Meeting Dr. Hay

Getting to know prior Magnet student and new English teacher, Dr. Hay


Dr. Hay, a new English teacher at Magnet, went to AMHS herself! While talking to Dr. Hay and looking at the photos she sent me, I realized that Magnet hasn’t changed much! Although upperclassmen like me don’t have her as a teacher, I encourage seniors to stop by her classroom to hear about her experience of going from Magnet to college.  Don’t hesitate to smile or wave at her in the hall because she is one of the sweetest teachers you will ever meet!


Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised here, and grew up in West Ashley.


Where did you go to college?

I went to Washington University in St. Louis for college, and did my MA and PhD at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

I loved these universities because they were a lot like the Magnet community: students were very motivated and supportive of each other. With PhD programs, you generally apply to work with a specific advisor or committee. I knew I wanted to be somewhere where faculty were equally invested in research and in teaching, and really admired my advisor’s commitment to both.

I love Charleston and it was hard to be away, but living elsewhere enriched my understanding of the Lowcountry, so I am grateful for those experiences.


How has Magnet changed since you went to school here?

Physically, it has changed a lot, as I used to be on the campus at the Charleston Naval Base. However, the ways the students act and the environment of the school feel very much the same; in fact, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much the classrooms and hallway atmospheres feel so similar. I am happy to see that students still eat lunch all over campus, too.


AMHS Decades Day


Do any of your old teachers still work here? 

Yes! Nine of my teachers are still here, and I’m now teaching with three of my former English teachers: Ms. Benton, Ms. Bortz, and Ms. Lankford. In fact, I had both Ms. Bortz and Ms. Lankford twice!


What did you do for your Senior Thesis?

I analyzed rock music journalism from old Creem and Rolling Stone magazines, and argued for its literary merit. I ended up writing my dissertation on music in literature, so I have Magnet to thank for allowing me to think about the two fields together early on!


When did you decide to become a teacher? 

I have wanted to teach since elementary school. I have always loved talking about literature and engaging in conversations about books and how they shape our world.




When you were in high school, did you always wish to end up back at Magnet as a teacher?

Yes! I knew that I wanted to get my PhD and return to Magnet–if a position ever opened up!

I have always been very grateful for how AMHS prepared me for college and how much I learned afterwards as a result. I wanted to teach at the college level first so that I could bring that knowledge back to future Magnet students.


Have you taught anywhere else? If yes, then where?

Yes, I taught at Tufts University, the College of Charleston, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


What are some fun facts about you?

I have the same name as my mom, who also has a PhD and works in education. Now that I am back in Charleston, we have been mixed up quite a few times!

Many of my closest friends are fellow Magnet grads. We all went to different colleges, and some live across the country, but we are still very close.




What are your favorite activities to do outside of school?

I love traveling, photography, and getting out on the water.


Do you have any pets?

I have a big Standard Poodle named Cooper, who thinks he is a lap dog. His favorite activities are hiking and napping beside me while I grade.

While he is normally a great work companion, he snuck a squeaky toy into my Zoom interview for AMHS. I was mortified!


What do you want students to know about you?

I want them to know that I am here for them! One of my favorite parts about being a Magnet student was that all of my peers were an expert on something. I love to hear what students are curious about, and to help them explore those passions. I welcome everyone, including students I may not have personally, to reach out about college, books, or anything else!