Alumni Spotlights

Alumni Spotlights

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

Mike Coleman '88

For Mike Coleman ’88, giving back is part of his DNA.  Following his graduation from Wilmington Friends, Mike has remained a fixture at the School as a coach, a mentor, a volunteer, and a financial supporter.  Throughout his 23-year stint at the YMCA in Wilmington, running youth sports leagues and summer camps, he refined his skills in youth development, skills he’s brought to his work at Wilmington Friends.  “I loved my time at the YMCA,” Mike explained.  “It really helped me to understand a lot about youth development, and also helped me hone my relationship building skills.”

Mike has been coaching at Friends for decades, and feels that coaching is a real opportunity to connect with young people.  “I love coaching. I think about it more as mentorship than anything,” he said.  “I always looked up to the coaches I had in youth leagues and at WFS, and so I try to bring that same mentality to my coaching.”  Being able to be a mentor, particularly for students of color, has been most rewarding to him.  “When (students of color) can see someone like them who went to the School and can understand what they’re going through, that’s an opportunity for me to really make a difference in a kid’s life.” 

With that said, Mike is well aware that Friends, like all schools, is not perfect, and he acknowledges that he had tough times as a student of color at Friends.  He believes the tough times at Friends, the times of discomfort, were important to his growth, helping him to navigate uncomfortable situations throughout his career .“I would never trade my experience at WFS, the good or the bad,” he said.  “And there was certainly more good than bad.”   

As a member of the recently formed Black Alumni Advisory Council, Mike is hopeful that he and his fellow alumni can act as a sounding board to help students of color and their families navigate life at Friends. He hopes to help develop a system where kids and their parents or guardians can connect with alumni and engage in dialogue about their experiences.  “I’m proud of the work we’ve undertaken as a School community,” he said.  “It’s my hope that we get to a point where, when it comes to equity and inclusion, we’re not working on it anymore, we’re just there.”   

When asked what is special about Friends, and why it remains such an important part of his life, Mike pointed to the rigors of academics and athletics.  “Friends made me work harder, pushed me to give more academically and athletically than I ever thought I could give,” he said. “When I went to pursue my Masters degree, I really leaned on the skills and lessons I learned from WFS to get me through.” He also highlighted the interconnectedness of our community as something unique to Friends.  Networking and relationship-building are important in every facet of our lives, he explained.  “The Friends connection is always a great foundation to start a relationship.”  Wilmington Friends is grateful to Mike for all that he’s done and continues to do in support of the School, in support of young student-athletes at Friends, and in support of the larger Wilmington community.  He truly sets an example by letting his life speak.  

David Linton '78

How has WFS impacted you since graduation?

I believe that a person is fortunate if, over their Lifetime, they end up having a few good friends, one or two key mentors, and an institution that served as the crucible for their learning and growing. Friends was the latter for me. It provided the initial foundation in my formal education, but perhaps more importantly helped shape my identity, core beliefs and values. Those are attributes that I carry with me every day, so you could say Friends’ impact has been immeasurable. I am perhaps most appreciative of being given the chance to fail (a lot!) while at Friends. Unfortunately, in today’s protective world, the gift of failure is often held back from us, especially our youth. I count my failures among my most valuable lessons, and whether it was struggling through Mr. Harvey’s algebra class (got to take that one twice!), or sitting at the end of the bench during basketball games, I learned that it’s all about The Striving, Not The Arriving. My parents always said it was character-building for me to attend Friends, and they were right!

What are your favorite WFS memories?

I have so many, but they all stem from the intimacy and offering of the place. Where else could I have had the chance to play (sometimes!) three sports, sing in multiple musicals, act in a play, take college-level courses from Master teachers, co-lead a student/faculty/administration-wide business meeting, spend my formative years with all the same peers, have a best friend that always came to my defense and a really great girlfriend, to boot?!  To me, Friends was a smorgasbord, and a safe place to put it all out there. As a result, I have always thrived in small, intimate work/play environments and found myself most self-actualized with passionate, authentic people. 

What advice do you have for our students?

