History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Social Sciences
Faculty member since 1981
B.A. Bates College, double major in Math and Philosophy
M.A. Brown University, major in Philosophy with concentrations in Logic, Epistemology, and Ethics
What drew you to Loomis?
Former headmaster John Ratté was a huge draw for me in coming to Loomis. It seemed to be a spot that would allow me to use the full set of academic interests I had developed: math, philosophy, debate on social and political issues, linguistic and cultural immersion.
What is your favorite thing about teaching math or philosophy?
I really enjoy the transformation that occurs when students become flexible and analytic thinkers. The math classes I enjoy teaching the most are Algebra 1, Calculus BC, and AP Statistics because in all of those courses students are becoming exposed to a new and rather different set of concepts than they’ve worked with before. I enjoy helping students establish and build the conceptual foundations of a discipline.
My interest in teaching philosophy at this level is similarly motivated and energized by the opportunity to introduce and guide student in their first systematic exposure to philosophical thinking. It’s incredible to watch students grow as they wrestle with some of the fundamental classic questions of philosophy including how and what can we know, what kind of entity am I, how ought I lead my life, and can I identify beliefs or principles of reasoning that are foundational and part of all our thinking?
As the debate coach, why is the skill of debating an important one to have?
One of the most important life skills to have is to be able to rationally construct and artfully defend an argument. As debaters seek to build and support an argument they become very flexible in seeing multiple sides and points of view on complex issues.
What is one of your favorite places you’ve visited and why?
During my sabbatical four years ago, my family and I spent the first half of the year in Visakhapatnam, India, working for School Year Abroad in its trial program. We didn't come to India to be comfortable but rather to experience a very different way of life. We had the opportunity to see first hand what it feels like to live in a country with very different social arrangements, religious traditions, and educational practices, and at a very different stage of economic development from the United States. The experience has left its mark on what we really value, on the nature of the role of religion in people's lives, and an appreciation of both the dependence and independence of quality of life and material goods.