News

New Endowed Faculty Chair in English
Trixie Sabundayo, Jeff Miller and Bart Griffith '93
Senior School Head Trixie Sabundayo, inaugural Dr. Craig T. Kerins '63 Chair of English Jeff Miller, and President Bart Griffith '93 at the 2021 Faculty/Staff Closing Days Celebration

Shady Side Academy has announced the endowment of a new faculty chair in English. The Dr. Craig T. Kerins '63 Chair of English, made possible by a generous gift from Kristi Kerins in honor of her brother, will assure exceptional instruction in English through the ongoing recruitment and retention of superior English faculty.

Senior School English teacher Jeff Miller was named the inaugural Dr. Craig T. Kerins '63 Chair of English at the Faculty/Staff Closing Days Celebration on June 11, 2021. He will serve a five-year term beginning in 2021-2022. Miller has taught English at the Senior School since 1982 and also coaches tennis.

Dr. Craig T. Kerins '63 is a retired board-certified orthopedic surgeon in Augusta, Ga. Growing up in suburban Pittsburgh, he attended public school and was, in his own words, an "uninspired and unmotivated student." His parents enrolled him in Shady Side Academy in 10th grade hoping he would be challenged and motivated.

His three years at SSA were the most challenging of his life, transforming him into a strong, confident young man. He lettered in football and wrestling, served on student council and was an artist for the humor magazine. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in English from Dartmouth College, a master's degree in biology from the University of Richmond and an M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia, completing his residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Craig T. Kerins '63
Dr. Craig T. Kerins '63

"The opportunities and mentoring I received at Shady Side changed my life," said Dr. Kerins. "I had many great, memorable teachers at Shady Side, but Dick Gregory – Mr. Gregory to me – stands above them all. He was strict but kind. Everything was an educational opportunity. He loved the school, the students and his vocation. That was quietly evident to all of us."

"Over the last few years of our retirement, Craig and I have shared many memories," said Kristi Kerins. "Quite a few have centered on the importance our parents placed on education. Both of my siblings became doctors, and I became a teacher, administrator and eventual head of school at independent schools. Although Craig and I attended independent schools for a brief three years, they were incredibly impactful years on the trajectories of our lives. It seemed right and fitting to honor our parents in a special way for all that they sacrificed to provide us with a great education and experiences at independent schools that were nothing less than transformative in our lives. The establishment of a Dr. Craig T. Kerins '63 Chair of English at SSA honors the gift Craig received from my parents and from Shady Side Academy and guarantees the continued celebration of the role inspiring teachers play in the lives of their students."

"I am honored that my sister chose me to express her love and appreciation of independent schools," said Dr. Kerins. "She has successfully dedicated her career to forming and delivering a superb educational experience, and I am proud she recognizes Shady Side Academy as sharing her passion. As adolescents we don't normally acknowledge the mentors who motivate and train us. I hope this chair will be recognized by the English Department faculty as a reminder of the significance of their often thankless labor."

"Through its support of our English faculty, this gift will benefit generations of Shady Side Academy students to come," said President Bart Griffith '93. "The Academy is grateful to Kristi Kerins for this generous donation, which honors both her brother and the incredible impact teachers like Dick Gregory can have on one's life."

Endowed Faculty Chairs at SSA

With the establishment of the Kerins Chair, a total of six endowed chair appointments are available to SSA faculty, made possible by generous gifts from SSA community members to the faculty endowment. Each endowed chair holder receives an annual stipend for a five-year term. The other five endowed chairs are:

  • The Howard Heinz Chair in the Sciences, held by Senior School Science Department Chair Dr. Joe Martens through June 2024
  • The F. Walter Jones Jr. Chair in History, held by Senior School History Teacher Rachel McCool through June 2024
  • The George and Ann Magovern Chair in Science, held by Senior School Science Teacher Dr. Scott Peterson through June 2022
  • The Richard K. Mellon Chair in Mathematics, held by Junior School Fourth Grade Teacher Lisa Budd through June 2022
  • The Julia D. and James C. Rea Chair in Humanities, held by Middle School Social Studies Teacher Molly Braver through June 2022

To learn more about endowing a named faculty chair, contact Director of Alumni & Development Dr. Alison Saras at asaras@shadysideacademy.org.

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