Current Board Members
John Baird: Durham, NC, Durham Monthly Meeting, North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative). John has served as the head of two Quaker Schools, Westtown School and Carolina Friends School. He is a member of the Board of the Friends Council on Education. As a teacher and leader in Friends schools, John has worked collaboratively with Board and staff members to respond to adaptive challenges in ways that are resonant with institutional mission and values. Prepared as a facilitator by the Center for Courage and Renewal, John has led retreats for Friends schools, meetings, and faith communities and served as a coach and consultant to teachers and school leaders. Since attending the institute “Formation for Ministry in Community” in 1982, John has returned to Pendle Hill often as a retreat and workshop attender and facilitator, as well as a Friend in Residence. He finds Pendle Hill to be an “oasis,” nurturing spiritual growth and renewal, listening and dialogue, connection with the natural world, creative expression, and activism. He believes that “Pendle Hill has a unique mission in creating a beloved community where people are inspired to discover the calling that is uniquely theirs – and encouraged to do the work of healing, reconciliation, peacemaking and other service so needed in the world today.” John has served as clerk of two Friends meetings (Providence, RI, NEYM and Old Chatham, NY, NYYM.). He serves on the Ministry and Counsel Committee of Durham Meeting and has been a facilitator in the Meeting’s Racial Equity Learning Arc. John and his wife, Aminda Stern Baird, (a former Pendle Hill staff member), have three grown children. He loves birding, singing, hiking, painting, and gardening.
Narissa Bajjo: Narberth, PA; Chestnut Hill Monthly Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Narissa is a passionate educator who teaches first grade at Greene Street Friends School and has taught at several other Quaker schools over her decade of professional teaching experience. Narissa serves on the board of Haddonfield Friends School, where she clerks the Quaker Life Committee. She also served on the Quaker Life Committee of Lansdowne Friends School while on staff there. Narissa has participated in several conferences at Pendle Hill through Friends Council on Education. She feels inspired by the work and intention that Pendle Hill puts into providing space for learning and connection with the self, the Divine, and others.
Olivia Brangan: Pineville, PA; Wrightstown Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Olivia Brangan has served as a trustee at two Quaker schools and currently as clerk of Wrightstown Meeting, Bucks Quarter, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. In her role as PYM’s Community Engagement Coordinator, she pursues connections and engagement in our Quaker community through the lens of diversity, equity, welcoming, and inclusion. She plans and prepares yearly meeting sessions that seek to provide a space that is Spirit-led, safe, and inclusive to all within the PYM geographic community. As the managing member (i.e. owner) of a hardware store and lumber yard for 24 years, Olivia brings the business experience that helps inform important decisions relating to stewarding the mission of an organization in the midst of tending to practical concerns. Olivia has attended several events at Pendle Hill over the years and in the past year, she formed a Pendle Hill Pamphlet Reading Discussion Group in her meeting community.
Frances Brokaw (clerk): Hanover, NH; Hanover Friends Meeting, New England Yearly Meeting. A lifelong Friend, Fran is the proud mother of two young adults, and is a retired physician who specialized in internal medicine and hospice/ palliative care medicine. She is a graduate of School of the Spirit’s “On Being a Spiritual Nurturer” program, and is actively engaged in the spiritual life of her home meeting, Hanover Friends Meeting, and of New England Yearly Meeting. Fran also serves on the Board of Directors for Kendal-at-Hanover, serving as co-chair as well as chair of the Board Health Services Committee. She carries a concern for racial justice work, and is actively engaged with issues of racism and white supremacy, through Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) in her community and also as a member of the NEYM Confronting White Supremacy Work Group. She is clear that exploring these problems, educating other people identifying as white, and working to become a stronger ally to people of color is the primary work that God is calling her to do at this stage of her life. Fran enjoys reading, hiking, travel, and learning about other cultures and religions.
David Castro: Bryn Mawr, PA, Radnor Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. A graduate of Haverford College and University of Pennsylvania Law School, early in his career David worked in public service roles for the Philly DA’s office as well as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He is the founder and CEO of a regional non-profit, The Institute for Leadership Education (I-LEAD), and is involved in all aspects of its operations, from facilities to fundraising. He has developed and implemented numerous community leadership, health, economic development, and workforce development initiatives serving low-income communities across Pennsylvania, earning recognition during his career with national fellowships including Kellogg, Eisenhower and Ashoka. David is enthusiastic about all things Quaker and has attended several PH programs, including regular participation in morning worship. He is married and has four children. David identifies as half Puerto-Rican, and this heritage has led him to engagement in Ecuador, where he has worked closely with Grupo Faro and a Quaker Meeting in Quito. David currently serves as Clerk of Radnor Meeting.
