Though half of the teachers do not even teach literature, studying these works enables them to pass on universal truths to their students.
Pretty old house.

Pretty old house.

Prometheus and Me

Discussing literature, watching cinematic renditions of literary classics, and talking to teachers about why they are devoting three weeks of their summer vacation to doing both is a great way to spend a reporting trip. Throw in the the charm of the old home that houses the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture (picture above), and is where the films were viewed and literature discussed, and I’d say I had one of the best work trips ever.

Although I am not from Dallas and I am not a teacher, I am an English major, and watching this program unfold firsthand felt like coming home.The three-week Sue Rose Summer Institute was like humanities camp. And not just for me. The K-12 teachers who attended the summer institute with me and with whom I spoke couldn’t get enough either. Some of them traveled great distances every day to immerse themselves in the classics with fellow teachers.

While my article, “Promethean Summer,” mentions the literature we discussed, I was unable to talk about the films we watched. Some of them still haunt me: Iphigenia, in which Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter to the gods; Tsotsi, which tells the story of a young man’s transformation in Johannesburg, South Africa; and The Gospel at Colonus, a gospel rendition of the tragedy Oedipus at Colonus, which stars a young Morgan Freeman. Yes. Morgan Freeman!

Now that I am back in the day to day routine of my job, I realize how lucky I was to visit this program, and I thank everyone there who made me feel welcome, answered all my questions, and allowed me to pretend I was back in some of my favorite college classes.

Meriden administrators and union officials spend much of their time coming up with joint professional development programs to hone teacher talent.
The School Development Program focuses on improving relationships among the adults in schools so they can foster academic achievement and support student development.
Core Knowledge shows that students in kindergarten through second grade are fully capable of—and benefit from—acquiring both decoding skills and content knowledge at the same time.

My awkward experiment with self-promotion

Hi there. Welcome to this site. I created it so that everyone else besides my two biggest fans (Hi Mom! Hi Glenn!) can learn a little about me. I grew up in Va. Beach, Va. (see photo of King Neptune) and went to school here. A former tennis player, I now enjoy running with my marathon man. In college from ’95-‘99, I studied English, history, and French. But I grew weary of literary criticism and Jacques Derrida. I wanted to write without deconstructing text. I wanted to write about people I actually met and places I actually visited. I wanted to be a trust fund baby with a blog. Kidding! Blogs weren’t around then, and as a recipient of large sums of financial aid, I had two dollars to my name. I wanted a job in what is now a dying field: I wanted a journalism career!


So I learned to write on deadline here and here. My clips helped me land my first job as the senior (read: only) education reporter for the now defunct Montgomery Journal. I covered Montgomery County Public Schools and wrote stories about the achievement gap and fuzzy math. Then I worked for The Chronicle of Higher Education (sorry, subscription) and wrote articles like this, this, and this. After that, I wrote freelance articles like this, this, and this.

Since December 2006, I’ve been the assistant editor of American Educator, a quarterly journal published by the American Federation of Teachers. I write about dedicated teachers and their adorable students. To do this, I visit schools across the country, which entails renting cars and flying coach. Once I arrive at a school, I listen to what everyone says and take copious notes. Some people like what I write (see this, this, and this) and some people don’t.

For now, I’m using this space as a sort of home base for my writing. From time to time, I may post pictures from my school visits as well as links to more of my American Educator stories. If you’d like to contact me, just email me. Thanks for checking out my work.

Even in its residential centers, Missouri treats juvenile offenders as students, not criminals. Much like a well-run school, every minute is structured.

Each summer, Art with a Heart hires about 40 young people to make marketable art—tables and chairs, jewelry, and lamps, among other pieces—which they then sell at Artscape, an annual summer arts festival in Baltimore.