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Distinguished Speakers & artists series

2015-16 School Year Series

Our Distinguished Speaker Series continues to bring stimulating programs with a wide range of engaging speakers. The list of speakers visiting Penn Charter in the first half of this academic year appears below. We welcome and seek to accommodate alumni, parents and friends who have an interest in attending a particular presentation. Please call our receptionist (215-844-3460) in advance to confirm space, dates and times.

September 28
Asali Solomon 

Assistant Professor of English at Haverford College Asali Solomon is the author of Get Down, for which she received the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and Disgruntled. Previously, Solomon taught at Washington and Lee University and Trinity College. Her work has been featured in VibeEssence and the anthology Naked: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips, and Other Parts. In 2007, Solomon was recognized as one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35,” each of whom was selected by a previous National Book Award winner or finalist as someone whose work is particularly promising and exciting and is among the best of a new generation of writers. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Pan-African Studies from Barnard College, a master’s degree in fiction from the University of Iowa and a doctoral degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley. PC visit: Upper School American Studies class.

October 15
Eileen Flanagan

Quaker author, speaker and activist Eileen Flanagan speaks on college campuses,and to social change activists and religious audiences, combining clear insights, humor, and warmth. Flanagan’s latest book, Renewable: One Woman’s Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope, tells the story of her midlife realization that she was not living up to her potential or her youthful ideals and chronicles the engaging journey that led her to handcuff herself to the White House fence. Her previous book, The Wisdom to Know the Difference: When to Make a Change—and When to Let Go, was endorsed by the Dalai Lama and won her the Silver Nautilus Book Award. A graduate of Friends’ Central School, Duke University (B.A., summa cum laude), and Yale University (M.A.), Flanagan leads the board of the Earth Quaker Action Team, which uses nonviolent direct action to work for a just and sustainable economy. PC visit: Upper School class.

October 16
Mason Wartman, Louis Savino Day of Service Speaker

Twenty-seven-year-old Mason Wartman is the founder and owner of Rosa’s Fresh Pizza, whose dedicated customers pay it forward by feeding Philadelphia’s homeless one $1.00 slice at a time. His unique business model has caught the attention of countless local, national and international media outlets, including ABC News, Business Insider, CNNMoney, In Touch Weekly, National Public Radio, People,, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Today Show. On account of Wartman’s generosity and goodwill, he received a check for $10,000 from internet-based image publishing service Shutterfly during an early 2015 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Wartman earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from Babson College, where he gained practical experience in managing a portion of the college’s endowment through the Babson College Fund, an academic program which builds specially-selected undergraduate and graduate students’ investment research and portfolio management skills. PC visit: Upper School Day of Service keynote.

October 26
Linda Hawkins

Dr. Linda A. Hawkins is a licensed counselor who has worked professionally with a wide variety of children, youth and families since 1993. She has experience and training that has led her to her speciality supporting sexual and gender minority children and youth. Hawkins' doctoral research centered on adolescent gender identity development. She provides supervision, consultation and training around the needs for children and youth to develop healthy identities in both gender and sexuality. Hawkins earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of Washington in Seattle. She earned her Master's Degree in Psychological Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania and her doctorate in Human Development and Human Sexuality with a clinical counseling focus from Widener University. 
PC visit: Lower School faculty.

October 27
Dave Jonas OPC '74

David S. Jonas OPC '74 is currently the Vice President for Business Development at Pentagon Federal Credit Union and an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, the George Washington University Law School and the U.S. Naval War College. Previously, he served as the General Counsel of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. He has also served as Director of Legal Strategy and Analysis in the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In 2005, Jonas was appointed to the Senior Executive Service as General Counsel of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Jonas joined the NNSA in 2001 as the Deputy General Counsel and received the NNSA Silver Medal for his service to the agency. Prior to his service with DOE/NNSA, Jonas was a Marine Corps officer serving at the Pentagon as nuclear nonproliferation planner for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997-2001. He has negotiated numerous treaties and agreements, has worked with the IAEA, the Conference on Disarmament and the UN. Jonas has been published in myriad presitigious law reviews on topics of international law, nuclear nonproliferation and national security. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from Denison University in Granville, OH and received his J.D. from Wake Forest Universtiy of Law in Winston-Salem, NC. He also has a Master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. He holds an LL.M from Judge Advocate General's School, U.S. Army and from the Georgetown University Law Center in Military Law and International and Comparative Law, respectively. PC visit: Upper School class.

