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Betsy Durning

English/College Essay Coach

Betsy Durning, a distinguished educator with over thirty years of experience, has served as an English teacher, department head, and dean at a number of prestigious schools, including St. Paul’s School in NH, The Hotchkiss School in CT, St. George’s School in RI, and The Kinkaid School in TX. In the fall of 2021, she assumed her current position as an English teacher and the Director of Theatre Arts at Greenwich Country Day School in CT, where she enjoys advancing the school’s mission of engaging students in deep, meaningful, and joyful learning. Betsy earned a BA with Honors in English from Holy Cross College. She holds an MA in Theatre History, Theory, and Criticism from Brown University, and she is close to completing a second MA in English through the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.

Betsy’s passion for pedagogy has led her to develop a diverse set of tools for supporting students with a wide range of learning styles. Having taught freshman English for many years, she is adept at assessing and teaching the skills students need most upon entering high school. Focusing on process, Betsy supports her students through multiple drafts and revisions, helping them develop confidence and a growth mindset. She especially enjoys teaching grammar using the proven “art of styling sentences” method. In addition to working with freshmen, Betsy teaches advanced literature and AP courses, as well as mini-courses in college essay writing. Her work with college essays begins with helping students generate unique ideas for content, ones that allow them to discover their authentic voice before they move on to polish their prose.

Excelling both inside and outside the classroom, Betsy’s students have been accepted at highly selective colleges and universities. They have also been the recipients of a variety of writing awards including the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Most recently, as recipients of the Ernie DiMattia Emerging Young Artist Award, two of her playwriting students had their original one-act plays staged by Broadway actors at the Palace Theatre in Stamford.

Betsy is happy to have spent most of her life in New England. When she is not enjoying her English students, her family, or a good book, you will often find her in a theater, directing or attending a production.

Betsy Durning
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