Faculty & Staff Directory
M.A., University of Virginia
Came to Berkshire: 1988
Where does your passion for teaching come from? Good teachers, beginning with my parents, who weren’t teachers by profession. Mom was busy (I’m one of six siblings), but she loved to take afternoon walks in the woods around our Virginia farm with two or three of us kids, and she would point out and name flowers and trees and bugs—anything we came across. Dad was also interested in teaching us about history (many Sunday afternoon trips to museums or battlefields) and nature (he’d pull up a peanut plant so we could see how they grew). Others who inspired me are my 10th grade English teacher, who insisted on an essay a day for what seemed like months, and a quirky modern dance teacher in college confirmed that teaching didn’t have to be boring or static. And the passion continues to grow when I have students who are hungry to learn.
What excites you the most about teaching at Berkshire? Along with enjoying bright teenagers who arrive at Berkshire with great skills and enthusiasm, I’ve also worked with kids who think they don’t care about classroom learning but discover that they do. We are not a one-size-fits-all school: we do a good job of meeting kids at whatever level they currently are and finding out how to engage them so that they reach higher. That has been our strength for years, and it continues to be an important part of our culture.
What type of students do you encounter at Berkshire? A range: some who thrive in a demanding, fast-paced classroom atmosphere, some who need more time or space to process their thoughts, some who are a bit of both. Berkshire students are an academically diverse group, and as the years have gone by, they have become diverse in other ways as well—race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, able-disabled. Our commitment to diversity has been expanded recently, so I expect that we will continue to see changes in the student body. Hurrah!
What is your favorite tradition at Berkshire? Mountain Day, especially the first one in the fall, and especially when we celebrate it by encouraging everyone to get onto the mountain. It’s amazing to see groups of kids hiking back from Guilder or South Pinnacle, so confident about knowing where they are and what’s around them. And on the first Mountain Day, there are often new students who have not yet stepped beyond the lighted campus bounds: their discovery that they can enjoy the woods is the best!