Tr. Amy Cherry was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has lived in Cincinnati, Ohio; Johnson City, Tennessee; Morehead, Kentucky; Cullowhee, North Carolina; and West Chester as an adult.
She obtained a B.M. degree from the University of Illinois and M.M. and D.M.A. degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. From 2002–2014 she worked at Western Carolina University, where she was an Assistant Professor and the Assistant Director of the School of Music before moving to Pennsylvania.
Amy started as an assistant in our Preschool Grange classroom in September 2015. Her daughter, Kristen, currently attends Goshen Friends in the Lower School.
Tr. Amy is also a musician (trumpeter) and private teacher. Most of her time goes into that area, including her role as the Secretary and a Board Member for the International Women's Brass Conference. She and her husband have a duo named the Balaton Chamber Brass. ("Balaton" refers to a type of cherry.) They released their first CD in the summer of 2015.
When she's not pursuing her music, Amy likes to run. She's completed a few half-marathons and hopes to do more and eventually complete a marathon. Fun fact: Her birthday is July 4th!
Francesca Axe, who began teaching Spanish to Goshen Friends students in prekindergarten through fifth grade in 2015, was born in Philadelphia and moved to Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, before entering high school. As an adult, she has lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Bucks County and has traveled to Canada, Mexico, Israel, and extensively throughout Europe.
In her freshman year of college, Francesca attended the University of Hartford, after which she transferred to Philadelphia University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree. She studied Elementary Education at Brooklyn College and earned graduate credits in Education in the Penn Literacy Network program at the University of Pennsylvania. Through attendance in the Mayor's Commission on Literacy, she also received a Diploma in English as a Second Language.
Her career began in the textile industry as a textile designer in Massachusetts before working in New York for 12 years. For the past 13½ years, she has taught Spanish. She has also been teaching Hebrew School for 24 years as well as leading programs for senior citizens at nursing facilities for 19 years. She is a trained Teacher Naturalist at the Bucks County Audubon Society and is certified in CPR and First Aid.
Throughout the years, Tr. Francesca has attended numerous workshops and seminars on teaching pedagogy. Most notably, she participated in a 10-day study program in Israel for educators in 2009 and recently attended a workshop for educators offered by the Bucks County Audubon Society, called "Project Wild Aquatic."
Francesca sings as a volunteer in her congregation's choir as well as at a local community center. She is also an active member of the Appalachian Mountain Club and a member of two book discussion groups. In addition to Spanish, she speaks Hebrew. She enjoys hiking, biking, yoga, pilates, reading, knitting, and crocheting.
Carolyn Mackrides was born in Cyprus and moved to the United States when she was 5 years old. She has lived in West Chester for the past 16 years with her husband, Harry, and her two children, Billy and Alexia (a former GFS Preschooler).
Tr. Carolyn is a graduate of Upper Darby High School and holds an Associate's Degree from Delaware County Community College. Before arriving at Goshen Friends, Carolyn worked as a legal secretary and at ACAC as a childcare provider.
In November 2005, Carolyn joined the Extended Care staff at Goshen Friends. She still is a regular in Extended Care, except on Tuesday and Thursday mornings when she assists Tr. Alice in the By My Side program.
Tr. Carolyn enjoys exercising, gardening, going to the beach, and spending time with her family. She is fluent in Greek and enjoys traditional Greek cooking. Her hummus is a work of perfection and many staff members have tried to extract her recipe for Avgolemono to no avail!
Kim Prann is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a degree in Textiles and Design. Her work as a fabric designer entailed extensive travel—London, Paris, Milan, Florence, Brussels, and Dusseldorf. After fifteen years in the fashion industry, Kim settled in Pennsylvania. Her two children, Logan and Maren, attended Goshen Friends, and Kim joined the Extended Care staff in 2008.
Kim is the lead teacher in Room A, working with some of the youngest students at Goshen Friends. She brings creativity and enthusiasm to her role and enjoys working with children in a classroom setting. Before arriving at Goshen, Kim substituted for the WCASD (Kindergarten–12th grade) and taught preschool enrichment classes at the West Chester Area YMCA.
Kim is an artist: she paints, draws, and designs jewelry. She is an avid reader and enjoys being in two book clubs. Kim enjoys volunteering at her children's schools and has taught Sunday School for more than twenty years, most recently at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Chris Knowles attended West Chester Friends School until fifth grade and graduated from Westtown School. He attended Franklin Pierce College and Roger Williams College and graduated from West Chester University with a B.S. in Elementary Education. He also received a certificate from the Art Institute of Philadelphia as a Commercial Art Technician.
Chris taught at Abington Friends School and worked as a graphic designer before choosing to be a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his oldest daughter. In 2005, Chris returned to teaching and began his career at Goshen Friends School. He started as the Preschool music teacher and in 2007 added Lower School art to his repertoire; he is now also the Kindergarten assistant.
