The Shipley Community is made up of a diverse group of students, colleagues, parents, and alumni. To us, community is more than just a collection of people. It's one of the most important aspects of a Shipley education and defines the Shipley experience. Meet some of the people who make up our community and learn more about what makes it so special.
Michael G. Turner, Head of School

Alumni

List of 10 news stories.

  • Brianna Ross '10 MD Teacher of the year with one of her most influential Shipley teachers, Chuck Amidon.

    Brianna Ross ’10: Representing Excellence, Embodying Compassion

    In October 2021, Brianna Ross ’10 was named the 2021-22 Maryland Teacher of the Year. Ross feels the award sends an important message to the students of color who she teaches. In addition to serving as a living example of excellence in her students' lives, she is increasing representation in her district's history curriculum through some of her work as an equity liaison. Learn more about the positive impact Brianna Ross '10 is making.
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  • Photo by Christopher Soldt

    Caleb Balderston '06: Teaching Global Citizens

    Caleb Balderston ‘06 joined Teach for America, teaching math in Chicago public charter schools. Working mainly with low-income students of color, it was there that Balderston developed his passion for equity in education. As high school principal at Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School in Massachusetts he is explicit in his focus on identity work and global citizenship, in addition to academic mastery.
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  • Dave Samson ’95: Prioritizing Restorative Practices in Education

    For Dave Samson '95, seeing his mother’s love for learning was a huge factor in setting him on the path to a career in education—as was the influence of many of his teachers at Shipley. As Head of Upper School at Brookwood School in Massachusetts, Samson places great emphasis on restorative practices that encourage growth and building community over punitive discipline.
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  • Macke Raymond ’72: Studying How Students Thrive

    As Founder and Director of CREDO, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, Margaret “Macke” Raymond ’72 is on a mission to improve the evidence around which education policies and programs produce the best outcomes for K-12 public school students. Raymond says her experiences at Shipley played a formative role in her career, which she has spent trying to emulate the strengths of Shipley's educational model.
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  • Erica Burman ’05: Putting a Passion for Social Justice into Action

    Since graduating from Shipley, Erica Burman '05 has worked in event production, fundraising, healthcare, and most recently as Marketing Manager for the Delaware County Historical Society. Through her work at the Historical Society, Erica has become an activist in the environmental justice movement. Learn more about her work with CRCQL to eliminate the trash incinerator in Chester, PA.
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  • Shipley has been the right school for two generations of the Block family.

    Betsy Hastings Block '83: What's Your Shipley Story?

    When it came time for Betsy Hastings Block ’83 to enroll in Kindergarten, her parents looked for a school that was not only committed to cultivating each student’s individuality, but also steeped in a strong sense of community. They found that School in Shipley. Years later, when Betsy and her husband were exploring schools for their own sons, Shipley was the right choice again. “They have pretty different paths through Shipley,” she says, “and they’ve evolved in different ways.”
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  • Kathy Guy Dawson ’78: Creating a Safe Space for Shipley’s LGBTQ+ Community

    Kathy Guy Dawson ’78, an Alumni Council member and former Trustee, became an inaugural co-chair of LGBTQ+ Alumni Association in 2021. She was the first black student in her class and the first member of her family to attend private school. Learn more about this Shipley Changemaker and how she's supporting the LGBTQ+ community at Shipley.
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  • Rik Morris ’80: Giving Forward to Shipley’s LGBTQ+ Community

    Rik Morris ’80 is a strong example of the Shipley spirit and the School’s commitment to supporting everyone in the community. “I don’t believe in giving back,” says the 2020 Alumni Service Award recipient. “I believe in giving forward.” Following his retirement as a Trustee a few years ago, Morris is serving as inaugural co-chair of the newly formed Shipley LGBTQ+ Alumni Association,
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  • Hakiem Coles ’07: Raising Funds for Shipley’s Black Students and Teachers

    “Shipley was life-changing for me. It opened up my world," says alumnus Hakiem Coles ’07. His belief in the power of education to positively impact the lives of other black students inspired him to join Shipley's Black Alumni Association and establish a named endowed fund, the Black Alumni Association Fund, to support the curricular and cultural needs of Shipley’s Black students and teachers.
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  • Sean Legnini ’07: Applying a Well-Rounded Approach to Education

    When he was a student, Middle School science teacher Sean Legnini ’07 appreciated the fact that “Shipley let me be the many different things that I wanted to be.” That sense of intellectual curiosity and exploration was a driving force as he pursued multiple degrees and jobs, even launching a tech startup before returning to Shipley to teach.
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Faculty

List of 10 news stories.

