Middle School Family Association Welcome Letter 2021-22


Hello friends,

We (Cliff Akiyama, Adam Goldman, and Meena Shah) are the Friends Select School Family Association’s middle school vice presidents for the 2021-22 school year, and we hope all of you have had a good summer.

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to everyone, whether you’re a new or a returning family, and we hope that you and your children are looking forward to the new academic school year. We all know this year will bring extra challenges, but as a community we were flexible and able to navigate last year, and we expect that this year will be similar or hopefully better! 

The Family Association board acts as a liaison between parents and the school administration. As your middle school FA board representatives, we have recurring meetings throughout the year with Tr. Desiree Harmon (middle school director) to share your feedback and to learn about administration priorities and activities affecting student life. We are always available and welcome your input on what’s going well, on what may require clarification from the school, and on any other concerns you want to share.    

We encourage you to attend FA meetings, affinity groups, and FA events, all of which are listed in the school Bulletin and the school calendar. With the ongoing pandemic, we expect most of these to be virtual, and hope that enables more of you to participate throughout the year. However, if circumstances allow, we hope to have some in-person engagements as well to further develop our community. 

Throughout the school year, you will receive a lot of communication. We want to give highlight the primary communication channels the school uses to share news with parents:  

  • Parent Portal: The Parent Portal on the FSS website is full of information on upcoming events, after-school programing, middle school forms, the all school calendar, the athletic calendar, school directory, and more. This is where you can sign up for alerts for activities, especially if your student is participating in athletics. It is accessible 24/7.

  • Bulletin: There are a number of middle school items in the Bulletin, which is emailed weekly on Thursdays and includes timely reminders and upcoming events. Should you have any questions regarding these emails, or you are not receiving them, please reach out to Ellen Gershman ellen@friends-select.org.

  • Grade Representatives: Every grade has a parent or guardian representative. They share information from the FA. After classes begin, your grade representative will be in contact via email to introduce themselves and help orient you to grade-specific information. If you are interested in being a grade rep, please let us know by emailing familyassociation@friends-select.org. 

Also, please be sure to attend the Middle School Virtual Town Hall on Thursday, September 2, at 6 p.m. for updates on the school reopening plans. 

Middle School Family Town Hall
Thursday, September 2, 6:00 p.m.
(Join via Zoom, meeting ID: 822 9732 8679; passcode: 301263)

We hope you are able to enjoy the rest of your summer.  This year continues to be different in many ways but we are still FSS, and we thank you for your engagement and involvement in our school community.  We look forward to a wonderful, healthy school year together.


Cliff, Adam, Meena
Middle School FA Vice Presidents 


Cliff Akiyama

Cliff is a criminologist with expertise in forensic mental health and youth gangs. Prior to arriving in Philadelphia, Cliff was a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff. Cliff's proudest role is being dad to Hanalee (Grade 5). Cliff was previously the lower school representative. 

Adam Goldman

Adam’s daughter Ella (grade 7) has been at FSS since kindergarten. Adam and his wife Ingrid are both FSS grads. Adam served as a middle school FA rep for the past two years. Adam spends his time fixing stuff that breaks.

Meena Shah

Meena is mother to Kauveri (grade 7), and Leelavati (grade 4). Both girls have attended FSS since pre-K. Meena served as a middle school FA rep for the past two years. She and her husband (Jaimin) have been actively involved with the school in a variety of aspects. Outside of parenting, Meena works in the field of corporate strategy.