Innovative New Space to Open at SSA Senior School in 2019-2020
Jesse Robinson will join Shady Side Academy Senior School in August 2019 as the director of the new Glimcher Tech and Design Hub, an innovative, 8,500-square-foot space dedicated to robotics, fabrication, engineering and computer science that is currently under construction and scheduled to open for the 2019-2020 school year.
In this newly created position, Robinson will partner with the school's academic leadership to promote innovation and creativity across the curriculum while overseeing the day-to-day management and use of the new facility.
His responsibilities will include: collaborating with academic department chairs to find opportunities to enhance the curriculum through projects in the Glimcher Tech and Design Hub; working directly with students in the facility and teaching classes; creating opportunities for programming in the facility, including partnering with outside organizations, and fostering engagement with the broader community; maintaining the lab spaces and equipment; training faculty and students to use the equipment safely and responsibly; and supporting teachers in utilizing the lab spaces for their own instruction in order to promote innovative approaches to teaching and learning.
Robinson comes to Shady Side from Greens Farms Academy, a PK-12 independent school in Westport, CT, where he has served as director of information technology and a computer science teacher since 2013. Robinson designed Greens Farms' technology curriculum and academic technology plan, assisted in developing the STEAM signature program, established Lower and Upper School makerspaces, implemented a 1:1 Apple laptop program, advised the robotics club and taught computer science. He also serves on the planning committee for the Westport Maker Faire. For the 2019 Faire, he spearheaded The Great Duck Project, an initiative to create the world's largest crowdsourced 3D-printed duck, which stands 6 feet tall and consists of 476 pieces sent in from around the world. Prior to Greens Farms, Robinson was director of technology at The Siena School (MD) and The Linsly School (WV) and taught at TASIS The American School in England (UK) and The Loomis Chaffee School (CT). He holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Idaho and a master's degree in instructional technology from Duquesne University, and is currently finishing his doctoral degree in instructional technology at Duquesne University.
The Glimcher Tech and Design Hub, located on the lower levels of Rowe and Memorial Halls, will encourage SSA students to reach further into the future of artificial intelligence, automation and technology and provide a state-of-the-art home for the Senior School Computer Science Department, Science Olympiad Team and Robotics Team. A Fabrication and Robotics Wing will house a variety of innovative learning and creation spaces, including a fabrication lab, robotics arena, workshop and wet lab, which will be fully equipped with 3D printers, a laser cutter, CNC router and mill, table saw, drill press and more. A Computer Science Wing will house two spacious computer labs, a computer collaboration lounge and faculty offices, providing a new home for SSA's growing computer science program, which offers advanced courses in robotics, mobile apps, game design, 3D modeling, artificial intelligence and more. Students will access the Glimcher Tech and Design Hub through a new exterior entrance to Rowe Hall, across from the McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation. Directly inside the entrance will be a new café, named and supported by the SSA Parents' Association, where students and teachers can eat, socialize and connect. Learn more.
"We are thrilled to welcome Jesse Robinson to Shady Side as the inaugural director of the Glimcher Tech and Design Hub," said Senior School Head Sophie Lau. "Jesse's experience establishing maker spaces, designing innovative computer science and technology curricula, and engaging in the national dialogue around technology and design, make him an ideal person for this position. We are already benefiting from his expertise as we move into the final stages of equipment and furniture selection for the new space."
"SSA is investing in the development of creative problem-solvers, tinkerers and innovators; I'm so happy to be invited to the SSA family and to be a part of it," said Robinson. "Pittsburgh has such a rich history of engineering, building and making, and I look forward to partnering with students to see their contributions to the next chapter. My family and I are thrilled to be back in the 'Burgh and be a part of all it has to offer." (Robinson's wife, Jessika Coltz, is originally from Pittsburgh.)
The Glimcher Tech and Design Hub is part of The Campaign for Shady Side's commitment to expand and upgrade science and technology facilities on all of SSA's campuses. Fundraising efforts are underway to cover the project's $2.7 million construction and equipment costs, plus faculty resources and funding for the programmatic and community initiatives that are part of Robinson's vision for the new space. To learn more about how to support the project, or for information on naming opportunities, contact SSA Director of Alumni & Development Dr. Allison Saras or visit www.shadysideacademy.org/campaign.