Lela Betts, an experienced Reading Specialist, teacher and tutor, is joining the faculty at Goshen Friends in 2013 as Reading Specialist and Spanish teacher. She is Quaker and has worked at Greene Street Friends and The Quaker School at Horsham.
Lela has extensive training in reading and language instruction, including certification in Multisensory Reading Instruction, training in the Lucy Calkins Teacher College Reading and Writing Project, and extensive experience teaching using the Wilson Reading System. She is a certified teacher in Spanish, ESL, and Elementary Education. She also runs her own tutoring business.
Lela graduated from Haverford College, and graduated from Eastern University with an M.S. in Education. She loves Spanish and works as a volunteer Spanish/English interpreter for the Norristown public schools during parent teacher conferences.
Two of Lela's passions are reading and singing and brings both to the classroom with enthusiasm. For example, this summer, she enjoyed a trip with her husband and son to Connecticut, where she performed in a choir that was assembled to honor the retirement of her high school music teacher.
In 2008, Charmagne DeVinney joined the GFS faculty as the Lower School music teacher. She has infused the program with her energy, enthusiasm, and professionalism. A lifelong musician, Charmagne graduated from Glassboro State College magna cum laude with a B.A. in Music Education and received the senior music medallion. She also has a Master in Music with a specialty in performance from Ithaca College and spent five months in London at the Royal College of Music. She holds an Elementary School Certificate from Rutgers University.
After a long career in New Jersey public schools teaching elementary school music and chorus, Charmagne now devotes her time to volunteering at Frederick Douglass Christian School (FDCS) in Chester and at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford. Charmagne is a founding and current member of the Fine Arts Committee at GFS. Charmagne's other interests include traveling with her husband. They recently ventured to South Africa to visit their daughter who was studying abroad!
Wes Davis joined the GFS faculty in 2006. He has a B.S. as Fitness Specialist from West Chester University and is certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association. Teaching physical education in a Quaker school is an art and Tr. Wes has mastered it. He inspires Lower School students to enjoy fitness and games while fostering appropriate competition and encouraging sportsmanship and cooperation. Every May, Wes plans Game Day, an afternoon filled with creative games like team "skiing" and the refreshing, and ever popular, sponge toss!
Soccer is Wes's game and when he is not at GFS, he coaches at the club and high school levels. In 2009, his Downingtown West girls' team won the state championship. Wes was recently named Chesmont Coach of the year and 2009 Daily Local News Girls Soccer All-Area Coach of the Year. Few people are aware that while at West Chester University, Wes was a four year starter and captained the team his senior year. After a few years' hiatus from the sport he played one year with the Reading Rage of the USL pro league. Wes currently volunteers for the Philadelphia Union. He and his wife, Danielle, enjoy spending time with their son, Logan (GFS '20) and future GFS student, Victoria.
Michele DuPlessis is a graduate of The Crefeld School, Chestnut Hill College (B.A Art History/Religious Studies), and Arcadia University (Masters of Education, K-6 Teacher Certificate) Her family moved several times before settling in Chester County. In over a decade of teaching, Michele has taught kindergarten, first grade, and pre-kindergarten. A member of the faculty since 2007, she has previously taught preschool, kindergarten, and kindergarten enrichment at Goshen Friends.
Michele is a dedicated teacher. She has taken advantage of several continuing education opportunities including Handwriting Without Tears, Kidwriting, and brain research classes at the Chester County Intermediate Unit, and has attended Educators New to Quakerism and the Early Childhood Educators Peer Network events sponsored by the Friends Council on Education. She has served on various school committees; including General Committee, spiritual life, arts, International Week, and the curriculum committee.
An avid animal-lover, Michele assists in fostering rescue animals of all kinds and supports local animal rescues and therapeutic riding centers such as Thorncroft and Hope Springs. She lives in Chester Springs with her husband Jim and family. In 2011 she adopted a beautiful chihuahua named Sadie. Although her beloved horse Olive passed away recently, in her spare time Michele continues riding lessons. She also loves to fit in reading time and visits to the beach!
After teaching 4th and 5th grades in Philadelphia and Upper Darby and serving as a long-term 7th grade substitute, Elaine Fell came to Goshen Friends School as a preschool parent in 1977. When her younger daughter, also a GFS preschool alumna, entered kindergarten, Elaine began her career in the Extended Care program. From 1984-1994, Tr. Elaine taught various preschool classes and in 1994 returned to her roots as an elementary educator and began teaching the GFS 4th graders.