  • Austin Wagner, Percussion Ensemble Director 

    Austin Wagner grew up in a music family, so it was not a huge surprise when he asked for his first drumset at age three. Mr. Wagner believes that music should be fun, and even if students don't plan on pursuing music professionally, they can gain important life skills by honing their musical talents.
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  • Centering BIPOC Voices at Shipley: Sergio Jackson, Director of Athletic Performance

    Shipley's Director of Athletic Performance and Physical Education Teacher, Sergio Jackson, says "We all have an opportunity to focus on positive things like being empathetic to one another’s circumstances or open to one another’s ideas, thoughts, and beliefs." Learn more as he talks about having a positive attitude, his life experiences, and what he loves about his culture.
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  • Rafhia Foster joined the Shipley community in 2021 as the Director of Enrollment Management.

    Centering BIPOC Voices at Shipley: Rafhia Foster, Director of Enrollment

    Rafhia Foster, Shipley's new Director of Enrollment, was the only African American girl in her class at a local independent school. As a Black, Muslim-raised Trinidadian, she brings with her to Shipley a rich tapestry of lived experiences. She knows well the feeling of not being heard or seen. Now, she embraces each opportunity to share her voice and story, bringing an effervescent spirit to Shipley's Admissions Office.
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  • Dr. Reginald Davenport joined the Shipley community in 2021 as its new Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

    What Do You Do: Reflections of a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Director

    Dr. Reginald Davenport is Shipley's new Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. During a visit to a Lower School classroom, one five-year-old student asked him: What do you do at Shipley? Though Dr. Davenport answered the question as best he could, as he reflected back on the moment, he grew increasingly dissatisfied with his response. Read this reflection to learn more about Dr. Davenport and his work at Shipley.
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  • Why I Teach: Heather Riley

    Growing up in a Latino neighborhood exposed Heather to the Spanish language early in life. She later went on to study the language formally at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
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  • Sean Legnini ’07: Applying a Well-Rounded Approach to Education

    When he was a student, Middle School science teacher Sean Legnini ’07 appreciated the fact that “Shipley let me be the many different things that I wanted to be.” That sense of intellectual curiosity and exploration was a driving force as he pursued multiple degrees and jobs, even launching a tech startup before returning to Shipley to teach.
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  • Dan Dougherty is Shipley's new Associate Director of Annual Giving.

    Q& A with Dan Dougherty, Shipley’s New Associate Director of Annual Giving

    Meet Dan Dougherty, Shipley’s new Associate Director of Annual Giving. Dan has spent most of his career working in Development for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Even though he began his new role at Shipley during the pandemic lockdown, he says, “I felt very welcome and that I was part of the team immediately. The most challenging part was not being able to experience campus life at Shipley or meet my new colleagues in person.” Learn more about Dan.
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  • Sharron Russell first joined the Shipley community in 1995, when she was hired to write the Upper School's new social emotional learning curriculum. She now leads the School's Positive Education efforts.

    Q&A with Sharron Russell, Director of Positive Education and Student Support

    In 1995, Dr. Sharron Russell was hired to write and teach Shipley’s social-emotional curriculum. Dr. Russell, who holds a certificate and doctoral degree in school psychology from Immaculata University and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, respectively, has been directing student support since 2011 and positive education at Shipley since 2016. She is largely responsible for helping to make Shipley the first-ever positive education school in the country.
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  • Ace Schwarz is Shipley's newest Middle School science teacher.

