Alumni Spotlights

Alumni Spotlights

Read about the careers and experiences of a few WFS alumnae and alumni.

Joey Gutierrez '07

Joey Gutierrez '07 joined the WFS community in 3rd Grade. After graduation, he attended Bucknell University, where he majored in Comparative Humanities and founded a student group focused on philanthropy education. After college, Joey moved to the Bay Area where he has held various roles in education technology and impact investing. He most recently completed an MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business and started working at an edtech startup in San Francisco.

How did you get drawn to and what is your role in educational technology?

I have been passionate about education for a long time, but exploring how technology can complement and enhance it is relatively new. My interest in education originated while I was at Friends, where my parents and various teachers made me acutely aware of how privileged and unique the education was that we were all receiving. I also saw through the experience of my younger brother Steven, who has Autism, that powerful, differentiated schooling experiences can have lasting impacts on children from all ages and backgrounds. The technology component of my interests came into play when I moved to the Bay Area. There I witnessed a lot of opportunities being created because of technology, but also that various educational structures were not keeping pace with such unprecedented changes to the workforce and the needs of our economy.

Given this realization, when I was in business school I spent a lot of time evaluating opportunities for impact within education and workforce training that leveraged technology. In service of this mission, I recently joined an early-stage workforce development company called Strive. Our goal is to help people realize their full potential by learning as much as possible while on the job. We do this with a mixture of technology and coaching to provide an educational experience that is applied, personalized and reinforced through a person's day-to-day work.

What are your current interests and passions?

My interests and passions are very aligned with my current work at the moment. I spend a lot of time reading and thinking about how to help people learn skills to participate in the economy, and figuring out how we can give more people access to high-quality education. Beyond that, I love to watch movies, try out new restaurants, and spend way too much time on Twitter.

How has WFS impacted you since graduation?

I draw from my WFS education every day. Academically, Friends made me a strong writer and critical thinker, as well as gave me a lifelong love of learning. More broadly, Friends taught me about the importance of building an inclusive culture, investing deeply in the people around me, and creating the time and space to reflect. I think my desire to explicitly pursue social impact in my career--especially at this early stage--is because of the emphasis on service-learning and giving back that permeated the culture of Friends.

What are your favorite WFS memories?

My favorite WFS memories are, of course, centered on the people—incredible friendships with classmates, and feeling part of a larger Quaker community. I have a lengthy list of favorite teachers and staff too: Javier Ergueta, Kathleen Martin, Micheline McManus, Helen Thompson, Ildikó Miller (who will always be "Ms. H" in my mind) and many more who patiently helped me wrangle my short attention span and push myself academically even when I lacked intrinsic motivation.

As an adult, I have been surprised by how much I miss Meeting For Worship. As life seems to accelerate, having time to be introspective is immensely valuable and I wish I did a better job of carving out that time on my own. I definitely didn't appreciate how centered I felt at Friends and I think Meeting for Worship and the closeness of the community were the driving forces behind that sense of calm and belonging.

Josh Loeffler '99

Josh started attending Friends in the sixth grade and had four other siblings who attended the school, including Chris ’00 and Cassandra ’05. At WFS, Josh played football, basketball and baseball, and was involved in The Whittier Miscellany, Student Discipline, and theater. Josh graduated from Swarthmore in 2003 with a major in economics. He played basketball and football and was awarded the McCabe Scholarship. He has coached college basketball since graduation, acting as an assistant at Hamilton, St. Lawrence, Williams, Lafayette, Rutgers, and Loyola Maryland. He served as the head coach at Stevens Institute of Technology from 2006-08 where he helped take the Ducks to the Sweet 16. Josh just completed his second year as the head coach at Johns Hopkins University. The Blue Jays were conference champions in 2018. Josh and his wife Helen, live in Baltimore with two children.

How did you choose a career in college coaching?

