Peter Nilsson

Director of Research, Innovation, and Outreach; English Teacher

Peter has taught English at Deerfield since 2000 with a four year hiatus as a musician in New York City.  Here at Deerfield, Peter has taught courses on Paradise Lost, intersections of literature and science, New England poetry, digital humanities, how form shapes content in literature, and more.  A fan of the sonic qualities of language, Peter uses verse as a tool for teaching writing skills.  Peter is currently on sabbatical, but most recently taught sophomore English, a senior elective on the evolution of literary form, and another elective (called Distant Reading) that uses mathematical software to perform computational analyses of literature (winner of a 2017 Wolfram Innovator Award).  He has previously served as Assistant Academic Dean and as Assistant Dean of Faculty.

As Director of Research, Innovation, and Outreach, Peter guides Deerfield's Release Grant program, in which teachers are released from a class to work collaboratively on projects of pedagogical or institutional value. He also shapes systems for bringing research more intentionally into school work, for fostering ongoing growth and renewal, and for connecting Deerfield to the broader education landscape.

Peter maintains The Educator's Notebook, a newsletter that promotes innovation in education by collecting education-related news from around the web.  He is the Founder and Executive Director of The Athena Project, a platform for resource sharing, collaboration, and professional development.  He writes occasionally at Sense and Sensation, a blog about intersections between creativity, cognitive science, and education.  He is a member of the Advisory Board for SXSWedu and the Center for Curriculum Redesign.

Peter coaches recreational squash and ultimate (frisbee).