I went to Rivers, a day school, and had a fabulous experience as a high school student. I had several teachers that really did have an impact, and one of them was my AP English teacher, no surprise there. So, my path started there.
After graduating from Harvard Divinity school with an MDiv in 1981, the woman who was the head of the career plan had told me that there was a teaching opening at Berkshire School. I thought, "It's 1981, there are no other jobs that I can find." So I went out, interviewed, and got the job. I went from Berkshire to Tabor [Academy] and then to Kingswood-Oxford for nine years. I wanted to go back to boarding school, and I arrived at Millbrook 19 years ago. Now I've been teaching for 30 years.
Millbrook. If I were to put it in institutional terms, it's what Millbrook stands for. I like the community. I like the village. I like the location. Mr. Casertano is a great man to work for. It's rare that you find somebody with that combination of administrative capability and personal connectivity not only with faculty, but with students. You'll never find people like Bill Hardy. I didn't at other places. It's a combination of these things.
The lesson on the final chapter of The Stranger by Albert Camus. One of the things I really like about it is, after all these years of teaching it, I've never really figured it out myself. What I find so wonderful about teaching it is when I ask, "I'm really asking, help me out. What does this mean? What is he trying to say here?" It's fresh and new, and I always see something different. It's one of the reasons why I love teaching English, literature, poetry. There's never a right answer. There are only wonderful observations about things. So that's a lesson that really stands out for me.
My favorite text is Crime and Punishment by [Fyodor] Dostoyevsky. The reason why is because my interests have always been in religion, philosophy, and literature, and of all the pieces that I teach, and this is a teaching text, [this] is the one that really most succinctly expressly deals with all three in a way that also reflects the values of what I call the old world and begins to look forward to the values of the modern world. So, I think it's a seminal text in that regard, and it was written in the mid-1800s, right in the time when, in Western civilization anyway, when we were looking back and looking forward at the same time. And so that as a piece of literature is a springboard for me to really push forward.
That's a tough one. My favorite quotation is from Franz Kafka, "How short life must be, if something so fragile can last a lifetime." This quote recognizes the enormous infinite quality of life and yet the short span of life. There's a sense that life is sacred.