On Top of the World in the Middle

The principal of the Sidwell Friends Middle School just wrapped up a month of helping 351 students settle in for the new school year—and had her own settling in to do as well.

Rachel Kane, the former Middle School director at another Quaker day school, Abington Friends, moved this summer from Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, to take over for the recently retired Sally Selby.

“I have such gratitude and joy in being here,” Rachel said. “I first visited Sidwell Friends School four years ago when my former school sent a team of us to research programmatic elements to consider when shifting our Middle School program to include 5th grade. We marveled at the green building, we loved witnessing how teachers and students delved into problem solving together, and I adored meeting Sally Selby. I promised myself that if the position of Middle School principal opened at SFS, I would apply, because I felt a deep pull to be part of this institution.”

In addition to Abington Friends, Rachel brings even more experience with Quaker school education: She began her teaching career at Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica, where she taught math, science, and music. She then taught math at Friends School of Baltimore before joining Abington Friends as assistant director of the Middle School. After five years in that post, she was promoted to director. Last year, Rachel was also selected to be part of the 2015–17 cohort of Friends Council on Education’s Leadership Institute. (Coincidentally, so was SFS Upper School Principal Mamadou Guèye, and that is where they first met!)

A Swarthmore College graduate, Rachel earned a master’s in counseling psychology at Loyola University of Baltimore. In addition, she holds a master’s in education from the highly regarded School Leadership program at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. She continues her involvement with that program by serving as a university-appointed mentor to graduate students.

After a brief meet-and-greet (and, for many, a photo op) on the first day of school, parents had the opportunity to chat with the engaging newcomer at Back-to-School Night last week. Those who did no doubt got a sense of the warmth and enthusiasm that helped make Rachel a standout candidate during the nationwide job search the School conducted last spring.

Look for more on Rachel’s launch into the Sidwell Friends community in the winter edition of Alumni Magazine.

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