Grace Sharples Cooke: Bryn Mawr, PA; Haverford Monthly Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Grace Sharples Cooke leads fundraising efforts at the Science History Institute as Director of the Office of the President. Previous to this role she served as Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Associate Secretary for Advancement and Relationship. She has worked around the world in both private and government positions in the fields of Development, Education, and Communications. Grace lived abroad for 12 years in China, Japan, Germany and Taiwan, witnessing many significant socio-political movements in that time. She is strongly informed by this global perspective. Closer to home she spent four years in her local community working on environmental stewardship and neighborhood trail-building. Grace currently serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Committee on Foreign Relations as well as the William Penn Charter School. She previously served on the boards of Friends School Haverford, the John F. Kennedy School in Berlin and the Taipei American School. Grace believes in the potential of Pendle Hill to generate Quaker fellowship and support people to move forward in unexpected ways at important moments of their lives. She pursues interests in foreign policy and international affairs, conservation, education, Quaker affairs, writing, and classical music.
Brenda Esch: Wilmington, NC; West Richmond Friends Meeting, New Association of Friends. Brenda Esch has served as the Head of School at Friends School of Wilmington in southeast North Carolina since 2012. Previous to this appointment, she was the Head of School at Greenwood Friends School which was preceded by 13 years of teaching at a variety of (K-8) independent schools. Brenda earned an MS in School Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Religious Studies from Guilford College. In between she completed graduate coursework in Counseling at the Earlham School of Religion and participated in Friends Council on Education’s Leadership Institute. Growing up in Richmond, Indiana contributed to her strong grounding in Quaker community, process, and history.
Jane K. Fernandes: Yellow Springs, OH; Friendship Friends Meeting, North Carolina Yearly Meeting Conservative. Since 2021, Jane has served as President of Antioch College, a role preceded by service as President and Professor of English at Guildford College. Other recent prior roles include Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at University of North Carolina at Asheville, Senior Fellow at the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute, and Provost of Academic Affairs at Gallaudet University. Jane has published, taught and led in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies, Education, and English Departments around the United States. She brings deep experience to innovations in shared governance, curriculum development, diversity and inclusion, community partnerships, and budget management. She currently serves on the following Boards: Friends Council on Education, Union Square II, North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, and Greensboro Opportunity. Jane first encountered Pendle Hill staying on campus for a FAHE Board meeting and has since developed an interest in connecting Pendle Hill’s mission with Quaker educational institutions. A native of Massachusetts, Jane married James Fernandes and built a family including two children, Sean and Erin.
Herb Haigh: St Petersburg, FL; St Petersburg MM, Southeastern YM. Herb Haigh is retired from a career working in healthcare and insurance, including serving as Regional Director for American Healthcare Management Inc., and running his own company representing insurance companies in negotiations with hospitals. He serves on the finance committee of his local meeting as well as Southeastern Yearly Meeting, Friends General Conference, ProNica, and the Friends Meetinghouse Fund. Herb is a motorcycle enthusiast and travels frequently in pursuit of that hobby.
Madeline Johnson: Hartsdale, NY; New York YM. Madeline Johnson is an award-winning writer, director, and producer who makes art to empower untold stories. She was recognized as a Sundance New Voices finalist, a Second Rounder for the Sundance Development Track, and a Second Rounder for the Macro Episodic Lab powered by the Black List. Beyond her narrative work, Madeline has worked in faith communities for almost a decade, primarily focused on creating spiritual growth experiences for young people to explore their own faith journeys. After meeting Quakers at Iona Abbey in 2016 while traveling in Europe, Madeline came home and attended Scarsdale Friends Meeting for a year and a half. Since then, she has been involved in New York Yearly Meeting in various capacities. She earned B.A.s in Religious Studies and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration from Yale University. She graduated in 2016 from FAMU International’s Academic Preparation Program in Directing, which took place in the Czech Republic. Drawing upon her experience in the criminal justice and religious fields, Madeline’s work ventures deep into a spiritual realm. She makes art to honor and empower us to live our most authentic selves, to make the world more livable for all of us, and to move the needle so we can understand, dream, and live in a new way.
Anton Flores-Maisonet: Decatur, GA/traditional Muscogee Creek territory; Friend-in-Residence at Atlanta Monthly Meeting, Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting. Anton is the lead founder of Casa Alterna, a ministry offering hospitality, accompaniment, and assistance to individuals and families fighting for asylum and against deportation. A social worker by profession, Anton formerly served at LaGrange College (GA) as the chair of the department of human services. Committed to nonviolent social change, Anton has joined and led many peacemaking delegations, both domestic and in countries including Botswana, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and his ancestral homeland of Puerto Rico. This global perspective afforded Anton the opportunity to serve as chair of Christian Peacemaker Teams’ international steering committee. He currently serves on the board of directors of Koinonia Farm (GA). Anton is pursuing a certificate in spiritual direction/companionship at Columbia Theological Seminary. He is also a contributing author in Parenting for a Better World (2022, Chalice Press). Anton was a presenter at Pendle Hill’s 2018 interfaith conference, Within and Without: Liberation Theology at Work in Social Movements.
