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


Message from Karen Warren Coleman

Message from Karen Warren Coleman
Karen Warren Coleman

Dear Penn Charter Community,

It is an honor to serve as Penn Charter’s head of school.

Our school’s history predates every other Quaker school in the world. Our first school building stood in Center City when Philadelphia was home to only a few hundred people, before the existence of Independence Hall. More than 330 years have passed since William Penn chartered our school, and since 1874 – considered the beginning of the modern era – only eight individuals have assumed the head’s role. I am humbled by this opportunity, and the responsibility is as weighty as the privilege.

Earl Ball, Darryl Ford and, now, I have had the honor of caring for Penn Charter, its people and its legacy. I write to you today equally excited for what the future holds and proud of the accomplishments that have led us to this moment. You – PC’s students, parents and caregivers, faculty, staff, OPCs and trustees – have been partners in shaping the school’s history for decades, and I now look forward to partnering with you for Penn Charter’s future.

Similarly, I have enjoyed working this past year as partners to ensure a smooth and successful leadership transition. While this role is many things – enormous, complex, joyful – I began my headship on July 1 with profound gratitude to Darryl, for his kindness and sincere investment in our success. This special school has been in good hands, and I am filled with optimism about the journey ahead.

I begin this work with a transformed campus, a new lower school on the horizon, and a student body anticipated to exceed 1,000 for the first time in school history. These attributes are only surpassed by a faculty and staff focused on providing the best student experience inside and outside the classroom, academically, emotionally and socially; a supportive parent and caregiver community; and the most dedicated and invested graduates of any independent school – our OPCs! And girding it all are our Quaker testimonies and practices.

From one Penn Charter caretaker to another, I am honored to have a part in this special community. This video provides a window into our enthusiasm for what is to come. The light from Penn Charter’s storied past illuminates our exciting future.


Karen Warren Coleman
Head of School

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