One thing that is hard to appreciate about WFS until you proceed further down life’s path is the opportunity this institution provides to learn from real domain experts. I believe that this is one of the distinct benefits of the school. I didn’t appreciate this until much later in life, but I was given the chance to learn the value of advance preparation, persevering physical hardship, and disciplined teamwork from Bob Tattersall, one of the winningest high school football coaches in the country. I began my study of pattern recognition through the eyes of a learned historian, Harry Hammond, who artfully helped me tie the past to the present. I developed confidence in presenting on stage from one of the most compelling musical/theatre directors, Violet Richman. I developed empathy and a passion for social justice from one of the most kindhearted lovers of all people, Rick Reynolds. And I learned the power of expression through the written word from one of Friends’ most authentic teachers, Kerry Brown. And there were many others. I know most of these folks have been succeeded by other equally talented domain experts. So, my advice to today’s students is to fully recognize that you have the “A Team” of subject matter experts right at your fingertips, so do not waste a nanosecond! Engage; Learn From Them; Soak It All In.  Friends is your personalized incubator for starting to identify your character traits and develop your unique ability. And discovering what those are will help you get in the right “swim lane” for finding meaning and purpose in your life.

One other piece of advice, which may be especially apropos in current times, is for students to worry less.  I have found that those who are outwardly focused, optimistic, bring positive attitude and energy, and can roll with life’s uncertainties tend to experience the most joy and success. I’ve had my own personal “moments of truth” during my life, and it’s been both remarkable and comforting to find that the sun really does come up the next day and life does go on. So, just be your best/authentic self and let the chips fall where they may.

What are your current interests and passions?

I have just closed a major chapter in my life—a 35+ year career building a boutique merger & acquisition advisory firm. I’m one of those rare birds (dodo? or perhaps just a dinosaur?) that stayed with one firm his entire career. But my full career isn’t over, and despite being 59 years old and challenged by those who ask me how my “retirement” is going (which I quickly correct is my “repurposement”), I am now blessed to be in a position to freely share my “3 T’s” (time/talent/treasure) in servant leadership alongside certain compelling entrepreneurs and leaders of employment social enterprises. I have always loved to work, so whether that’s helping a start-up obtain capital to get off the ground, helping an established not-for-profit scale a job training program for the underserved in our country, or splitting wood on our island property out in the Puget Sound, I’m happiest when I’m perspiring. After 33 years of marriage, I’m blessed to have a great wife who also is my best friend and co-conspirator on improving our properties, traveling anywhere/everywhere, sharing a good bottle of Pacific Northwest red, and now raising two twin King Charles pups. I’m an avid reader, especially of the Stoic philosophers. And both my adult son and daughter have decided to pursue their careers and lives in the Seattle area, so Family is a continuing focus of ours. Just trying to learn and grow ‘til they pull the plug! 

Hannah Kushner '17

Hannah Kushner ’17 was a Lifer at Friends. On campus, Hannah ran on the cross country team and was involved with the FIRST Tech Challenge, Poetry Speaks, and Amnesty International clubs. After graduation, Hannah attended Lehigh University, where she studied environmental engineering and urban policy, with a focus on climate resilient cities. At Lehigh, Hannah was involved in political activities and stormwater management research. After graduating in January 2021, Hannah stayed on at Lehigh to pursue a master’s degree in environmental policy while serving as a Resilience Fellow with the City of Boston. Hannah intends to continue working in local government to develop climate resilient and socially equitable infrastructure. Connect with Hannah or learn more about her work on LinkedIn:

What inspired you to study Engineering?

My teachers at Friends always went out of their way to get me involved in STEM. In the Lower School, Mrs. Ly pulled aside a small group of us to develop independent projects on Scratch and that started an interest in programming that carried me through to graduation in the FIRST robotics program. While I do much less coding in my specialty today, the same design thinking and problem-solving mindset that I used for STEM at Friends allows me to tackle a wide range of social and technical challenges in an effective and satisfying way. I knew that going through an engineering program would help me to continue developing these skills and equip me to go in a lot of different directions moving forward.

Tell us about your passion for the intersection of transportation infrastructure and climate change.