Nan Macy: Bellingham, WA, non-affiliated Quaker (formerly of Bellingham Friends Meeting, NPYM), Buddhist (in Mindfulness tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh). Nan has spent most of her professional career in communications, especially focusing on writing and editing in various organizational settings. Core to much of this work are communication and community, and sharing a message that is effective, results in increased awareness and/or action, and often brings people together. Nan served as resident guest manager of a Buddhist retreat center, experience that provided insights into balancing the spiritual mission/vision of a retreat center/organization and the “back of the house” logistics and operations. She brings an informed, analytical perspective grounded in spiritual awareness and practice. Nan believes Quakerism has the potential to bring about liberating, lasting change for all people, but first Quakerism’s historical and present-day racism must be addressed and healing must be vigorously pursued—in right order. Nan has personally experienced Pendle Hill’s transformative potential and power. Her relationship with Pendle Hill began in 2011 when she participated in two Ben Pink Dandelion/ Deborah Shaw retreats; she came to Pendle Hill seeking understanding about her Quaker ancestors and left a convinced Friend. Subsequently, she has returned for retreats and sojourn stays while conducting archival research for a book she’s writing. She is pleased to serve as a member of the Education Committee.
Karrie Jo Manson: Greensboro, NC; New Garden Friends Meeting. Karrie has a long familial history of Quaker involvement. She has built a career working with and within communities/organizations that at their best recognize their spiritual core and strive for imaginative thinking and actions that challenge the dominant paradigms. She is the new Director of Development for Piedmont Land Conservancy, and recently joined the Friends School of Wilmington (NC) Board. As a therapist, mentor, advisor, strategist, engagement professional, or fundraiser the center point for connection and transformation is, for Karrie, to create and hold space for others through genuine hospitality, welcoming, patience and listening. Karrie has regularly attended PH morning worship over the past year and has been familiar with PH for many years through her other Quaker connections, including various meetings in North Carolina.
Jeff Perkins: Philadelphia, PA; Philadelphia Yearly Meeting; Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting. Jeff offers his spiritually grounded Quaker approach in business, management, and strategic planning to Pendle Hill. Jeff affirms the values of Pendle Hill and finds it a welcoming place for spirit led engagement. Jeff participated in the resident student program at Pendle Hill in 1992-93. He successfully utilizes his finance and accounting acumen in serving as Executive Director on Friends Fiduciary Corporation Board and the Board of Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. Jeff served as Treasurer and is the current Clerk of Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting. Jeff is interested in ecumenism and the connections between Christian and other faiths and spiritualities. Jeff views hospitality as a ministry.
Barb Platt: Sandy Spring, MD; Sandy Spring Friends Meeting, BYM. Barb’s vocational and professional life has been lived out in Quaker community, with meeting activities central to family life during her childhood. After obtaining a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Oberlin College, Barb landed at Pendle Hill as a cook in June 1978, staying several years. Next, she attended Earlham School of Religion, completing the Master’s in Ministry degree in 1986. She spent the following five years working as Executive Secretary for Baltimore Monthly Meeting of Friends, Stony Run. In 1991 Barb moved into full-time parenting, which included a two-year sojourn in Brazil and serving as a development volunteer for the Friends Committee on National Legislation. This volunteerism led to a 17-year career as FCNL’s Annual Fund Director. Barb retired in 2013 and stays busy with monthly meeting and yearly meeting activities. She and her husband, John Butler (a former Pendle Hill student) have two grown daughters. Barb enjoys singing, swimming, reading and travel, among other pursuits.
Audrey Super: Swedesboro, NJ. Audrey has over 18 years of experience in the field of Human Resources, most recently serving as the Director of Human Resources at Kendall Crosslands. As a member of the leadership team at Kendall, she helped to develop a Leadership Program that reflected the Religious Society of Friends’ Values and Practices in programming, promoting continuous learning, and encouraging and supporting efforts of sustainability for all people in society. Other professional experiences include the fostering of leadership development and training in non-profit organizations, where she has felt inspired by missions for the betterment of society. Audrey served as the Co-Chair of the Board Diversity Committee for Friends Services of the Aging where she developed resources and supported trainings to educate member organizations on effectively embracing diversity and inclusion. Audrey has also served as a board member of the Southeastern Leading Age chapter, and she currently serves as a member of the Organizational Development Committee of the Kennett Area Senior Center. A passionate advocate of inclusive environments that impact decision making for the greater good as opposed to a select few, Audrey brings her perspectives from the field of Quaker Senior Living and from her professional experience with Human Resources to the Pendle Hill board. Audrey is inspired by Pendle Hill’s valuing of education, and she can personally attest to the growth that education at Pendle Hill has added to her personal and professional development.
