The student-run news site of The Masters School


The student-run news site of The Masters School


The student-run news site of The Masters School


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English department chair Nelson steps down

Matthias Jaylen Sandoval
Geoff Nelson will be leaving the Masters School to be the Dean of Faculty at the Hopkins School. After five years of service to Masters, he’s made considerable contributions to the English Department.

After five years of serving as the chair of the English department, Geoffrey Nelson will be moving on from the Masters community to embark on his next professional journey at the Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut. There, Nelson will serve as the dean of faculty.

Before Nelson came to Masters, he taught at Friends Academy, an independent high school on Long Island. He first heard of Masters when one of his old colleagues came to Masters for a job interview.

He said, “She was really one of the people who first got me thinking about Masters because she said it’s an amazing place. I really trusted her judgment. She said the kids were great.” 

 Though his colleague didn’t get the job, they thought Masters would be a good fit for Nelson, and they just happened to have a position open, which pushed him to apply. 

Nelson said he has felt extremely proud about his accomplishments as department chair, most notably diversifying the department’s reading list and curriculum. Nelson was able to accomplish this during his first year at Masters, even before the school implemented the “A Better Masters” racial justice plan in 2020.

He said, “I’m psyched that we started this in the department my first year, in part because students said to us, ‘Hey, we love the reading list, and we love the department, but we’re mostly reading dead white men.’ That was a change that we all agreed to make as a department in response to students saying, ‘We just want a wider diversity of voices in the curriculum.’”

The student body is what Nelson said he is going to miss the most.

“The shape of the community is really authentic, very homespun and feels very real to me. As far as authenticity goes, I think this is a place where people feel like they can largely show up as themselves and they don’t feel the need to be perfect. They make mistakes, we laugh together and people are supported.” He continued, “So I think that spirit of creative vulnerability, risk taking, authenticity, and the kind of the weird funniness that Masters kids are just the perfect embodiment of, is what makes working with teenagers fun.”

— Geoff Nelson

His impact has been felt throughout the student body, according to junior Thomas O’ Grady. He is in Nelson’s AP English Language class and said he’s going to miss him a lot. O’Grady said, “I’m going to miss his exuberant personality and his self-deprecation. He’s very funny and he gets the science of comedy. That’s going to be something I miss.” 

Nelson has reiterated to his students that just because he’s leaving the school doesn’t mean that they will now be strangers. He said, “I’m not dead. I’m just about 90 minutes to the East.”

O’Grady left this final message for Nelson, saying,“If you’re reading this, Mr. Nelson, I don’t actually think you’re a traitor. I’ve had an amazing experience in AP 11 this year and an amazing experience outside of the classroom. I never felt like I could talk to a teacher about the wide range of things we talk about. Wherever you go, they’ll be receiving a gift.”

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About the Contributor
Matthias Jaylen Sandoval
Matthias Jaylen Sandoval, Editor-in-Chief
Senior, Matthias Jaylen from North Bergen, NJ is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Tower and has been involved in the publication since he was a Freshman. Matthias loved working for Tower the second he started on staff. Before working his way up the ranks to Editor-in-Chief, he was Tower's Social Media Manager, Distribution Manager, and Opinion Editor. Throughout his time on Tower, Matthias has been a nationally recognized award-winning student journalist. He was named the 2024 Versatile Journalist of the Year and has won several other awards from the NSPA, CSPA, Quill and Scroll, PSJA and Best of SNO. He will go onto pursue journalism in college. When not working in the Tower lab, you can find Matthias watching his favorite baseball teams, the Mets and Red Sox.

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