The English program incorporates an appreciation for all literary genres and a working knowledge and appreciation of literary devices, vocabulary, and grammar.

Works that have influenced the Western literary tradition are prominent; the program also offers consistent examination of ethnic, racial, gender, and cultural diversity in both Western and non-Western texts.

Common to all grade levels is a specific approach to the study of literature that fosters careful analysis and artfully substantiated interpretation in both written and oral discussion.  Skills that focus on critical and creative thinking, study and test-taking, the successful communication of ideas, the efficient use of literary resources, and effective public speaking both enable a student to achieve success in the study of literature and language and facilitate learning over a lifetime.

In order to earn the MacDuffie diploma, students must successfully complete the study of English in each of their Upper School years.


Photo of Barak Blackburn

Barak Blackburn

Librarian; Creative Writing Teacher; Residential Point Person; Residential Assistant

B.A., Binghamton University

Barak Blackburn joined the MacDuffie residential program in the spring of 2021, and now is all-in on MacDuffie, continuing to be part of the residential community as a point-person, but also serving as the librarian, creative writing teacher, advisor for the literary magazine and newspaper, and helping out in the technology department. He comes to MacDuffie after significant tenures at The Bement School and Rectory School, having experience in teaching, coaching, residential life, administration, development, and technology.…

Photo of Don Buda

Don Buda

English Teacher

B.A., Boston College
M.A., University of Connecticut

Don Buda joined our English department for the 2021-22 school year, working with Upper School students and as the advisor to The Magnolia, our yearbook. He has over ten years of experience teaching literature and writing at the college level in northern Connecticut. Don earned a B.A. in English and philosophy from Boston College and an M.A.…

Photo of Bill Morris

Bill Morris

College Counselor; English Teacher

B.A., University of New Hampshire
M.E., Boston University

Photo of Jennifer Rogers P’22

Jennifer Rogers P’22

College Counselor; English Teacher

B.S., University of Rhode Island
M.Ed., Boston University

Jennifer Rogers is a college counselor and 8th grade English teacher at MacDuffie. She joined the ELL and English Departments in 2015 after twelve years of teaching literature and writing at local colleges. Before that, Jennifer chaired the English Department and taught English at a high school in Florida.…

Photo of Carol Tomkiel

Carol Tomkiel

English Department Chair; English Teacher

B.A., Dartmouth College
M.A., Georgetown University

Carol Tomkiel has been a teacher and member of the MacDuffie community since 1984. In addition to her duties as chairperson and teacher, she is an ongoing member of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project and the Thoreau Institute. She is a recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities for Secondary School Teachers and the National Writing Project for study in the areas of philosophical approaches to the teaching of history and the reading and writing of the Holocaust, respectively.…