Friends Academy's Next Head of School

At Friends Academy, we achieve educational excellence by committing to the highest standard of learning and living.

Introducing Paul J. Stellato

Friends Academy is thrilled to welcome its 25th Head of School, Paul J. Stellato, who will begin his tenure on July 1, 2023.
Please read his letter and view his video message to the Friends Academy Community below, as well as more about Paul in the accompanying biography. 

A Letter from Paul J. Stellato

Incoming Friends Academy Head of School

 To the Friends Academy Community,

From our home on the Great Road in Princeton, Maureen and I want to share how pleased we are to join the Friends Academy community and how eager we are to arrive on campus this summer and embark on the journey we will make together.

I first visited Friends Academy on a bright, warm Saturday morning in early November. Well before sunrise, I made my way up the Turnpike, across the GW, and onto a very busy Long Island for just the second time in my life.  As the sun rose and the raucous congestion of the LIE gave way to the lush fields and marshes of Locust Valley, the sheer beauty of the area revealed itself with each street I traveled; and, as I turned off Duck Pond Road, a majestic campus, bathed in early-morning light, unfolded before me.  Though I do not remember what I thought at the moment, I remember how I felt.  That feeling has remained.

I have told this story again and again in the last month, as I believe that where and how we start has more than a little to do with how we fare.  That my first moments at Friends Academy linger with me now suggests that the experience that awaits is rich in promise and prospect.  To borrow a phrase from Princeton University’s John McPhee, to have a strong sense of where you are is to appreciate more fully the people who will surround you and the events that will unfold among you. With that sense of place, I encountered Friends Academy on a quiet Saturday morning; as students hurried to sit for the SSAT, Kathy Dineen guided me from one beautiful space to the next, and the Search Committee and I came to know one another. 

Maureen and I returned 10 days later, to witness the mighty campus rouse itself from its weekend’s rest on a sunny Monday morning.  We have been able to listen to the cacophony of lower schoolers whose classroom instruction gives way to the happy chaos of recess; students in middle school and upper school moving through the hallways and seated at lunch both indoors and out; faculty and staff advisors to the search process, who have come to know and love their school in a profoundly different way since the process began; a leadership team whose individual strengths blend together in formidable union; trustees whose keen commitment to stewardship girds their strategic vision for Friends Academy; engaged and devoted parents and alumni, and Head of School Andrea Kelly who has guided the school through some of the most prosperous – and most demanding – years the school has known.

Friends Academy and I have chosen one another for many reasons and in pursuit of many goals.  At the heart of the promise we have made are its Quaker values, traditions, and practices that guide every member of the community and inform lives lived both on and away from campus.  That I am new to Quakerism is no secret; that I am drawn to it – and hope to realize the ways in which the testimonies will strengthen my heart and guide my leadership – will be plain and visible in the life I lead at Friends Academy.  Quakerism is, after all, a most important component of the sense of place that spoke to me so clearly on that November morning.

For this opportunity, there are many Maureen and I must thank: members of the Faculty and Staff Advisory Committee and the Administrative Leadership Team, who took time from their responsibilities to help me better understand Friends Academy; parents and friends of the school, who introduced Maureen to Locust Valley; Steve Witthuhn and members of the Search Committee, who have given so selflessly of their time and talents; Board Chair Frank Ingrassia and members of the Board of Trustees, whose counsel and support will prove so essential to me and our school; and, of course, Head of School Andrea Kelly, who has given me the great advantage every new head covets – a dynamic school.

As Maureen and I will return to Friends Academy in the months ahead, we hope to come to know the community in a deeper way with each conversation we will have.  In anticipation of them all, we send along our thanks to the friends we have made and our best wishes to all whose friendship awaits us.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Paul J. Stellato




A video message from Paul J. Stellato

HubSpot Video

The Trustee Search Committee

Jeffrey-Daniels_8046D-Print (2)

Jeff Daniels
Friends Academy Trustee
Friends Academy Parent,
P'23, '20, '16
Class of 1990

Rachel Etess Green-1

Rachel Etess Green
Friends Academy Trustee
Friends Academy Parent,
P'24, '21


Tom Gibian
Friends Academy Trustee
Former Head, Sandy Spring School
Member, Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting


Frank Ingrassia
Friends Academy Board President 
Friends Academy Grandparent ’32, ’34, ’36
Friends Academy Alumni Parent, P'21, '19, '16, '14, '12, '03, '03


Stephen Witthuhn 
Clerk – Head of School Search Committee

Friends Academy Trustee
Friends Academy Parent,
P'31, '35
Class of 2001


Zimu Zheng
Friends Academy Trustee
Friends Academy Parent, 
P'24, '26