Mimi Ackers joined the Goshen Friends School faculty as a Preschool teacher in the fall of 2011 and has been Director of Admissions since 2015. Her relationship with the school, however, began when her daughter, Anna, started Preschool in 2008. From 2010 to 2011, Mimi served as the clerk of the Goshen Parent Community.
In addition to her role as Director of Admissions, Mimi is also the school's diversity coordinator. In this role, Mimi invites the entire Goshen community to join in the school's mission of creating a welcoming and open environment for students, their families, and faculty and staff of all racial, cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds.
Mimi also facilitates the school's after-school service club, Kids Care, in which Goshen Friends students and their families are invited to bring energy and friendship through group activities to residents of Bellingham and Park Lane senior centers. Tr. Mimi looks forward to these Wednesday afternoons, where friends from several generations socialize with each other and bring smiles to each others' faces.
Mimi graduated from Roanoke College in 1993 with degrees in History and International Relations. Her career began in print news as an editorial assistant and reporter. She then moved to public relations, marketing, and advertising. After the birth of Anna in 2004, Mimi began a freelance writing and editing business. Before coming to Goshen Friends, Mimi was a Preschool teacher at the West Chester Area YMCA, where she taught 2- and 3-year-olds and enrichment courses for children ages 3 to 6.
Tr. Mimi has participated in several professional development programs, including Educators New to Quakerism at Pendle Hill and a seminar on Autism and Sensory Processing Disorders. She also participates on the Friends Council on Education's Diversity Peer Network. At Goshen Friends, Tr. Mimi serves on both the Diversity Committee and the International Week planning committee.
Mimi loves to cook and read, particularly nonfiction and historical fiction. She is an enthusiastic football fan who supports the Baltimore Ravens, but can rally a cheer for the Eagles, as long as they're not playing Baltimore! Tennis is also a passion for Mimi, but these days she just gets to follow it closely on television. Totally random fact: she can read Russian! As the youngest of nine children and the mother of Anna, GFS '16, and Owen, GFS '20, Mimi calls her family, which includes husband Keith, "my favorite hobby. They are my greatest love and source of happiness."
Jennifer Ray Beckman, currently acting as Goshen Friends School's Interim Director of Development, was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and lived in the greater Washington, DC, area for over 12 years. She holds a B.A. in Economics from American University, an M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins, and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE).
An alumna of Goshen Friends School, Jennifer has worked for many years in the nonprofit sector. She is also a member of the General Committee. Jennifer's children currently attend Goshen Friends School.
Phyllis H. Ivey was born in Philadelphia and currently resides on the Main Line with her family. She studied at Temple University, where she earned her Bachelors of Social Work, Masters of Education, and Certification in School Social Work.
Phyllis has over 30 years' experience in the field of mental health, child welfare, and the public and private school system. She began her journey as a social worker in agencies providing support to the chronically mentally ill and eventually found her passion working with children and decided to apply her skills in schools and private therapy.
Phyllis has a strong background and a special interest in supporting children with learning challenges, ADHD, Sensory Integration, school adjustment, and depression. She also has extensive experience in helping children and their families through separation and divorce, bullying, substance abuse, loss, and post-concussion support and recovery. She has designed and facilitated trainings and workshops and speaks publicly on several of these topics.
Before joining Goshen Friends in 2006, Phyllis was a consultant and social worker at several schools, including the Woodlynde School, Ridley School District and Upper Darby School District. She founded Families In Transition (F.I.T.), an organization providing therapy, consultation, psycho-educational groups, workshops, and trainings to families, schools, and various organizations. Her mission through F.I.T. is to support and educate children and their families from all walks of life to face many of life's adversities and challenging transitions.
Phyllis continues to enjoy her role as Social Worker at Goshen Friends School, where she provides consultation to teachers, staff, administration, parents, and students. She acts as liaison between the home and school community in order to help promote a climate of academic and social success for students. She assists students individually and together with teachers and parents, develops intervention strategies and crisis intervention as needed. In addition, Phyllis provides psychoeducational programs to classrooms on subjects including emotional literacy, pro-social behavior, and self-esteem.
Phyllis emphasizes that in order to maximize success for students, communication between home and school is essential. Therefore, she meets regularly with teachers, parents, and students as needed. When necessary, Phyllis refers families to outside appropriate resources to provide additional support for children who demonstrate special academic, social, emotional, physical, and other needs.
Goshen has afforded Phyllis an opportunity to do what she loves best: to provide students with opportunities to be the best student and friend they can be while appreciating their sameness as well as celebrating their differences. She shares and encourages the practice of a traditional African philosophy called Ubuntu, learned while on a humanitarian trip with Goshen Friends School teachers in 2011: "I am what I am because of who we all are." It offers the understanding of ourselves in relation with the world, that there exists a common bond between us all and it is through this common bond, through our interaction with our fellow human beings, that we discover our own human qualities.
Michele Kornegay was born in Ashland, Pennsylvania, and has lived in the Keystone State most of her life. She holds a B.A. in English from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and an M.A. in English from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
After graduate school, Michele lived in New Jersey and worked in the publishing industry in New York City until moving to West Chester in 2000. From 2000 to 2010, Michele had a freelance proofreading and copyediting business before starting a career in social media with Moxie House and now The Town Dish, where she also writes and edits articles about the local food and restaurant scene.
Michele's son Jonathan attended Goshen Friends School for 9 years, starting in preschool in 2005 and graduating in 2014. Jonathan is now a student at Westtown. While a GFS mom, Michele was a member of the GPC, clipping and collecting her fair share of Box Tops and organizing the yearly Book Fair.
Michele loves reading, hiking, cooking (and eating!), exploring museums, and visiting Philadelphia with Jonathan and her husband Dan.
Susan McCardell has been the business manager at Goshen Friends School for nearly 20 years. She received her B.S. in business from West Chester University. After her mother-in-law, a member of Goshen Monthly Meeting, placed Susan's oldest child on the Preschool waiting list as soon as he was born, there was no turning back! While her three children attended Goshen, Susan served as a volunteer in the Goshen Parent Community. In 1993, she began working as a part-time bookkeeper and soon she was promoted to the full-time position she now holds.
Susan is a great resource for GFS history and lore. She had the pleasure of knowing our founder, Barbara Dixon. Susan oversaw the construction of the Extended Care room and Lower School building. She serves on the General Committee and several other committees.
Barbara Polinski was born in California and raised in Pennsylvania. When she married her husband, Tom, in 1967, they moved to New Jersey, New York, and then back to Pennsylvania in the late 1970s.
Barbara spent many years in corporate administration until 1976, when her son, Drew, was born. She loved being a stay-at-home mom and spent many hours volunteering at her son's schools, first at Goshen Friends School in the 1980s, supporting his academic, sports, and social interests. Barbara was also able to indulge some of her own interests. Barbara enjoys sculpting, craft art, and jewelry design, to name a few. When her son was in high school, Barbara returned to work in administrative positions with a computer company, a CPA firm, and her husband's business. In 2008, Barbara joined the Goshen Friends administrative staff and acquired another wonderful family here, where she had spent so many happy hours with her own little Preschooler.
Barbara and her husband have spent over 40 wonderful years together and have enjoyed parenting, traveling, golfing, and fishing—from Maui to the Keys. They share their home with their Gordon Setters. Their son and his lovely wife, Dawn, expanded their family with two beautiful daughters. Tom and Barbara know the joys of grandparenting—it is truly "grand"—and life's great!
From mindful beginnings come global perspectives. In teaching our students to see goodness in everyone, we prepare them for the world outside of Goshen – to be caring, compassionate, involved, invested, curious, problem solving citizens of this earth.