In their study of English at Thacher, students build the deep critical thinking skills they need to listen, speak, write, learn—and to explore the human experience through literature.

Their teachers are both guides and participants as all work together to take on challenging texts from a variety of genres and a diversity of voices. In small classes, students engage in rigorous discussion, regular essay writing, and creative analytical explorations. These skills and more prepare them to succeed in demanding college courses in any discipline.

Real World Context

Our faculty knows that stories powerfully reflect and influence the wider culture and social thought and that the critical thinking tools Thacher students sharpen in their English classes can help them build a community of understanding and empathy wherever they are. It’s why our English classes regularly focus on mapping the assigned texts to current and historical events in the real world.

Course of Study

Thacher students take English classes every year. Freshmen read, discuss, and write about a wide range of texts, including poetry, short stories, plays, novels, and essays. Sophomore year builds on that foundation, broadening the variety of voices and increasing fluency in an expanded list of literary terms, poetic devices, and elements of narrative. Juniors take a deep dive into American Studies, honing their powers of analysis and strengthening their understanding of writing genres on topics that correspond to their U.S. History coursework. Seniors explore a variety of seminars in specialized areas, from personal narrative and short fiction writing to classes focusing on a particular theme, author, or genre.

At all levels, students work both independently and collaboratively, write analytically and creatively, come to understand their role in creating a productive classroom environment, and grow to embrace intellectual curiosity and risk-taking.

- Isabel

My experience writing at Thacher has proven invaluable at Williams. Beyond giving me the practical skills I needed, teachers like Mr. Robinson and Ms. Halsey instilled in me a deep love for writing. Because of Thacher, I write with joy. This makes all the difference.

Evanston, Illinois

English Department Faculty

List of 8 members.

  • Photo of Seth Boyd

    Dr. Seth Boyd 

    Chair of the English Department, English Teacher
    University of New Hampshire - BA, MA
    University of Nevada - PhD
  • Photo of Melanie Berner

    Ms. Melanie Berner  

    English Department, Mindfulness Instructor
  • Photo of Katherine Halsey

    Ms. Katherine Halsey 

    French and English Teacher and Riding Instructor
    Stanford University - BA
  • Photo of Tracy Miller

    Dr. Tracy Miller 

    Assistant Head of School, Director of Studies
    805-640-3201 x213
    Mount Holyoke College - AB
    New York University - MA, PhD
  • Photo of Ali Rahman

    Dr. Ali Rahman 

    English Department
    Drexel University - BA
    Sarah Lawrence College - MFA
    University of California, Santa Barbara - PhD
  • Photo of Cameron Spaulding

    Mr. Cameron Spaulding 

    Thacher Wilderness Program Director and Golden Trout Program Director
  • Photo of Tim Sullivan

    Mr. Tim Sullivan 

    Dean of Faculty, English Teacher, Upper School Dorm Head
    Princeton University - AB
    Middlebury College - MA
  • Photo of Johanna Valdez

    Ms. Johanna Valdez 

Notice of nondiscriminatory policy as to students: The Thacher School admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other School-administered programs.