Shelby Pawlina

For most of my adolescence I dreamt of being a coroner. I thought using science to solve mysteries and find answers would be a compelling way to spend my days. (Many thanks to Jack Klugman and Quincy, ME.) I went to college with this plan. First semester, I began volunteering with the university’s version of Big Brother/Big Sister and was paired up with Billy, a first grader living in a tough part of the city. Our connection and weekly visits were bright times in a pretty good life already. That was it. I was hooked. Kids. That’s a way to spend my days! I never looked back after that.  Billy’s photograph has been on my shelf for years. We often talk about teachers who inspired us, but for me, inspiration came from this tough little guy with bright brown eyes and mischievous sense of humor.

After college, I was a Peace Corps volunteer where I met my husband, then found my new home in Colorado where I began teaching preschool at Head Start.

I joined Friends School in 1995 and have since been so lucky as to have had several careers without leaving this supportive community that believes so strongly in honoring and cherishing each person’s individuality. Every year brings challenges and opportunities to find new ways to manifest this dedication to growing compassionate humans who know themselves and care for others and the world. I love the work. Friends’ mission inspires me, and the people here are my family.

Challenging minds. Nurturing spirits. Honoring individuality.