Friends School



Friends School is a nonprofit, nonsectarian, cooperative school whose mission is to provide an inclusive, noncompetitive, student-centered dynamic educational program where individual differences are respected and celebrated.



Philosophy and guiding principles

Friends School philosophy is one that celebrates our differences in an increasingly diverse world. Our school is founded on the following guiding principles:

  • The positive growth and development of the whole child socially, academically, physically and emotionally, according to his or her own needs.

  • The utilization of an integrated, hands-on and challenging curricular approach that focuses on the individual needs, interests and skills of each child.

  • The cultivation of a heterogeneous population of children that includes those of different races, abilities and economic backgrounds.

  • The opportunity to learn, while respecting and honoring one another’s unique characteristics, and appreciating that which we have in common.   

  • To strengthen self-esteem, and provide children with the ethical framework and practical capacities which allow them to make appropriate and responsible decisions.

  • To encourage active parental involvement in the education and learning environment of their children.

Our History



Friends School of Louisville was founded in 1980 by a group of parents and teachers who were seeking an opportunity for all of their children, including those with special needs and abilities, to attend the same school. At that time, there were no schools in our area equipped to do this, so parents and teachers collectively decided to begin their own family cooperative program. One of the founders enjoyed an ongoing association with the Friends Council for Social Concerns, a Quaker Faith Community in Louisville. The group approached the Friends Council and received support, operating for the first eleven years under their auspices. Friends School of Louisville received its own nonprofit charter in 1991, and though no longer formally affiliated with the Quakers, we share many of their progressive principles, traditions and values.

Today our programs serve children in preschool to middle school, and provide a caring and nurturing environment where the uniqueness of each child is celebrated. In the almost forty years since Friends School of Louisville began, we have continually upgraded our facilities, curriculum and program offerings to keep pace with the evolving educational needs and requirements of our students and families.  For the last twenty years we have been located at St. John Lutheran Church on Breckenridge Lane.  

A Nut-Free School

Nut-Free School


Friends School strives to create a safe environment for all of its students. Our school community has made a commitment to follow nut-free guidelines for the safety and health of all. We ask every student, teacher and parent to help us make Friends a secure place for children who have food allergies. All foods that our children eat are provided by their parents from home. It is the responsibility of each parent, teacher, and staff member to ensure a safe and healthy snack/lunch for every child.

Parents are asked to send healthy snacks and lunches to school. Appropriate choices may include applesauce, yogurt, pudding, cheese, and all types of fresh or dried fruits and vegetables. Any prepackaged processed foods such as cereals, rice cakes, crackers, cookies and breakfast bars should state allergy information clearly in bold type near their ingredients list, and whether or not peanuts or tree nuts are in the actual food or if the food was processed on or near equipment that also processes items with nuts (cross-contamination). A federal law in effect since January of 2006 requires manufacturers to plainly state allergy information on packaging. Please always keep in mind that Friends School does not allow nut products OR products that have been processed in a facility that produces, contains or handles nut products!


Please remember that several children attending Friends have severe, life-threatening allergies to peanuts and tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, etc.), including nut oils and nut flours found in pre-packaged processed foods. These children must carry an Epi-Pen (shot of epinephrine) with them at all times, as well as Benadryl. These allergies can be so severe that children may have a reaction not only to ingestion but also from skin contact and inhalation. For example, simply picking up a fallen tree nut on the playground or doing an arts-and- crafts project that contains food allergens (sunflower seeds, birdseed, etc.) is enough to cause a reaction. Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions affecting the heart, throat, and lungs) can occur within minutes of contact or up to four hours later, and may be life-threatening if medicine is not administered promptly.   

While at times it may be difficult to find nut-free foods that you or your children will eat and you might feel frustrated with this policy, always remember that a child could potentially die from exposure to these types of foods.

Meals and Snacks

It is Friends School policy that under no circumstance is there to be sharing of any foods. This applies to daily instruction as well as for parties and holidays.

