English Department

The goal of the English Language Arts program is to create literate, thoughtful communicators, capable of controlling language effectively as they negotiate an increasingly complex and information-rich world. Students will refine specific skills and strategies in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing and will use these skills and strategies widely as tools for learning and reflection. Exploring a variety of texts, students will understand and appreciate language and literature as catalysts for deep thought and emotion.

Brandy McDonald, Resource Teacher
Phone: 301-388-9966.


English 9 TV Production
English 10 Radio
English 11 Journalism - Newspaper
English 12 Yearbook
AP English Language and Composition Theatre 1 and Theatre 2
AP English Literature and Composition Advanced Acting
Stage Design Directing





E-mail address



Dana Birdin received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Hampton University and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law.

English 10,

Honors English 10 &

AVID Elective (10th Grade)



De Groff

Thomas DeGroff teaches English 10. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University with Master’s Degree in Underwater Basket Weaving with a minor in Left-Handed Armenian Poets of the 13th Century. He has always rooted for the Yankees despite the social stigma.

English 10 &

Honors English 10


Richard Dorceus

Mr. Dorceus teaches 9th grade English. He has a B.A. from Howard University, Washington, D.C., an M. Ed (Special Education and Human Development) from George Washington University. He’s an Assistant Coach for PBHS’ Varsity Football team. He is a lifelong, devoted Miami Dolphins fan.

Special Education Co-Teacher for English 9


Patricia Gafford

*40+ years of teaching

*BA in English; MEd in Secondary Administration

*Celebrated my 37th wedding anniversary in July

*mother of two and grandmother of two

*passionate about golf

*completed four marathons in my earlier years

Honors English 12

& Yearbook


Majy Gibboney

*18 years of teaching

high school English.  *Writer/Muse/Mother

*Loves the zen-nature of teaching--how in the moment I must be.  

*Can find Waldo in less than 5 seconds.

English 12 &

Honors English 12




Leslie Greene has an MAT from Johns Hopkins and sponsors the Lit Mag and Equestrian Club. She’s a Triathlete and has three dogs and two cats. She loves animals.

TV Production &

Honors English 12


Daphne Hardin

Ms. Hardin teaches English 10 and English 11.  She holds a B.A. in secondary education from Western Kentucky University and a Master’s in Special Education from Kennesaw State University. Ms. Hardin’s favorite thing to do is have fun!

Special Education Co-Teacher for English 10 & English 11




Yoo Kim-Miles teaches English 10. She has a BA in English and a M.Ed. in Secondary Education, both from University of Maryland. She enjoys cooking, eating, and spending time with her family.

English 10 &

Honors English 10


Maureen Kimber


English 11 &

AP Language


Audrey King

Teaches English in the Bridge Program.  Attended Jackson State University, Jackson Ms earned a B.S. in Special Education, Texas Woman’s University, Denton Texas, earned a MA in Educational Diagnostician and a  MA from Bowie State University in Reading Education.

English 9 &

English 10


Brandy McDonald-Nestor

Brandy McDonald-Nestor earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and her Master of Science in Educational Studies, with a concentration in Administration & Supervision for Special Education, from Johns Hopkins University. Besides hair art and her shoe collection, Brandy enjoys cooking, reading (of course!), and spending time with her family, especially her two amazing children.

English 10,

AP Literature &

AVID Elective (10th Grade)


Samantha Millman

Samantha Millman teaches 9th and 11th grade English. This is her 9th year teaching. She has a BS in English Literature and a Masters degree in Education from Frostburg State University. Coaches Swimming and is the SGA Sponsor. Loves Disney, snow, and movies!

English 9 &

Honors English 9


Michelle Newton

Michelle Newton received her Bachelors of Science from Bowie State University in English & Secondary Education and her Master's in Reading Education from University of Maryland- College Park. Ms. Newton teaches English 9. She enjoys reading and traveling.

English 9,

Honors English 9 &

AVID 11 Elective


Arjunia Oakley

Arjunia Oakley has an MS in Education from Johns Hopkins and is a certified Reading Specialist. She loves to travel, hike, cook, and bake. She reads a book a week every week during the summer.

Read 180 &

Digital Literacy


Amber Perkins

Amber Clair Perkins started teaching at Paint Branch in 2004. She has taught every grade level in English and teaches all of the Theatre classes. Miss Perkins graduated from Point Park University with a BA in Theatre Arts and completed her Master of Theatre Production and Design at Southern Oregon University in July of 2015. Miss Perkins directs Paint Branch Perspectives, the school’s drama club, coaches the Forensics Team (Public Speaking, not CSI), and is a member of the Maryland Thespian Board of Directors. She hopes to finish her teaching career here at Paint Branch!

Theatre &

Honors English 9


Kathy Pettigrew

Kathy Pettigrew graduated from York College of PA in 19… with a degree in Secondary Education and attended the University of Maryland CP to study Curriculum and Instruction. She loves Start Trek in any way, shape, or form and reads as much as she possibly can in between karaoke and playing Mah Jongg. The only school she’s ever taught at is Paint Branch, and she hopes it stays that way.

English 11 &

Honors English 11


Cambrian Powell

Degrees in English and Secondary Education, both from University of Maryland College Park; lived in 5 different states and attended three different high schools; have been teaching since August 1999; have taught every grade in high school and 6th grade in middle school; am currently teaching AP Lang and 12; have 2 boys that keep me on my toes!

AP Language,

English 12, &

Connections: Emerging Scholars




Mark Schiffer received his Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his Master of Arts in Teaching from Towson University. He is currently teaching English 9 and English 9 Honors. This is his second year teaching at Paint Branch. When he isn’t teaching he enjoys watching Mystery Science Theater 3000, playing board games, and reading Russian novels. Basically, he enjoys the pursuit of all things geeky.

English 9 &

Honors English 9


Karl Schiffgens

Mr. Schiffgens teaches English 9 and is Co-Coordinator of the Grade 9 Transitions Program. He earned his undergraduate degree from Providence and has done his post-graduate work at Bowie State University and Johns Hopkins University.

English 9 &

Career Awareness





Special Education Co-Teacher for 12th Grade



Smith II

Chuck Smith has a B.A. (English) from Howard University, Washington, D.C., an MAT (Secondary English) from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, Boston, MA. While he no longer practices law, he is still licensed to practice in MA, MD, and DC. He’s an Assistant Coach for PBHS’ Varsity Football team. His four children graduated from PBHS. He is a lifelong, devoted Cleveland Browns fan.

English 12,

Honors English 12 &

AP Literature


Holly Stephens

Holly Stephens got her B.A. from Williams College in Psychology (because she likes learning how people's minds work) and Philosophy (because she loves to argue). After stints as a radio DJ, radio commercial writer, Ultimate Frisbee/soccer/basketball coach, and P.E. teacher, she got a Master's in English and hasn't looked back. When not working, she reads, runs with her dog, hangs out with her husband and two little boys, and plays German board games.

Honors English 10,

Honors English 11, &

English 11


Rashemah Stridiron

Rashemah Stridiron teaches English 11 and AP Language and Composition. She holds a BA in Sociology and an MA in Adolescent Education- both from Adelphi University. In her spare time she enjoys reading, shopping and traveling.

English 11,

Honors English 11 &

AP Language


Brian Woodward

Brian Woodward, who has been teaching at Paint Branch since 2002, teaches English 9, Journalism and Advanced Journalism. A native of Massachusetts, Mr. Woodward enjoys following the championship exploits of his hometown teams as well as spending time with his family, travelling, and playing hockey.

Journalism &

English 9


Summer Reading Lists