Student Support Services

“At Friends' Central, the teachers set a really high bar, but instead of using the bar to separate the stronger kids from the weaker kids, they work like crazy to get everyone over the bar. That difference changes the way everyone in their classrooms feels about learning.”

Friends’ Central students flourish in a culture of learning that requires a dedication to excellence. Our goal is to provide every student at Friends' Central with the tools he or she needs to thrive in our School and in life. Whether we are nurturing our students as learners or supporting their emotional, social, or physical well-being, we are developing young people who will achieve their promise in the context of our challenging curriculum, in our community, and in the world.

Our Support Services program is divided into three areas of expertise: Health Services, Learning Support, and Counseling.

The Support Services Team supports students and teachers in a comprehensive and thoughtful way. Services they provide are coordinated to facilitate their understanding and cultivation of each student.

Health Services

Each of our two campuses has a full time, board certified nurse overseeing the health of our student body. The City Avenue campus also has a certified athletic trainer. Students and parents are encouraged to contact one of our nurses with questions about managing illness, allergies, or medication at school.

Learning Support

At Friends’ Central, we support all students’ learning. We recognize that to cultivate individual students’ academic promise will require support for some and enrichment for others.

Counseling

It is our belief that children learn best when they feel safe, nurtured, and happy. Our counselors and teachers work together closely to create and perpetuate an environment in which our students will thrive.

Meet the Student Support Services Team

Frederick Pratt, MA, MS, LPC

Director of Support Services
MS & US Clinical Counselor
fpratt@friendscentral.org
610-645-5134

Frederick serves as the school leader for N-12 Support Services, which includes health services, learning support, and counseling. After earning a BSW at Siena College in 1997, Frederick worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) before joining the Ordo Fratrum Minorum, an international fraternity called to live on the margins of society and committed to working for peace in a troubled and divided world. During those years, he pursued graduate studies in clinical and community social work as well as spirituality and lived in Boston, MA, New York, NY, Wilmington, DE, Bolivia, and Washington, D.C. After leaving his life with the Franciscans and moving to Philadelphia, he began teaching – first at the Romero Center in Camden, NJ and then for a decade at Merion Mercy Academy.  At Merion, he taught World Religions, Ethics, Spirituality, and Social Justice courses and served as a mental health counselor. During those first 10 years in education, he earned two graduate degrees and completed post-graduate studies at Villanova University, Bryn Mawr College, and the International Institute for Restorative Practices. In addition to providing leadership and consultation for student and family supports at Friends’ Central, Frederick serves as a clinical counselor in both the Middle and Upper Schools and is passionate about the integration of Quaker pedagogy and the field of Social and Emotional Learning, particularly mindfulness and restorative practices.

Katy Oh

Coordinator of International Student Education and Programs
koh@friendscentral.org
610-658-5659

 

Katy joined Friends’ Central School in the fall of 2017 after serving as the ESL Coordinator and English language acquisition teacher at International School Singapore, an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. Prior to going overseas, she taught English as a Second Language to culturally and linguistically diverse students in public schools for over 15 years. Katy has also taught English for Academic Purposes (EAP) in colleges in Michigan, New York City, and New Jersey. Katy holds undergraduate degrees in English and Japanese from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Eastern Michigan University.

Jenn Curren, LCSW

Lower School Counselor
jcurren@friendscentral.org
610-642-7575 x7507

Jenn joined the Lower School community in the fall of 2018 after more than a decade of working in education as both a clinical social worker and elementary school teacher. Most recently, she was working as a social worker in the Mastery Charter Schools system in Philadelphia, where she provided individual and group counseling, play therapy, social skills instruction, implementation of schoolwide mindfulness initiatives, and supervised the social emotional learning curriculum. Prior to a career in counseling, Jenn worked as a first grade teacher. She received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and has her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Education from The College of New Jersey.

Jackie Merchant, M.Ed

Lower School Learning Specialist
jmerchant@friendscentral.org
610-642-7575 x7525

Before joining Friends' Central in the fall of 2017, Jackie most recently worked as a reading specialist, implementing Reader's and Writer's Workshop, and differentiating instruction and assessments to meet the needs and monitor progress of both instructional and remedial learners. She holds an undergraduate degree from New England College, a Masters in Education from Temple University, and a Teacher Certification in Elementary Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Jackie holds Pennsylvania certifications in Elementary Education, Secondary English, and Reading.

Debra Will

Lower School Reading Specialist (K-2)
dwill@friendscentral.org
610-642-7575 x7479

Debra Will has been teaching at Friends' Central since 1995, first as a classroom teacher and now as the LS Reading Specialist. She is a graduate of Earlham College with a master's degree in early childhood and elementary education, and she has a reading certification. She currently serves as the co-clerk of the LS Diversity Committee and is a member of the LS Religious Life Committee. Deb also participates in the Quaker Self-Study Oversight Committee at Friends' Central. She is married to FCS teacher Dave Thomas, and their three children attended Friends' Central. She is actively involved in her Friends Meeting and enjoys reading and sewing.

