St. John’s English Department combines tradition and innovation to provide a rigorous and enriching English curriculum for our students. We embrace the challenge to prepare young men and women for the world through language development, critical thinking, persuasion and empathy. We provide our students with a variety of texts - never fearing the canon, and never beholden to the conventional. We practice close reading of these texts as we analyze themes and character development that emphasize pattern recognition and inference. Students engage in compelling discussions in order to shape and explore their ideas. With our structured writing curriculum, students master how to craft an argument supported by textual evidence and critical research.
No matter the task, the English faculty of St. John’s calls on our students to be mission-minded. Our students are directed to consider their contribution to society. We work to ensure they will be reflective and action-oriented young women and men.

Course Offerings

  • English 9
  • Honors English 9
  • American Literature
  • Honors American Literature
  • British Literature
  • Honors British Literature
  • AP Language and Composition
  • Comparative Literature
  • Minority Voices in American Literature
  • English 12
  • Honors English 12
  • AP Literature and Composition

Course Requirements

At least one full credit of English is required of every student all four years. Seniors may select any of five options (Comparative Literature, Minority Voices in Literature, English 12, Honors English 12 or AP Literature) to fulfill their senior English requirement.

Extracurricular Opportunities

The Literary Magazine publishes poetry, short stories, creative narratives and essays, art and photographs. Submissions are open to all students, and the best pieces will be chosen for publication. Spots are open for student representatives in all grades to endorse the magazine and encourage submissions school-wide. Also, student editor positions are available for interested juniors or seniors.

English Faculty

List of 13 members.

  • Brendan Shea 

    Department Chair, English; AP Literature and Composition, British Literature
    202-363-2316 x1912
    University of Maryland - B.A.
    Catholic University - M.A.
  • Bro. Paul Avvento, FSC 

    American Literature
    Manhattan College - B.A.
    St. Mary's College of California - M.A.
  • Gina Brillante 

    Honors English 9, English 9
    202-363-2316 x1913
    St. John’s College - B.A.
    Johns Hopkins University - M.A.
  • Nicole Choi 

    American Literature, Honors English 12
    202-363-2316 x1950
    University of Maryland - B.A.
  • Karl Danso 

    Dean of Students; Minority Voices in American Literature
    202-363-2316 x1914
    Boston College - B.A.
    Boston College - M.Ed.
  • Sara Faircloth 

    Honors English 9, American Literature
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - B.A.
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - M.A.
  • Christina Farello 

    Honors British Literature, British Literature
    Catholic University - B.A.
    Catholic University - M.A.
  • Marie Gelso 

    Director of the Writing Center; AP Language and Composition, British Literature
    202-363-2316 x1910
    University of Maryland - B.A.
    American University - M.A.T.
  • Raymond Nighan 

    Comparative Literature
    202-363-2316 x1915
    University of Scranton - B.S.
    University of Scranton - M.A.
    Loyola University Chicago - Ph.D.
  • Cristina Paluch 

    British Literature, Honors English 9
    202-363-2316 x1918
    Villanova University - B.A.
    University of Pennsylvania - M.Ed.
  • Matthew Petersen 

    Honors American Literature, English 12
    202-363-2316 x1911
    Salisbury University - B.A.
  • Michael Schaefer 

    Honors American Literature, English 9
    202-363-2316 x1917
    La Salle University - B.A.
    State University of New York at New Paltz - M.A.
  • Peter Thomas 

    English 9, American Literature
    College of William and Mary - B.A.
    College of William and Mary - M.A.