In October 2021, I spent a few days up the road from my home at Church Farm School in Exton. I live in Chester County, but the reason I was there was the Shipley of it all. My classmate, Robb Armstrong ’81 was part of Church Farm’s parents’ weekend, speaking to the boys and parents in his capacity as a truly amazing motivational speaker. He also spent time with the students and painted a mural for them.
This special weekend also honored three amazing women for their contributions to Church Farm School. All three of these ladies are Shipley graduates. They received the CFS Medal for their service and dedication to the school. The ladies were Stacey Shreiner Kley ’74 (granddaughter of Church Farm School founder, the Reverend Dr. Charles W. Shreiner), Caroline "Cackie" Buck Rogers ’73 (whose family made the school’s glorious new Center for the Arts possible), and Cannie Crysler Shafer ’74 (one the first female board members at Church Farm School).
For me, these few days were also very special because I got the opportunity to spend time with Robb and his wife, Crystal, as they were literally right up the road from me here in Chester County instead of across the country in California. Watching Robb speak and create his mural are two things I will never forget.
Like Shipley, Church Farm School’s vibe is warm, welcoming, enveloping, and positive. There is a deep and ongoing relationship between Shipley and Church Farm School. For example, my friend Jennifer Murphy Devine ’98 is Assistant Director of Development after having worked in Shipley’s Development Office for 9+ years in a variety of roles, and Barbara Clothier ’51, who has been like a surrogate mother to Robb, is a member of Church Farm School’s Board of Managers. Shipley alumnus Karl Deakins ’15 is a history and humanities teacher, as well as Cottage Faculty at Church Farm School.
In addition, Greg Coleman, Shipley’s longtime Director of Admissions and French Teacher, served on Church Farm School’s Board of Directors for 12 years and is now an Honorary Director. Margaret van Steenwyk is Church Farm School’s Assistant Head of School, after working at Shipley for 25+ years as Dean of Academic Life and then as Head of Upper School. Chet Blair is Director of Student Life after having worked at Shipley for 8+ years as Co-Director of Community Engagement.
It was a wonderful few days, and in many ways like a mini-Shipley reunion, which after COVID-19 was just so nice!
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.