I have loved sports as long as I can remember and I don’t think I ever could envision life without involvement in athletics on some level. The push toward coaching came, I think, from the incredible relationships that I have been lucky to have with my coaches. This started with my father, who coached my whole life, and continued with the great mentors I had leading our teams at Friends. Bob Tattersall, Brian Fahey, Jon Huxtable, and their assistants like Bill Harman, Dick Kittle, Rob Tattersall, Jim Friel, and others were incredible people to be around. They always made me want to be better and to do my best for the people around me. I think I realize now how special that is – not many kids get to have great coaches in three high school sports. They became and are still incredible role models and I want to be as good a coach and mentor as they were. You know, the real reason I wanted to come to Friends in sixth grade is because Coach T took my brother and I around on a tour of all the athletics facilities when we came to an admissions open house. I just knew I wanted to play for him. Best decision ever.

What are your current interests and passions?

I really spend the majority of my time outside of basketball and the university with my kids. We have a six and two year old so we are pretty busy with them. I am really lucky in that I have a job that incorporates so many things that I love. I get to interact with student-athletes, coach, watch a ton of basketball, support other teams at the school and stay really active. I still play basketball when I can. I have always enjoyed interacting with people so I try to meet up with friends and family as much as possible.

How has WFS  impacted you since graduation?

First and foremost, I just wouldn’t be where I am without Friends. I transferred in and was immediately challenged to grow as a person and student. And then, my teachers and advisers were just incredibly important in helping me move on from Friends and gain admission to Swarthmore. I would not be working at Johns Hopkins if Friends hadn’t pushed me to become a better student and person. I think that there are two things that I appreciate most from my experience at Friends that help me today. First, is the influence WFS had on me to be open to new or different ideas and ways of thinking and to embrace people from all backgrounds. WFS constantly pushed us to be accepting and empathetic. Secondly, my teachers and coaches at WFS were tough but cared about me. I think they taught me that you can demand excellence without compromising values and while treating people well. I try to carry that with me at all times.

What are your favorite WFS memories?

It’s really the little moments that were barely moments with friends and teachers at WFS that I remember. Sitting in Mr. Brown’s advisory talking about nothing, being in the locker room goofing off after football practice, trying to talk my way out of being told to leave the library for not being quiet…these are the things that really stand out. WFS, really, was a pretty incredible place to grow up and that is largely due to the people there.

Hon. Shirley Padmore-Mensah '87, U.S. Magistrate Judge

After spending two decades as a private practice trial lawyer, Shirley shifted the focus of her career to public service. She credits WFS with instilling in her the many values needed to be an effective Judge.

How did you choose to be a magistrate judge? 

I became a lawyer because the idea of helping people resolve problems has always appealed to me. After working almost two decades as a trial lawyer in private practice, I wanted to apply my skills and professional experience in a broader way and to a broader audience. I realized that only public service would give me that reach and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to serve as a federal magistrate judge.  

What are your current interests and passions?

I am lucky to have a job that incorporates many of my interests and passions: reading, writing, and helping people. I started running 20 years ago and though I run much less now, running continues to be a passion. I still write the occasional poem, love all genres of music, enjoy cooking, and spending time with my family.  

How has WFS  impacted you since graduation?

WFS gave me a solid foundation for the future and played a significant role in mapping the blueprint for what followed after graduation. It was at Friends that I first learned the importance of being still, mindful, and contemplative in meeting for worship (a practice I follow today); it was at Friends that I deepened my love for all poetry and literature in Mr. Brown’s class; it was at Friends in Mrs. Holmes Algebra 2 class that I gained confidence in my ability to find solutions to problems that differed from the book’s approach and sometimes the teacher’s approach; it was at Friends that l learned to respect and value different religions and cultures and learned to value social reformers like Dr. Martin Luther King even before his impact was being acknowledged nationally. This foundation helped to develop qualities like intellectual curiosity and desire for the evenhanded administration of justice that are important to being a judge.  

What are your favorite WFS memories?

WFS rap cheerleaders, English class, and friends.  

