The roster of 2021 summer institute fellows included twenty-five English language arts teachers hailing from twenty U.S. states.
Layla Aldousany, Ph.D., teaches English and American studies to high schoolers at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, NC. She offers two semester-long courses—Shakespeare Now, as well as a British literature course in which she also includes Shakespeare. Her goal is to integrate digital storytelling into both, in order to build more student engagement through creative projects.
Joshua Anderson, M.Ed., teaches English at Milwaukee Rufus King International High School in Milwaukee, WI. He has taught several of Shakespeare’s plays during the last 21 years. Most often he has guided his students through Macbeth, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His experiences teaching in different school environments have helped him build a culturally responsive approach to teaching canonical texts.
Matt Bolton, Ph.D., is a 10th grade English teacher and head of the upper school at The Seven Hills School in Cincinnati, OH. He has been teaching Shakespeare’s works since the 90’s, when he was a member of Teach for America. He has learned the importance of rewriting scenes in contemporary language for students.
David Bucknell, M.S.T, teaches English and creative writing to students in grades 10-12 at Kapolei High School in Kapolei, HI. To overcome the complexities of teaching and learning Shakespeare’s plays, he has incorporated the Folger Method to effectively engage students in direct interaction with the literary works through saying, acting, blocking, and staging the words as directors would.
Brin Charek, B.S, B.A.C., teaches English and drama/theater at Tallmadge High School in Tallmadge, OH. Shakespeare’s works are a staple in the curricula for both of her content areas. She has played several Shakespeare roles on the stage. As an educator, her hope is to ignite the same passion and confirm the relevance of Shakespeare’s plays.
Emily D’Amico, M.A., is an English, public speaking, debate, and research writing teacher at Oakland Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, PA. In the last few years, she has guided her students through three of Shakespeare’s plays. Through those experiences, she has learned the value of being an English teacher and trained reading specialist—which helps her provide students with multi-level support.
Anders Drewry, Ed.D., teaches 7th and 10th grade English at St. Albans School in Washington, DC. Throughout his career he has taught students from the 5th grade to the college level and is always looking for ways to share parts of his thesis on issues of paternity and filial duty in Hamlet. In the past 20 years he has included a variety of Shakespeare texts in his classroom, including most recently The Comedy of Errors and Romeo and Juliet, and he has offered Shakespeare elective classes as well.
Erica Haglund, M.Ed., is an English, public speaking, and debate teacher at Poinciana High School in Kissimmee, FL. Over the years, her 10th grade Shakespeare curricula has included Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Romeo and Juliet. Given that her graduate studies were on digital teaching and learning, she has already applied some of the useful tools of digital storytelling to her classes.
Natalie Holt, M.A., teaches 8th-12th grade English and drama/theater at The June Buchanan School in Pippa Passes, KY. She has also taught numerous courses at the college level. In addition to teaching the standard Shakespearean works (Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Julius Caesar) she has also guided her upper-level students through the more complex Hamlet and King Lear—among many others.
Lucia Lemieux, M.F.A., teaches English and creative writing at Newbury Park High School in Thousand Oaks, CA. She began teaching Shakespeare’s plays in 2005. Among her favorites is Julius Caesar. She finds many correlations between this play and our contemporary political situation. She has also taught mass media and video production.
Breanne Lucy, M.S.Ed., teaches English to high school students at the Baxter Academy for Science and Technology in Portland, ME. She offers a Shakespeare seminar to juniors and seniors. She likes to encourage her students to make their own discoveries about the plays through performance, discussion, and close-reading—which helps them uncover the strange, frustrating, and the beautiful. She is grateful to that her students help her see new things in Shakespeare’s plays, too.
Claire Mikeson, M.A., is a 12th grade English teacher at The Billings Career Center in Billings, MT. During her five years as an educator, she has taught Shakespearean dramas to students in grades 9-12. Her students generally read contemporary works in tandem with Shakespeare to build their understanding of media representations as they relate to race, gender, and standards of beauty.
