Ellen Ray

High School Homeroom & Social Studies Teacher

Ellen is thrilled to bring her passion for history, philosophy, literature, and politics to the Odyssey community. A graduate of Yale (BA), Middlebury (MA), and Hollins (MFA), Ellen has had the honor of teaching at The Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia; Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia; and St. Albans School in Washington, DC. Currently, she writes a political column for the literary magazine Scoundrel Time and is at work on a novel.

While earning her B.A. in Humanities from Yale, Ellen was selected to participate in the renowned Direct Studies program, and, ever since, she has sought to understand how historical, philosophical, and literary texts converse with one another across time and discipline. This stance informs every aspect of her teaching, from the texts she assigns to the discussions and reflections she leads. She believes that we must invite students to peer at life’s most driving questions through multiple lenses if they are to come to meaningful answers about what it means to be human. During her years at The Lovett School, Ellen studied the principles of design thinking and project-based learning and learned how to foster a compassionate classroom culture. At Hollins, moreover, she gained a nuanced understanding of what writing, speaking, and research skills students must have in order to thrive in college. She used this knowledge to prepare her St. Albans students for the rigors of Georgetown, UVA, UChicago, and other top institutions across the country.

Ellen believes that the primary task of any teacher is to equip students to be the best versions of themselves. For her, this means acting as a facilitator, one who crafts a supportive and safe environment in which each student can question, reflect, experiment, and grow. A progressive educator at heart, Ellen believes that we learn best by doing. She structures her courses so that students are active participants in their learning, required to prove their understanding of material by teaching it to others and translating it into action and art. She believes in the adage that what we learn with joy we never forget and strives daily to make her classroom ring with laughter, delight, and discovery. She helps students develop not only as historians, but also as empathetic thinkers and writers, powerfully equipped to communicate their ideas to the world.

Preparing students, families, and educators to lead the 21st century with an authentic sense of self.

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