New English teacher happy to be back working with students
She hasn’t taught for five years, but Mrs. Nancy Fasules — who will teach freshman and sophomore English this year — is glad to be back in the classroom.
From 2010 to 2018, Ms. Fasules served as Director of Admissions at New Roads School in Santa Monica, where Principal Mr. Daniel Weslow led the upper school before coming to Shalhevet in 2015.
Before that, taught English at New Roads to grades nine through 12, for eight years starting in 2002. She said she yearned to be back in the classroom because she wanted to have more of a relationship with students.
“You don’t get to deal with the kids so much as an administrator — you don’t see them grow, and I really, really missed that,” Ms. Fasules said in an interview.
Mrs. Fasules started as a special education teacher, then went on to become first- and fifth-grade teacher at St. James School in Hancock Park. She also also served as St. James’ Director of Publications, and taught creative writing there.
“I’ve taught freshman before… it’s kind of a tricky grade,” she said.
She said she learned a lot about freshmen from her son, who is now 23 — specifically when he was in ninth grade himself.
“I saw that some of my expectations that I’d had before I had a child who was in high school weren’t really realistic,” she said. “When you see your own child you realize… they’re still very young and vulnerable.”
Ms. Fasules said she would expect more from sophomores.
“The writing should be stronger and in that sense, you’re teaching more challenging material,” Mrs. Fasules said.
Ms. Fasules grew up in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and attended Mills College in Oakland, Calif., for one year before transferring to USC.
When she was a young girl, her parents took the family to a ranch in Montana over the summer and went fishing. Eventually, they bought land there, and now Ms. Fasules goes there during her summers — bringing her dog, an Aussiedoodle named Otis.
“My favorite thing to do is go to Montana for several weeks and read and walk with Otis,” she said.
This summer she read Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward, a new American novel which she hopes to teach next year to students.
“One could say it’s… a “ghost story”, something I think would be intriguing to teenagers,” she said in an email. “It would also spark some great class discussions.”
Although she will be teaching four classes, Ms. Fasules is looking forward to having more time for herself than she did as admissions director at New Roads.
“I realized I wanted to get back to my writing,” Ms. Fasules said. “When you’re an administrator…. you work late into the night, you work on weekends, you work all summer.”