Diversity Statement

Friends’ Central School seeks to cultivate a diverse community of individuals who are respected and affirmed as they engage in learning and other school experiences. We strive to create a community of belonging where members of FCS can bring their authentic selves to campus, embracing all identities, including race and ethnicity, gender identity, sexual identity, class, religion, disability, family structure, nationality, and other social identities. We are engaged in an ongoing journey to confront and unlearn bias both personally and collectively so we can become a more equitable school.                              

Fundamental to the Religious Society of Friends' testimony and practice is our commitment to embodying our values through the policies, practices and culture we build together. We call upon all members of our community — faculty, staff, students, administrators, parents, trustees, and alumni/ae — to join us in this work.


Department of Institutional Diversity, Equity, & Justice

Friends’ Central intentionally aligns student learning with greater purpose. In service of this, we now have a nine-member Department of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Justice. The goal of this Office is to support, assist, and enhance Friends’ Central’s commitment to eliminating harmful bias and discrimination, to close opportunity gaps, and to advance critical conversations and initiatives that promote inclusivity, equity, and social justice on campus and beyond.

Senior Staff for Programming

The Senior Staff for Programming (SSP) is the core leadership team for the Department of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Justice at FCS. They help to guide the vision and execution of DEJ initiatives in all facets of school life

Robyn Richmond

Coordinator for Quaker Affairs 
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As a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), a parent of 3 FCS alums and our Coordinator for Quaker Affairs since 2006, Robyn Richmond is deeply committed to the work of cultivating a community of belonging and holding up our understanding that striving for diversity, equity and inclusion is woven into the fabric of Quaker faith and practice. She is grateful to have the opportunity to participate in DEI work across divisions and departments. Robyn has clerked colleague study groups and participated in ongoing DEI work through conferences and workshops including our FCS Different Voices, Same Vision Student Conference, AWARE, and the Race Institute.  Her work has included co-clerking the FCS Diversity Board and School Life Committee of the Board or Trustees; working with Quaker Youth Leadership students;supporting Middle and Upper School Diversity Committees; centering equity and justice topics in FCS’ Quaker School Life course; and focusing Meeting for Worship query reflection on equity and inclusion topics.

Al Vernacchio

Coordinator of Gender, Sexuality, and Consent Education
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Al Vernacchio is the Coordinator of Gender, Sexuality, and Consent Education at Friends’ Central School, and also a member of the Upper School English department.  Al is forthright, funny, and compassionate as he supports school communities and families in developing healthy sexuality in young people of all ages. A nationally recognized expert in human sexuality education, Al frequently appears in print media and on podcasts.  His book For Goodness Sex: A Sex-Positive Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Teens, originally published in 2014, will be reissued in the winter of 2023 in an updated and expanded edition, including an audiobook.  Al has given four TED Talks, lectures, and presents workshops throughout the country, and has appeared on national programs such as NPR’s “Morning Edition”, “1A”, and “Radio Times”.  Al earned his BA in Theology from St. Joseph's University and his MSEd in Human Sexuality Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

School Ambassadors for Equity & Justice (Diversity Clerks)

The Diversity Clerks lead the divisional efforts of the Department of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Justice at FCS. They implement DEJ programming, guide Diversity Committees, and serve as a liaison for students and parents/caregivers.

Tanya Muse

Lower School Diversity Clerk
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Tanya Muse '02 has been committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion at Friends' Central for the last 10+ years. In the classroom, she created a social justice curriculum to use in N-5th Grade classrooms. She was awarded a stipend and presented research on Alums of Color and their stories in Independent Schools. Tanya has participated in numerous professional development days around DEI work, including the NAIS People of Color Conference (POCC)  which she has attended for over 13 years.

Kirk German

Middle School Diversity Clerk
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Kirk has been a member of the Middle School Diversity Committee since joining the FCS faculty in 2020. DEIJB work has played an integral role in Kirk’s pedagogical approach for the 15+ years that he’s worked as a classroom teacher. In the various independent schools in Central Texas where he taught English, humanities, and performing arts from 2002-2014, he constantly strove to refresh the curricula by advocating for the inclusion of a more diverse and representative array of authors, artists, texts, voices, and characters. Kirk also worked in the Education department of the Tenement Museum in NYC, a public history institution that researches and shares the stories of real-life (yet non-famous) immigrants and migrants as a way to deepen empathy for the universal experiences of relocation and discrimination. While at the Tenement, Kirk was a staunch advocate for equitable worker’s rights and a founding member of the Museum’s “White Anti-Racist Ally Caucus,” a group that worked to support the “People of Color Caucus” started by his colleagues.

Christie Kapothanasis

Lower School Diversity Clerk
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In her role as the 5th grade literacy teacher, Christie's commitment to DEI work grew from her belief that students need windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors as they venture into the world of literature. She is dedicated to creating spaces where all students can feel seen not only by their community members but also in the curriculum their teachers present. Christie has co-clerked the Lower School Diversity Committee and collaborated on assemblies that celebrate diversity and inclusion in FCS’ Lower School community.

Jacob Fogel

Upper School Diversity Clerk
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Jacob Fogel '07 says that the importance of DEI work was impressed upon him as a student at FCS. Seeing windows and mirrors in the classroom, providing safe spaces for uncomfortable conversations, and celebrating the similarities across differences are some of the essential motivations for him when working with young people. He has had the opportunity to continue learning at many conferences over the years as an attendee, presenter, and facilitator. He is particularly proud of the work FCS has done around student-led affinity groups and  FCS' very own conference Different Voices, Same Vision. 

Rebecca Benjamin

Upper School Diversity Clerk
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Rebecca Benjamin has been a member of the diversity committee since 2015 and a co-clerk since September 2017. Rebecca is passionate about working to create a school where all community members can bring their whole selves every day. As part of the diversity committee, Rebecca has organized student focus groups on student experience, she has supported the affinity group programming, and the student diversity conference. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work is a large part of why she became a teacher and she is excited to be doing this work at Friends’ Central. 

Distinguished Visiting Justice Leaders





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