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Our Story

The Story behind IFS in Seattle

The powerful narrative and energy behind the International Friends School began a long time ago when Stan Brooks from Wyoming met Claire Stevenson from Massachusetts in Vientiane, Laos in 1959. Marriage followed and Stan Brooks went on to have a career as a U.S. diplomat which took him to Nepal,  Beijing, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Washington D.C and Korea over a 34 year period. Stan and Claire Brooks raised four children overseas in often adverse and complicated situations but with the firm belief that differences are to be embraced, understood and offered unique experiences to thrive.  Such opportunities informed the Brooks family motto that a constructive community is not based on sameness but on weighing varying perspectives and communicating ideas effectively across diverse audiences.

In 1983 with their four children grown, Claire Brooks re-opened the Shanghai American School in 1983 with eight children in her backyard. Today the school continues to set the standard in college preparatory readiness and has over 3,000 international students. Their son David recently retired as Chairman of Coca-Cola China. Their other sons have served in the U.S. Military and practice Emergency Medicine. Their daughter Sue, a talented polyglot, has lived in Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Bali, Prague, Mexico, San Francisco and Seattle picking up a limitless passion for education, a Masters in Early Childhood and a pending EdD in Educational Leadership. Most recently, Sue opened and ran the acclaimed early childhood center in Shanghai for 9 years.

In her latest professional chapter, Sue has made Seattle her home and it is here that the International Friends School (IFS) belongs. the school will bring together Sue's deep knowledge and experience with dual-language immersion programming with her spiritual and ethical foundations in the Quaker tradition. Children at IFS will become fluent Mandarin and Spanish speakers all within the context of growing into global citizens with strong hearts and very curious minds.  

Explore this world; Begin with us