When Peter Klein OPC ’80 and his wife, Kate, made their gift to the How Far? capital campaign, they wanted to support the Lower School. Klein had two specific teachers in mind.
One was his mother, Barbara Klein, a much-beloved reading specialist in the Lower School from 1972 to 1981.
The other was James Redman, who taught sixth grade in the early ’70s when Lower School
was K-6. One of the first African-American teachers at PC and in the Lower School (as well as one of the first male Lower School teachers), Redman was a formidable figure. He insisted that students sit at their desks every morning, when he would greet them with, “Good morning, class,” to which they would reply,
“Good morning, Mr. Redman.” Every afternoon, he would dismiss them in the same way.
It was Redman’s teaching, though, that really made an impact on Klein. His academic lessons focused heavily on the African-American experience, including history, biography and culture. Part of the year was also devoted to studying Africa; each student was assigned a specific country to research and write a report about. In Klein’s year, the sixth grade play was Lorraine Hansberry’s, A Raisin in the Sun.
“Those things really opened my eyes,” Klein recalled. “They were subjects I didn’t have a lot of exposure to growing up, so I always appreciated it, and even more so now. Mr. Redman’s class left a big impression on me.”
Now semi-retired and living in Seattle, Klein graduated from Yale and earned an MBA at the University of Washington. He spent more than a decade as chief financial officer at Microsoft. Three brothers also attended Penn Charter: Lawrence OPC ’72, a cardiologist living in Indiana; Andrew OPC ’74, a former economist for the U.S. Department of Commerce; and twin brother Donald OPC ’80, a financial manager living in southern California.
Barbara Klein, Lower School reading specialist
“It was a pleasure to contribute to the lower school part of the overall capital plan,” Klein said. “Attending PC was a very impactful, profound experience. I remember every single one of my teachers. But it’s still astounding to me that we used to fit the entire school into the one main building.”