Concord Academy prides itself upon its “world-class faculty” and continues to find passionate educators to help make CA the school it is today. Desiree (Des) Sheff, recently joined CA’s mathematics faculty after being a highly respected teacher for twenty years. Sheff grew up in Portland, OR where she attended a large public high school that did not have many supportive resources for students. After she graduated, Sheff moved onto college in Philadelphia, PA. She describes, “I ran track in college and I knew I needed to retire junior year. I didn’t know what to do with my time in the afternoon and I went to the community service office and found a teaching assistant job at a Muslim school in West Philadelphia.” Sheff ended up falling in love with the field while completing her teaching assistant obligation. After graduating college, she started teaching math and sciences at the Middlesex School in Concord, MA.
During her time at Middlesex, Sheff not only taught math but created her own classes in Bioethics and the Brain and Behavior. During the pandemic, one of Sheff’s highlights was doing a virtual sheep brain dissection with her students. Sheff looks back on the experience and explains how she “sent everyone a sheep brain and they all logged on Zoom and everyone was in their garages with their parents dissecting a sheep brain together on Zoom. It was fun!”
While Sheff really enjoyed teaching at Middlesex, she was “interested in new opportunities.” Although growing professionally in one setting is extremely useful, she also believes that it is “valuable to have taught at more than one place… as it is great professional practice to try something new, stretch yourself in a different way, and get to know another school.” Even though Sheff is new to CA, she recalls that in 2004 she briefly shadowed a junior. She ended up really enjoying her visit, and especially remembers listening to a senior chapel talk and sitting in on a geometry class.
Outside of teaching, Sheff loves to cook, especially when diving into new recipes. She also enjoys playing soccer, reading Pokemon with her kids, and reading a wide variety of books on her own. She often reads historical or political books as they supplemented the information in her bioethics course. Her enjoyment of individual reading and trying new things contributes to her love of learning. With this familiar value at heart, Sheff is excited to explore CA and dive into the opportunities that await.