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 11 members.

  • Photo of Gina Brillante

    Gina Brillante 

    English 9, English 12
    202-363-2316 x1913
    St. John’s College - B.A.
    Johns Hopkins University - M.A.
  • Christopher Dunckel 

    American Literature, English 9
  • Photo of Christina Farello

    Christina Farello 

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

    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.
  • Photo of Cranston Gittens

    Cranston Gittens 

    Minority Voices in Literature, American Literature, English 9, Honors English 12
    202-363-2316 x1914
    Campbell University - B.A.
    University of South Florida - M.A.T.
  • Mary McAuliffe 

    British Literature, English 9
  • Photo of Raymond Nighan

    Raymond Nighan 

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

    Cristina Paluch 

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

    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.
  • Photo of Peter Thomas

    Peter Thomas 

    English 9, American Literature
    College of William and Mary - B.A.
    College of William and Mary - M.A.
  • Photo of Mindy Urick

    Mindy Urick 

    Head Girls' Lacrosse Coach; Honors American Literature, English 12
    202-363-2316 x1911
    Georgeton University - B.A.