School Leadership

Beth Johnson

Beth D. Johnson '77

Head of School
Beth is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Master of Science in Education in School Leadership in 2009. A proud Friends' Central "lifer" from the Class of 1977, Beth graduated summa cum laude from St. Joseph's University with an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. She returned to Friends' Central in 1987 as Assistant Director of Admission. She has since taken on numerous different roles at the School, including Day Camp Director, Interim Director of Diversity, Director of Admission and Financial Aid, Upper School Co-Principal and Dean of Students, and, most recently, Upper School Principal and Assistant Head of School for Student Life. In addition to her administrative roles, Beth has also helped with the School's capital campaigns, participated in Long-Range Planning processes, co-founded Parents of Students of Color (PSOC), taught math in both Upper and Lower School, worked in our summer programs, coached Varsity cheerleading, and coordinated the Wynnefield Community Scholar Program. 

Beth's two daughters are also FCS alumnae, and two grandsons, current Middle and Upper School students, are Friends' Central's first third-generation African American students. 

Beth became Interim Head of Friends' Central School on July 1, 2021, bringing with her a wealth of talent and school leadership experience. In February 2022, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the appointment of Beth as Friends' Central's 12th Head of School.

Alexa QuinnAlexa D. Quinn '98

Associate Head of School 
Alexa was the principal of Friends’ Central’s Middle School from 2012 to 2021 and a member of the Middle School administrative team since 2008. Before becoming principal, Alexa spent 10 years as a teacher of Language Arts and Writers’ Workshop, an advisor, and coach at FCS. Alexa holds a Master’s degree in English from Middlebury College and a Master’s in School Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a graduate of Friends’ Central, Class of 1998, and the parent of two Lower School students.

Lydia Martin

Assistant Head of School for Enrollment, Communications, and Strategic Planning
Lydia Martin is the Assistant Head of School for Enrollment, Communications, and Strategic Initiatives. Though she grew up in Boston Massachusetts, she has lived in this area for many years. She is a graduate of Haverford College where she received her BA in history. She continued on to the University of Pennsylvania and received her MPA from the Fels School of Government. At Friends' Central, Lydia has served in a number of roles, including, Director of Institutional Advancement, Director of Strategic Initiatives, and Varsity lacrosse coach. Before joining the FCS community in 1994, Lydia taught middle school English and history at St Albans School and worked as an Analyst at The United States General Accounting Office in Philadelphia.

Lee Payton

Upper School Principal 
Lee joined the Friends’ Central leadership team in July 2022. He comes to us from William Penn Charter School, where he was, most recently, the Assistant Director of Upper School. Lee is a seasoned teacher, advisor, coach, and administrator. He began his career of over 20 years at Penn Charter teaching social studies/history and went on to serve in many roles, including Department Chair, Director of the College Prep program, and Quakerism teacher. In addition to his work at Penn Charter, Lee has served on the boards of the Friends Council on Education and the School in Rose Valley. He has also served as a trainer for Lion’s Story, an organization that prepares individuals and organizations to identify and address issues around race. 

Lee holds a Master of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Temple University with a BA in History. He is a member of the Religious Society of Friends and a graduate of Friends Select, where he met his wife Karyn. They have three children.

Andy White '03

Middle School Principal
Andy White '03 returned to the Friends' Central community as the Middle School Assistant Principal in July 2020 and became Middle School Principal during the 2022-2023 school year. Andy earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and holds two master's degrees, one in cinema studies from the University of Southern California and another in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to FCS, he taught English at Hopkins School and St. Bernard’s School before becoming their Head of Upper School (gr. 7-9). At St. Bernard’s, Andy was responsible for hiring, retaining, evaluating, and supporting faculty; he strengthened and led the advisory program and programming for diversity, equity, and inclusion. He also reviewed and evaluated curriculum and academic offerings, oversaw admissions efforts, built strong partnerships between families and the school, and was beloved by his students.

Melody R. AcinapuraMelody R. Acinapura

Lower School Principal
Melody joined Friends' Central in July 2017 as Assistant Principal before becoming Lower School Principal in July 2019. Previously, she served as Dean of Lower School and Director of Student Support Services at Greene Street Friends School. Melody has a BA in Elementary and Special Education from Saint Joseph's University and a Master's in School Counseling Psychology from Boston College. She received a certificate from the New and Aspiring School Leadership Institute at Harvard University. Melody is also the Founding Executive Director of Horizons, a six-week summer program, the first Philadelphia-based affiliate of this national program that supports underserved youth ages kindergarten - grade 8. 

2023-2024 Board of Trustees

James C. Wright, Clerk
Tami Benton-Condiff, Vice Clerk
Betty Bard, Treasurer
Laura Jackson '65, Recording Clerk
LiRon Anderson-Bell
Natalie Aronson-Cooper '05
Earl Ball 
Liza Ewen
J. Wilson Felter
Bill Georges '88
Seth Goldblum
Jackie Guynn '89
Jon Harris
Anja Hilliard
Karen Horikawa '77
Juan Jewell '68
Emma Lapsansky-Werner
Mary McCabe
Chinwe Onyekere '94
Alex Rolfe '01
Aaron Selkow '88
Tom Tritton
Roderick Wolfson

Barbara M. Cohen, Emerita
Ken Dunn, Emeritus
Ann Satterthwaite, Emerita
Joanna Schoff '51, Emerita
Koji Shimada, Emeritus

Gardner Hendrie '50, Honorary Trustee