Seven years after graduating from Oregon State, Jessica Bartlett (MFA, ’06) is the Department Chair at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM), one of the best high schools in the country. Her work has helped to transform and expand the humanities program, which included just one full-time English teacher when Jessica began in 2007.
She hadn’t planned on working with high schoolers, but it has turned out to be a rewarding experience.
“Leaving OSU, I was really uncertain about taking a position at a high school, even a high school for the gifted where I knew the students would be prepared for a challenging curriculum in the humanities,” says Jessica. “However, it was the best decision I could have made, and it is one that I’d strongly encourage other graduates to consider.”
Jessica is currently teaching English at MSSM, which was named the 13th best high school in the United States by US News and World Report this year. She arrived there in 2007 after completing her MFA and a year as a bridge instructor at OSU, and was originally hired by MSSM to design a comprehensive composition program for gifted and talented high school students.
Six years later, her department has gone from one full time English teacher to three, which has freed up a bit more of her time for curriculum development and course design. Jessica became the Humanities Department Chair three years ago, and last year served as the Academic Support Coordinator, overseeing the academic well being of MSSM’s student body and ensuring that students’ needs were met both in and outside of the classroom by our faculty and residential staff.
In addition to her administrative duties, Jessica teaches a mixture of composition and American literature courses, some of which receive credit from the University of Maine through an agreement brokered two years ago.
“Working at MSSM has given me the opportunity to utilize the education, experience, and mentorship that I received at OSU to make a difference in the daily lives of young people, while continuing to challenge myself as an educator and writer,” Jessica concludes. “I couldn’t ask for a better job with more academic freedom or sense of community involvement.”
Above: Jessica Bartlett, MFA ’06