Chris has been a freelance musician for most of his adult life. He toured nationally with children's musician Kevin Roth and performed at the White House twice, once joining Peter, Paul & Mary onstage during an Earth Day Celebration! Chris is also a studio musician: two of the albums on which he played received American Library Association awards for "Notable Children's Recordings." As an aside, Chris continues to play with local bands. If you are out and about, take a close look at the guy playing bass. You just might know him!
Chris has clerked the Spiritual Life committee at GFS and has been an integral part of the annual Coffeehouse, Goshen's version of a talent show. He coordinates the student acts, makes sure all can be heard, and provides moral support to participants! The Clothesline Arts Festival also benefits from Chris' creative input and dedication to fine arts at Goshen.
Chris is a long-standing member of West Chester Monthly Meeting and the West Chester Friends School board. He has also served as the clerk of the Oakland Friends Cemetery Committee.
For relaxation, Chris enjoys following the weather and has volunteered for 10 years as a Cooperative Observer for the National Weather Service. Chris still gets to spend quality time with his three daughters—Olivia (GFS '06), Julia (GFS '09), and Lily (GFS '12)—and his wife, Patti, despite his busy schedule!
Alice Hall, who has been teaching our littlest friends since 2014, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Canadian parents. Her family moved back to Canada when she was 6 years old, where she saw snow for the first time! She moved to the United States when she was 8 and has lived in three states and Washington, DC, since then.
Tr. Alice has a B.S. in International Affairs/International Economics from Georgetown University and a teaching certification from West Chester University. She is also a certified Master Gardener (Penn State) who holds assorted certificates from a variety of institutions, ranging from the Goethe Institut in Montevideo to the Space Educators' Institute at Johnson Space Center.
She started her career working for trade organizations in Washington, DC, and moved back to Pennsylvania in 1979 to work for an environmental consulting firm and then as Manager of Education for the SPCA. She taught for many years in high school, middle school, and elementary school, as well as conducting adult and community classes. Before coming to Goshen Friends School, Alice taught at West Chester Friends School for nearly 15 years. Her daughter attended West Chester Friends and Media Providence Friends School.
A world traveler, Tr. Alice has lived in Argentina, Uruguay, Canada, and the United States and has visited Guatemala, Brazil, England, and Scotland. She speaks Spanish, French, very rusty German, and a little bit of Russian. When she's not traveling the globe or teaching at Goshen Friends, she enjoys gardening and reading.
Tr. Delee was born in Saskatchewan, Canada, and lived in Canada until adulthood, when her husband's career brought them to Philadelphia. She graduated from the University of London, Ontario, with B.A., B.Ed., and M.Ed. degrees. She also holds a Pennsylvania State Board of Private Academic Schools certificate.
Before coming to Goshen Friends, Tr. Delee taught in the public school system (grades K–3) in Canada. She also started and taught a library hour for young children at her local library in Ontario. Upon moving to Pennsylvania, she returned to teaching part-time when her children were in school and taught Pre-K at Arrowhead Country Day School, after which she worked at St. Francis Nursery school for 10 years as a Pre-K teacher/assistant director and at Radnor Nursery School as a Pre-K teacher and director. Delee has completed a course in Handwriting without Tears and has taken several professional development workshops focusing on various aspects of teaching preschool age children through Delaware Community College.
After taking a year or two off from teaching, Delee realized that she missed working with children and came to Goshen Friends hoping to volunteer. She was offered a job in October 2014 as an aide in Room G. In 2015, Tr. Delee was named the lead teacher in Room B.
When her children were in school, she was an active member of the Home and School association for East Goshen Elementary School, working on their spring fair and auction. She also worked on the East High School post-prom party committee for eight years. While her son was at the U.S. Naval Academy, she was an active member of the Southeastern Pennsylvanian Parents Association that supports Naval midshipmen attending the academy.
Delee, who enjoys gardening, baking and decorating cakes, and reading, is proud to say that she, her husband Jim, and her three children—Melissa, Jeff, and Keith—are all naturalized citizens of the United States. Jeff is an active duty military Navy aviator who flies helicopters, Melissa is a U.S. Navy neuroscientist, and Keith is general manager for a company in Colorado. Her family is the center of her life. Although they are spread all over the country, they make a concerted effort to stay connected to one another. Last year was an exciting one for Delee: her daughter was married and a new grandson (a brother for her granddaughter) was born!
Joyce Nichols was born in Philadelphia and has lived in West Chester since 1977. She earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and a Master's Degree in Reading from West Chester University. She previously taught in the Interboro School District in Delaware County for eight years as a 2nd grade and 3rd grade teacher.
In 1992, Joyce joined the Goshen Friends staff as a Lunch Bunch assistant. She next served as a teacher's assistant for the Lower School staff followed by working as an assistant in two Preschool rooms. Joyce has also worked in Extended Care to maintain her connection to Lower Schoolers. Tr. Joyce began teaching a four-year-old class in 1998, later adding a class for three-year-olds. She currently teaches four-year-olds in the morning and preschool enrichment in the afternoon.
