Jon Shannon joined the GSSM executive leadership team in 2005. With a career in higher and secondary residential education spanning over 25 years, he brings depth and experience to the school’s operations and planning efforts.
Mr. Shannon’s work has received recognition from the National Association of Independent Schools and he has presented at major conferences across the country on topics from technical administration to strategic planning. Community service is a passion and he frequently serves on local and regional boards.
Mr. Shannon served as co-chair for GSSM’s year-long strategic planning initiative.
How long have you worked at GSSM?
I joined the school in 2005, but my association with GSSM began in the 1990's during GSSM's early days on the campus of Coker College. I enjoyed the adventurous, entrepreneurial atmosphere of a new school and the willingness to collaborate on interesting projects.
How long have you worked in academia?
I started my career teaching undergraduate computer science in the mid 1980's. After a few years in commercial software development and systems integration, I returned to the academy in search of broader meaning for the work I do. I've been very fortunate to work and teach in amazing communities that are rich in stimulating relationships and experiences that foster growth and understanding. These communities aren't only appealing, but important to aspiring minds.
Tell us what you love about working at GSSM.
Being surrounded by people who are working hard to better themselves, and others, in a dynamic community is stimulating. My colleagues have high expectations for themselves and for our students, and working in that atmosphere is wonderfully challenging and engaging.
Give us a Twitter-style short bio about yourself.
Devoted to being better and bringing along some friends for the ride.
What are your hobbies?
Writing, fishing, cooking, playing guitar, noodling around the computer.
Please describe any personal information you would like to share.
I was working in Massachusetts on 9/11 and many friends and colleagues lost loved ones that day. A member of my staff who had recently left to work at a larger university was on the second plane. My own son was about three that day. That disaster made it clear that our children would need to learn to solve problems of an entirely different sort than my generation knew anything about, and the need to develop a new kind of understanding and leadership became urgent to me. It gave new meaning and energy to being an educator that continues to motivate.
What would your students be surprised to learn about you?
I’ve had a fantasy since childhood about taking Ben Franklin around and showing him mankind’s technical advances. He’s very impressed with airplanes, telephones, and televisions, and terrified to ride in a car.
What is your perfect pizza?
The Lombardi at Rebel Pie in Florence, South Carolina. Trust me on this one.
What’s the best thing about Hartsville?
The vibe. This is a progressive little town with thriving organizations like GSSM, Sonoco, Coker College, Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center, and Duke Energy that bring smart, talented people in from all around the country. These people have skills and aspirations for the kind of town they want for their families, so they get involved and build the community they want right here. You don't find this kind of energy in many small towns.
Who would be invited to your fantasy dinner party (living or deceased) and why?
Ben Franklin, so I can show him my convection oven.
What’s your favorite quote?
Hemingway had it right: “It’s good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
- B.A. in Political Science, Coker College
- M.Ed. University of Massachusetts at Amherst