Come to share, discover, and connect with our school community -  over drink and food in the informal, round-table setting of our Community Salon Series! These free community events are part of our wider Urban Engagement Program and feature members of our school community, sharing their expertise and spearheading conversation. It is geared towards parents, faculty/staff, alumni and upper school students interested in the salon's theme. 

Upcoming Salon

Our next Salon will take place on February 12th - New Frontiers in the Sciences: from Biotech to Particle Physics  - with parent speakers: Amanda Kahn-Kirby and Philippe Grenier. 

The doors open at 6pm, with formal sharing from 6:15pm-7:30pm. More informal conversation may extend beyond. The event itself is free and free childcare (with food) is available from 6-8:00 for students, PK-8th grade. 

RSVP form forthcoming

Speaker bios:

Philippe Grenier - Deputy Director of Elementary Particle Physics Division, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Philippe holds a PhD in particle physics from the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique in France. After fulfilling his obligatory French military duties in 1996, Philippe was admitted to the French National Center For Scientific Research in the particle physics division. After working in laboratories in France and Switzerland, he moved to San Francisco in 2002 to work at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on behalf of the French government. He has been a member of one of the two experiments that discovered the Higgs Boson at the world’s largest particle accelerator, the LHC, at the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

Philippe is currently working at SLAC and has recently been appointed Deputy Director of the Elementary Particle Physics Division. He is also the deputy project leader for a collaboration of several hundred physicists and engineers from all over the world with the goal of developing and constructing the next-generation vertexing particle detector to be installed at the LHC in 2025. He manages the scientific aspects and financial budget for the United States.  Philippe was born and raised in Aurillac, France. He and his wife, Heather, have two sons, Tristan and Roman.

Amanda Kahn-Kirby - Group Leader of Precision BioModeling, BioElectron Technology Corporation

Amanda's love for biology began with an exceptionally talented teacher in high school, leading to an undergraduate degree in Biology at Columbia.  After a brief foray into teaching science at the Haverford School and Phillips Exeter summer school, she came out west to earn my neuroscience doctorate with Cori Bargmann at UCSF.  Both her graduate and postdoctoral work focused on the microscopic yet powerful worm, the genetic model organism C. elegans.  For the last decade, she has led mechanism-of-action and biomarker discovery projects to support pharmaceutical R&D, first in the HIF/anemia program at FibroGen in San Francisco, and now at BioElectron in Mountain View.  When not working on BioElectron's translational programs for pediatric mitochondrial disease and adult neurodegeneration,  Amanda enjoys spending time outdoors with Mason Kirby and her two children, Julia and Miles.

Look Back

Our second Salon took place on November 28th in the Arts Pavillion. The event featured two parent speakers, prominent in the field, Ximena Ares and Brian Ferrall. 

Our salon series launched on October 16, with about 60 faculty, staff, parents and students sharing in conversation on the theme of civic and political engagement. The evening featured parent speakers Andrea Dew Steele, founder of Engage America, and Mark Mullen, founder/CEO of BeTheWave, and was moderated by Urban Engagement Coordinator, Michelle Haner and International High School senior and founder of Bay Area Student Activists, Zoe Benjamin.

For more information about the Salon Series or the Urban Engagement Program, please contact Urban Engagement Coordinator, Michelle Haner, at

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John Cate

John Cate brings nearly three decades of business experience to the Board of Trustees. He has served in senior marketing positions in prominent high growth technology firms such as Sybase and Peoplesoft. He worked for global advertising and Public Relations companies, including BBDO and Hill Holliday. He was an executive or principal in three successful start-ups, and has extensive international business experience, overseeing global marketing strategies and product launches for a variety of companies.

Several years ago, John left the business world to work as a stay-at-home dad with his daughter Sophie '17. This opened the door to fresh opportunities to serve the community. He spent five years on the board of directors of the Phoebe Hearst Preschool, and has been an active volunteer at French American, where he has served as President, Treasurer and Secretary of the lower and middle school parent boards, and a docent with Admissions. He is also Treasurer for the board of directors of NCIS, the umbrella organization that manages campus facilities for both French American and Chinese American. John also had the privilege of being on the board of the Eureka Theatre during the time that it was incubating and producing the premier of Angels in America, the ground-breaking, Pulitzer-winning play by Tony Kushner.

Together with his wife, Jeanne, John is a passionate traveler. They have traveled extensively throughout Europe, and in 2008 were able to spend six months with daughter Sophie living in Paris. John was a Peace Corps volunteer in Iran, and later returned to Iran to live and work for an additional three years in the 1970’s. While living in Paris after the Iranian revolution, he helped to found - and contributed - to Paris Voices, a literary magazine. He has traveled throughout central Asia, and has trekked in the Andes. His great love is backcountry skiing, which he pursues both here in the Sierra, as well as in the French and Swiss Alps.

John is currently a member of the Facilities and Marketing committees of the Board of Trustees. He holds a BA in English and Philosophy from Macalester College, and an MA from the University of New Hampshire.

French American International School

Main building

150 Oak Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

Ph: 415.558.2000

Early Childhood Center

1155 Page Street

San Francisco, CA 94117

Ph: 415.231.5733

An independent Pre-K through 12th grade co-educational day school in the heart of San Francisco. The school delivers a rigorous bilingual (French/English) immersion program through middle school, culminating in either French Baccalaureate or International Baccalaureate program in its International High School.

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