This also started at Friends when I wrote my Extended Essay on ways to address my initial impression that the subway was one big pipe waiting to be filled with water from the next Superstorm Sandy. Transportation is critically involved with both climate mitigation and adaptation activities. The way we get around, the options available to us, and the way in which infrastructure is built and maintained all have impacts on greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, this infrastructure is essential to public health and the economy but is old, exposed, and vulnerable to damage from flooding and extreme heat. I knew I wanted to work in this space because policy and design can come together here to give people greater access to transit and climate-friendly active transportation alternatives in a way that is appealing, safe, and reliable. To actually achieve reduced emissions requires a combination of better design and well-thought-out public communications that must address the environment justice issues associated with climate change, land use, and mobility.

What are your expectations for vast improvements in America's report card on infrastructure during the Biden administration?

I recently got involved with the advocacy wing of the civil engineering professional society and was tasked with (virtually) visiting Capitol Hill to present the 2021 Report Card on America’s Infrastructure to Delaware’s elected officials. The country received a C- average but was met with optimism by all these engineers who feel that the Biden administration is going to bring about major improvements to infrastructure. There are a few reasons for optimism: President Biden has been willing to spend trillions of dollars on infrastructure (which is especially impressive considering the joke “infrastructure week” has become in recent years), the administration has expressed interest in making every agency incorporate climate into their decision-making, and cabinet members like Secretary Buttigieg have made very progressive statements such as that our roads must be designed for multi-model transportation and not just cars. Talking to different engineers, we each feel that our niche is having a “moment” right now - be it water, resilience, electrification, walkability, transit, etc. – and there is tremendous energy and growth in the field. While the changes proposed by the Biden administration won’t bring about A’s or even B’s for some time, this is the scale of federal investment and change needed to set us on that trajectory.

What are your favorite WFS memories?

I sometimes still get messages from the Poetry Speaks club about their upcoming meetings and events. Each time I am so happy to see that the club has lived on and is still spreading poetry in the community outside of English class. It’s incredible to think how much we all juggled on any given day at Friends, but I do miss how easy it was to get involved with so many different things before we started getting separated out into majors and careers in college. I miss having the time set aside for cross country, Meeting for Worship, and exploring my various other interests throughout the week.

Macon Sheppard '15

Macon Sheppard ‘15 came to Friends in fall of 2006, along with his brothers, Owen Sheppard ‘17 and Grant Sheppard ‘19. At Friends, Macon was involved in the H. Fletcher Brown Boys and Girls Club after-school program, the World Affairs Club, the football team, and (briefly) the Model Organization of American States. After graduating from WFS, Macon studied at Georgetown University, where he majored in International Relations and minored in Arabic and Economics. At Georgetown, Macon was involved with the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, and he studied abroad in Amman, Jordan in the summer of 2017. In August of 2019, Macon moved to Dubai to join McKinsey and Company as a Business Analyst in their Middle East Office. When he has free time, he enjoys exploring the city with friends, traveling, and making a fool of himself in foreign languages.

How did you choose a career in consulting?

Moving to Dubai to start my career in management consulting made sense to me, because it felt like the natural intersection of my professional, academic, and personal interests.

From a professional standpoint, I wanted to begin my career in a role where I would be exposed to various industries and have the chance to solve cool problems on a large scale. I knew that consulting would allow me to do so across a wide range of topics—that flexibility really appealed to me.

Academically speaking, Arabic had fascinated me since freshman year of college, and I was looking for an opportunity to combine that passion with my other coursework in economics and political science. After speaking to some grad school classmates who had just returned from similar jobs abroad, I realized that targeting consulting roles in the Middle East would combine a lot of these different threads that interested me.

Finally, the prospect was exciting on a very personal level, because the idea of spending time outside the States, immersed in other regions and cultures, had always intrigued me. I knew that moving here and joining a global company would give me the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and travel extensively. (Covid notwithstanding, of course!)

What are your current interests and passions?

I am kept pretty occupied during the week, but on the weekend, I enjoy exploring the city and region with friends. This part of the world is full of interesting people, great food, and more natural beauty than one might expect (at least, from the false American stereotype of the Middle East).

Learning languages is still a passion of mine as well, and I try to find opportunities to practice and refine my Arabic while I am in Dubai. Due to the large population of South Asian immigrants, I have also been attempting to learn some Hindi—minimal success so far, but many funny looks!