Students provide their own nutritious snacks and beverages from home each day. Full-day students also bring a lunch. Children staying for after care should also bring an additional snack and beverage. Please use recyclable or reusable containers clearly labeled with the child’s name. Soft drinks should not be sent to the school.

Snacks and lunches may contain fresh fruits, cheese cubes and crackers, hard-boiled eggs, celery with cream cheese, rice cakes, applesauce, pretzels, lunch meat, bread, soy butter, etc. Please be sure food that requires refrigeration is placed in a refrigerator or accompanied by an ice pack.

It is IMPERATIVE that families send HEALTHY snacks and lunches to school. Please be certain that your child has a protein, a complex carbohydrate, a fruit and a vegetable in their snacks/lunches. Friends School will NOT allow cans or bottles of soda. Friends School will supplement any snack or lunch that is deemed unhealthy with appropriate foods and the family will be charged for the food so provided.

Friends School provides refrigerators and microwaves for students to utilize. Space and time are limited, so food warm-ups should be restricted to forty-five seconds or less. For example, if you are sending your child a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese individual meal for lunch, you should prepare that at home and we will simply re-heat it at school. Otherwise, your child will not have enough time to cook the macaroni, wait for it to cool and then eat it. Additionally, other students in the class will also be heating food, further impacting the amount of time available for lunch. Again, please send food items that require warm-up only, never preparation.

All children and teachers, parents or co-ops must wash their hands before and after preparing or eating foods.



The governing board at Friends School, called the Friends School Board, is composed of at least nine selected members of the corporation, each appointed for a term of two years. The selected members will consist of six or more parents of children enrolled in the school, and three ex-officio teachers and staff members. Parent members of the Board may not be teachers or staff members, but teacher members may be parents of children in the school. Parent and staff membership must represent the entire school and be devoted to its best interests. The Board shall also consist of five or more community members selected from the Corporation or from outside the Corporation. The Head of School shall be an ex-officio member of the Board, and shall not count in constituting a quorum or determining consensus of the Board.  

The primary responsibilities of the Friends School Board are fiduciary and strategic, concerned with the school’s financial health, strategic planning, and adherence to mission.


Friends School Board Responsibilities are as follows:

  • Operating Friends School of Louisville in the best interests of its students, teachers, and parents

  • Planning for the school’s long-term health and sustainability, especially through financial oversight

  • Establishing and reviewing policies necessary for the successful operation of the school

  • Overseeing and supporting the Head of School, who is responsible for daily operations and the Board’s sole employee  

  • Maintaining active standing subcommittees concerned with administrative oversight and counsel, finance, Board development and fund advancement, as well as ad hoc committees as needed


Friends School Board


Board Officers

Chairman - Pat McElhone

Past Chairman - Chad McCauley

Finance Officer- John Dwyer

Secretary - Kim Hartz

Board Members

Heidi Pena

Angie Bartley

Ex Officio Members:

Kristina Davis Christensen (Head of School)

Cheryl Scheuling (Assistant Head of School)

Melanie Willis (Finance / Business Manager)






Friends School Office

901 Breckenridge Lane

Louisville, KY 40207




Main Office: 502.899.1822


Kristina Davis Christensen, M.Ed.: Head of School


Cherly Schleuning: Assistant Head of School


Jen Charlton: Admissions


Lauren Becker: Preschool Director


Linda Kempf: Summer Program Coordinator


Melanie Willis: Business Office Manager




Privacy Policy

Your privacy is important to us. To better protect your privacy, we provide this notice explaining our information practices. Our privacy policy is simple: we collect no information about you unless you choose to provide that information to us. In addition, we do not give, sell, share, or transfer any personal information about you to any third parties. To prevent unauthorized access, maintain accuracy, and ensure the correct use of information, we have put into place appropriate physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure any information that we collect. If you have questions about our privacy practices, you can contact us at the postal or email address provided in this document or stop into the office.