Debbie and Frank Rutherford to Retire in June 2019
Longtime faculty members Frank ’70 and Debbie Rutherford have announced that they will retire from Mercersburg in June 2019, at the conclusion of the 2018–2019 academic year.
Together, the Rutherfords have given more than 80 years of service to the Academy. Debbie Rutherford is the first person at Mercersburg to hold the title of associate head of school; she originally joined the faculty in 1977 as a Spanish teacher, was chosen to succeed Jackie Powell as assistant head of the school in 1991, and was appointed associate head in 1997. Frank Rutherford returned to his alma mater in 1976 as a science teacher and has coached a number of sports (most notably track & field) at the school over the past four decades. Both have served the school in a variety of academic, cocurricular, and residential roles.
“Building on the legacy of Jackie Powell, Debbie Rutherford paved the way for all women in leadership at Mercersburg,” Head of School Katie Titus says. “Debbie has been an incredible partner for me in my first years as head of school. Her wisdom, institutional history, and deep devotion to Mercersburg has guided her work for over four decades and will be missed more than we can even imagine.
“Frank is a true master teacher-coach. His devotion to helping students reach their best potential in the classroom and on the athletic fields is inspirational. More personally, Frank’s counsel to me has been invaluable as I work to serve the school. Debbie and Frank have served our great school with humility and pride. Their optimism, humor, and honesty will be celebrated in the year to come and missed when they retire.”
As associate head of school, Debbie Rutherford oversees the school’s residential program and student counseling services. She was among the first faculty members to work with Mercersburg’s Peer Group program when it began in 1985, and also has worked as a dormitory dean, department head, Spanish teacher, coach, and adviser. In her role as associate head, she has served alongside three of Mercersburg’s seven heads of school: Walter Burgin ’53, Douglas Hale, and Titus. Debbie is past chair of the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association and is a graduate of Saint Mary’s [Ind.] College and Middlebury College.
Frank Rutherford attended Mercersburg for three years, setting three school records in track & field. He went on to compete in the NCAA Division III National Championships for Lebanon Valley College. Frank holds Mercersburg’s Archibald H. Rutledge Chair and is a past recipient of the Zern Excellence in Teaching Award. He previously served as the school’s registrar and director of instructional technology, and (in addition to track & field) has also coached cross country, basketball, swimming, and field hockey, and worked with outdoor programs. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Lebanon Valley and a master’s from the University of Delaware.
“We are all so connected to each other at Mercersburg, and that’s really what I will miss the most,” Debbie Rutherford says. “It is certainly bittersweet to know that we will be leaving—but it’s also sweet, because I know we will continue to be part of Mercersburg in all the appropriate ways. I’m so thankful for this place and the community of people that make Mercersburg what it is.”
Mercersburg is a family affair for the Rutherfords: their three sons, Matt ’03, Paul ’06, and Stephon Fullerton ’06 (as well as their niece, Amelia Goebel ’09), are all alumni of the school.
Founded in 1893 in the heart of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic, Mercersburg is a private, coed, college preparatory boarding school with approximately 435 students (15 percent are day), grades 9-12 and postgraduate.
We offer 170 courses, including AP and Honors, more than $7 million in financial aid, 26 varsity sports, and a state-of-the-art performing and visual arts center. Located 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and within easy driving distance of New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. 300 East Seminary Street, Mercersburg, PA 17236 GPS Address: 10951 Buchanan Trail West, Mercersburg, PA 17236 717-328-6173