New Faculty Spotlight: Dan Sussman, Upper School English Teacher

The Upper School is pleased to welcome Dan Sussman as a new English Teacher. He will teach sections of the 10th grade curriculum as well as electives studying Jewish literature and literature of the American South.

Dan attended Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, PA for high school and earned his B.A. in American Studies from Yale University, focusing on literature, history, and music. During his senior year of college, not wanting to leave the classroom setting, Dan realized he wanted to be a teacher.

“I always loved school,” said Dan. “I loved reading, loved ideas. At first, entering the field of education was just a way to keep from leaving that world.”

To gain experience, Dan took a job at a summer camp and then as a teaching intern at The Learning Project Elementary School in Boston, where he taught second and sixth graders. Afterwards, he went back to graduate school for a year and received a Ed.M. in learning and teaching from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Dan then joined the team of founding faculty at New Vision Academy Charter School in Nashville before he was hired by Dwight-Englewood School in North Jersey where he taught middle school English and history. He also was the seventh grade Team Leader. For his final year at Dwight-Englewood, Dan transitioned to teaching Upper School English, very similar to his position at MFS.

He has long felt a pull toward Quaker education for pedagogical and ethical reasons. Dan also anticipates enjoying the warmth of a smaller school community than he is used to.

“I really love it when the kids surprise me with incredible ideas about literature that are way, way better than whatever I was thinking,” said Dan. “Sometimes I’m the expert sharing my knowledge with the kids, sometimes I’m the guide as they engage with the material on their own, and on occasion I am a student along with them, modeling the kind of habits and enthusiasm I hope they will acquire. But as important as all of those roles are, the ‘guide’ persona should dominate my time in the classroom.”

Outside of school, Dan loves to sing, play guitar, write songs, and record them. He is a self-proclaimed unskilled but enthusiastic chef and runner. He has a daughter, Anna, who recently turned two, and Dan calls being a dad “the most fun I’ve ever had.”