Tr. Joyce has attended many Friends Council on Education and Chester County Intermediate Unit workshops, including "Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder" and "Dumb Things That Widen the Diversity Gap" at West Chester University and "Importance of Language and Social Communication Skills" at the Luma Center. She has served on several committees at GFS, including Spiritual Life, Playground, Admissions, International Week, and the General Committee, and as chair of the PAIS curriculum committee. All three of Joyce's children, Jeff, Steven, and Jennifer, were Goshen Friends Preschoolers. Joyce recently became a grandmother to Rebecca.
Dierdra Mazurek joined the GFS staff in 2003 as a substitute teacher and later that year became Extended Care Director. After seven years in that role, Dierdra transitioned to a classroom setting, teaching the program for 5-year-olds in the Grange.
A Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Delaware (B.S.), Tr. Dierdra has attended Quaker-based workshops including Educators New to Quakerism and Mindfulness in Education. She notes, "Mindfulness in Education is a workshop that I know will have a positive effect on my classroom. Its principles are designed to help children to be in the 'moment' both in their work and play. I will work toward their understanding of peace and quiet reflection." Dierdra has also completed workshops focusing on sensory integration, including Practical Strategies for Working with Sensory Integration (SI) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).
Before arriving at Goshen Friends, Dierdra worked as a health educator and ran an in-home child care business when her children were small. While at Goshen, Dierdra has been active as both a staff member and as a parent (her daughter Alex attended the Lower School, and her son Harry graduated in 2011 after being at the school from the time he was three years old!). She served on the search committee for our present head of school and was a member of the 2011–12 Curriculum Committee. During her first two years at Goshen, Dierdra coordinated Goshen Giving and has served as classroom representative in her "parent" role.
To say that Dierdra loves to exercise is an understatement. She teaches water aerobics, cycling, and core exercise classes at the YMCA. Another passion of Dierdra's is the beach, where she enjoys spending quality time with her family (husband Steve and daughter Maddie round out the bunch).
Lori Carroll was born in North Carolina and lived there until getting married. Since then, she has resided in Nashville, Tennessee; Waynesville, Ohio; and Pennsylvania. Lori attended Piedmont Community College and Lucas Travel School and, before coming to Goshen Friends, worked in a doctor's office and a spa.
Teacher Lori started at Goshen Friends School in October 2014 as a By My Side assistant and Extended Care staff member. She is currently the assistant in Preschool Classroom A and is also in Extended Care.
Lori has been married for over 20 years to her husband Jon and has two children—Spencer, who attends Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio, and Meghan, a student at Bayard Rustin High School.
Tr. Karen was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and lived in Severn, Maryland (between Baltimore and Washington, DC), her entire childhood. After attending college in Pittsburgh, she moved to King of Prussia and then to West Chester, where she has resided for more than 16 years.
Karen received a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering with a double major in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon as well as an M.S. degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Her first job after college was with GE Aerospace in King of Prussia, which later became Lockheed Martin. Karen worked at Lockheed Martin until her second child was born.
After staying home with her children for a few years, Tr. Karen began working at the YMCA teaching enrichment classes (including Silly Science, Building with Legos, and Little Chefs) to 3- to 6-year-olds. She also taught a class called "Introduction to Preschool" for 2-year-olds.
Karen is active with a local Cub Scout Pack as an assistant den leader. She is also on the adult committee for a local Boy Scout Troop, where she does the planning for camping trips. She volunteers at her son’s elementary school library and is involved in the home and school association at both of her children's schools. Tr. Karen also acts as a lector at her church, where she has taught a weekly religious education class to first graders. Her hobbies include reading (she is in more than one book club!), scrapbooking, walking, and running, and she has recently started yoga.
Patty Darden joins the Goshen family via Northern New Jersey, where she grew up, and Southern California, where she raised her own family. She moved to the West Chester area in 2005, after living on the West Coast for more than 25 years.
Tr. Patty graduated from Wayne Hills High School and attended Long Island University, Southhampton Campus, for two years. While in California, Patty worked as a PARA educator and volunteer at Stowers Elementary School. She was also a manager at Robinson's Department Store in Torrance, California. In January, 2009, Patty joined the Extended Care staff and since 2012 has been assisting in Room G. She is always willing to lend a hand by opening a door or staying for hours after her day has ended to help with a picnic or project.
If you have been lucky enough to be on campus when Patty has shared her rosemary scones, then you know that baking is more than a hobby for her! Patty also enjoys reading and traveling—she has skied in Austria and studied in South America during her college years.
Graduates of Quaker elementary schools know themselves and are able to recognize the strengths of peers. Because they are effective communicators and creative problem solvers at an early age, the fifth graders approach transitions with self-assurance. They are not only prepared for a middle school setting; they are “ready” in every sense.