Susan Russell Walters: Baltimore, MD; Homewood Friends Meeting, BYM. Susan was born in Baltimore and raised in Western Maryland. From an Art History degree at Mt Holyoke College, she went into nursing and then into Public Health. Susan moved to Baltimore in 1986 to attend graduate school and then worked until retirement in 2013 as an RN. She first worked with mothers and babies, then taught nursing and served as a public health nurse in Mississippi. In the late 1990’s Susan worked at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health with school health programs. For the ten years prior to her retirement in 2013, Susan worked for several state agencies doing program evaluation and data analysis, including the Department of Health and the Department of Juvenile Services.
Judith Wiegand: Staunton, VA; Maury River Friends Meeting, BYM. After retiring in 2011 from a 30-plus year career as a city planner, Judith almost immediately came to Pendle Hill as a resident student. She believes that spending that first year transitioning into retirement at Pendle Hill was one of the best decisions she has ever made. Judith has attended workshops and sojourned at Pendle Hill and experiences it as an ongoing opportunity to expand her understanding of Quakerism and for personal transformation. She has served her meeting in Lexington, Va., as recording clerk and on the Worship & Ministry Committee. Judith is also active with the Staunton Music Festival serving on its board, and as the housing and transportation coordinator for out-of-town musicians. Judith loves bird watching, traveling, and art. She served as a board member from 2013 – 2019, during which time she brought her long-range planning experience, major project coordination work, and ability to balance the needs and wishes of different, competing groups. She welcomes the opportunity to preserve and enhance the resource that is Pendle Hill.
Keira Wilson: Baltimore, MD; State College Friends Meeting, PhYM, BYM. Keira is a full-time celebration enthusiast focusing on what makes us revel and how communities come together to thrive. She is currently the Assistant Director of Life Design at Johns Hopkins leveraging creative spaces with a futurist and feminist lens, host for The Dinner Party, navigating conversations on grief, and performer in Philadelphia’s Vaudevillian New Year Brigade. Bringing more than 10 years of experience in non-profits and higher education as a facilitator, career coach, and civic boundary spanner, she believes we learn who we are through a tenacious pursuit of self-knowledge, and the letting go of fear to offer our unique form of generosity. In the past she has worked for Grinnell College in service and social Innovation, Princeton University’s civic engagement, and with Friends General Conference expanding welcoming communities. Keira holds a Master of Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Guilford College and certifications from Harvard Business and Johns Hopkins Innovative Design Thinking.
At-Large Committee Members
Andrei Israel: Hyattsville, MD; Adelphi Monthly Meeting, BYM. Andrei served as Executive Director of William Penn House from 2016 until 2019. Prior to that, he worked and taught in the fields of Human Geography, Environmental Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. He has also worked in experiential environmental education and service-learning. He is committed to transformative religious education for youth and adults that brings forward the activist commitments to peace- and justice-building required of a faithful life in the Spirit. Andrei was first introduced to Pendle Hill through a weekend workshop in 2008. He is drawn to Pendle Hill’s educational mission, its vision of inclusive community and welcoming hospitality, as well as its contributions to the Friends community. Andrei serves on Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Development Committee.
Emma Lapsansky-Werner: Wynnewood, PA; Lansdowne Friends Meeting, PYM. Emma is Emeritus Professor of History and Curator of the Quaker Collection at Haverford College, where she continues to teach and to consult with students and with scholars. She has a doctorate in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania and researches and publishes on the topic of Quaker history, African-American history and especially the intersection between the two, as well as Pennsylvania history, the American West, and various aspects of American social and material-culture history. In addition to numerous articles, books and papers, Emma co-authored the Pearson Education high-school American History text as well as Struggle for Freedom, a college text on African American History, the third edition of which appeared in 2018. She has served on the board of the Library Company of Philadelphia, Friends Central School, and Lansdowne Friends School. She is a member of the Pendle Hill Pamphlets working group and has been an active member of the Organization of American Historians and of the Friends Historical Association.
Liliane Sharpless: Philadelphia, PA; Germantown Meeting, Philadelphia YM. Lili has been a pre-school and art teacher at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia since 2012. She also teaches First Day School at Germantown Monthly Meeting. A graduate of Germantown Friends School and Guilford College, she received an M.S. in Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality Management from University of North Carolina in 2011. Since that time, Lili has served a variety of professional roles including directing residence hall activities, managing a vineyard’s wine sales, and leading summer camp counselors at Miquon Day Camp. Lili served on the Guilford College Senate and is an Alumni Ambassador of her college as well as her high school. Lili has a passion for community building and involving young people in Quakerism.