Education: Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English and a Master’s in educational leadership, all from Wayne State University
Brief Background: Mr. Klemme has been awarded multiple fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Council for Basic Education. He is a former principal of New York’s Scarsdale High School and a former state championship speech and debate coach (Michigan). A member of the Oxbridge faculty from day one, he served as Head of School from 2016-2018.
The English Department at Oxbridge Academy is committed to providing students with a rigorous and challenging academic program that prepares them for college and beyond. We develop students' critical thinking, writing, and communication skills through literature study. We also foster a love of reading and literature and promote community and belonging among students.
The study of literature is essential for success in any field. By providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in college and beyond, we are helping them to develop the critical thinking, writing, and communication skills that will allow them to thrive in the 21st century. Through literature, students learn about different cultures and perspectives and develop a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.
We are committed to providing students with a high-quality education that prepares them for success in college and beyond. Studying literature is an essential part of a well-rounded education.
JOHN KLEMME - ENGLISH DEPt. CHAIR
Academic Dean & English Teacher
Bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia; Master’s degree from Agnes Scott College
A faculty member since 2012, Mrs. Jurskis has worked in independent and public schools for the past two decades and notably served as both the English Department chair and ninth-grade academic coordinator at a performing arts magnet school in Atlanta, where she was honored as a Teacher of the Year in 2008. As a freelance writer for Random House, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins, she authored widely used teaching guides for several best-selling books.
Bachelor’s degree from St. Michael’s College; Master’s degree in education from Regent University; Doctorate in organizational leadership with an emphasis on instructional leadership from Grand Canyon University
Mr. Colling has worked in education since 1980, including 17 years as a principal in public and private schools. He also served as school improvement coordinator for the Vermont Department of Education, assistant headmaster of Westminster Schools of Augusta, Georgia, and headmaster of The King’s Academy in West Palm Beach. He has been teaching at Oxbridge since 2013.
Learning Support & English Teacher
Bachelor’s degree in special education and English with a minor in public relations from Benedictine University
Mrs. Wolfe has worked in education and public relations. She was a special education teacher and department head in Illinois and North Carolina schools and did public relations work for the NASCAR circuit. She joined Oxbridge in 2015 and coached the girls’ basketball team from 2015 to 2019, winning state championships in 2018 and ’19 and three regional and district championships during her coaching tenure.
Learning Support & English Teacher
B.A.Ed English Education - University of North Florida
M.Ed Special Education - University of North Florida
Ms. Peck joins Oxbridge with experience teaching at Andrew Jackson High School, Charlottesville High School, Morton Ranch High School, and Howell L. Watkins Middle School.
Bachelor’s degree in science from Florida Atlantic University; MA in English from Southern New Hampshire University.
Ms. Porter started her career as a social worker providing support coordination services to children and adults with developmental disabilities through her privately owned Palm Beach County-based company. At that time, Ms. Porter was also a board member and secretary of the Florida Association of Support Coordinators. Today, she is tri-certified in English, ESOL, and ESE. In 2009, she earned her National Boards for English Language Arts (NBCT) and since then, has worked in both private and public venues as an English teacher and an ESE teacher. She joined Oxbridge in 2014.
Dr. Jelena Rakovic
English Teacher & Psychology Teacher
Education: Bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami
Born and raised in South Florida, Gabrielle, a faculty member since 2019, cultivated a love for the art of the written word and the human condition at an early age. This penchant naturally leads her to pick up the pen herself and explore her humanity. Upon graduating from the University of Miami, Gabrielle worked with a South Florida non-profit organization and furthered her foray into the writing world. Since then, she has continued to develop her craft and has been published in several magazines. Her love of literature and the human condition and her desire to share that with others led her to the education field, where she now teaches African-American Literature and Psychology.
English Teacher & Head Football Coach
Dr. Matthew Brandstetter
Speech & Debate Teacher
- English 1 Courses
- English 2 & Honors English 2
- Honors Seminar English 2: American Literature
- English 3 & Honors English 3
- Honors Seminar English 3: British Literature
- College Writing
- English 4: African American Literature
- English 4: Contemporary Women's Literature
- English 4: Film as Literature
- English 4 Practical Wisdom
- Honors Seminar English 4
- Creative Writing 1
- Creative Writing 2
English 1 is a survey course of classic and modern literature. Students will read works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, personal narrative, and drama. Through rigorous writing and discussion, students learn to think critically about the important themes in these works. Teachers emphasize a variety of writing techniques,
strategies, and genres. In addition, students learn intermediate grammar and vocabulary.
Honors English 1
This course surveys classic and modern literature where students read works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, personal narrative, and drama that focus on the journey of self discovery and the odyssey of the human experience. This course introduces the art of Socratic discussion as it relates to literature; developing their skills as collaborative thinkers and confident speakers. Students will study and practice the mechanics of good writing: grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary building as they are encouraged to develop their own
voice and style. They will compose analytical, persuasive, reflective, and descriptive writing.
