The John Dewey Academy welcomes new faculty for 2019-2020!

Courtney Carlisle, M.A. English Faculty 

Courtney will be joining the faculty at John Dewey Academy full-time in June of 2019, after substituting during the summers since 2014. She earned her BA and MA in English literature from the University of Wyoming, and then moved to Tempe, Arizona, to pursue a PhD at Arizona State University. 

Currently writing her dissertation, Courtney focuses on early modern English literature and critical theory, but especially appreciates the opportunity to teach literature courses that include diverse texts and encourage students to think and write critically about themselves as readers and writers. Before coming to Dewey, Courtney taught for the University of Wyoming’s English Department, Honors Program, and Outreach Program, and worked for Arizona State University’s English Department and Institute for Humanities Research. 

Aside from teaching, Courtney enjoys reading (of course!), traveling (often with an eye to literary history), and settling into the Berkshires with her two dogs. 

Benjamin Mielenz, M.A. Spanish Faculty 

Ben will join the John Dewey Academy team in August of 2019. He has a passion for second language acquisition that is rooted in professional and academic immersions on four continents outside of North America. In 2007 and 2008 he spent a year in Malawi as a public health volunteer. The challenges and rewards of that experience had a profound impact on him as he pursued his education and continued to seek out exciting and enriching opportunities to travel while learning. Upon completion of his bachelor’s degree he worked for an academic year on the Caribbean coast of Colombia as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. He has also spent a year and two summers in northern Spain, where he hiked 550 miles of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in 2017 and conducted his Ph.D. fieldwork in 2018. 

His graduate work in Spanish sociolinguistics runs in tandem with his teaching philosophy. He is convinced that the way we communicate plays a crucial role in the way we see the world and our place in it. Understanding a language as a non-native speaker has helped Ben to think critically about human interactions. In the classroom, this translates into a creative and playful approach to learning with an emphasis on progress rather than perfection. He encourages his students to find and trust their own voices and to use their communicative abilities to engage with the world around them. 

When he’s not teaching or working on his dissertation, you’ll probably find Ben hiking the Berkshires, shooting pool, playing rock and blues in a band with friends in Albany, NY, or relaxing at home with Pearl—arguably the best Albany alley cat to ever relocate to Western Massachusetts.