Sandy Spring Friends School



Fast Facts

Sandy Spring Friends School is a progressive, coed, college preparatory Quaker school serving students from age three through 12th Grade, with an optional residential life program in the Middle and Upper Schools.

Founded in 1961, SSFS offers a deep and rigorous academic curriculum, character education rooted in universal Quaker principles, and a diverse and international student body that reflects today's global community. SSFS sits on a pastoral 140-acre campus in the heart of Montgomery County, Maryland, midway between Washington D.C. and Baltimore—an ideal setting for intellectual contemplation, athletic training, diverse extracurricular pursuits, outdoor exploration, urban excursion, and personal growth.


At A Glance



Students across three divisions. 



Faculty & Staff working at SSFS, each one contributing to a positive educational experience for our students.



Student-Teacher Ratio 



Average class size. Many classes are smaller than 16; all are characterized by supportive and trusting relationships between students and teachers.

General Information

Address: 16923 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860
Main Phone: (301) 774-7455
Fax: (301) 924-1115
Head of School: Thomas R. Gibian



  • Midway between Washington D.C. and Baltimore
  • 140+ acre campus
  • Instructional organic farm 
  • 2 gardens
  • 6 miles of cross-country trails
  • 3 athletic fields
  • Swimming pond



Faculty & Staff

  • 156 Faculty and staff
  • 86 Teaching faculty
  • 23% Employees identify as faculty & staff of color
  • 13 Faculty/staff members are alumni
  • 61 Teaching faculty hold advanced degrees

Student Body

  • 142 Students in the Lower School (Preschool through Grade 5)
  • 137 Students in the Middle School (Grades 6-8)
  • 329 Students in the Upper School (Grades 9-12)
  • 100 Students enrolled in the Residential Life program
  • 59% Students of color
  • 7% Quaker
  • 19 Countries represented across the school
  • 100% Graduates accepted to a four-year college or university
  • Average class size is 16
  • 8:1 Student-faculty ratio


1958: Esther Scott Donates Land to Build School

In 1958, Brook Moore suggested a new school for Sandy Spring at the Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends. Interest grew, and Esther Scott gave the first of several acres of her family farm to develop a Friends Center and a school seeking to educate the whole person—body, mind, and spirit. 

1961: Sandy Spring Friends School Opens

Sandy Spring Friends School opened in September 1961 with a limited enrollment Upper School program for 77 students. 

1980: Middle School Added

In 1980, SSFS added a Middle School program in Brookeville, which moved onto campus in February of 1984.

1983: Ashton Meeting House Moved On Campus

In 1983, the historic Ashton Meeting House was moved to the campus. Since then, the School has held Meeting for Worship on a regularly-scheduled basis in the Meeting House. It is a visible reminder of the living Quaker heritage of the School. 

1992: Lower School Added

In 1992, Friends Elementary School moved onto campus, officially merging with SSFS one year later. The following year, the School expanded again to serve students from pre-kindergarten (age 4) through 12th grade.

2005: New Middle School, Athletic Center, and Performing Arts Buildings Completed

The "Kindle the Spirit" capital campaign, which launched in 2003, enhanced our campus with the construction of three major buildings (the Performing Arts Center, an Athletic Complex, and a new Middle School building). As part of the construction project, the road and parking lots created around the periphery of the campus enabled the interior of our campus to be a pedestrian-only space with a spacious grassy quad at its center. 

2016: Preschool Program Expanded

Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, our  preschool program expanded to further to include three-year-olds, so that SSFS could serve students from age 3 through 12th grade.

2018: Construction Begins on New Upper School Building

Our community gathered on Nov. 12, 2018, for the groundbreaking of our new Upper School building. See ongoing construction progress here! 

The history of Sandy Spring Friends School illustrates the path of self-discovery and individual experience that our students undertake on a daily basis: inquiry, reflection, cooperation, action, refinement and perpetual personal growth.

Sandy Spring Friends School remains a close-knit community: innovative, diverse, welcoming, and rooted in our Quaker heritage. SSFS is a dynamic institution, and we continue to grow and develop. Yet Mary Lil Moore’s words, spoken on the occasion of Sandy Spring’s 20th anniversary and seen at the top of this page, were true at our founding, and are still true today.

MaryLil and Brook Moore

Mary Lil and Brook Moore, who founded SSFS in 1961

It is my belief that this school gives its students opportunity for a fine education; it gives its teachers opportunity to do what they do best. But most important of all, it gives opportunities to nourish the soul, helping all those connected with it to grow in spirit and in truth. Mary Lil Moore