Olney Friends School
Board of Trustees
My life is horribly consistent. My brother Sam (Olney ’67) remembers how I organized our cousins at Gamble reunions to play school, appointing myself the teacher. The cousins hated it and fled to ball games as quickly as possible. Decades later, I am still teaching, even though formally retired after 50+ years in higher education—starting as a teaching assistant and finishing as full professor of English. Today I am an adjunct again (some might say I have come full circle!), but now I teach what I like: business communication to undergraduates online and detective fiction to retirees face-to-face. The other horribly consistent thread in my life (or curse, depending on your viewpoint) is organizational skills. You’ll notice I mentioned organizing the Gamble cousins. By the time I was a senior at Olney, as self-gov directors Harold Cooper and I were trying to organize student body business. At Earlham I was “head desk,” scheduler and timekeeper for us work-granters who staffed reception and the pbx system in the women’s dorms (a great way to learn who was dating whom). In grad school I supervised and evaluated English Dept. teaching assistants. At Purdue’s business school I directed the graduate communications courses and instructors. With 20/20 hindsight it’s no surprise, then, that I eventually became a department chair. Managing 25 full-time faculty and 50 adjuncts is often like herding cats. Developing and staffing academically rich, pedagogically sound programs on a very tight budget amid conflicting institutional priorities can be like pushing the proverbial rock uphill. Balancing hiring committees, classroom observations, and performance reviews with one’s own teaching load can cause tooth grinding late at night. And yet, I wouldn’t trade the warm friendships, amazing students, and deep sense of accomplishment for anything. What we do in education matters, and sometimes we get to see dramatic results in students’ lives. What have I learned along the way? To be patient, but to recognize when it’s time to act. To be forgiving, but not to suffer fools gladly. To guide, hopefully by example. To listen. To trust the process when it’s a sound one; to build sound processes when they are lacking. To compromise. To remember to laugh. To identify the greatest good for the greatest number and act accordingly. What else have I learned? To marry my college sweetheart (47 years and counting). To ski (at age 32). To travel the world and delight in its cultures. To find the bathroom in six languages. To know that I still have a lot to learn, hallelujah.
Dottie (Stratton) Churchwell ’59 lives in Madison, WI. She graduated from Earlham College and has a master’s degree in mathematics from Indiana University. Dottie began her teaching career at Olney and that was followed by teaching at Friendsville Academy in Tennessee. She is now retired from a career in the Math Tutorial Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Twelve years ago she became involved in helping to run a small children’s summer camp in southern Wisconsin and this project continues. Dottie grew up in an Olney connected family with multiple generations of connections to the school and local area. Life at Olney was a good fit for her. She loved sharing a dorm room with two or three roommates, loved her classes and especially remembers learning about spring wildflowers in the Belmont County woods. Traveling with her astronomer husband to international astronomy conferences and telescope sites, having friends all over the world, visiting children and grandchildren in California, New Zealand and England, plus working in the garden at home are all important parts of Dottie’s life.
Lars’ legal practice focuses on estate planning and administration, charitable giving and nonprofit governance. He works with individuals and families, and with local and national cultural, education and health organizations. He started his legal career as Counsel with the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and was then Counselor to the Vice Chair at the Interstate Commerce Commission. Lars served also in senior and cabinet appointments for four mayors in two cities (Bosley and Harmon in St. Louis, MO; and Williams and Fenty in Washington, DC). In addition to practicing law, he is a trustee of Olney Friends School, in Barnesville, OH, and is a member of the Alumni Board of Governors at Washington University in St. Louis. By mayoral appointment, he is a member of the DC Commission on National and Community Service (Serve DC), and is Vice Chair of the Saint Elizabeths East Advisory Board. Lars is a cum laude graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law, where he was Editor in Chief of the Saint Louis University Public Law Review. He received his undergraduate degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis. Lars is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and the State of Missouri. He lives in DC with his husband, Gregory Hoss, the President of David M. Schwarz Architects, Inc., and their energetic dachshund, Ada.
When I left Olney, I never dreamed I’d be back someday with a teenager of my own: my son, Joe Velick, is a junior. Between my junior year and his, I’ve graduated from Earlham College (majoring in classics), lived overseas as a teacher of English, gone to graduate school in linguistics, and worked as the editor of an arcane academic bibliography. While living in Austin, I met a fellow Michigander, Henry Velick; we moved back to Ann Arbor, and somehow I ended up going to business school. We live in a crumbling old house near downtown, with two big hairy dogs, and Joe, when he’s here. During the day, I teach entrepreneurship to undergraduates and consult with small businesses and start-ups about marketing. In the evenings, I make art in my basement and pack up care packages with dried fruit and warm socks to send to Joe at Olney.
More information coming soon
Frank has a long history with Quaker education. He has taught at five Friends’ schools, including Olney in the mid-80’s. Currently he is teaching History at the Friends Central School in Wynnewood, PA and serves as an Advisor and Grade Dean. He earned a BA in History from Earlham College and received his MA in History from Ohio University. Frank is a member of the Germantown Friends Monthly Meeting in Philadelphia, PA, and his meeting duties include Hospitality, Worship and Ministry.
More information coming soon
Michael attended Olney for all four years of high school. While a sophomore there, Michael’s interest in psychology was awakened for the first time when he was assigned to read Dibs in Search of Self by Virginia M. Axline. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in psychology at Earlham College, he earned a doctorate in clinical psychology at New York University. Michael has worked in a variety of clinical settings including outpatient and inpatient hospital settings in New York City and Worthington, Ohio. Currently, he maintains a busy, full time private practice in Columbus, Ohio working with children, adolescents, adults, and families. The values brought into sharper focus and nurtured during his years at Olney, such as unconditional respect and a belief in the resiliency and value of each person, remain at the center of his work. Michael joined the board of trustees in 2017.
Olney Friends School is an independent, co-educational, college preparatory boarding and day school offering individualized instruction in small class settings for grades 9-12.
The Main Office is staffed seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. till about 10:00 p.m. when school is in session. The administrator on call is available for emergencies 24 hours a day during the school year at 740-359-4015.