Jennie Nemroff, RN

Lower School Nurse
jnemroff@friendscentral.org
610-642-7575 x7457

Lower School nurse Jennie Nemroff began working at FCS in 2004 and has seen all three of her sons graduate from the School ('09, '12, and '15). For six consecutive summers (2008-2013), she was a nurse at an overnight camp. Prior to coming to FCS, she worked for 13 years in two different doctors’ offices – a busy, high-risk ob/gyn practice and an infertility practice. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Temple University, and she is a Registered Nurse and a certified CPR Instructor.

Barbara Cole, RN

Lower School Nurse
bcole@friendscentral.org
610-642-7575 x7456

  • Connecticut College, New London - BA
    Wilson Reading System - Level ll Certified
    Cabrini College - M.Ed Reading Specialist

Penny Rosenblum, CRNP

Middle & Upper School Nurse
prosenblum@friendscentral.org
610-645-5084

Prior to joining Friends' Central in the fall of 2000, Penny served as the school nurse and health teacher at Hill Top Preparatory School in Rosemont, PA. She has held various positions in nursing since 1980; these include intensive care, operating room, emergency room, and visiting nursing. Penny received her undergraduate degree from Hahnemann University, and a master's degree and a Family Nurse Practitioner certification from the University of Pennsylvania. Penny holds another master's degree in school nursing from Eastern College and is a Pennsylvania Department of Education Certified School Nurse. Penny is the parent of Phillip '08 and Emily '09.

Jill MacDougall

Middle & Upper School Learning Specialist
jmacdougall@friendscentral.org
610-645-5088

Jill MacDougall has extensive experience teaching and supporting a wide variety of learners at the middle level. Prior to joining the FCS community in 2018 she served for 15 years as a primary & middle school learning specialist in independent and public schools in Wisconsin. Jill has training in developmental literacy, assistive technology, trauma-informed school practices, education of the gifted, and supporting executive functions in the classroom setting. Jill holds a Bachelor of Arts from Carthage College in elementary/middle education and learning disabilities, and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Rachel Slaughter

Upper and Middle School Learning Specialist
rslaughter@friendscentral.org
610-645-5188

 

Rachel joined the FCS community in fall 2016 after over twenty years as an English teacher. She holds an undergraduate degree from Cabrini College, a Masters of Education from Kutztown University, and a Reading Specialist Certification from The Department of Education. Rachel is currently writing her dissertation to complete her doctoral work in Cognitive Studies at Widener University. A published author, she has completed two Fellowships and has a distinguished track record of professional publications, presentations at regional and national conferences, and awards and teaching in higher education.

 

Heather Tomes, M.Ed.

Middle and Upper School Counselor (PT)
htomes@friendscentral.org
610-645-5102

 

Heather joined the FCS community in 2012, working in the Upper School office.  She earned a BA in Psychology and a M.Ed in School Counseling from West Chester University and holds Level I, Educational Specialist certification in K-12 School Counseling from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Heather is currently working towards national board certification and independent licensure as a clinical counselor. She is passionate about supporting and encouraging all students to strive for their personal best and partnering with FCS families and her fellow educators in providing a holistic education that peacefully transforms the world.

Lauren Paulson, M.S.Ed

Clinical Counseling Intern
lpaulson@friendscentral.org

Lauren received her M.S.Ed in Counseling and Mental Health Services from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. She has returned to the University of Pennsylvania to further her education and pursue a M.Phil.Ed. in Professional Counseling. Lauren brings several years of experience in a variety of settings, including eating disorders, suicide prevention, group therapy, psychoeducation, and therapeutic support in schools. Lauren is interested in mindfulness-based interventions and approaches to counseling from a strength-based perspective. She is originally from Minneapolis, MN and enjoys spending time with her mini Goldendoodle, being outdoors, and working out. Lauren is an optimistic, insightful, energetic, and empathetic counselor who is delighted to join Friends' Central.

Eric Swiech

School Counseling Intern
eswiech@friendscentral.org

Eric earned his undergraduate degree in Psychology from St. Joseph’s University in 2014 and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Counseling and Mental Health from the University of Pennsylvania. Since completing his undergraduate degree, Eric has worked both as a TSS and a behavior specialist mentoring children and young adults. Eric was a former walk on athlete at the University of Western Michigan and hopes to one day combine his love of sports with helping children and young adults to reach their highest possible potential.

Hsin Hua (Cathy) Lee, PhD

Consulting Psychologist for International Students

Dr. Hsin Hua (Cathy) Lee has been a faculty member at Arcadia since 2014. Prior to joining Arcadia, Dr. Lee obtained a master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, as well as a PhD in Counseling Psychology. Her clinical experiences include providing consultation and psychotherapy to various age groups in settings such as school-based outpatient services, community mental health, VA and other hospitals, as well as college counseling centers.  Dr. Lee's research interests currently focus on immigration/acculturation related issues, international students’ adjustment and career development, and mental health issues among Asian-American families. In addition, she is interested in issues related to women's identity, social justice work, and counselor training and supervision.

Kevin Bolton

Athletic Trainer
kbolton@friendscentral.org
610.645.5089 (office)
610.937.0688 (cell)