Dr. Jay Snyder, Principal

"Meet the Team" photo of James Snyder.
Mr. James "Jay" Snyder earned his Bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech and his Juris Doctorate from The University of Akron School of Law. Mr. Snyder is from Albemarle County in Virginia where he attended Albemarle High School growing up. In 2001, Mr. Snyder began his teaching career with Fredericksburg City Public Schools as a social studies teacher and coach at James Monroe High School. He later served as the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Coordinator for JMHS. After seventeen years in the classroom, Mr. Snyder became Assistant Principal of JMHS in 2018, and is now Principal of Hugh Mercer Elementary.
Mr. Snyder met his wife, Rosalia Snyder, in Fredericksburg and together they are raising two children that also attend Fredericksburg City Schools.

Assistant Principals

Keesha Keels

"Meet the Team" photo of Keesha Keels.


My name is Keesha M. Keels and I am one of the Assistant Principals at Hugh Mercer. I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Claflin College in Orangeburg, South Carolina and my Masters of Arts in Teaching with a focus in Curriculum and Instruction from St. Mary’s College in Leavenworth, Kansas. I also earned my Post Masters in Educational Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to becoming an administrator, I was a classroom teacher for 18 years with 15 of those years in Fredericksburg City Public Schools. In my spare time, I love to travel, bake and spend time with my two children.

I believe that children are a gift and possess diverse talents and capabilities. I strive to provide a safe and nurturing environment where each scholar can have the opportunity to experience success and progress. It is my goal to help encourage scholars to look beyond the walls of Hugh Mercer and view the world around them as a place of learning and discovery. I consider it a privilege to be a part of the Hugh Mercer Family.

Tony Wishard

"Meet the Team" photo of Tony Wishard.

Mr. Tony Wishard is an Assistant Principal at Hugh Mercer Elementary School where he previously taught Health and Physical Education for seven years. He coached high school baseball at James Monroe for seven years as well. He is a Fredericksburg native and a graduate of Chancellor High School. He attended Fairmont State University where he played college baseball and received his undergraduate degree in Exercise Physiology. He attended Old Dominion University where he received a Master's in Educational Leadership & Supervision. He enjoys paddle-boarding, working out, and being at the ballpark.