Shady Side Academy names new director at Country Day School
Jennifer Asmonga was named this week as head of Shady Side Academy Country Day School in Fox Chapel.
Asmonga has been serving as the interim leader since July and takes the place of Sharon Smith, who retired at the end of the last school year.
“From the moment I assumed the role as interim head of school, the warmth of the Country Day School community has been there to greet me each day,” said Asmonga, who earned her bachelor’s degree from Clarion University, a master’s from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctoral degree from Johns Hopkins.
“When I walk around the beautiful campus, the school’s distinguished history is ever present in my mind. It is an honor to become a more permanent member of the Country Day community and I am very hopeful as I think about its future.”
The school which sits off Squaw Run Road East was formerly known as Fox Chapel Country Day School before merging with Shady Side Academy in 2017 to become SSA’s second elementary campus.
Interim Academy President Amy Nixon said Asmonga has moved seamlessly into the leadership role, where she runs the school for 118 students in pre-kindergarten through grade five. There are about 25 faculty and staff members at the building, which sits on 17 wooded acres.
“Her professional experiences in a number of elementary school settings give her a wealth of understanding about the needs of young children socially, emotionally and academically,” Nixon said.
“She has a clarity of thought that is particularly well-balanced with the empathy and kindness that have been the hallmarks of Country Day for so very long.”
Asmonga joined Shady Side Academy in 2009 and has served as director of Camp Ren, the middle school summer day camp, as well as a kindergarten long-term substitute, a fifth-grade teacher and a learning specialist.
Previously, Asmonga was a special education teacher at Propel Montour Charter School and a fifth-grade teacher at the Urban League of Pittsburgh Charter School.
Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, [email protected] or via Twitter @tawnyatrib.