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Literature Has the Power to Change Lives


“What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.” - E.M. Forster

Our English faculty believes literature has the power to change the lives of our students. Not only do we study the classics, but we also introduce our students to diverse works we feel will have an immediate impact on their lives. From Homer and Hemingway to Joan Didion and James Baldwin, we value writing that transforms lives. Nothing is more important to our English faculty than to create a culture that fosters a love of learning. We have observed that a student’s emotional and social growth follow close behind an appreciation for the art of literature, fostered by close reading and classroom discussion.

The writing curriculum is strenuous and demanding and balances scholastic and creative projects to ensure students are prepared for college and provided ample opportunities for imaginative development. 

Introduction to Genres, World Literature, American Literature, British Literature: these courses comprise the core of our curriculum, though eligible students can choose AP Language and Composition and AP Literature and Composition during their junior and senior years. For those literature lovers and committed writers, we also offer an assorted elective series. “Science Fiction,” “War in Literature,” “Film as Literature,” and “Creative Writing: Personal Narrative” are just a few of the electives we offer on a rotational basis.

Hands-On Learning

Take Your Studies to the Next Level

We encourage participation in writing competitions and the Struan, the school’s annual journal of art and creative writing. Each year, as part of our Godwin-Hauser Writing Series, we invite distinguished writers to visit our classrooms to share techniques and insights with our boys. We’ve enjoyed the company of writers like the poet Billy Collins and one of our local favorites, Ron Rash.

News from the English Department

Meet the Faculty

Antonio Britto spent much of his childhood frolicking in the sand and surf of North Carolina beaches. So he was pleased to return to the Tar Heel state and join Christ School's English Department in 2019. 

Mr. Britto teaches World Literature, is an assistant coach for football, and a dorm parent.

Mr. Britto graduated from Virginia Tech in December 2018 with a B.A in Literature and Creative Writing. While in college, he completed an internship at Blacksburg (Va.) High School, where he assisted AP English and Creative Writing classes. After graduating, Mr. Britto worked as an assistant JV baseball coach and substitute teacher at Collegiate School in Richmond.

In his free time, Mr. Britto enjoys reading, writing, playing disc golf, hiking, and cooking Italian food.

Mary Dillon's name has been synonymous with arts at Christ School the past 22 years. 

She sat in the director's chair for nearly 40 plays staged in Pingree Auditorium, the last of which was 2019's "The Mystery of Irma Vep." The productions are immortalized by cast-signed posters hanging on the walls.

Furthermore, Mrs. Dillon has served as faculty advisor for The Stump student news organization - which reported digitally and in print - and helped introduce Winter Film as an after-school option in 2018. 

Currently, Mrs. Dillon teaches English and English as a Second Language (ESL). 

Mrs. Dillon is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas and the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. She has directed five productions for the Montford Park Players in Asheville.

Her husband's name is Roger. 

Mrs. Dillon on Christ School Theater

Will Gordon started as a Learning Resource and English teacher at Christ School in 2020 with a stated goal to empower his students inside and outside the classroom. 

Mr. Gordon graduated from Clemson University in May 2020 with a B.A. in English and minors in Film and Sports Communication. At Christ School, Mr. Gordon teaches ninth grade English as well as assisting the Learning Resource Program. He also works as a dorm parent in Cuningham House.

Mr. Gordon has coached JV Soccer and golf here. His favorite pastimes include spending time with loved ones, watching movies, and golfing.

Katharine Hoffman has been an honorary Greenie for as long as she can remember.

“It is because of Christ School that I grew up having the neatness of my bed-making skills tested with the bounce of a quarter,” said Mrs. Hoffman, a new addition to the English Department.

Her father, Edward “Bru” Izard ’69, was the fourth boy in his family to attend Christ School and passed on much of its values.

Katharine has been involved in education since 2011, most recently as an Environmental Educator and Administrator at the Green River Preserve in Cedar Mountain, N.C., and a substitute/after-school teacher in Asheville.

She is expected to complete her master’s in English Literature from the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English in 2026 and graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South in 2011 with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and English with a minor in Shakespeare.

Mrs. Hoffman has backpacked solo in more than 15 countries and has been an outdoor educator for more than a decade. She gravitates to the inherent sense of community found in boarding schools and summer camps. 

Mrs. Hoffman is married to Richard, a fellow teacher. The couple enjoy hiking and getting outside. Mrs. Hoffman encourages students to seek her out for creative explorations or creative solutions and likes crafts, traveling, jokes, and putting to use interesting facts with crossword puzzles.

Wyatt Long came on board as a Learning Resource/English instructor and assistant varsity lacrosse coach in 2020. 

Mr. Long graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English from Hartwick College in 2019. After that, he returned to his high school alma mater (Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J.) to work in communications and coach lacrosse.

Mr. Long enjoys fishing, kayaking, hiking, cooking, and cheering on Philadelphia sports teams. 


Emily Pulsifer P'15, P'17 champions Christ School at every opportunity, having seen what the curriculum and culture has done for her sons, Liam '15 and Zach '17, as well as many other students. 

The school has continued to flourish with her as Dean of Academics. 

Mrs. Pulsifer has been a member of the faculty since 2009, was formerly the chair of the English Department, and was named 2019-20 Teacher of the Year. 

Mrs. Pulsifer has also been one of the faculty advisors for the Struan, the school’s art and literary magazine, an assistant coach for cross country and track, and a writing coach for seniors as they prepare college applications. She earned her B.A. in History from Emory University, and her master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. Mrs. Pulsifer previously taught at Kents Hill School in Maine.

She reads, runs, and cooks in west Asheville with her husband, Andrew.

Watch the Faculty Spotlight on Emily Pulsifer


Dr. Spenser Simrill, a former Outstanding Teacher Award winner at the University of Georgia, joined the Christ School community after a decade and a half as a college English instructor in Athens, Ga. 

Outside of the classroom, he is an assistant coach for the Greenie cross country team which won the Buncombe County meet for the first time in 2019. 

Dr. Simrill worked in the UGA Office of International Education as a Program Coordinator from 2002 to 2017. In the past, he has taught a semester-long project in digital media and storytelling through the Lovett School in Atlanta. Dr. Simrill graduated with a B.A. in English from UGA in 1998, and later a PhD in English from the same university in 2004. He has led or assisted programs dealing with outdoor education, photography, and publications. 

His wife's name is Maggie. 

Staying active in retirement has been mutually beneficial for Greg Townsend and Christ School. 

This will be Mr. Townsend's eighth year as a member of the English Department. He was interim Dean of Academics and Curriculum for the 2019-20 school year. 

Mr. Townsend retired from Asheville City Schools in June 2015. He spent 31 years at Asheville High School as a teacher, Assistant Principal, and finally Principal of Asheville’s SILSA program (School of Inquiry and Life Sciences) from 2005 to 2015. Outside of the classroom, Mr. Townsend coached soccer and baseball.

Christ School is not his first exposure to schools affiliated with the Episcopal church – he graduated from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Bradenton, Fla., before going on to receive a B.A. in English from Sewanee: The University of the South. Mr. Townsend also holds a M.A.T. in English from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and an Ed.S in Educational Leadership from Western Carolina University.

Mr. Townsend’s wife, Shannon, teaches Spanish at Ira B. Jones Elementary in Asheville. The couple have two sons, Robert and William.