    Q&A with Middle School Science Teacher Ace Schwarz

    Get to know Ace Schwarz, Shipley's newest Middle School science teacher. In addition to being a true lifelong learner and avid reader who loves science, Mx. Schwarz (pronounced "mix") is passionate about their LGBTQ+ advocacy work. Learn more about Ace and how they hope make a positive impact at Shipley.
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  • Shipley is pleased to welcome Nick Holton as its new Associate Director of Positive Education.

    Q&A with Nick Holton, Associate Director of Positive Education

    Get to know Shipley's new Associate Director of Positive Education, Dr. Nick Holton, who says, "I firmly believe that human potential is the world's greatest resource and that systems of education can amplify that potential or squander it. I believe Positive Education does the former." Learn more about Nick and why he's dedicated his life to Positive Education.
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Students

List of 10 news stories.

  • Q&A with Scholastic Writing Award Winner Henry Terlevich ’23

    Shipley junior Henry Terlevich ’23 received a Silver Key Award for his poem, “Rosh Hashanah,” in the 2022 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, presented by Philadelphia Writing Project. Henry’s poem was recognized by a panel of creative professionals as the most outstanding work submitted by a group of his peers. Learn more about Henry, his interest in writing and service, and how Shipley has pushed Henry to challenge himself.
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  • Q&A with Niam Shah ’21, Middle School Math Circle Teaching Assistant

    Since arriving at The Shipley School as a sophomore, Niam Shah ’21, a Math Peer Tutor and member of the Technology Student Association and DECA, has earned numerous regional and national awards, started two businesses, and worked as an intern at a tech startup. Most recently, he served as Teaching Assistant for Shipley’s Middle School Math Circle, a five-week summer enrichment program led by Josh Berberian, Upper School mathematics teacher and Coordinator of Educational Research.
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  • Meet Brennan '19

    Meet Brennan '19

    I hope that I helped people to recognize the power of their voice and the importance of their involvement in politics locally and across the world. I loved every second of explaining current events in Civic Activism Club, creating political messaging in my art, and debating hot button issues with my peers.
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  • Meet Carly '19

    Meet Carly '19

    Courage for the Deed to me means be strong, be confident, and be brave. The first part of Shipley’s motto inspires me to believe in myself, to take the risk, and to never back down. However, you have to remember to do it with dignity and respect for yourself and others.
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  • Meet Casey '19

    Meet Casey '19

    Shipley not only fueled my passion for learning but also gave me the opportunity to discover rowing, something I am wholeheartedly in love with. Rowing is extremely grueling, both mentally and physically, but its constant challenge is precisely why I row
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  • Meet Evan '19

    Meet Evan '19

    Shipley has given me the opportunity to find many of my interests. Shipley encouraged my interests in music, anatomy, economics, and a lot more. With the variety of classes, I was able to take, it is hard to choose a subject I enjoy the most.
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  • Meet Gavin '19

    Meet Gavin '19

    Shipley taught me that relationships are important and that you never know when an opportunity from someone you respect can come your way. 
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  • Meet Isabella '19

    Meet Isabella '19

    More than anything else, Shipley taught me to take risks and to bet on myself. In this life, there is no one who will believe in you more than yourself. My education here taught me to believe in that mantra, as well as encourage me to pursue a career in something I love.
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  • Meet Ishea '19

    Meet Ishea '19

    For me, Courage for the Deed; Grace for the Doing means being dedicated yet humble in everything you do. It means doing every task, the difficult and the tedious, deliberately and purposefully. The phrase is a mantra for encouragement and honor to live by and revisit often.
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  • Meet James '19

    Meet James '19

    Not only did Shipley inspire me to become my own person, and be proud of that person, Shipley also helped me discover interests that I would have been afraid of trying anywhere else. Shipley helped me reach my full academic potential as well.
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Families

List of 10 news stories.

  • Shipley has been the right school for two generations of the Block family.

    Betsy Hastings Block '83: What's Your Shipley Story?