English 2 students explore literary genres in American Literature to promote critical thinking and develop discussion and collaboration skills. Students will demonstrate command of the elements of effective composition and writing and will also read works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, personal narrative, and drama that focus on the role of the individual in the community and the tensions that frequently emerge in that dynamic.
Honors English 2
This course is intended for students who have shown exceptional promise in writing and literary analysis. Course readings will be drawn from a diverse body of American literature and will ask students to consider the role of the individual in the community and the tensions that frequently emerge in that dynamic. Writing instruction will guide students as they craft strong analytical arguments in response to texts and teach students how to effectively incorporate textual evidence and critical source materials into their essays.
Honors Seminar English 2 is an advanced seminar-style course in American Literature that will be taught in conjunction with Honors Seminar U.S. History. There is a prerequisite for this course: Honors Seminar World History. The course is a chronological study of American Literature, from colonial writing to the post-Civil Rights era. Major movements in American Literature will be covered: Romanticism, Transcendentalism, Realism, Harlem Renaissance, and Modernism.
Students will read works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, personal narrative, and drama that focus on the efforts of individuals to develop empathy and make a difference in their social cultural contexts. As students explore the actions of protagonists who experience the impact of the world around them, they will examine questions about success and disappointment in working for change. In some cases, individuals triumph in overcoming the obstacles to personal and social progress; in other situations, human beings must confront apparently insurmountable barriers to happiness and fulfillment. The majority of the texts studied in this class are from the 20th and 21st century.
Honors English 3
Students will read works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, personal narrative, and drama that focus on the human condition, specifically efforts of individuals to make a difference in their social and cultural contexts. As students explore the actions of protagonists who experience the impact of the world, they will examine questions about success and disappointment in working for change. In some cases, individuals triumph in overcoming the obstacles to personal and social progress; in other situations, human beings must confront apparently insurmountable barriers to happiness and fulfillment. Students are expected to read a significant number pre-20th century texts.
This course is a chronological study of British Literature beginning in the Medieval period and ending just after WWI. Students will examine canonical texts, paying close attention to the historical context as well as the immediate and long-term cultural impacts of each text. Students will be expected to participate in seminar-style discussions and write college-level literary analysis and research papers that incorporate both primary and critical courses.
College Writing is a semester-long course designed to prepare students for the modes of analytical academic writing and rigor that will be expected of them as college-level students. They will read and write essays that respond to prompts that require them to analyze, persuade, reflect, and inform. The course will teach all steps of the writing process, with an emphasis on revision and editing. This course is required of all seniors except for those in Honors Seminar 4.
African American Literature is a semester-long course that uses texts, film, and music by African Americans as primary entry points into historical and contemporary conversations about race and racism, community, the impact of slavery and the diaspora, cultural traditions and cultural appropriation, mainstream and underground hip-hop, materialism, and consciousnes.
In Film as Literature, the teacher will choose a relevant common theme for films viewed in the course. Students will view films from a variety of genres selected for their contributions to the thematic focus. We view, discuss, and critique various films from a variety of genres, much the same we study great literature. Plot or story line, character development, setting and context, theme or message, and the author’s
intent are all closely examined. Students will understand the mechanics of film as a storytelling vehicle and use technical filmmaking terms in their analysis. Numerous critical analysis essays and one major research paper is required.
This course focuses on entrepreneurial and thought-provoking literature and personal and professional growth. Students will be required to keep a detailed journal, contributing to it daily, chronicling the growth of their thoughts and their plans. They will also compose a comprehensive “business plan” for their lives, including creating a credible, realistic business venture, fictitious or real, as the culminating product. Guest lectures, live and via video, will be an integral aspect of the course, as will self-reflective writing. Students will read excerpts from important literature in the field.
Students in this course will read works of literature that have withstood the test of time and offer distinct insights into the nature of human experience. Through close reading, discussions, research, presentations, and extensive writing, students will become familiar with the themes and issues embedded in these texts. Teachers select from a wide range of texts, including Morrison’s Beloved, the Greek
theater, Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Shakespeare’s King Lear, and Melville’s Moby Dick.
Students in this course will experiment with two creative genres— poetry and fiction—as a way to develop a familiarity with both genres and also explore their own creative voices. Over the course of the semester, students can expect to generate original material, practice strategies for reading and talking about writing, and work toward creating a polished body of work. Students will read and consider published fiction
and poetry, as well as their peers’ work. This course will also serve as an introduction and prerequisite to any of the upper level creative writing courses offered at Oxbridge.
This course offers students the opportunity to deepen their writing experience. Various genres will be considered including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, and drama. By the end of the semester, students will have created a self-directed work in a genre of interest. Students will revise their work to hone the skills acquired in Creative Writing I.
PLEASE NOTE: Course availability fluctuates from year to year. Please review the 2023-2024 Course Catalog for information on course availability and enrollment requirements.