Faculty Highlight: Chris McNeal, Dean of School Culture & Community Life, Head Boys Varsity Basketball Coach

Faculty Highlight: Chris McNeal, Dean of School Culture & Community Life, Head Boys Varsity Basketball Coach

For more than 230 years, Friends School’s educational journey has equally emphasized the mastery of content with the mastery of essential skills required to succeed in the world - skills like critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and empathy - to name a few. Meet some of our outstanding faculty who guide our students through this journey each and every day.

Chris McNeal, Dean of School Culture & Community Life / Head Boys Varsity Basketball Coach

B.A. Dickinson College - Educational Studies; MS. Ed University of Pennsylvania - Education, Culture, Society

At Friends School since 2020

Q. Why did you choose Friends and/or what do you love about teaching at Friends?
A. Before 2020 I had little knowledge of Baltimore or the independent schools in the area, but I was familiar with Quaker schools as I worked, lived, and went to school in the Philadelphia area. I immediately felt at home at Friends. It was clear that there was a strong commitment to community, diversity, and service that students, families, faculty, and, staff engaged with. I love working at Friends because each day I get to collaborate with and learn from colleagues who work across different divisions and departments. They all have a genuine passion for supporting new community members.    

Q. What do you love about your roles in particular?
I am grateful to take on many roles because they allow me to build relationships with a variety of students at Friends. It truly is the students that make the Friends School experience so special. I have been an advisor, I coach multiple sports, I collaborate with student leaders to help plan School events, and I get to teach in the classroom. I love that my role is so fluid, and I am lucky to be able to connect with students and faculty through athletics, the DEI office, the Middle School administration, admissions, and other divisions.

Q. How do the Middle School curriculum and teaching at Friends School prepare students to be successful?
A. Students in the Middle School are given an intentional blend of autonomy and structure to help prepare them to be independent learners and community members, while also ensuring they receive support and guidance. The academic and extracurricular opportunities in the Middle School journey allow students to explore their interests, to find confidence in being challenged and asking questions, and make an impact in their community and beyond.

Q. Something fun about you - a motto or hobby, perhaps?
A. I am a big Philadelphia sports fan, but over the past couple of years, I have gained some appreciation for the Ravens and the Orioles. My cat “Jojo” is named after the Philadelphia 76ers basketball player Joel Embiid.