New Faculty Appointments Include Familiar Faces
As the 2020-2021 academic year commences, Mercersburg Academy announces the appointment of five new faculty members (Ellie De Leon, Lauren Hoffman, Andrew Myers, Dr. Laura Nickerson, and Paul Sipes), along with the official return of science faculty members Renee Hicks and Skyler Clark, who has been hired after completing two years of service at Mercersburg in the school’s teaching fellowship program.
New to the faculty:
Ellie De Leon (science) previously was a science teacher at The Barnesville School in Barnesville, MD, where she was also the lead teacher for the school’s seventh grade and the head middle school and cross country coach. She is not new to Mercersburg, however; De Leon’s partner, Leela Woody, first arrived at the Academy in 2018 as a teaching fellow and was hired as an English faculty member in 2019. De Leon was a standout cross country and track & field athlete at Mount Holyoke College, and has also assisted on a part-time basis with Mercersburg’s girls’ cross country program. De Leon holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Mount Holyoke and a master of science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an adviser in Fowle Hall on campus and an assistant coach for the boys’ cross country and indoor track & field teams.
Lauren Hoffman (athletics) has served as Mercersburg’s head softball coach and an assistant director of athletics since 2016, and was promoted to associate director of athletics this summer. Hoffman works as an administrator with Mercersburg’s girls’ athletic teams in addition to coaching the Blue Storm on the softball diamond. She was a two-sport varsity athlete at Union College in New York state, where she twice earned all-conference honors in softball and won the Athletic Director’s Award for leadership in ice hockey. Hoffman graduated from Union before earning a master’s from Canisius College. She and her fiancé, Matt Jacobs (Mercersburg’s head baseball coach and assistant director of summer programs), live in Fowle Hall.
Andrew Myers (athletics) has worked with Mercersburg athletes since 2011, and was promoted to director of athletic training services in 2018 and to associate director of athletics for strength and performance in 2019. He has worked with a wide variety of team sports at the high-school and collegiate levels, including at his undergraduate alma mater (West Chester University of Pennsylvania) and at Penn State University, where he earned a master’s in health education. Myers also was an intern for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League. His area of focus throughout graduate school was researching the overtraining of young athletes. Myers is a Certified Athletic Trainer and is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association and the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers Society. He lives in Keil Hall.
Laura Nickerson P ’22, ’24 (director of health and wellness services) has held a number of positions in nursing, teaching, and health-care administration, including as the director of health services at Gould Academy (a boarding school in Maine). She most recently worked as a registered nurse in the neonatal ICU at Maine Medical Center, the largest hospital in northern New England. Nickerson completed a doctorate of nursing practice from Regis University in Colorado and a master of science in nursing from Walden University in Baltimore, as well as degrees from Immaculata University near Philadelphia and St. Lawrence College in her native Canada. Nickerson has held nursing positions in nearby Winchester, VA, and Lancaster, PA, as well as in Mississippi and at a residential summer camp in Maine. She has served as a faculty member in the nursing and health information technology programs at the University of Maine Fort Kent and Eastern Maine Community College. Nickerson and her husband, Graham Williams, have four children, including Ellie Williams ’22 and Gavin Williams ’24.
Paul Sipes P ’22 (athletics) has been Mercersburg’s head girls’ varsity basketball coach and an assistant director of athletics since 2016, and was named associate director of athletics this summer. Sipes is a nine-time conference coach of the year in girls’ basketball, and has been named state coach of the year in both Maryland (2001) and Virginia (2013). Sipes has been athletic director at Wakefield School in Virginia and St. Thomas More Preparatory School in Connecticut, as well as assistant executive chairman of the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association. As an athletic administrator at Mercersburg, he oversees boys’ athletic teams. Sipes earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland College Park and a master’s from Wesleyan University; he serves on Mercersburg’s Borough Council and is affiliated with Keil Hall on campus. He and his wife, fellow faculty member and School Counselor Jen Sipes, have two daughters, including Finn ’22.
Returning to the faculty:
Skyler Clark (science) joined the Mercersburg science department in 2018 as a teaching fellow and was appointed a full-time member of the science faculty this year. Clark serves as an assistant girls’ varsity soccer coach and has been the faculty adviser for the John Marshall Literary Society on campus. He graduated from Washington College in Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in science and chemistry with a minor in theatre. Clark grew up on the campus of The Gunnery, an independent boarding school in Connecticut; his father taught and coached for more than 30 years, giving Clark an enormous appreciation for and understanding of residential life. He lives in Keil Hall on campus.
Renee Hicks P ’16, ’19 (science) first arrived at Mercersburg in 1994 to join her husband, fellow longtime science faculty member (and former Academic Dean) Eric Hicks. She is a past recipient of the school’s Zern Excellence in Teaching Award, and is technically in her third different stint on the school's faculty as a science teacher. Hicks has served as an adviser to the Mercersburg News and the Photography Club, as head coach of the girls’ varsity basketball and diving teams, and as an assistant track & field coach. She played Division I college basketball at St. Bonaventure University before transferring to George Washington University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree. Hicks also holds a master’s from Wesleyan University, and is affiliated with Fowle Hall. The Hickses live in Tobey House on campus and are the parents of two Mercersburg alumni, Elliot ’16 and Emma ’19.