Longtime Nursery School Staff Retiring

Giving Thanks for Mary Lang and Susie Pettler

Nursery School Director Mary Lang and Nursery School Bookkeeper Susie Pettler
Mary Lang (left) and Susie Pettler (right)

Shadyside Presbyterian Church Nursery School (SPCNS) announced earlier this school year that, after eighteen years of service as its director, Mary Lang is retiring in June. Mary’s connection to the nursery school community dates back to 1991, when she and her husband, Tom Cummings, determined that SPCNS was the best match for their firstborn child’s preschool education. All four of their children would enroll over the subsequent years, and, by the time their youngest child was in the oldest class in 2002, Mary had joined the school staff. For two years, Mary worked as the assistant to the director, Becky Marks, before succeeding Becky in 2004. To all our children and parents, Mary has been a warm beacon of light — undimmed even by the past several years of pandemic challenges. Her loving, calm presence will be greatly missed.

Mary is not the only longtime friend to whom the nursery school is bidding a fond farewell at the end of this school year. SPCNS Bookkeeper Susie Pettler is also retiring, having tirelessly served SPCNS for the past fifty-two years. Many Shadysiders may know Susie as a member of our congregation since 1957 and as a former member of the church administrative staff; she retired in 2007 after twenty-seven years of service. Her connection to the nursery school, however, predates her tenure in the church office, and, like Mary, she, too, was a nursery school parent. Her two sons, Graham and Russell, are both SPCNS alumni. Over more than five decades, Susie has been a steadfast support to several school directors, numerous trustees, and countless families. In that time, she has witnessed many changes — including classroom renovations and the creation of the natural playscape, both of which occurred under Mary’s leadership and with Susie’s immeasurable support. Susie herself even adapted from keeping ledgers by hand to learning QuickBooks accounting software. Through it all, she has performed her duties with accuracy and dedication, demonstrating a deep love of the school.

Even by a conservative calculation, the lives of thousands of children have been impacted by the caring work of Mary and Susie. The entire SPCNS community thanks both of them for their incredible years of service and for their commitment to ensuring children at SPCNS are valued, loved, nurtured, and educated. May God bless both Mary and Susie with many bright and happy years of retirement.