Salvē, Ms. Thompson!


BLS welcomes new English Director Ms. Thompson! (Photo Credit: Mary Bosch (I))

e new program director for the Boston Latin School English Department, filling a position that has been vacant for three months.

She previously served as the English program director for the Neighborhood House Charter School in Dorchester, where she developed the curriculum for grades 6 through 12. After passing a series of interviews, Ms. Thompson was appointed program director on January 31. 

Because English classes are required for all students, Ms. Thompson directs one of BLS’s largest and most central departments — she will lead 22 faculty members in providing English instruction to all 2,423 students at BLS.

During her first few weeks at BLS, Ms. Thompson focused on observing classrooms, building relationships with teachers and learning about the English Department’s current curriculum. BLS English 11 and humanities teacher Mr. Peter Sullivan comments, “Ms. Thompson shows herself to be someone who wants to learn about us and what we do.”

Although Ms. Thompson anticipates several challenges to come in her time at BLS, she believes that being prepared, such as by collaborating with and taking advice from the other English teachers, will make it easier for her to overcome them. She recognizes the positive impacts that many BLS English teachers have on students and hopes this important work continues. Currently, Ms. Thompson wants to focus on ensuring continuity in the English curriculum across all classes and grade levels.

“We can be even better and stronger when everything is aligned. We’re making certain that students are getting the best and equal academic experience within each grade level,” says Ms. Thompson.

Regarding the English curriculum at BLS, Hannah Oh (I) states that she is generally satisfied with the curriculum and believes that it has improved a lot in recent years, especially in terms of the diversity of books taught in class. Oh, however, notes that she “wish[es] that AP [English Language and Composition] could fulfill the English 11 requirement […], because I would’ve loved to challenge myself in that AP class instead of English 11 while still fulfilling the English requirement.”

Former Program Director Ms. Susan Moran had held the position at BLS for 20 years until she retired at the end of the 2021-22 school year. Dr. Samantha McGuane replaced Ms. Moran in the fall of 2022 but unexpectedly resigned in late October, which led the school administration to search for a new program director.

After Dr. McGuane’s departure, Mr. Sullivan took over the teaching of her English 11 class. He says, “I would say [the transition] was a less than smooth beginning because it wasn’t expected.” Eventually, however, the English Department was able to overcome the challenges caused by the lack of a program director.

“It was surprising, but most people could handle it. […] We just kind of waited until they went through the [hiring] process,” continues Mr. Sullivan.

Ms. Thompson looks forward to continuing her experience at BLS. She concludes,  “Overall, I really enjoy the school; I love visiting classrooms and witnessing students’ critical thinking and just overall students having fun learning. It’s really great to see.”