An Interview with Mrs. Sullivan

Olivia Horne, Student Journalist

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How has the new class of Freshmen been for you?

I think many students are enthusiastic about learning, and then of course you always have some students who are having a difficult time adjusting to high school, but I would say they’re the minority this year. Most students actually seem to be transitioning very well.

What grades and classes do you teach (besides 9th grade IH English)?

I have two sections of IH, two sections of co taught college prep english 9, and then I have TCI for juniors.

What can you tell me about how IH was started? Did you have any part in creating the program? 

I was hired to teach IH, and the first year I started teaching here was 2012. I think it was Assistant Principal Annette Towzin who started it. It was kind of like her brain child. And, I know that Mr. Miskimon was here, but over the years the two of us have developed the program. But the idea was, I believe, Ms. Towzin’s. The school wanted to provide an honors learning community for students who were interested in the humanities, because IMS had already been around for years.

What is the most memorable thing one of your students has done?

There have been many things, but one that definitely stands out is Jojo Kravitz, who was a student in IH. She returned as a senior to do a teaching program we had in our school, and she was basically my student teacher for a marking period. She taught a few classes and I was her mentor for that experience. It’s phenomenal seeing one of your own students come up with learning activities for a unit that I had originally taught her. I think she did a lesson on Romeo and Juliet, and to see her engage with the freshmen, as a senior, was pretty cool.

What has been your favorite field trip to chaperone?

My favorite field trip is always the archives in Morristown. It’s just incredible to read and hold the letters of our founding fathers and these great American authors and thinkers. We just went there a few weeks ago and I had the opportunity to read and hold a handwritten note from Charles Darwin to an editor of a newspaper, and it was all about natural selection.

Which college did you to and what degrees did you get?

I got a BA in English, a JD from Brooklyn Law School, and a teaching certificate from the College of Saint Elizabeth.

If you weren’t an English teacher, what do you think you would be instead?

I would either be an attorney, because I’d still be practicing law, or a piano teacher. I had piano lessons when I stayed home with my kids when they were younger, and I loved doing that, too. I love teaching, and I do love the one on one.

What is your favorite book or book series?

That’s a really hard question. I don’t know, I have a lot of favorite books. One of them is definitely Pride and Prejudice, and I did really love to Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye. There’s so many, it depends on the genre. I also have new favorites, like Educated, which I read just last year. 

Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction when it comes to reading and writing?

I definitely prefer fiction, which is why I don’t usually like memoirs and why Educated made such an impression on me.

Have you ever had an idea for a book or story that you’ve always wanted to write?

Yeah, I guess I’ve had a few different ideas, but I’ve never done it. Even though I said I don’t like memoirs, I’ve written little stories about my childhood and things like that. I have a fantasy about writing a fantasy, but I’ve never even started it. I just love that fantasy, sci-fi genre.