October 28
Amanda Steinberg

An engineer by training, a saleswoman by profession and a serial optimist at heart, Amanda Steinberg is the founder and chief executive officer of DailyWorth, the leading financial media platform for women. Steinberg is a thought leader on the topic of women and money, working to advance women’s financial confidence and wealth. DailyWorth serves millions of women monthly via its daily newsletters and website focused on money and career advice. Since her company’s launch in 2009, both Steinberg and DailyWorth have been the subject of articles published in CosmopolitanForbesInc.The New York TimesParentingTime and The Wall Street Journal. In 2013, Steinberg was named one of the Philadelphia Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” proven performers and dynamic leaders in their respective industries and communities. She is an alumna of The Baldwin School and Columbia University in the City of New York (B.A., urban planning and architecture). PC visit: Diversity program series for parents and students, daytime assemblies for students, 7:00 pm in Balderston Commons for parents.

November 5
Irene McHenry

Irene McHenry, former faculty member at Penn Charter, former executive director of the Friends Council on Education. Previously, McHenry served as co-chair of the Religious Studies Department at Penn Charter, founding head of Delaware Valley Friends School and co-founder of Greenwood Friends School. She is a licensed psychologist, educational consultant and the author/editor of numerous publications, including Tuning In: Mindfulness in Teaching and Learning. McHenry consults with organizations nationwide, providing professional development and teaching mindfulness to administrators, faculty, trustees, aspiring leaders and students. She will lead a participatory session for parents on Quakerism and Quaker education. Faculty and staff are also welcome. A Friends education supports the development of persons who are creative thinkers, peacemakers and confident humanitarians, contributing to responsive and responsible public leadership in the world. Learn and discuss what our children experience every day at Penn Charter. PC visit: Introduction to Quakerism presentation for parents, 8:15-9:15 a.m., Trask Library.

November 10 and January 12
David Evans OPC '59

David Evans OPC '59 is Professor Emeritus and Special Lecturer of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University Medical Center’s Division of Pediatric Pulmonology. Evans’ interests and specialties include research to develop effective methods for teaching patients and health care professionals to manage asthma effectively; asthma education programs for elementary and high school students; asthma care quality improvement programs for pediatricians in private practice and pediatric clinic staff; research to assess the efficacy of written treatment plans for asthma; and interventions to help residents of public housing reduce exposure to pests, pesticides and indoor allergens. He is the recipient of the Assembly on Behavioral Science and Health Services Research Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Thoracic Society and the President’s Award for Volunteer Service from the American Lung Association of New York City. Evans holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. A volunteer who has been helping to build a hospital on Idjwi Island in Lake Kivu on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo, he will discuss the many issues involving peace and conflict; social, economic and gender justice; and social change. Evans is a Penn Charter Overseer. PC visit: Upper School Peace, Justice and Social Change class; AP Biology.

November 18
H. Bernard Hall

The research and teaching interests of H. Bernard Hall, assistant professor of English and Writing Zones coordinator at West Chester University, are comprised of urban teacher education, student teaching supervision, teaching writing in middle schools, hip-hop studies and hip-hop literacy education. Hall previously served as an English teacher and administrator for Ypsilanti Public Schools. He has delivered several presentations to educational organizations, including the American Educational Research Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. He has published papers in peer-reviewed academic journals such as Urban Education and the International Journal of Multicultural Education. Hall holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in educational studies from the University of Michigan and a doctoral degree in urban education from Temple University. PC visit: Diversity program series for parents and ptudents, 7:00 p.m., Meeting Room.

