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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Community Says Goodbye to Mamadou After 35 Years

Sidwell Friends.
Upper School Principal Mamadou Guéye retires after working 35 years at Sidwell.

After working 35 years at Sidwell Friends, Upper School Principal Mamadou Guéye will depart at the end of the 2023-2024 year. Guéye will return to Senegal in the next few years to build a Center for African Studies and a Quaker elementary school. 

When Guéye was planning his retirement, he wanted to give back to his community. Guéye explains, “I feel like I should give back and giving back education was the first thing I thought about.” He hopes the Center for African Studies will allow high school and college students to immerse themselves in African history and culture. Guéye plans to visit Sidwell occasionally to see the students and work with the Center for Ethical Leadership in the new Upton Campus.

Since starting at Sidwell, Guéye has encouraged his students to follow the three G’s: gratitude, generosity and goodwill. “One thing I have wanted this community to be is a community where people are really grateful and generous and kind,” he said. Assistant Upper School Principal for Academic Affairs Robbie Gross will serve as Upper School Principal next school year. 

He admires “the care and the joy, the sense of fairness and sense of personal integrity and how [Gueye] kind of conducted himself and treated everybody in the building, students and the adults.” Guéye has welcomed students and faculty into the school and taught students to honor the values of kindness and humility. He also emphasized the importance of students appreciating their successes. 

Guéye started as a French Teacher in 1989 and later became Department Chair of Modern and Classical Languages in 2000. According to Guéye, during his time in the French Department, he shaped the French curriculum to represent diverse traditions, languages, and customs. He traveled throughout his career to learn more about other cultures.

Guéye incorporated the work of the French 5 curriculum authors he read during his visits to Senegal. These lesson plans, which were developed to include all Francophone cultures, are still being taught in French 5 classes.

Guéye was promoted to Academic Dean in 2008 and accepted the Upper School Principal position in 2014. He continued to teach one section of French until the COVID-19 pandemic, and he tried to attend French 5 classes at least three times a year.

“[Guéye] seeks both to deepen his own understanding of language and our understanding of it,” said Head of School Bryan Garman. Garman shared how Guéye has always tried expanding learning and including many different perspectives. Guéye follows the idea of “gestu,” which in Wolof means “to deepen.” He strives to deepen the inclusivity and equity between Sidwell students and its curriculum.  

Executive Assistant to the Upper School Principal Crystal Matthews explained how Guéye made his office a clubhouse and fostered an inclusive space. She acknowledged how the principal’s office can be a “scary place,” but she emphasized Guéye’s welcoming manner, which makes students want to visit him. Matthews also added how Guéye has taught her to welcome more visitors into the office. 

As Guéye departs, he wants “the students to understand, while they’re here, to enjoy every day, every class, every friendship and not worry too much about the outcome.” He hopes Sidwell students understand that high school is only one step of their journey and wishes everyone the best.

“I feel like I should give back and giving back education was the first thing I thought about.”

— Mamadou Guéye

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