“The goal of a sabbatical is rest and rejuvenation so faculty come back energized for the work we do with students—it’s a time to refresh,” says Julia Stojak Maurer ’90, assistant head of school for academic affairs. “We want faculty to disconnect while they’re gone. The time away allows faculty the opportunity to do something they wouldn’t have the time to do in the day-to-day life of school.”
Faculty members must be employed for 10 years at Mercersburg before they are eligible to go on sabbatical. Recipients are chosen on the basis of the length of their Mercersburg tenure.
Mercersburg’s sabbatical program is made possible by the school’s Daring to Lead Campaign
, which raised $300 million to invest in financial aid, faculty support, program support, and the campus.
David Bell came to Mercersburg in 1997, officially joining the faculty in 1998. He worked in the library for 11 years while also teaching history classes. In September 2008, he became a full-time history teacher and the director of community service; he has since traded his community-service duties for responsibilities as the school’s sports communication director. Bell is the 2017-2018 recipient of the school’s Zern Excellence in Teaching Award and received the Ammerman Distinguished Teaching Award for Religious and Interdisciplinary Studies in 2007-2008. He previously taught history for more than a decade at Sanford High School in Sanford, Maine.
Bell’s educational background includes a B.S. in secondary education (with a major in history) from the University of Maine at Farmington and an MLIS from the University of Rhode Island. He and his wife, Julie, who is the assistant librarian in the library on campus, have two daughters: Jennifer ’17 and Emily ’18.
Emily Parsons teaches history and is the dormitory dean in Fowle Hall on campus. She grew up in Mercersburg; her father, Sonny Parsons ’59, was a Mercersburg graduate and owned and ran a pharmacy in the borough for many years. While in college, Parsons worked as a research intern in Washington, D.C., where she became intimately acquainted with the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the National Building Museum. Parsons served as Mercersburg’s first director of Springboard
(a capstone experience for members of the senior class), and also taught The Global Food Chain (a Springboard course) for its first four years.
Parsons holds the Marilyn and Robert M. Kurtz ’52 Chair for American Studies and received the 2011-2012 Ammerman Distinguished Teaching Award for Religious and Interdisciplinary Studies. She is an adviser to Voices 4 Justice and previously organized the school’s Model UN Club. Parsons has three children, including Jay Howley ’21 and Evan Howley '22.
Susan Rahauser was appointed the director of counseling in 1999. She is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and a nationally certified counselor and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University and a master’s in mental health counseling from Shippensburg University. She also attends many workshops and conferences related to school health and student well-being.
Rahauser oversees the human development program for lower middlers (10th-grade students) and often contributes to school committees on such topics as residential life, curriculum, and citizenship. In 2006, she received the Ammerman Distinguished Teaching Award. She and her husband, Tom Rahauser ’74, have three children (Eric ’05, Tim ’07, and Laura ’12), all of whom graduated from Mercersburg.