November 30
Jon Pahl, Hubben Lecturer

Jon Pahl is the Peter Paul and Elizabeth Hagan Professor in the History of Christianity at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, where he teaches courses such as American Religious History, Lutherans in America, Religion and Violence and Religion and Film. Pahl also serves as visiting professor of religion at Temple University and Princeton University. He has published dozens of articles, essays, columns and reviews; has appeared on media outlets from the BBC to ABC; and is the author/editor of six books, including Shopping Malls and Other Sacred Spaces: Putting God in Place and Empire of Sacrifice: The Religious Origins of American Violence. Pahl holds a bachelor’s degree in history and religion from Christ College, the Honors College at Valparaiso University; a master’s degree in history, theology and society from Trinity Lutheran Seminary; and a doctoral degree in the history of Christianity from the University of Chicago Divinity School. PC visit: In-service workshop for faculty and staff.

December 16
Amer F. Ahmed

Amer F. Ahmed, EdD, serves as Director of Intercultural Teaching and Faculty Development at University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Faculty at the Summer and Winter Institutes for Intercultural Communication and a member of SpeakOut: Institute for Democratic Leadership and Culture. An individual with eclectic personal and professional experience, he is a Hip Hop activist, spoken word poet, diversity consultant and college administrator, channeling his diverse experiences into work geared towards facilitating effective intercultural development. He has been featured on MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris Perry” show and in Dr. Shakti Butler’s film on racism entitled “Cracking the Codes.” This program will benefit participants interested in learning more about Islam and Islamophobia, providing needed context to bridge divides. PC visit: Middle School assembly and Upper School classes.

January 28
Sozi Pedro Tulante

Sozi Pedro Tulante, a PC parent, is the City Solicitor for Philadelphia. In that role, he represents the city in all lawsuits, advises the mayor, City Council, and all departments, agencies and commissions of the city, while also overseeing the 200-lawyer law department. He is also a lecturer-in-law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he teaches legal ethics. He graduated cum laude from both Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He went to Northeast High School in Philadelphia. Tulante has received multiple awards. He has been named one of Pennsylvania’s Diversity Attorneys of the Year by the Legal Intelligencer; one of the Philadelphia area’s “101 Next Generation Connectors,” by LEADERSHIP Philadelphia; and "40 Under 40” by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Born in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), Tulante came to Philadelphia as a political refugee in 1983 with his family. He has written about his experience growing up as a refugee in North Philadelphia in The Philadelphia Inquirer and WHYY. PC visit: Downtown Reception keynote speaker, 6 pm, Franklin Institute.

February 2
Frances E. Jensen

Frances E. Jensen, MD, is an internationally respected neurologist and author of The Teenage Brain with Washington Post science writer Amy Ellis Nutt. Jensen is Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. She has researched brain development through all ages and the major focus of her research lab is on developing new age-specific therapies for epilepsy and its accompanying disorders. Previously, Jensen was Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Director of Translational Neuroscience and Director of Epilepsy Research at Boston Children's Hospital, and Senior Neurologist at Boston Children's and Brigham and Women's Hospitals. Jensen earned a MA A.B in Psychology from Smith College and attended medical school at the Cornell University Medical College. PC visit: Program for parents.

February 17
Michael Reichert 

Michael Reichert is the co-author of Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys: Strategies That Work – and Why (2010) and For Whom the Boy Toils: the Primacy of Relationship in Boys’ Learning (2013), based on research commissioned by the International Boys’ Schools Coalition.  He is a psychologist who has worked in clinical, research and community health contexts for more than 30 years. In his clinical practice outside Philadelphia, he specializes in work with boys, men and their families. He is the supervising psychologist at the Haverford School, and also currently serves as executive director of the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives, a national research collaborative comprised of independent schools in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania. The Center, in its 12th year, helps schools investigate the actual experience of their students using a participatory action research model and developing interventions based upon their findings. Previously, he served for 10 years as director of an urban youth development program for the tri-state region around Philadelphia. PC visit: Diversity program for parents, "Raising Boys for the New Millenium," 7-8:30 pm, Balderston Commons.

