A  coed Friends school, pre-K to 12, on 47 acres in East Falls, Philadelphia


Darryl J. Ford, Head of School

Darryl J. Ford assumed the leadership of Penn Charter in 2007, after 10 years as director of our Middle School. "What I like about Penn Charter," Ford said at the time, "is that with this rich history we could always be looking backward. But instead we're always looking forward." 

Ford, a prominent figure in independent school leadership, is active on local, regional and national boards. A musician, art collector and historian, he is also an avid Philly sports fan.

Ford holds a PhD in Educational Administration, Institutional and Policy Studies from the University of Chicago. He earned a BA in Liberal Arts and a BS in Social Studies Education, with a minor in History, from Villanova University.

A deeply spiritual person — he is an active member and directs the choir of his West Philadelphia church — Ford inspires the Penn Charter community to remember the call to serve others, encouraging students in particular to continue the process of putting thought into action. In his 2015 Commencement address, he described a "Quaker edge":

“As a Friends school, your education gives you an added benefit of the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, equality, peace, integrity, community, and stewardship, among others. As a Friends school, we are called upon to see the inner light in each other.

"As a Friends school, we strive to take part in deep reflection; think critically without being critical; embrace diversity, even when this is hard; be good stewards of the environment and the resources given to us; and to walk lightly and cheerfully upon this earth.

"These elements combine to create a Quaker edge, a benefit that we gain by being an intentional Friends school community. While we are given this by our presence at this great school, the real benefit for the world occurs as we leave this friendly place.”

Trailblazers Not in the History Books

Head of School Darryl J. Ford was featured at the 2016 conference of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) speaking about everyday trailblazers.