Teacher Advisory Council

Gayle St. John

Years teaching: 35
Subjects: English
Education: M.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (English Literature)

Gayle St. John is in her 35th year of teaching senior English at Norman High School in Norman, Oklahoma. She has been teaching Advanced Placement English Literature since 1985. Named District Teacher of the Year in 1991, she has also twice received Teacher Recognition Awards from the Southwest Region of the College Board. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and has also successfully been through the renewal process. She has served as a consultant for College Board since 1985 in various capacities and has co-directed the University of Oklahoma Advanced Placement Summer Institute for all disciplines for the last twenty years, having been instrumental in founding that institute. Credentials aside, Gayle would tell you that her daily focus is on relationships with students; she started teaching for that reason, and she has remained all these years to embrace the opportunity that public education offers on a daily basis. Additionally, the career focus has shifted slightly to include serving as mentor for younger teachers, a role that provides great satisfaction. Her professional interest remains in curriculum design and the desire to maintain a liberal arts focus in public education. Gayle is married to Craig St. John, who chairs the Sociology Department at the University of Oklahoma. They have two grown children as well as a Dalmatian named Domino and a cat named Tiger.

“My interest in working with the National Humanities Center Teacher Advisory Council stems from both my professional interest in curriculum design and my past experiences of professional development through the National Humanities Center. Early in my career I participated in a series of NHC seminars while teaching at Chapel Hill High. I later attended a summer seminar with NHC Fellows entitled ‘Representations of the Self in Literature.’ But perhaps most significant for this connection was my participation in a grant program entitled ‘Teacher Leadership for Professional Development.’ This model was designed to offer a truly scholarly approach to the world of professional development. That experience of leading seminars in my own school, as well as working with the amazing cohort of 1998–2000 shaped my professional career. I hope that my participation with the Advisory Council will continue to enhance my teaching and work with colleagues in a similar fashion. Likewise, I can only hope that my years of professional work both in and out of the classroom will allow me to ask questions that will benefit the growth of the Center’s Education Programs.”