school’s resources prudently. Prior to taking on this role at FCS, she owned a small business that supplied book and paper conservation supplies to rare-book libraries and museums, managed research at a firm that does investment consulting to university endowment funds, and began the museum shop at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Over the years, she has also re-wired parts of her Victorian house, sailed the Chesapeake, helped develop specifications for the Library of Congress to replicate 17th-century handmade papers, and done a little silversmithing. 

Erin Murray-Hause is the FCS encyclopedia. She is the Executive Assistant to the Head, Director of Auxiliary Programs (Summer Camp, Ex-Day, After-School Enrichment), and Certified Medical Technician. In her 19 years working at FCS, she has worked in every position at the Summer Camp and Extended Day, as a substitute teacher, Business Office Assistant, and Front Office Assistant. Before that, Erin was a student at FCS from 1991 to 1997, and so she has the distinction of being an active member of the FCS community during every Head of School administration in the school’s history. 

Raymond Peterson is the parent of Catherine Peterson (FCS 2013) and William Peterson (FCS 2015), both “lifers.” A former avid field trip driver and Parent Representative to the FCS Board of Trustees, he is currently a member of the Finance Committee. Raymond prefers to get around Greenbelt and College Park on his bicycle when possible, and he once pedaled his bicycle from Seattle to Atlantic City to raise money for the American Lung Association.

Susan Richardson has been a member of Adelphi Friends Meeting since 2015, after attending regularly for over 16 years, and currently serves on the Ministry and Worship Committee, the Resident Support Committee, and Adelphi’s long-standing Women’s Group. Her son, Marcus Pettus, attended Quaker schools for most of his education: K-5th at FCS and 6th-7th at Thornton Middle School in Silver Spring; then a couple of stops at non-Quaker schools before graduating from Scattergood Friends Boarding High School and Farm in West Branch, Iowa, in 2015. She likes to say that her son went to Quaker schools long before Sasha and Malia made it cool. After some very difficult experiences elsewhere, Susan remembers, “When I would drive Marcus to Friends Community School each day, I felt my heart overcome with an abundance of gratitude that we had found something wonderful for him—and we had.”

Kathy Rodeffer has been a part of the FCS community since 2010, when her daughters Sarah Rodeffer (FCS 2015) and Grace Rodeffer (FCS 2018) began attending the school. Kathy worked in Prince George's County Public Schools for 34 years as an instrumental music teacher and Instructional Supervisor for Instrumental Music. After her retirement from PGCPS, Kathy began working with the instrumental music program at FCS in 2012, first as a teacher and then as program coordinator, in addition to her service as a volunteer in admissions. She continues to be an active adjudicator, guest conductor, and clinician around the region, and she loves teaching music. In her “free” time, Kathy is an active member of the College Park Animal Welfare Committee with a special mission in rehabilitating feral cats and raising orphaned kittens.

Tamara Sam is the parent of Isaiah Sam (FCS 2026), who entered FCS as a kindergartner in 2017, as well as potential FCS class of 2029 member Kennedy Sam. She was a co-clerk of the Fall Fair and a member of the “Dream Team” of 2018 Spring Auction organizers. Tamara is an engineer by day and a hobbyist photographer.

Sandy Stein has taught 1st and 2nd grade at FCS for 11 years and is the parent of "lifer" Gillian Stein (FCS 2010) and Jacob Stein, who attended FCS K-6th. After several years as an involved parent, including serving as Fall Fair Co-Clerk for three years and as a member of FCS's prior Head Search Committee, Sandy was inspired to begin a second career in teaching by her children's teachers, her own substitute teaching, and her journey as her child's advocate through the world of learning differences. Sandy earned a B.S. in Dietetics in 1983 and worked as a dietitian in hospitals and private practice, ultimately specializing in pediatrics and then diabetes. Sandy loves to share her passion for and belief in progressive, play-based, child-centered learning with her students and parents. She regularly includes the outdoors and nature in her classroom: her classroom was the first at FCS to install a raised garden bed; her students raise lettuce for year-end "Saladbrations" each year; they also raise and release Monarchs and learn to identify the feathered friends at bird feeders they maintain outside their classroom. Sandy is an adviser to the Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School, the After School Nature Explorers teacher, and a member of the Quaker Life Committee, the Adoption Support Group, and the Learning Difference Group. Her proudest feelings of achievement as a teacher come in seeing her former students thriving as they move on from her classroom. 

Pilar Suescum
, the parent of Gabi Suescum (FCS 2020) and Lili Suescum (FCS 2022), was born and raised in the Republic of Panama and has been a Capitol Hill resident since 1987. Pilar has been active in the girls’ classrooms in a variety of ways since 2012, when her family came to FCS, from filing to chaperoning field trips to helping sew costumes for the 6th-grade musical this year. Pilar has taught Middle School Spanish as a substitute, helped organize class booths for the Fall Fair and Spring Auction projects, and for three years organized the FCS Fun Run fundraiser. An active admissions volunteer and mentor parent, Pilar took on a new challenge in 2018, organizing the End of Year Picnic. When you see Pilar, she may be picking up her five-student carpool in the afternoons and delivering them to Capitol Hill, or perhaps heading for the hills of West Virginia to enjoy the outdoors, especially kayaking or tending her vegetable garden.

Judy Touchton has been a part of the local Quaker community since discovering Adelphi Friends Meeting in 1986, when she and her partner, Mary Leonard, were seeking a spiritual home for themselves and their then-three-year-old daughter, Katie. At the time, FCS was in the process of becoming a reality. Katie was in the third kindergarten class at FCS, and Judy served on the FCS Board for a total of nine years (not successively) in the early years, during and after Katie’s presence there. She represented AFM on a regional Quaker scholarship committee, provides continuing financial support to FCS, and currently serves on the FCS Board’s Quaker Life Committee. For much of her career, Judy worked in leadership development and women’s advocacy for the American Council on Education (ACE), focused on diversifying the top leadership of the leading higher education institutions that form the association’s membership. As the first Director of ACE’s Senior Executive Leadership Service, she worked extensively with campus-based search committees, executive search consultants, and candidates from under-represented groups to level the playing field, especially for women and minorities. She is very pleased to have been part of FCS’s founding years and to have witnessed the dramatic developing years. “As a family,” she says, “we all feel indebted to the FCS community for how it has helped us and others grow.”
 
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Located in College Park, MD, Friends Community School is a progressive Quaker K-8 day school, founded on the belief that every child is a valued member of our community. We offer a challenging curriculum imbued with strong values of equality, integrity, community, environmental stewardship, simplicity and peaceful conflict resolution, rooted in our Quaker heritage.
Friends Community School
5901 Westchester Park Drive
College Park, Maryland 20740
301-441-2100