Elaine holds a B.S. in Education from Temple University and enjoys attending reading and writing workshops offered by West Chester University. She has served on various committees at GFS including the Building Committee (past and present) and the capital campaign for the Extended Care room and the lower school building. She co-clerks the students' Spiritual Life Committee with Tr. Devon (5th grade) and is a member of the Faculty Spiritual Life Committee. She currently serves as the teacher representative for the General Committee meetings.
During her peaceful moments, Tr. Elaine enjoys reading, aerobic classes, long walks, music and doing Sudoku puzzles. Elaine and her husband, Al, are the proud grandparents of Jack, Anna, Kyle, and Henry. She enjoys time with the grandkids and family time at the shore is a favorite. Winter, spring, summer, fall, she embraces all seasons at the shore.
Scott Friedman is a native Philadelphian. He is a graduate of Lower Merion High School and Widener University. Tr. Scott has a Masters in Education from Cabrini College and Pennsylvania teaching certificates in Elementary Education Instruction II and Computer Technology for Private Schools.Before teaching at Goshen Friends, Scott was a member of the faculty at The Shipley School and The Armenian Sisters Academy. He has participated in several professional development courses including extensive Promethean Board training and the International Society of Technology in Education Convention.Scott has many hobbies including kayaking, fishing, hiking, and collecting baseball cards. An interesting fact, Tr. Scott's name is on a CD that is currently on Mars!
Kara Furcht was born in Trenton, New Jersey, but when she married a Marine her coast to coast adventure began: Cherry Point, NC; Jacksonville, NC; Santa Ana, CA; Quantico, VA; Twentynine Palms, CA; Cherry Point, NC; Oceanside, CA; Novi, MI; and, finally, West Chester, PA.
A graduate of Bordentown High School in New Jersey, Kara attended East Carolina University, received a Montessori Training Certificate from Santa Ana College, and graduated with a B.S. in Early Education from Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan. While living in California, Kara worked at a Montessori school and at the Early Education Center at Santa Ana College. She founded two Preschools; one at the Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point and another in Novi, Michigan. Both of those programs still exist today. Upon arriving in West Chester, Kara helped develop YMCA programs for mothers and their children.
Kara has been a Kindergarten teacher at GFS since 1985. She has also taught Kindergarten Enrichment, worked in the Extended Day program, and worked in GFS's summer programs. Always seeking to improve her craft, Kara has attended the National Workshop for Kindergarten Teachers. She has also attended workshops on Education Kinesiology, children with learning differences, and professional development programs sponsored by the Friends Council on Education.
Tr. Kara has served as a member of the GFS General Committee and is a member of the Curriculum Committee. She enjoys meditation, yoga, Pilates, walking, exercising, golf, and tennis. Kara is involved with the Pink Ribbon Program, an alliance of 400 Pilates instructors in the United States, Australia and Europe who help women recover their mobility, strength, and range of motion following breast cancer surgery.
Missy Javage graduated from Abington Friends School and began her college career at the University of Hartford. She transferred briefly to the Art Institute of Philadelphia to study interior design but quickly found out that she wanted to pursue a career in education. Missy went on to obtain a B.S. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Temple University. Shortly thereafter, Missy completed a Masters in Education and reading specialist certification at Arcadia University.
Before joining the faculty at Goshen Friends School, Missy was an assistant teacher at Abington Friends School in both 2nd and 3rd grades and taught 2nd grade for several years at the Episcopal Academy until the arrival of her first son, Ethan. Shortly after having her second child, Tobias, Missy returned to the classroom and taught 1st grade at William Penn Charter School for 4 years. Most recently, she has served as a substitute teacher in the kindergarten and preschool classrooms at Congregation Beth Or.
Recently, Missy has completed continuing education courses entitled Enriching the Curriculum with Children's Literature and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: What Educators Need to Know. She is currently taking a course on techniques for differentiated instruction in the classroom.
Reading is Missy's all-time favorite hobby. She also enjoys cooking, baking, and is obsessed with green smoothies! She loves camping, hiking, and traveling with her husband and sons. Missy and her family are volunteers with the Jewish Relief Agency, Abramson Center for Family Living, and actively involved in their synagogue, Congregation Beth Or.
