Nine Faculty and Staff Announce Retirements

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Mercersburg Academy congratulates nine longtime employees of the school—four faculty members and five staff members—on their respective retirements. We send our best wishes to Rita Barone, Jyl Hoover, Peter Kempe, Laurie Mufson, Barb Myers, Jorja Price, Susan Rahauser, Tom Rahauser ’74, and Susan Simar. Together, they have served Mercersburg for more than 260 years.
Six of the nine retirements are effective at the close of the 2020–2021 academic year; Barone retired from her position in October 2020, while Myers retired in April 2021. (Simar, a longtime receptionist in the Admission Office in Traylor Hall, retired last fall.)

Rita Barone P ’03 (27 years)
Rita arrived at Mercersburg in 1993 as the school’s nursing staff coordinator. She became associate director of the Health Center in 1998; one year later, she was promoted to director of the Health Center. Rita served as director for 21 years until her retirement last October; during that time, she and her staff provided care for quite literally thousands of Mercersburg students. Rita’s son, Mark Ryscavage ’03, is a Mercersburg alum.

Jyl Hoover (40 years)
Jyl began at Mercersburg in 1978 in the Alumni Office. In 1979, she became an administrative assistant in the Registrar’s Office. She has been an important cog behind the scenes in the school for four decades. Jyl was named the school’s registrar in 2019, and finishes her Mercersburg career in that role. Like a number of her fellow 2020–2021 retirees, she has worked with three of Mercersburg’s seven heads of school (Walter Burgin ’53, Doug Hale, and Katie Titus).

Peter Kempe P ’09, ’13, ’18 (27 years)
Peter, a proud native of Germany, joined the faculty in 1994 to teach German. He was the school’s head boys’ varsity soccer coach for 12 years (from 1996 to 2007) and helped establish Mercersburg’s exchange program with the Gauss Gymnasium in Worms, Germany, which began in 1998. Peter has worked with MAPS (Mercersburg’s Advanced Program for Global Studies) since its inception in 2014, and has served as the program’s director since 2017. Peter received the Zern Excellence in Teaching Award in 2011–2012, has served as the school’s Mary Keeler Lawrence Distinguished Teaching Chair since 2014, and was previously a dormitory dean in Tippetts Hall. Peter gave the address at Mercersburg’s Opening Convocation in fall 2017. He and his wife, Lucia, are the parents of three Mercersburg alumni: Anika ’09, Stefan ’13, and Antonia ’18.

Laurie Mufson (23 years)
Laurie came to Mercersburg in May 1998 after creating theatre programs at two other independent schools and serving as an adjunct professor at American University. She currently serves as the school’s director of theatre and director of the Burgin Center for the Arts; she is a past chair of the arts department and was named director of the arts in 2019. Laurie is the inaugural holder of the school’s Palmer Chair for the Fine Arts, a role to which she was appointed in 2008. Laurie was the featured speaker at the school’s Opening Convocation in fall 2020. She and her husband, faculty emeritus Jim Applebaum (who retired from Mercersburg in 2015), previously served as dorm deans in Fowle Hall.
Barb Myers (19 years)
Barb came to Mercersburg in 2001 to serve in the position of records clerk/coordinator in what was then known as the Alumni and Development Office (and is now the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations). She served as a records specialist from 2004 to 2008, and became an advancement services associate with responsibilities for gifts in 2009. Barb has entered more than 80,000 gift records and has served the school through multiple capital campaigns.
Jorja Price P ’07 (22 years)
Jorja arrived at Mercersburg in 1999 as the billing manager for student accounts. She held this position until 2005, when she began consecutive stints as an administrative assistant in the Dean of Students’ Office and the Office of Admission and Financial Aid. Jorja joined the Business Office in her current role as accounts payable manager in 2008, and has been a key member of one of the school’s busiest offices ever since. Jorja and her husband, Roger, are the parents of Mercersburg graduate Ashton ’07.
Susan Rahauser P ’05, ’07, ’12 (30 years)
Susan formally began work at Mercersburg in 1991 as a member of the counseling staff, though she has been part of the Mercersburg community since 1984, when she married Tom Rahauser ’74. Susan was appointed the director of counseling in 1999, became a faculty member in 2000, and moved into the role of director of student counseling services in 2001. She received the Ammerman Distinguished Teaching Award for Religious and Interdisciplinary Studies in 2006, and was the featured speaker at the school’s Opening Convocation in fall 2013. The Rahauser Counseling Center on campus was dedicated in Susan and Tom Rahauser’s honor in 2018. Susan and Tom are the parents of three children (all Mercersburg alumni): Eric ’05, Tim ’07, and Laura ’12.
Tom Rahauser ’74, P ’05, ’07, ’12 (43 years)
Tom graduated from Mercersburg—following his older brothers Dave ’67 and Chuck ’70 and their great uncle William (1922)—and received the Headmaster’s Prize and captained the soccer, basketball, and baseball teams. He joined the Mercersburg faculty in 1978 as a Spanish teacher and served as school’s dean of students from 1996 until 2017, as well as its head boys’ soccer coach from 1984 to 1996. (He returned to the sidelines in fall 2017 as an assistant coach for the boys’ varsity soccer team.) Tom also chairs the Conduct Review Committee and received the Ammerman Distinguished Teaching Award for Religious and Interdisciplinary Studies in fall 2020. He will give the Baccalaureate address to the Class of 2021 on Commencement Weekend in June.

To send best wishes to any of the retirees or to share a memory of them, we invite you to use the following email addresses:
For Peter Kempe and Tom Rahauser:
For Laurie Mufson:
For Susan Rahauser and Rita Barone:
For Jyl Hoover, Barb Myers, Jorja Price, and Susan Simar:

For more information on this story, please contact Lee Owen ( in Mercersburg’s Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications.