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Colin Orr P '27

Marsh Lead Teacher and English Chair Co-Head

When you work with a group of likeminded people who truly love their craft, sometimes you find a colleague who unabashedly embodies your passion. They motivate you, teach you, and challenge you to step-up your game (whatever that game may be). You hear about it in entertainment all the time: “he’s an actor’s actor,” “she’s a comedian’s comedian,” or “he’s a rapper’s rapper.”

For many of us, Colin Orr is a teacher’s teacher. He is simply one of the most dedicated and passionate teachers in our school.

Mr. Orr predominately teaches our older students. With a focus on reading, writing, and language arts, Mr. Orr makes it his mission to help our sixth, seventh and eighth graders hone their writing skills, develop their critical thinking, and instill a love for literature. In short, he helps students learn to love learning.

“I started teaching because I wanted to share my love of writing and literature with my students,” Mr. Orr said. “I love the small class sizes, differentiated learning, and individual instruction that goes on at Radcliffe.”

Mr. Orr empowers his students by often crafting his lesson plans around a healthy mix of collaborative interactive activities and independent assignments that encourage growth and creative freedom. He also consistently challenges his students so they can push themselves past the stratosphere of their self-perceived limitations. This past spring, for example, Mr. Orr and his eighth grade class read Lord of the Flies, a novel typically read in ninth or tenth grade curriculums.

Like many teachers at Radcliffe Creek School, Mr. Orr follows his own advice. An avid reader and writer, he earned his Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. Mr. Orr still practices and hones his writing skills nearly every day, especially through his poetry.

Mr. Orr currently resides in Chestertown with his wife, Mala, and their pride-and-joy of a daughter, Anya. Mala is a professor at Washington College. When he’s not busy grading papers or writing papers of his own, Mr. Orr loves playing video games with Anya (especially Zelda), watching movies as a family, and going camping when the weather is nice. He’ll tell you his favorite show is something silly like 30 Rock, but it is definitely The Wire.

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