“We are thrilled to welcome Jen Smith into the dean of academics role,” says Julia Stojak Maurer ’90, assistant head of school for academic affairs at Mercersburg. “She brings a keen intellect, an openness to new ideas, a desire to collaborate, and a fierce dedication to our students and to her work. Her organizational strengths coupled with her creative approach to problems make her a wonderful fit for this role.”
The role of the academic dean includes overseeing teaching faculty, classroom observations, and the development and implementation of new and emerging academic programs, as well as managing the daily operations of the academic office.
Smith is the head diving coach at the school, works with Mercersburg Outdoor Education, and is the faculty adviser to the John Marshall Literary Society. She was valedictorian of Mercersburg’s Class of 1997 and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago. Smith joined the Mercersburg faculty in 2008 and was the 2010-2011 recipient of the school’s Zern Distinguished Teaching Award.
“Mercersburg Academy means so much to me,” Smith says. “I have officially called Mercersburg home since I moved here with my family in 2008, but it has held a special place in my heart for so much longer than that.”
Smith, who says that she couldn't be happier to be moving into this new role, also adds, “I am looking forward to working with colleagues throughout all departments in the school to continue to support the students in their academic growth.”
Her husband, Douglas Smith, is the school archivist and head golf coach at Mercersburg. The Smiths live off campus and have two children.
Jen Smith is a native of Gettysburg, Pa. Her great aunt, Miriam Witherow, worked at Mercersburg for 41 years as executive secretary to then-headmasters Charles S. Tippetts (1912), William C. Fowle, and Walter H. Burgin Jr. ’53. Smith’s sister, Emily Miller Joyner ’99, is a fellow alum of Mercersburg, as are four of her cousins: Amanda Harris Beaner ’97, Sarah Harris ’99, Ryan Harris ’01, and Stephanie Harris ’04.
“My time here as a student helped to shape my life and future, and it has been incredibly rewarding to be a part of that experience for the students I have taught, coached, and advised,” Smith says.