In the Nichols English Department we balance tradition and innovation through our approaches to curriculum and skills. We continue to embrace a comprehensive chronological survey of ancient, British and American texts because we believe students need a solid foundation from which to make leaps of understanding. We encourage students to approach these foundational texts with the contemporary critical perspectives of race, gender, power and class. We also love poetry for what it can teach us about language and ambiguity. Through student centered discussion we look to develop a sense of community and shared responsibility for the knowledge in the classroom. Oh, and our students write a lot. Just ask them!

The Nichols English program seeks to develop in our students the related skills of reading, thinking, speaking, and writing. Students achieve these goals through the study of high quality literature at all grade levels in the Upper School. The English faculty expects and encourages students to read with close attention; to participate in Socratic-style class discussions; to become aware of the linguistic nuances of the texts they read; and to incorporate the fruits of their reading, thinking, and speaking into well-crafted essays. The English program serves the purposes and objectives of Nichols School in several ways:
  • The close, careful reading of literary texts is a skill transferable to texts in other academic disciplines.
  • The ability to write clear and concise prose is equally valuable in other disciplines and in later life.
  • Articulating ideas in the give-and-take of class discussion helps to build the student's confidence in his or her own ideas and values.
  • Exposure to the ethical and moral issues found in great literature intensifies a student's awareness of these issues in his or her own life and in the wider world.
  • An aesthetic appreciation of the beauties of the English language -especially in poetry -makes our various Arts offerings more attractive to students.
  • The pleasures of close and attentive reading require patience and a willingness to reflect and contemplate. We all require a "broad margin" to our lives and occasional havens of peace.


Dr. Dan Collins

Titles: US English

Larry Desautels

Titles: US English

Laura Errickson

Titles: US English

Sarah Jacobson

Titles: Upper School English Teacher, Upper School History Teacher

George Kloepfer

Titles: MS English

Julia Marthia

Titles: MS Learning Specialist

Dr. Laurie Ousley

Titles: US English

Mr. Roddy Potter III

Class of '82
Titles: US English

Charles Ptak

Titles: VI Form Dean

Ms. Deborah Regan Howe

Titles: MS English

Dr. Andrew Sutherland

Titles: US English