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Darryl J. Ford Receives Award for Contributions to Quaker Education

Darryl J. Ford Receives Award for Contributions to Quaker Education
Darryl J. Ford pictured in the Graham Athletics and Wellness Center

Penn Charter Head of School Darryl J. Ford received Leadership in Service to Friends Education Award during the FCE's Annual Meeting and Meeting for Worship on Thursday, April 20 at the Friends Center.

"Dr. Darryl J. Ford...embodies what this award was created to honor: hands-on service, inspired leadership, deep spirituality, and innovative partnerships," FCE wrote in an announcement. "As head of school of the William Penn Charter School, his strong and grounded presence, mentorship, and guiding Light have benefited Friends schools."

Through the Leadership in Service to Friends Education Award, FCE seeks to lift up and celebrate an individual or a partnership whose demonstrated commitment to Quaker education is exemplary, whose light shines remarkably bright, and whose impact is felt within their own school community as well as throughout the wider world.

"We are grateful for Darryl’s direct service to Friends Council: long-time board member, twice clerk of the board, panelist, and gatherer," FCE wrote in the announcement. "He serves with unrivaled generosity, dignity, and grace. His example reminds us that answering a call to serve in Friends education proves to be a call to live with full hearts and minds animating our commitments."

Learn more by reading the full news release below.


William Penn Charter’s Head of School, Darryl J. Ford, Receives
Leadership in Service to Friends Education Award

“What we have in Quaker schools, we need to gift it to the world.”

Darryl J Ford receives FCE award

Philadelphia, PA, May 2023 The power of Quaker education came full circle on April 20 when the Friends Council on Education presented its Leadership in Service to Friends Education Award to Darryl J. Ford, head of school at William Penn Charter School. Ford is a Friends Select School graduate who went on to become a renowned and respected educator and leader in Quaker school circles and beyond.

Friends Council on Education (FCE), the national association of 78 Quaker schools, honored Ford for his exemplary commitment to Quaker education and Quaker schools as well as his tremendous leadership and impact in the broader realm of education. Irene McHenry, former executive director of Friends Council, presented the award to Ford and remarked that “Dr. Ford has magnificently carried forward the legacy of 334 years of leadership and service in Quaker education.”

“What we have in Quaker schools, we need to gift it to the world,” Ford said. “The world needs what we have—the quality of our instruction, our understanding of peace, the dignity we afford to each person, mindfulness, silent reflection and worship.”

Ford called on Friends schools to offer and extend a curriculum of conscience. 

“This is about building communities in our schools that understand and address the world’s most pressing needs by explicitly teaching about critical issues, such as equal rights, quality education, clean water, climate, human trafficking, and close to my mind right now in the city of Philadelphia and the world, gun violence. What can we do to be explicit, to raise up this curriculum of conscience?”

Friends education offers what Ford calls “The Quaker Edge.” Ford explained, “Recognizing the light in others and searching for the light in the world as a means to remain hopeful. To me, this is our Quaker Edge. We have lots of great schools out there but we are the only sector that explicitly starts with ‘there is that of God inside each person.’ Quaker schools by our nature are hopeful. We need to remain hopeful and be a light in the world that faces so many challenges. Let’s find a way to keep making Quaker schools our best hope for the world.”

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