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Meet the Next Head of School

For the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of We & Thee magazine, students from across campus submitted questions to help us get to know our next Head of School, Karen Cumberbatch. Karen will join us on July 1, 2017,  bringing 22 years of experience in independent school administration including 20 years in Quaker schools. Currently she serves as Head of Upper School at Sandy Spring Friends School. Beyond her teaching and administrative experience, Karen has led school-wide strategic planning and implementation, clerked numerous school committees, and organized and developed a wide range of student leadership and staff professional development initiatives. 


Are you excited to come to our school?  Oliver, Early School

I am very excited to join the Carolina Friends School community! CFS is a great school and I am both excited and honored to join a place that has been so successful in educating and preparing students to effect change in the world.  I love to learn and to take on new challenges. I look forward to the opportunity to grow as an educator and to draw upon my professional experiences to help the CFS community in whatever ways I can.  Everyone has been incredibly welcoming to me and I am excited to get to know members of the community and to work with the phenomenal staff.  I am especially excited to meet the Early School students!

Do you speak any different languages? Mena, Lower School

I learned three languages, in addition to English, in school.  Spanish was first and is the one that I still remember best.  At one time, I was able to read novels and converse fairly well in Spanish. I studied Swahili for two years and French for one year.  Each provided me with an opportunity not only to learn a new language but also to discover new cultures.  Unfortunately, I have forgotten much of what I once knew.  This is definitely something I regret, especially when I travel.  I am certain that I miss opportunities for meaningful connection because of my lack of language proficiency. 

Do you have any pets? How many? Kavi, Lower School

My only pets currently are fish, however, my family and I are planning to get a dog when we move to North Carolina.  My daughter, Elise, is ecstatic since she will have two years to live with it before going to college.  My son, Justin, is a bit jealous, because he is off to college in the fall and won’t be home much to enjoy the experience.


What are your hobbies?  Ephra, Middle School

When I was a young girl I could sit in my room for hours lying on the floor and reading novels.  When engaged with a good book, I still have trouble putting it down.  I also enjoy dancing and singing.  Both have been very important in my life as creative outlets.  


How do you see yourself interacting with the student body, within your role as Head of School? Ruth, Upper School

I truly enjoy talking with young people—hearing their ideas, hopes, and dreams. My greatest satisfaction comes from working with students on projects.  Seeing the look of pride and accomplishment that comes when a student successfully completes something challenging gives me tremendous joy.  I like to attend a lot of student performances and sporting events and to travel with students on educational trips. I hope I will also have the opportunity to take a turn on the swings with the Early and Lower School students.  And, of course, I still love to teach!

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Carolina Friends School          
4809 Friends School Road
Durham, NC 27705
919.383.6602 tel / 919.383.6009 fax / info@cfsnc.org

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