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Preparing for School Year 2018-19
Posted 04/25/2018 02:18PM

It has been a busy hiring season at SAS, and we are looking with excitement to welcoming several new faculty members in the 2018-2019 school year.

J.R. Ankney

J.R. Ankney, Music Teacher/Music Director
J.R. Ankney will be the school's music teacher and musical director. Mr. Ankney is an experienced arts administrator, boarding school teacher, and conductor with outstanding successes in the classroom, theatre, and church sanctuary and on the stage. He built successful music programs at several independent day and boarding schools, including Lancaster Country Day School in Lancaster, Pa., St. Anne's-Belfield School in Charlottesville, Va., Verde Valley School in Sedona, Ariz., Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, Minn., St. Edward's School in Vero Beach, Fla., and Chapel Hill-Chauncey Hall School in Waltham, Mass. He was most recently Director of Music at St. James Episcopal Church in Lancaster, Pa., where he developed a unique Saturday night service with music drawn from popular sources such as U2, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and the Indigo Girls. Mr. Ankney established and conducted a semi-professional ecumenical choir, MiContraFa, which performed little-known a cappella works from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras. His choirs have toured England, Scotland, Czech republic, Germany, France, and Poland, and he has performed at Carnegie Hall, Riverside Church in New York City, and Westminster Abbey. Mr. Ankney holds a bachelor's degree in music education from Berklee College of Music and studied vocal jazz and conducting.

Peggy Ankney

Peggy Ankney, Physics Teacher

Dr. Peggy Ankney will teach Advanced Physics and Conceptual Physics. Dr. Ankney holds a B.S. in Physics from University of Wisconsin-Parkside, an M.S. in Physics from North Texas State University, and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Central Florida. Her doctoral thesis was entitled Exciton Saturation and Spin Relaxation in GaAs/AlGaAs Multiple Quantum Wells. Dr. Ankney was most recently a Physics Lecturer at Penn State Harrisburg where she taught introductory physics and laboratories. She also taught physics at Lancaster Country Day School, Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Va., Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., Grand Valley State University in Allendale , Mich. Dr. Ankney formerly sat on the development committee and as a question leader, table leader, and reader for The College Board, helping to write and review questions for the AP Physics 1 exam as well as scoring the exams and training scorers. She has served as a researcher at the University of Virginia, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Saint Andres University, and Argonne National Laboratory. She has received research grants from the American Chemical Society and the National Science Foundation and has six research publications. Her presentations have ranged from high level physics research at the NATO Advanced Studies Institute to making holograms with elementary school children.


Cheryl MacPherson, Assistant Dean and Director of Middle School

Cheryl MacPherson, a native of Alexandria, Virginia, is currently a secondary teacher, residential faculty member, and head cross country coach at Besant Hill School, a coeducational boarding and day school northwest of Los Angeles. Over her career she has taught U.S. history, human geography, world history, social studies, language arts, and English for Speakers of Other Languages. She formerly taught at the Colegio Americano de Guatemala, American Nicaraguan School, and Gunston Middle School in Arlington, Virginia. In addition to her classroom teaching experience, Cheryl brings experience in curriculum mapping, English language instruction, theme-based course development, differentiated course instruction, new teacher mentoring in instructional design and classroom management, experiential student travel, and Model United Nations programming. Cheryl holds a B.A. from Fordham University. She is a proud alumna of Semester at Sea, Fall 2000. She holds an M.Ed. in secondary education from The George Washington University. She is currently an Education Specialist candidate in educational leadership and administration at The George Washington University.

Dan Monahan

Dan Monahan, Director of College Counseling

Dan Monahan is currently director of college counseling at Cheshire Academy, a coeducational boarding school in Connecticut. Dan plans and administers all aspects of the college counseling process at Cheshire which begins with academic career planning in the ninth grade and continues with guidance in the sophomore and junior years, as well as the Senior College Workshop, Cheshire Academy College Fair, and college athletic recruiting program. He also serves as an advisor and assistant football and track and field coach and is house head for 55 senior and post graduate students, as well as supervising eight dorm parents. He formerly served in leadership roles in admission and enrollment management at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. and Daniel Webster College in Nashua, N.H. Dan holds a B.A. in History from College of the Holy Cross, where he played varsity football, and a M.S. in Management Non-Profit Leadership from New England College. He has been an active member of the New England Association for College Admission Counseling and was selected as a Professional of the Year by the organization in 2016-17.

Thomas Priestley

Thomas Priestley '96, Math Teacher

St. Andrew's-Sewanee 1996 alumnus Thomas Priestley will return to the school in August 2018 to join the faculty as a teacher of mathematics. Thomas, who grew up in Sewanee, received his B.A. in Philosophy from Davidson College and his M.Ed. in Learning and Instruction with an emphasis on Mathematics from Vanderbilt University. He has eleven years of teaching experience, having taught mathematics, geography, cultural studies, earth science, and creative writing for international schools in China, Slovakia and, most recently, in Malta. He also student taught at Vanderbilt University and led college preparation and citizenship courses for East Nashville High School. Over the years, Thomas has sponsored or coached school activities in study skills, SAT preparation, leadership, badminton, glee club, musical theater, volleyball, and tennis.

Several people will also assume new or additional roles beginning in August 2018. Assistant Chaplain, the Rev. Molly Short, will become Chaplain. Head of the Upper School Kelley Black will assume the title of Associate Head of School and Academic Dean. Dean of Students Laura Clay will also take the title of Assistant Head of School. And, Dr. Viva Reynolds will assume the role of Academic Technology Coordinator in addition to her teaching duties.

Go to to view all current opportunities at SAS.


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