Faculty Profile: Karilyn Sheldon

Lisa Liu ‘22

     Karilyn Sheldon came to Concord Academy this year joining the Modern & Classical Languages department as a Latin teacher. Before coming to CA, she taught Latin and Greek to 7th-12th graders at Norfolk Academy, an independent school in the southeast of Virginia.

     Sheldon says that she “accidentally” became a teacher and explains, “I used to dream of being a writer and archaeologist, but when I was an undergraduate, my professor hired me to teach a course with him in Rome on topography and history, but I actually fell in love with teaching.” Even though she teaches during the school year, Sheldon still goes to Portugal to dig in the summer and is recruiting students to come with her.

     Sheldon first heard of CA from her best friend who lived right down Main Street. She remembers that her friend always told her, “You should move here, you really should teach here! So, I checked CA out, and there was no job opening. I waited for a year, and still there was no job opening. Finally, this year there was an opening. I applied and got in.” Perhaps it was fate at work. Ironically, when Sheldon finally came to Concord, her friend moved closer to Boston.

     “The reason why I like these ancient languages is that they were the first subjects to have actually challenged me. They forced my brain to think!” says Sheldon. Challenge is something important to her throughout her career. Sheldon likes teaching at independent schools because she can be creative and challenge her students with the resources available. Challenges are everywhere in Latin and Greek, and they force one to think syntactically, critically, and methodically. With that said, she feels that at CA she is not just teaching one language, but also telling stories about the culture, the people, and the history.

     During her spare time, Sheldon likes to stitch, draw, paint, knit, craft, and basically anything “hands-on.” She loves to read and, of course, dig. She has never watched TV because she has never owned one. Sheldon has also danced ballet for almost her whole life, a passion that never changed. She believes that “dancing is like a universal language.”

     Sheldon is a big dreamer, and she has lots of plans for the future. The first and most obvious one is to bring CA kids to Portugal to enjoy digging and to discover the past for themselves. She also wants to visit every continent and see every state. Other goals include writing a book and speaking Portuguese fluently.  Sheldon believes, “While ancient languages are useful, modern languages are important too.”

     For her, languages – whether spoken, read, or danced – are keys to cultures and people around the world.