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Dr. Margaret McCarney

English Language Arts Teacher

Ext. 301

Educational History

Ph.D. English Renaissance Literature, University of Rochester B.A., English Literature, B.A., College of St. Thomas

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

The curriculum and classical method open learning in ways that seem exponential rather than linear.  It’s very rewarding to watch students’ expand not only their intellectual abilities but also the capacity for a lifetime of synthetic learning.


I like to travel, bike, attend local plays, spend time with family and friends, and read.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

I would probably say, Shakespeare, because the arc of his plays contains so much mastery of theater as well as human complexity. At the same time, I could make a pretty convincing case for at least a dozen other authors. I like authors who push against expectations and challenge readers to find new perspectives on timeless questions.

Favorite Books

I highly recommend my tenth-grade curriculum map.

Favorite Work of Art

Florence’s Duomo has a wonderful story attached to it. Vermeer’s paintings draw viewers in with their placid complexity.  My brain is always soothed by Brancusi’s Bird in Flight and Mondrian’s Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow.

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

My new favorite (though I have dozens) is “Exile is a dreadful thing for one who knows his rightful place.”