Tyrie Jenkins '73, M.D.

Tyrie is a pioneer in eye care. She was the first person to perform LASIK in Hawaii, and more recently, was the first to perform laser assisted cataract surgery. She has fond memories of her experiences at WFS, and believes this school’s commitment to educational excellence has made her value life long learning.


How did you choose to start your business?

I am currently the proud owner of a successful ophthalmology practice in Hawaii.  I moved here in 1989 after having trained at a prestigious ophthalmology residency in the east coast.  I built my practice around making sure my adopted home - the most isolated landmass in the world - had access to the latest technology in eye care.   This business model was not only successful but most rewarding. I was the first person to perform LASIK surgery in 1987 and more recently, was the first to perform laser assisted cataract surgery.

What are your current interests and passions?

While still working full time, I am taking a bit more time off.  I am lucky to be passionate about taking care of my patients but am lucky to have other interests.   I am enjoying being a grandmother. I spend free time hiking, traveling and golfing.

How has WFS  impacted you since graduation?

Since I graduated from Wilmington Friends, I actually joined a Quaker meeting and call myself a Quaker.  I continue to embrace Quaker values of integrity, equality, community, stewardship of the earth and peace. Friends School's commitment to educational excellence has made me value life long learning.

What are your favorite WFS memories?

As preteen, I have to admit, I loved school so much I used to walk to Friends at the end of the summer before the school opened.  I would sneak into the front door (it was open ) and walked through the silent hall and smell the newly waxed floors! Other great experiences, were non academic - chorus with Violet Richman and band with Mr. Guest.   I remember vividly, those beautiful fall days on the hockey field. My best friend is still Pam Hoopes who I met in kindergarten!

Tyrie Lee Jenkins ’73 started at Wilmington Friend School at age 4.  She can still remember all the names of her teachers in grades K - 6 and her best friend is still her first friend she met in Kindergarten!  Her mother was also a Wilmington Friends School graduate. Elizabeth Miller Jenkins ’51 still lives on the Augustine Cut-Off in the home where Ty would walk to school from.   After graduating from Friends, she attended Mount Holyoke College and then Jefferson Medical College. After a medical internship in Wilmington, she completed her medical training in Ophthalmology at Will’s Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.  After a stint in Memphis, Tennessee, she moved to Honolulu in 1989. She started her current practice and is one of the businest eye surgeons in Hawaii. Being the first person in Hawaii to perform LASIK as well as Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery, she is a pioneer in eyecare.   She and husband have 4 children and 2 grandchildren. Hobbies include hiking, golfing and traveling. The second-act? As her current practice winds down, she is hoping to participate in some medical missions and spend more time with the grandkids.

Kenji Endo '14

After graduating from WFS, Kenji martriculated to Brown University and pursued animation and computer graphics. He interned at Pixar and had the chance to work on "Incredibles 2." Kenji is currently working as a technical director at Blue Sky Studios, whose next movie starring Will Smith is due out in the fall of 2019. 

What are your interests and passions that led to your career?

I didn't have any plan to go into the field of animation or film after graduating from Friends or starting computer science at Brown—I think it was mostly a series of serendipitous discoveries. I have always been interested in worlds and world-building, art, and technology. In Lower School at Friends, in Teal Rickerman's art class, I remember on "Free Days" (once a month when you could spend class making anything you pleased), I would scrounge, head-first, around in the big box of cardboard and plastic in Teal's classroom, and build little scenes (hot air balloons, buildings, cities, trains) out of recyclables. In Middle School, after talking to Paulo Machado about interests in architecture, Mr. Machado worked with me on an independent study in sustainable architecture, designing an (in theory) sustainable townhouse scale model out of foam core and cardboard, with a green roof and water reclamation system. In IB Art in high school, with Cynthia Stan Mellow, I focused on world-building through sculpture and paper cuts, assembling small scenes of dragons, forests, and tree houses, out of black card stock.

What did you do upon graduating from WFS?

