Sonja O’Donnell arrived at Deerfield in 2000 having previously taught as a member of the French, history, and English departments at Thayer Academy in Braintree, Massachusetts, and for two years as a member of the English Department at the University Jean Moulin in Lyon, France. She graduated cum laude from Boston College with degrees in French Literature and philosophy, followed by her master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Delaware. Former holder of the Class of 1996 Junior Faculty Teaching chair, she is also a recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities grants and a summer Klingenstein fellowship and has recently completed course work in philosophy and literature at Oxford University. An avid traveler and global citizen, she has taught each of the four year-long sequence of courses in the English Department, including three interdisciplinary senior electives: Desire and the Marketplace, City Lights and Existentialism (also team taught with her husband Michael O’Donnell, chair of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department). She has welcomed the opportunity to design and lead seminars for each of the past nine Look to the Hills Summer Institutes, a unique campus experience for alumni and friends of the academy.
Mrs. O’Donnell went on sabbatical wandering the globe with her husband and their fourteen-year old son for the 2013-2014 academic year.