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English

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At Emma, English courses ask students to grapple with big questions: What does it mean to be a member of a diverse community? What kind of person do I want to develop into? How does the representation of groups of people in books and films affect how I understand them?

Our students read and analyze works of literature ranging from Sophocles’ Antigone to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Books from the traditional canon of Western civilization are juxtaposed with works representing the experience of other cultures. In addition to extensive work in vocabulary, grammar, and expository writing, students learn to craft personal and creative pieces. The English Department provides the groundwork for university study in writing and literature and develops students’ skills as language artists.

Download our course catalog for more details and graduation requirements.

Course Catalog

Bethany Loffredo-Dempsey and baby Dawson

Bethany Loffredo-Dempsey is in her first year teaching English and coaching field hockey at Emma Willard School. Before coming to Emma, she worked in residential life at Union College and previously taught English and served as Upper School Dean of Students and Ninth Grade Dean at The Hun School of Princeton. We asked Bethany four questions about her role at Emma Willard.

A page of a book lies open, the words are out of focus except for 'you're my brilliant friend' in the center of the page.

In one of several new electives this year, “Best Friends Forever: Female Friendships in Literature & Film'' explores the breadth and depth of female friendships. With texts ranging from (but not limited to) Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet, to Amy Heckerling’s “Clueless,” Toni Morrison’s “Sula,” and episodes of TV shows such as  “Broad City,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and “Insecure” students examine friendships between women across lenses of class, race, and more. 

teacher in yellow sweater in front of greenery

Kathleen McNamara began her journey teaching English at Emma Willard School nearly four decades ago. While technology and teaching techniques may have changed, her desire to inspire a love of the written word in students remains steadfast.

Signature Magazine Fall/Winter 2023

The Fall/Winter 2023 edition of Emma Willard School’s Signature magazine highlights several aspects of the Emma experience. From experiential learning to our deep historical roots and our profoundly dedicated faculty, we explore and celebrate some of the unique aspects of living and learning on Mount Ida. 

Two students discussing a book at desks in English class

English Faculty

Esther Dettmar

Esther Dettmar

English Department Chair, English Instructor
Erin Bennett

Erin Bennett

English Instructor
Caroline Boyajian

Caroline Boyajian

Director of Curriculum and Innovation, English Instructor
Brian Druckenmiller

Brian Druckenmiller

English Instructor
Mary Hunter

Mary Hunter

English Instructor, Head JV Volleyball Coach
Bethany Loffredo-Dempsey

Bethany Loffredo-Dempsey

English Instructor, Assistant JV Field Hockey Coach
Meg McClellan

Meg McClellan

English Instructor, Margaret Wing Dodge Instructor in Literature, Starzinger Writing Center Coordinator
Kathleen McNamara

Kathleen McNamara

English Instructor
Shawna Norton

Shawna Norton

English Instructor
Tom Nygren

Tom Nygren

English Support
Molly Riley

Molly Riley

Assistant Director of Admissions, Writing Support