Welcome to my English classroom! Here I hope to inspire as many students as possible to love reading and writing as much as I do. I tell my students that our brains are language machines and that language itself is a miracle, one that enables us to cross the boundaries of time and space, which is what we do when we read something that informs us, motivates us, inspires us or touches us so that we grow as human beings and become more of who we are.
My love of literature grew with the convergence of two events: my tenth grade English teacher Rose Nell Tomeny (to be in her presence was itself always an event) and the movie Splendor in the Grass. Rose Nell, one of the last vestiges of the era when women teachers couldn’t marry, brought passion to everything she taught from spelling to grammar to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Julius Caesar. I remember her as pleasantly round, from her considerable stature, to her graying hair pulled always into the classic schoolmarm bun, to her fierce admonition when teaching something as small as the correct spelling of Wednesday, to something as huge as lines from Shakespeare: “Now, remember that for the rest of your life!” And I do remember. I have never misspelled Wednesday, and today I still sometimes go around saying, “You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!/ Oh, you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome./ Knew you not Pompeii?”
And then came Natalie Wood, heartbroken over unrequited love, standing in her high school classroom, reading those lines from Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” and my life would never be the same. I vowed to memorize all 208 lines of the poem, a vow, sadly, never realized, but in its place I began to read poetry, especially, voraciously and also began to write it.
My love of literature led me to study reading and writing in depth. I have three degrees in English: a B.A. from the University of New Orleans, an M.A. from Old Dominion University in Virginia, and an M.F.A. from Penn State, where I taught freshman composition and creative writing as a graduate assistant. This is my nineteenth year here at PRHS, a place where the administrators, faculty, and staff truly care about each and every student. I love my job because I know that what we all do here is vitally important to the young people who are our future.
I look forward to working with students and parents this year. Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time with questions or concerns.