Lauren Miskin, Ph.D., teaches middle school English at The Hockaday School in Dallas, TX. She enjoys engaging her students emotionally and intellectually. She spends the first few weeks of every Shakespeare lesson discussing the plot and closely reading key passages. As the students gain confidence, she helps them dive into Shakespeare’s strategic construction of literary devices.
Hannah Ritorto, Ph.D., was a secondary English literature and composition teacher at Lakeview Academy in Gainesville, GA, where she taught several of Shakespeare’s works. Since then, she’s been in a doctoral program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Starting in the fall of 2021, she will be teaching secondary English and creative writing at The Weber School in Sandy Springs, GA.
Blair Rostolsky, M.Ed., is a 9th grade English and special education teacher at Decatur High School in Decatur, GA. As a primary and collaborative educator, she has embedded Shakespeare’s works into lessons, activities, and games to engage her students. Her Shakespeare-driven curricula make lessons in the texts accessible to her students through language and formats that are easier to understand.
Marie Sarnacki, M.Ed., teaches English at South Lyon East High School in South Lyon, MI. As part of her current curriculum, she spends about a month and a half with her students on Romeo and Juliet. Next year she plans to introduce them to Hamlet. She has also enjoyed using many of the hands-on lessons in the book Shakespeare Set Free.
Annalee Sellers, Ph.D., teaches 9th and 12th grade English at Whitefield Academy in Smyrna, GA. Throughout her career she has served as a teacher, mentor, and resident advisor at the high school and college levels. Most recently her classroom curriculum has included Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Oedipus Rex, as well as García Márquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
McKenna Sloan, M.Ed., teaches English, drama/theater, and film criticism at Woodmont High School in Piedmont, SC. One of her greatest moments teaching Shakespeare to her students was the realization that they had no problem seeing the relevance of his works, but that she needed to help them appreciate the florid language as well.
Jordan Smith, M.Ed., teaches English at Muriel Williams Battle High School in Columbia, MO. To build enthusiasm and literary understanding, he is intentional about using digital storytelling and folk literature to supplement the reading of Shakespeare’s works. He also runs an after-school recording studio program in which he assigns audio storytelling projects to his students—which include creating modern adaptations.
Kayla Stockton, M.A., is a 9th and 11th grade English teacher in Powder Springs, GA. She believes that accessible lessons are integral to student success and that digital storytelling helps students build their own literary space. She also strives to overcome the challenges of classical works with limited female and racially diverse characters to find universal themes that engage her students.
Diane Stubbins, M.A., is a high school English and journalism teacher at Fuqua School in Farmville, VA. Rather than teach Shakespeare’s works through mere analysis, she employs engaging strategies like skit writing—which encourages student interactions with the plays and pushes them beyond their comfort zones. She also started an annual senior field trip to the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA.
Elyse Tussey, B.A., teaches 9th-12th grade drama/theater at Chicago Bulls College Prep in Chicago, IL. Among one of her classroom strategies, she has used Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to teach her students how to analyze plot structure, dramatic text, and characters. She has also used Shakespeare’s works to encourage analyses of iambic pentameter and old English through monologues and play scenes.
Greg Tuttle, B.S., teaches English, public speaking, creative writing, and Shakespeare 101 at Holly Springs High School in Holly Springs, NC. He has taught Macbeth to seniors for 27 years, and he has also introduced students to twenty-one Shakespearean plays over the years. Additionally, he has taught a highly interactive and stage-driven Shakespeare course since 2004.
Jane Wanninger, Ph.D., teaches English at Bard Academy, part of Bard College in Great Barrington, MA. Previously she taught at the college level. Through her lessons on Shakespeare, she tries to build students’ enthusiasm for the richness of Shakespeare’s language—while nurturing their curiosity for the ways in which the dramas, as texts for performance, become alive through performance.
Denise Wood, B.S., is an English and reading teacher at the Union Grove High School in McDonough, GA. Having an academic background in theater has helped her overcome the obstacles of teaching Shakespeare’s plays to her students. She has managed to engage her students by tying in the universal themes of love, loyalty, and rebellion—central issues in the lives of teenagers.