Jonathan Cook / English Teacher
“It is very fulfilling to see our students get into good colleges. Several of our graduates each year go to UVA, William & Mary, and other top-tier schools . . . I also really enjoy seeing books they’ve read in high school change their thinking.”
“Amazing senior year English” is UVA sophomore Carol Yacoub’s immediate response when asked which subject she feels most prepared to tackle in college. “If you’ve had Dr. Cook,” the 2011 Middleburg Academy graduate goes on to explain, “you can handle anything. He’s incredible . . . and has taught me so much about writing.”
Carol’s professors are no doubt impressed with her verbal clarity since Dr. Cook is known to be relentless about vocabulary acquisition, grammatical correctness, and expressive concision. He encourages the use of mnemonic devices for new vocabulary, but nothing beats a round of “Stump the Teacher” to get students fully engaged in learning new words. It is rare for students to come up with one that isn’t already familiar to Dr. Cook, but he does admit to being caught out by a few sesquipedalian examples.
Dr. Cook’s students study a variety of literary classics that continue to enrich young people’s minds, as well as some notable contemporary works. Dr. Cook is a nationally recognized scholar of the writings of Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe, with many publications on these and other authors. He has served on a number of panels at literary conferences and as a consultant for various publications. His book on Moby-Dick and the Bible, Inscrutable Malice, was published in December 2012 by Northern Illinois University Press.
Dr. Cook was born in Washington, D.C., grew up with four siblings in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, and lives with his better half in Sterling, Virginia in a house full of books.
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