On my own, I try to preserve my love of reading (which was supported at WFS’s fantastic English department). Finally, I decide to start running about every six weeks. (Every seventh week, I give up and restart the cycle...)

What is life like these days in Dubai?

The Emirati government has done a commendable job controlling the spread of COVID-19 and rolling out vaccinations to the population. Therefore, I feel fortunate that we have been out of lockdown for far longer than many parts of the States. While late-night entertainment options are still quite limited, the beautiful beaches and weather are very welcome after our strict quarantine last spring.

The local economy suffered an initial downturn because of its reliance on tourism, but the city has bounced back well. Dubai has cleverly leveraged its rapid vaccination progress, and its proximity to locked-down Europe, to keep tourism numbers high and cases low. (Lots of Brits “on holiday” here this winter!)

How did the WFS language and program prepare you for college? For your career?

The WFS language department did an excellent job of immersing us in the culture of the languages we studied, instead of just forcing us to memorize by rote. This was evident across the curriculum: from the high school trip to France, to the entertaining movies we watched in Ms. Bulk’s class (La Femme Nikita is still a personal favorite). Throughout our years at WFS, the department went out of its way to show us that the languages we studied were more than dry collections of words—they were doorways to new art, people, and opportunities that would otherwise remain inaccessible to our little corner of the world.

What are your favorite WFS memories?

One clear highlight was the language department-sponsored trip to France, where Ms. Bulk was brave enough to chaperone about a dozen rising juniors from Paris to Aix-en-Provence. The exposure I received on that trip, and the friendships I formed, definitely influenced me to more seriously consider the possibility of living outside the States when I was older.

  Other highlights of my time at WFS include Miller Advisory “Meeting for Worship,” discussions in Ms. Kenney’s English class, and goofing around at football practice. Beyond that, in the nine years I spent at WFS, I had too many great memories to count. Friends School is a special place, and it has left an indelible mark on the person I am today. 

Cecilia Ergueta '18

At Friends since Kindergarten, Cecilia ’18 has interspersed her Humanities studies in California with experiential learning in Germany. After a gap year in Berlin teaching children cooking on a kitchen bus, she entered an intensive program in Classics & Philosophy and designed costumes for the repertory Shakespeare Company during her freshman year at Stanford. When the pandemic moved classes online, she joined a Berlin social enterprise as a Marketing Manager.

How did you choose to move to Berlin during college?

After living within the tight-knit cohort of Stanford’s Structured Liberal Education program, I struggled with the isolating online school format. I spent months applying for jobs from home until I decided to fly to Berlin for an interview-- and wound up getting the job, working in marketing for Germany’s largest neighborhood network. Berlin fascinates me as a city with pulsing potential, where history and ideals spill out into the grungy, patchwork streets. Coming from a year in Silicon Valley, I’m also thrilled to gain first-hand experience in helping my company transition from an investor-backed start-up into a social enterprise serving its community sustainably.

What are your current interests?

I love integrating art and sustainability into my daily routines. I thrift clothes and fabrics to upcycle them into my own designs, sometimes borrowing from vintage styles. I also love taking seasonal vegetables and bringing them to life in different recipes. In a world saturated with information and brimming with “stuff,” I love thinking, “how can I give this new life, new meaning, for myself or others?”

How has WFS impacted or guided you since graduation?

My involvement with Quaker Life while at Friends encouraged me to place the values of stewardship and community front and center in big life decisions. Although a devoted bookworm, I’m currently considering a Master’s in Sustainability Science and Practice, because I believe that my study of history and love of communicating ideas can contribute to the battle for a greener world. I love working for a neighborhood network which gives people the platform to reach out to their local communities and get involved, connecting strangers even in our socially-distanced era.

What are your favorite WFS memories?

As a teacher’s kid, I loved walking around the halls after classes had let out. Teachers’ doors at Friends always seem open to a quick hello or friendly conversation after the busy hubbub of the day! I particularly loved running into Julie Rodowsky, now Head of Lower School but formerly my second grade teacher, who played a big role in fostering my love of reading.

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.

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.