February 23
Bryan Collier, Trask Library Author-in-Residence

Three-time Caldecott Medal-winner and seven-time Coretta Scott King Award-winner Bryan Collier is the illustrator of a grand total of 25 highly-praised children’s books, including Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Rosa and Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave. Collier was honored with the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award for Uptown, the first book he both wrote and illustrated. At the tender age of 15, he began experimenting with watercolor and collage – a vibrant combination which would later become his signature style. As a senior in high school, Collier won first place in the Congressional Art Competition and his work was displayed in the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Later that same year, he was awarded a scholarship to attend Pratt Institute in New York City. In 1989, he graduated with honors as a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree was conferred upon him. PC Visit: Lower School author-in-residence.

March 10
Ignatius Mwela, Friends Multicultural Day Speaker 

Ignatius Mwela is the co-founder of Laugh Learn CoMeTrY, a new art form that combines his top three talents: inspirational speaking, stand-up comedy and performance poetry. CoMeTrY teaches young people how to realize their dreams by recognizing their gifts and passions early on – prior to independent life and responsibilities. Mwela balances the other half of his career as a personal development coach for Point Guard College, where he trains high school and college athletes both on and off the court and conducts private lessons on leadership development. He holds an associate’s degree from Spoon River College in Canton, Illinois, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, with a minor in marketing, from Western Illinois University. PC Visit: Upper School Friends Multicultural Day.

March 14
John Colgan-Davis

John Colgan-DavisJohn Colgan-Davis has taught at Friends Select School in Philadelphia for 29 years. A teacher of history to middle school students, he is retiring this year. He is a Mt. Airy resident, where he lives with his wife, Penny. John, singer and harmonicist for the Dukes of Destiny, is a fan of traditional Irish and country music and has been wearing his trademark cowboy hat since he was 18 years old as a tribute to the legacy of the African American cowboys. PC visit: Quaker education visitor in Middle School classes.

April 20
Penny Colgan-Davis

Following a distinguished career in education, Penny Colgan-Davis recently retired from her 10-year post as head of school at Frankford Friends School. An inspirational leader who transformed the school’s curriculum into an inquiry-based program and increased enrollment by more than 50 percent, Colgan-Davis led the fundraising, design and construction of the Margaret Passmore Trickey Middle School and Multipurpose Building; greatly expanded the music and library programs; started a gardening program; and led the fundraising and planning to begin work on a nearly half-acre Outdoor Classroom playscape to be constructed across the street from the school. She currently serves as rising clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends and previously contributed to Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Susan Lytle’s Inside/Outside: Teacher Research and Knowledge. Colgan-Davis holds a bachelor’s degree from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. PC Visit: Upper School Cum Laude speaker.

May 17
Melinda Wenner Bradley

For the past 20 years, Melinda Wenner Bradley taught history and religion in Friends schools and served Quaker religious education programs. After attending a Godly Play® core training in 2005, she began a journey that has woven together her interests in children’s spiritual lives, program development, and how to support families and teachers in meeting and school communities. She focuses on Faith & Play™ trainings for Quaker meetings and Friends schools. She served 2007-2013 as the clerk of the Children’s Spiritual Life Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and has been the clerk of the Faith & Play working group of PYM since 2006. This working group co-authors the stories in Faith & Play™: Quaker Stories for Friends Trained in the Godly Play® Method. In 2011, she was named by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting to the National Council of Churches Circle of Names campaign in support of women’s ministries. PC visit: Quaker education visitor in Lower School classes.

Penn Charter

A Friends School for Girls and Boys, Pre-K to 12

3000 West School House Lane Philadelphia, PA 19144 215.844.3460
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