Even though Greg Simons and Ashley Russo attended the same high school in West Bend, Wis. and were college sweethearts at St. Olaf College in nearby Northfield, Minn., they ventured far from the Midwest before settling into campus life at SSM. As educators, they chose to see the world during their early years. Greg went to India and Ashley went to Hong Kong to complete their student teaching assignments. Together, they spent three years in Korea where they worked for Korea Poly, an educational company that has previously partnered with SSM.
They returned to Minnesota in 2004 and joined the teaching and residential staff of Ambassador Prep, a small day/boarding school in St. Paul that has since closed. In 2009, after commuting for a year, Greg, Ashley, and 18-month-old Lily, who is now 9, arrived at SSM. Making the trek from St. Paul was also Daisy Mae, their beloved rescue dog who today is “at least 14 years old.” In 2010, Emmalin, who is now 7, joined the family.
Greg is Clapp’s head dorm parent and teaches chemistry and AP Environmental Science. He also coaches interscholastic soccer in the fall and serves as a grade 12 Class Dean. He has been involved in student life and was SSM’s Dean of Students for three years before returning to the classroom full time this year.
Ashley continues her ties to Korea Poly and serves as a curriculum coordinator, working remotely from their home and volunteering often at Lily and Emma’s elementary school.
Lily and Emmalin can be seen romping on the Parade Field outside their front door, riding bikes, or hanging out with their many campus friends. The girls really like “their boys” in Clapp Dorm and it’s safe to say the feeling is mutual.
One of Greg’s fondest family memories occurred when Emmalin was born. “I was on duty and needed to wait for the duty administrator to come to Clapp and take over nightly sign in.” Emma was born just an hour later. Greg continues, “SSM is a special, unique place and I am so grateful I get to be a part of it and my children will be able to graduate from here someday.”