I graduated from Friends in 2014, and went on to college at Brown University in Providence, RI (from the second smallest state to the smallest!). With the Open Curriculum at Brown, I explored my various interests as a first-year (computer science, architecture, sculpture, literature), and ended up concentrating in computer science. I always enjoyed computer classes at Friends, but I can't quite recall what led me to take my first computer science class my first semester at Brown. I'm glad I did, however—that semester I learned about the applications of programming in graphics and animation (you can make all this stuff with code?!). I took the department's introductory computer animation courses my sophomore year at Brown, and realized that this was the area I wanted to pursue—it seemed like a perfect fit for my interests in technology, art, and architecture.

In animated films, everything in the world has been designed, modeled, textured, set dressed, lit for that specific shot, for that moment in the story. Unlike in live-action film, when you need to plan or wait for the right moment to shoot (when the clouds break and the sunlight looks just right hitting the mountains, for example), in CG, you can design and build everything in that world to fit exactly the moment or feeling in the story you're looking for. This means there's a ton of work to do! A single shot in an animated movie has easily been touched by over a hundred technical artists, designers, programmers, all in the effort to make the world and characters feel believable, and to ultimately tell a better story. Animation is an incredibly collaborative and interdisciplinary medium.

Can you tell us more about  your past animation projects and what you are working on now?

In animation at Brown, I worked on an 11-person student animated short film, Toymaker, the largest CG production to come out of Brown and RISD, as lead on modeling, set dressing, rigging, and tech, helping to create the apartment environment and implement the technical build of the characters. I explored the architecture of Downtown Providence in the 1910-1920s, at the dawn of modern transportation, in an independent study in procedural building generation with my animation professor, recreating the scene by referencing vintage postcards and fire insurance maps I found in the library archives. I interned at Pixar Animation Studios on the Incredibles 2 (2018) Sets Technology team—helping with the technical world-building for the film. One of the big challenges on Incredibles 2 was the complexity and scale of the sets. Over my summer at the  studio, I helped contribute to the vegetation and clouds pipelines, as well as on the optimization process for the environments, and a procedurally modeled asset for the villain's lair set.

After graduating in May 2018 from college, I started working at Blue Sky Studios in Greenwich, CT. Our upcoming film, out in Fall 2019, is Spies in Disguise, a film about the world's best spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) going undercover as a pigeon, thanks to his tech-y side kick Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) (teaser trailer). On the Render team, along with working on scripts and tools for the pipeline, I help debug visual and technical rendering issues, and work to ensure that the complex environments are built, lit, and rendered efficiently.

What are your favorite WFS memories?

I miss the community of Friends, but have found reminders of Friends throughout school and post-grad. The people and community at Brown and Blue Sky remind me in many ways of my classmates and teachers at Friends—curious, kind, and creative people. I miss running on the trails in the Alapocas Woods and Delaware State Parks with the cross country team, and the silence and peacefulness of it, and in Meeting for Worship, though I've been finding pockets of silence in the woods of Connecticut.

Kenji Endo '14 was an almost-Lifer at Friends, along with his older sister Keiko Endo '12. On campus, Kenji ran on the cross country, winter track, and track & field teams, and was involved with the Business Meeting and Agenda Committee, The Whittier Miscellany newspaper, and the Charity: Water committee. After graduation, Kenji studied at Brown University, where he concentrated in computer science, with a focus on animation and computer graphics. At Brown, Kenji helped lead the Brown STEAM student group, part of a nation-wide student network that explores the interdisciplinary intersections of STEM with Art/Design/Humanities. After graduating in May 2018, Kenji currently works as a Technical Director at Blue Sky Studios, and resides in Queens, NY. Outside of work, Kenji enjoys running in the woods of Connecticut, indoor bouldering, juggling, and making candles. A collection of his recent work can be found at:

Marguerite (Marty) Marston Kritkausky '70

After retiring from a successful 30 year career at Ikea, Marty has embarked on an exciting second career as a transition life coach in Wilmington. Working as a life coach helps Marty pursue her passion of helping people achieve their goals. She credits WFS with instilling in her the curiosity, self-confidence and enthusiasm to try new things.