    When it came time for Betsy Hastings Block ’83 to enroll in Kindergarten, her parents looked for a school that was not only committed to cultivating each student’s individuality, but also steeped in a strong sense of community. They found that School in Shipley. Years later, when Betsy and her husband were exploring schools for their own sons, Shipley was the right choice again. “They have pretty different paths through Shipley,” she says, “and they’ve evolved in different ways.”
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  • Katie Culver works in education, so when it came time to look for a school for her own children, she knew exactly what she wanted. Shipley's individualized, creative, and relationship-based approach to educational excellence checked all of the boxes.

    Individual, Joyful, Creative: The Andreoli-Culver Family's Shipley Story

    Katie Culver works in education, so when it came time to look for a school for her own children, she knew exactly what she wanted. Shipley's individualized, creative, and relationship-based approach to educational excellence checked all of the boxes.
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  • What's Your Shipley Story: The Tiongco Family

    When the Tiongco family moved to the Main Line, they were looking for a school with small class sizes, an individualized educational experience, a strong community, and, as a family of Filipino descent, a school culture that celebrates diversity. Shipley checked all of the boxes. Now with two kids enrolled at the School, Shipley continues to deliver on its mission of Educational Excellence.
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  • The Vale Family Shipley Story: Prepared to Succeed

    Elizabeth Vale ’72, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley and significant member of the Obama White House, credits Shipley with teaching her everything she needed to know. She valued her Shipley education so much, she sent her daughter Ann ’03 to Shipley, where she, too, received an education that prepared her for a successful future.
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  • 16 Years and Counting: The Gundy Family's Shipley Story

    Dee and Roy Gundy joined the Shipley community 16 years ago, when their daughter, Kaela ’15, was in kindergarten. A word-of-mouth recommendation put Shipley on their radar, but it was a commitment to each individual child that made them choose the School. Dee and Roy feel blessed that they are all thriving, despite their different interests, strengths, and traits. And even with their busy schedules, the Gundys find ways to give back to the community that has given them so much.
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  • The Nkala Family Shipley Story: More than Just a Color

    Shipley Coach and PE teacher Bruce Nkala and his wife were initially drawn to Shipley because of the baby blue color worn by the School’s sports teams – the color of their home country Botswana’s flag. But the Shipley community, small class sizes, and individual approach to each student have solidified their affinity for the School. Read the Nkala family’s Shipley story.
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  • The Ilyases were looking for something more than just an excellent academic education when they explored independent schools for their children. They wanted a school where their kids were going to be free to define themselves and feel a strong sense of community. Learn more about the Ilyases and how Shipley’s environment supports each child’s sense of identity.

    The Ilyas Family Shipley Story: An Effortless Sense of Belonging

    The Ilyases were looking for something more than just an excellent academic education when they explored independent schools for their children. They wanted a school where their kids were going to be free to define themselves and feel a strong sense of community. Learn more about the Ilyases and how Shipley’s environment supports each child’s sense of identity.
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  • Private School Meets Public School: The Willner Family's Shipley Story

    Ben Willner ’96 never expected to send his children to the school that challenged him so much as a kid. His wife, Erica, a public school advocate, couldn’t have imagined sending her kids to a private school. Now, he can’t think of a better gift to give his daughters than the rigor and support of Shipley’s education, and she’s convincing her friends to send their children to Shipley. Read the Willner family’s Shipley story.
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  • The Big Move: The Bender Family’s Shipley Story

    When the Bender family faced the prospect of a second cross-continental move in as many years, they knew it would be important to find a school that shared their values and provided a rigorous academic program balanced with support for students. The Benders found that school in Shipley and have enjoyed a seamless transition into the community. Read more about the Bender’s Shipley story.
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  • Choosing a School with Vision: The Benardete Family Story

    Niki and Ethan Benardete chose Shipley for their children because of the School’s emphasis on character education. For Niki, an educator and administrator herself, the vision of the Shipley community was quite clear, going above excellent academics to instill confidence and educate children about being the best people possible.
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The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.