M.A., University of Kansas
B.A., University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Gretchen Atwater fondly recalls her freshman year in college, sitting in a dark lecture hall as she attended her first class in art history. As images of exquisite works of art were projected, and then described in the context of the historical period in which they were created, she realized that this field was the perfect melding of everything she loved: aesthetics, history, literature, and foreign languages. In these college years, Gretchen discovered her major fields of study – art history and French – and eventually pursued and achieved a doctorate in art history.
After staying home to raise her two children, Gretchen next discovered two new things about herself: she missed teaching, and she loved the high energy and enthusiasm of teenagers. With a Humanities program that united the concepts and skills of English and history, Morristown Beard School perfectly matched her devotion to interdisciplinary studies.
As a history teacher at MBS, Gretchen is passionate about helping students discover how history affects their lives today, and how they are part of history in the making. One of the ways in which her students learn these concepts is by regularly writing about, discussing, and making personal connections to current events.
"I want my students to have the joy of discovering the quirky events of history as well as the ones with profound repercussions," says Gretchen, and she works diligently to make sure that this process of discovery is a part of every student’s journey at MBS.