One of Our Newest Math Teachers: Sarah Kelley


Leia Woelkers DeRosato

Angelica Scotto, Staff Writer

Sarah Kelly is one of the newest staff members at Friends Select School and is already in involved with many things around the community. Along with having established the reputation of being an excellent math teacher, Sarah Kelley is a ninth grade advisor, the diversity club advisor, head of the math department, and boys and girls swimming coach!

Sarah began teaching at only 22 years old at Wissahickon High School as a long term sub. She then taught at Moorestown Friends School for eight years, teaching grades nine through twelve. When talking about our community, she said,“Everybody has been incredibly welcoming and supportive as I take on this new role, and I am grateful that I had the chance to coach girls and boys swimming and got to know each of them outside the classroom.”

Sarah is currently teaching two sections of Algebra 2 and two sections of Geometry, while also advising a group of ninth graders. She is teaching freshmen, sophomores and juniors. She loves her advisees and can’t wait to see what their future holds. “Advising is one of my favorite parts of my job,” she said. “I love teaching and I love trying to get my kids to love math (or at least love math class), but I became a teacher because I wanted to make a positive impact on kids’ lives the way my teachers did on me in high school.”  Advising gives her a chance to get to know her students on a more personal level and to learn about their passions and hopes and fears, and to guide them through what she believes is one of the most important stages of life.  

Sarah says, “I have had the chance to advocate for their needs and students’ needs with respect to math classes and the math curriculum in the middle school and upper school.” In her role as math department chair, Sarah also serves as the liaison between administration and department members.

Kelley attended the University of Scranton, where she double majored in Mathematics and Secondary Education knowing that she would be interested in teaching. After teaching for three years, she decided to go back for her master’s degree in Educational Administration with the hope of one day landing a job in administration.

When asked what brought her to Friends Select School, she responded simply that she was ready for a change. Most of my teaching career was spent at Moorestown Friends School (MFS), but, while I loved my time there, I was ready for a change,” she said. She saw the posting for a math teacher at Friends Select and applied because she was excited by the idea of being right in the heart of the city; she also felt a strong connection to the school because of the Quaker roots. Although she was born and raised Catholic, she feels as if the Quaker values have true meaning to them. “I feel that the Quaker values align with who I am as a person and how I was raised, and it was important to me to keep that connection as I left MFS,” she said. When the position changed from math teacher to department chair, she knew it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

Outside the classroom, Sarah enjoys going to live music concerts and traveling. She enjoys traveling domestically and internationally. She enjoys being around her family, specifically her niece and nephews.   She has a four and a half year old niece, and two and half year old nephew and another newborn nephew. “My goal is to travel as many countries as possible and learn about different cultures, but I also want to visit all 50 states and see the many beautiful places within our own country,” she said.

As for music she enjoys all kinds of different genres. Her favorite artists are Billy Joel, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Cher, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and much more, but it wasn’t abnormal for her playlists to also include other artists like The Grateful Dead. She said, “There is something about a good country concert on a warm summer night that I really enjoy, so I’d add country to my playlist as well!” Her father is a huge music fanatic, so she was raised listening to anything and everything.

High school is a time when students really start to figure out who they are and what they want, and Sarah believes that the students’ relationship with their teacher can be one of the most impactful relationships you can develop in high school. Her students are young and crazy and full of energy and charisma, but they also have a lot to learn as they navigate the transition from middle school to high school. She’s just happy that she gets to be a part of their high school experience, and cannot wait to see what their future holds.