May 18, 2016


Alumni Profile: Maisha Yetunde Lee Pinckney '91

Next month Maisha Yetunde Lee Pinckney ’91 will stand in front of the Class of 2016 and their families to welcome the newest class of graduates into the Greene Street Friends School Alumni Association. In addition to being a GSFS graduate and the chair of Annual Giving for alumni this year, Maisha is the proud parent of 6th grade student Julian. She shared with us what she remembers and appreciates about her Greene Street Friends School education, especially now that she’s experiencing it from a parent’s point of view.


What about your Greene Street Friends School education meant the most to you?

Learning in a diverse environment and receiving a solid foundation of skills which have enabled me to become a lifelong learner.  A Greene Street Friends School education has also meant knowing how to learn and use information for the greater good of my community and myself.


Do you remember any teachers in particular?

Shirley Bansen and Tom King, who I had for first grade and then again in 3/4th grade. Jon, who introduced me to the beauty of Shakespeare. Charry Burr, who was an amazing middle school teacher. Leslie, who gave me a true love for history and cultural studies.

What are you up to now?

For last ten years I’ve been working at the University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships. The majority of my career has been dedicated to service with a special focus on children. Additionally I volunteer at my church with the children (of course), making blankets for children through Project Linus and sewing dresses for girls with the Little Dresses for Africa organization.


What about your Greene Street Friends School education prepared you for high school, college, your career or your life now?

I was tremendously prepared for both high school at Friends Select and college at West Chester University. GSFS gave me the tools and skills to be successful academically and socially. Additionally I will say that learning the tenets of Quakerism also enabled me to blossom at another Quaker school.  I can say with confidence that because of the challenging environment of GSFS, I was able to make a smooth transition to high school and be successful. Most importantly, GSFS showed me the value of tolerance, diversity, and simplicity and how to shine your own light in the world.


What is it like to now be both a Greene Street Friends School alumna and parent?

Amazing! It gives me an opportunity to experience GSFS again through my son’s eyes which is very enriching. It also allows me to have valuable conversations with him, showing him the importance of a teacher’s style or pace. Ironically, I believe that I am learning more from him than he is from me. Shouldn’t it be this way? The child becomes the teacher.


What do you think has changed the most between your time at Greene Street Friends and Julian’s?
Greene Street has grown immensely. From the caliber of the teachers and their professional development, to the depth and expansion of the many programs like Spanish and the 1:1 iPad program.  I love the awesome opportunities that the teachers have for professional development as well as the comprehensive student support staff members who are now in place. I love the growth that has taken place. It makes me proud to be part of the school’s legacy. I believe in the continual growth and always striving for more and greater from myself and from the world---and I see this reflected in the school and its community.


Why does staying connected to Greene Street Friends School matter to you?

GSFS is an important part of my life. I can say with ease and pride that this school is embedded in the fabric of my spirit. It definitely helped me become the woman that I am today. I am so grateful to my parents for the hard work and sacrifices that they made to enable me to go to such an amazing school.


Why is supporting Greene Street Friends School important to you?

With all of the beautiful gifts and skills that GSFS has given me and now Julian, how can I not support the school? I believe that it is my moral duty to do all that I can to support GSFS.


Thanks to Maisha and we look forward to hearing her beautiful words at graduation next month! To join her in supporting a new generation of Greene Street Friends School students and teachers, please click here.