How did you choose to be a Life Coach?

I love connecting with people – facilitating those ‘aha moments’ that change the status quo and open up new possibilities. My passion is all about helping people figure out where they are, where they want to be, and helping them get there.

Years ago, my husband, John, and I dreamt about moving to the Chesapeake area to travel and sail together when we wished. Sadly, before I retired from a long and fulfilling career in communications with IKEA, he was diagnosed with cancer and died shortly after. A few months later, I followed my dream and pursued a second career, as a certified professional coach. It was then my true passion was activated -  helping others discover their best life. Today, as a transition life coach, I support people nearing retirement as they deal with the mental transition and emotional challenges that occur in post-working life. Many of us just long for the day we ”can” retire, so it may be difficult to imagine the anxiety and fear that accompany retirement planning. As a coach, I help clients retire ”to something not from something”. After much discussion, we create a plan and mindset that will create optimal conditions for the future to be fulfilling and purposeful.

What are your current interests and passions?

I love discovering and experiencing new things. One of the best and well-known opportunities to further that ambition in Wilmington is University of Delaware’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). I am taking a wide variety of interesting courses including history, current events, studio art and yoga. There are no exams, OLLI is truly for those individuals who have a passion for learning.  In addition, I recently started volunteering at Hagley Museum where I am contributing my professional marketing and communications expertise. There are many exciting changes underway at Hagley, so please come visit.  I am also mentoring students at Endicott College; helping them prepare for professional careers.

How has WFS  impacted you since graduation?

My education at Friends instilled a sense of curiosity, self-confidence and enthusiasm to try new things that remain with me today. My love of travel started when I studied abroad in Florence, Italy, in my junior year of college. This was followed by back-packing throughout Europe the summer I graduated from Syracuse University.  I was fortunate to have a long and fulfilling career with IKEA, where part of my responsibilities included traveling and meeting interesting people throughout the world. My years as a Friends School student influenced my thinking and point of view to be open and receptive to new ideas and accepting of differences. I didn’t realize that the hours spent in meeting for worship as a student would later contribute to my current comfort with being reflective, and practicing mindfulness and yoga. I value my diverse academic and personal experiences and am grateful to the school community and friendships that have lasted these many years.  

What are your favorite WFS memories?

I have many great memories from my thirteen years at Friends. The two that stand out most occurred during the Christmas season.  The entire school body singing carols around the mitten tree is one. The other is the men’s chorus walking through every classroom singing the “Boar’s Head” song while carrying a papier-mâché boar’s head on a silver platter. I can still see in my mind’s eye the smallest member of the chorus with a napkin around his neck, knife and fork in hands, pantomiming  stealing a piece of the boar off the tray carried by the tallest member. It made quite an impression on this lower schooler. It’s traditions like these and many others that continue to keep school spirit alive.

Marty Marston’70 is ‘a lifer’ who started in kindergarten and graduated thirteen years later with twelve other lifers- they became known as ‘the original thirteen’. She comes from a Friends School family; her parents, aunts on both sides, sister and brother all graduated from Friends. Her mother was especially active as a long-time volunteer in the library then later in the Jones House. After graduating from WFS, Marty attended Endicott College and Syracuse University where she studied fashion design and earned a BFA. A turning point came when she studied in Florence, Italy and was bitten by ‘the travel bug’ and thereafter wanted to see/ travel to new interesting places. Marty built a business career in the retail industry, eventually working in various capacities for IKEA, the Swedish home furnishings company. It was with IKEA that her responsibilities included extensive travel to Scandinavia and other countries. Marty retired from IKEA after almost 30 years, she lives in Wilmington and is now actively enjoying her second-act. You’ll need to contact her to learn about all the interesting activities in which she is participating.