When asked if there is anything she would want people to know about her, Missy responded, "I am passionate about literacy and enjoy engaging with others to develop nurturing, joyful, inspiring and safe classroom environments. I am deeply committed to facilitating the love of reading, writing and communicating across the curriculum. I feel that the experience that I have accrued while teaching – not just as a facilitator but as an active explorer – has taught me many skills and values that have proven useful throughout my career as an educator."
Sharon Kenson was born in Michigan and received a B.S. from Purdue University in Child Development & Family Life and a M.S. from St. Francis College in Elementary Education. Sharon has been an elementary school teacher in Indiana, Connecticut, and New Jersey. She has been a part of the daily life of Goshen Friends School for over 25 years, serving primarily as the Kindergarten Assistant.
Tr. Sharon is always busy. She is the first to appear in the Lower School building each morning. She teaches Kindergarten Enrichment, works in Extended Care, and during the summer, she supports the Little Explorers and Explorers camp programs. Sharon served on the 50th Anniversary Committee and was integral in the Babysitting and Cooking after-school clubs.
For relaxation, Sharon likes to garden, read, and sew. She and her husband, Bob, are devoted grandparents. Sharon's own words best capture her fun-loving personality. When asked to "add anything else that you feel is appropriate, intriguing, exciting, or captivating" to describe herself, Sharon answered: "Believe it or not, shopping can be an adventure; mowing the lawn on my small John Deere tractor can be exciting; my cat, Jessie, is captivating, fun, and there is never a dull moment with her outdoor findings. I forgot to mention that I love children, dogs, and cats--I respect snakes at a very far distance."
Chris Knowles attended West Chester Friends School until fifth grade and graduated from Westtown School. He attended Franklin Pierce College, 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 GFS. He started as the Preschool music teacher and in 2007 added Lower School art to his repertoire.
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. Chris is 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 ten 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 wife, Patti, despite his busy schedule!
Dierdra Mazurek joined the GFS staff in 2003 as a substitute teacher and later that year she became Extended Care Director. After seven years in that role, Dierdra transitioned to a classroom setting, teaching the five's program in the Grange. This year Dierdra will be taking on a new role as our Kindergarten Enrichment Teacher. "I am excited to continue to be involved in the joyful learning of many students I had last year as well as meeting my new friends."
A Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Delaware (B.S.). She has attended the Quaker based workshops "Educators New to Quakerism" and "Mindfulness in Education". "The 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 GFS, Dierdra worked as a health educator and ran an in-home child care 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 son Harry graduated in 2011, having arrived when he was 3!). 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).
Devon Reichenbach is an alumna of Susquehanna University and received a B.S. in Elementary Education and a B.S. in Early Childhood Education; she is certified to teach in both Pennsylvania and Virginia. Prior her arrival at GFS, Devon taught 2nd grade at Grove Park Magnet Elementary School in Danville, Virginia. In August of 2005, Devon became the fifth grade teacher at GFS.
While at GFS, Devon has been an active member of the community. She has served on several committees including Diversity, Student & Adult Spiritual Life, Fine Arts, Admissions, Community Service, and the General Committee. Devon has been a leader when reviewing Lower School curriculum and inspirational during our first International Week. One of her favorite after-school activities is the Fun & Games club she leads each spring with Head of School, Tom Richards.
Devon is passionate about volunteering and has traveled to Honduras with Heifer International during a Study Tour for Educators, bringing back not only memories but also the ability to motivate her students to help build a better world. To date, Devon has raised about $10, 000 for breast cancer awareness and research in conjunction with the 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She also enjoys her volunteer experiences she has participated in while at Goshen, specifically Team Ubuntu's trip to South Africa and working with the Chester County Food Bank.
In her spare time, Devon enjoys spending time with family and friends at the shore.
Gail Tobias is a graduate of Drew University (B.A.) and Dominican University's Graduate School of Library and Information Science (M.A.L.I.S.) where she was elected to the Beta Phi Mu International Library Science Honor Society. Gail has served as the Goshen Friends School librarian since 1995. What makes Gail's long tenure truly remarkable is that is has all been voluntary, entirely without pay.
Gail's son, Kevin, started as a Preschooler at GFS and graduated in 1999. In addition to being a mother and homemaker, Gail's other interests include reading, travelling with her husband, and caring for her menagerie of finches.
Opportunities to lead are abundant and Goshen students are encouraged to embrace these opportunities. Students who learn leadership skills early in their academic careers grow to be confident and compassionate leaders.