Julie Polcrack, Humanities Teacher, became infatuated with history at an early age. As part of a large military family, she spent a good part of her childhood in Germany surrounded by castles and cathedrals. This fascination with things of the past led her to study archaeology and history at Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA. After attending an archaeological field school in Lincoln, England and taking engaging medieval history classes at Lycoming, she knew she wanted to study medieval history and archaeology in graduate school.
Julie attended the Medieval Studies master’s program at Western Michigan University’s Medieval Institute. She had the opportunity to teach a humanities course to undergraduate students as part of her master’s program and this was when she first fell in love with teaching. No other profession allowed her the ability to continue to learn and improve as a person while simultaneously pushing others to do the same. Julie continued teaching after graduate school, first as an educator at a history and science museum in Michigan and then as a history and Latin teacher at a public charter school in New Haven, Connecticut. After a move to North Carolina for her fiancé to pursue his dream of working for the US Forest Service, Julie left teaching to work as an archaeologist, but she soon missed teaching and jumped at the opportunity to return to teaching at Oliverian.
These days, when Julie isn’t hiking and basking in the natural beauty of the White Mountains with her fiancé, Ben, she enjoys reading, baking, and crocheting. Julie and Ben share their home with two cats – Boudicca, a fierce little tabby that lives up to her warrior queen namesake, and Porch, a stray tuxedo cat who ate half a block of cheese the first night they brought him home.
What do you love most about Oliverian?
I love that Oliverian gives students freedom – freedom to build their own identities, make mistakes, and learn about a wide array of subjects. It is so important for young people to choose what type of person they want to become and Oliverian is the right welcoming setting for that journey.
What motivates you to work with kids?
I think teaching humanities is vitally important for the future of our society. As a teacher, my job is to ensure that students learn how to assess evidence, understand trends, craft arguments based on facts, and question what they think they know. My goal is to have students become informed citizens that are able to spot misinformation and think critically for themselves.