Friends' Central Upper School

Our Upper School's challenging and innovative program includes lively and rigorous classes, athletic, artistic, and performance opportunities. The Friends’ Central classroom emphasizes advanced levels of critical and conceptual thinking, and independent projects that require significant student research. Students also have academic-based travel opportunities to places such as France, Spain, Greece, Japan, and Peru.

Leadership skills, global awareness, and self discipline are developed throughout the curriculum and in extracurricular activities such as Model United Nations, Makerspace, Debate, Mock Trial, athletics, drama, and numerous other clubs and activities. The Upper School program includes a required community service component with Upper School students and faculty spending five full days a year at agencies and organizations throughout the greater Philadelphia region.


Meet Our Upper School Leadership Team

Beth D. Johnson '77


Beth is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Master of Science in Education in School Leadership. She is also a summa cum laude graduate of St. Joseph’s University and a proud Friends’ Central “lifer.” Beth is frequently called upon to present by organizations such as the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) to share her expertise in areas that range from educating for the future to support services to topics relating to diversity and inclusion.

Beth has held a number of leadership positions at Friends' Central - most recently as Upper School Co-Principal, Dean of Students for eight years. For the past several years, Beth was the Director of Upper and Middle School Admission at The William Penn Charter School. In July 2018, we were thrilled to welcome her back to Friends' Central as Upper School Principal.

Bill Kennedy

Assistant Principal

A master teacher, Bill has also held many leadership roles at FCS, including partnering in running a strong and successful FCS Upper School as its Co-Principal, Dean of Faculty for 12 years, and Co-Principal, Dean of Students for two years. Most recently, he served as the Interim Upper School Principal for the 2017-2018 school year. He has also worked as the Upper School English Department Chair and as a grade dean. In these roles, Bill was responsible for curriculum development; recruiting, evaluating, and retaining faculty; observing classes and coaching teachers; mentoring new faculty; building faculty and student community; and student discipline. Bill is excited to remain on the Upper School administration team as its first Assistant Principal.

Before joining the Friends' Central faculty, Bill taught middle and upper school English at St Albans School in Washington, D.C. and served as an Assistant to the Dean of the College at Haverford College. Bill is a graduate of Haverford College and the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English.

Tom MacFarlane


Tom MacFarlane

Upper School Dean of Students

A veteran member of the FCS English Department, Tom became the Upper School Dean of Students in 2014. Before then, he served as a Dean for Community Life and Student Leadership for several years, working alongside the grade deans to oversee student leadership opportunities and to help coordinate extra-curricular programming. The "whole school" perspective that Tom brings to the Upper School Office comes from his experience in many different roles here. He started at FCS as Communications Director (creating the first editions of Just the Facts) before joining the Middle School faculty as an 8th grade Language Arts teacher. He has been a Varsity head coach, a co-clerk of the Diversity Board, a member of the Quaker Life Board and many other faculty committees. He is also the parent of three Friends' Central "lifer" daughters, two of whom have now left home for college.

A graduate of Princeton University with an AB in English, Tom earned his MA in English from the University of Toronto and spent several years as a freelance writer before settling in Wynnewood and joining the Friends' Central community.

Upper School Viewbook 2020-2021

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