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History

History and Social Science

Learn to be active, informed global citizens.

The History and Social Science Department faculty seek to teach our students to be active, informed global citizens who can distinguish between observation, opinion and argument, and who can reject weak arguments and bandwagon thinking. 

Throughout their core courses and electives in the social sciences, students will examine the actions, forces, and systems that transform society — past and present. These investigations push them to think deeply about the human condition and recognize complexity. We are committed to arming students with basic competencies in critical reading, historical reasoning, writing, speaking, listening, and effective research skills.

Learning activities and assessments encompass a variety of formats ranging from Harkness-style discussions or debates to traditional tests or document-based questions, to videos or other presentations. All students in the junior year U.S. history course will write a full thesis paper. The graduation requirement for History is 3.5 credits. Core courses include Global Connections, Foundations of the Modern World, and United States History. Electives offered are subject to enrollment and may be offered in alternating years. Enrollment in all honors and advanced courses is subject to departmental approval. 

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History and Social Science Faculty

Kathleen Minahan

History Faculty & Department Chair

Kathleen Minahan

B.A., Indiana University
M.A., Yale University

Kathleen Minahan comes to Walker’s after teaching history at Cheshire Academy for six years. During her time at Cheshire, she designed a new school-wide advising program and served as advising program coordinator. Previously, she taught English at the Storm King School in New York and the Academy of New York in Warsaw, Poland. Kathleen earned a B.A. in History and Slavic Languages and Literatures with a minor in Russian and East European Studies from Indiana University and an M.A. from Yale University in European and Russian Studies. She is currently working on an Ed.M. in Private School Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition to her teaching duties, Kathleen will also chair Walker’s history department.

Carol Clark-Flanagan

Carol Clark-Flanagan P'93, '97

History/English Faculty

Carol Clark-Flanagan P'93, '97

 860-408-4301

B.A., Cornell University
M.A., Trinity College

Elisa Del Valle Cardona

Director of Social Justice and Inclusion, History Faculty

Elisa Del Valle Cardona

 860-408-4287

B.A., Smith College
M.A., University of Massachusetts

Elisa Del Valle Cardona, a native of Brooklyn, NY, has lived in Connecticut for over a decade. Prior to joining Walker’s in fall 2016, she worked as the director of student activities and leadership development/new student orientation at Wesleyan University. While at Wesleyan, Elisa served on the Presidential Task Force for Equity and Inclusion and was an active voice on issues of Equity and Inclusion amongst her student affairs professionals. Elisa’s deep-rooted interest in women’s education is what brings her to Walker’s. Elisa attended an all-girls high school in New York City before attending Smith College in Northampton, MA where she majored in Government and minored in Spanish. While working at Mount Holyoke College, Elisa attended graduate school at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she graduated with a Master’s in Social Justice Education. Elisa is an active Commissioner of the CAIS Commission on Diversity in Independent Schools, an educators network focused on diversity, as well as training and resources for diversity practitioners at CAIS member schools.

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Nathaniel Johnson

History Faculty

Nathaniel Johnson

 860-408-4266

B.A., Furman University
M.Ed., Old Dominion University

What was your favorite subject when you were in middle or high school? Why? I honestly enjoyed all of my subjects in high school, with the one noted exception of chemistry (apologies to Dr. Sheldon and Dr. B). I loved reading and talking about literature in English classes. I thrived in math classes where I was challenged to solve problems. Last, but certainly not least, history courses afforded me the opportunity to analyze the events of the past and develop a new lens for examining modern day issues. What is your favorite part about the subject(s) you teach now? Economics offers a unique perspective on how to analyze and understand the world we live in. Furthermore, women are traditionally underrepresented in economics, business and finance, so I take great pride in preparing young women to enter these arenas. What other role(s) do you hold on campus? Sophomore Class Dean, Faculty Head of Suns, Residential Faculty Member, Varsity Basketball Assistant Coach, JV Soccer Assistant Coach, JV Softball Assistant Coach What is the most rewarding part about working at Walker's? The relationships I am able foster with my students, athletes, and advisees.

John Monagan

Dean of Studies

John Monagan

 860-408-4221

B.A., Johns Hopkins University
M.S., Drexel University

John Monagan grew up in Waterbury, Connecticut, where he attended Chase Collegiate School from 6th-12th grade. From Waterbury, John headed south to attend Johns Hopkins University, where he majored in history. After four enjoyable years in Baltimore, John’s years in private school led him to The Ethel Walker School, where he taught history and English. John spent his first four years at Walker’s teaching 6th-9th grade history, and 6th-7th grade English. He has also spent time running student activities. John earned his Master of Science degree from Drexel University in Sports Management while working at Walker’s. He began as Walker’s athletic director in 2010 and he also teaches Advanced Human Geography. John also is the head coach of the varsity basketball and softball teams.

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Brendan O'Dwyer

History Faculty

Brendan O'Dwyer

 860-408-4300

B.A., SUNY Purchase
M.A., Wesleyan University

Brendan earned his B.A. from SUNY Purchase and his M.A. from Wesleyan University. After receiving his master’s degree, Brendan joined the Walker’s community as a full time faculty member in 2015. In addition to teaching in the History Department at Walker’s, Brendan has coached soccer, basketball, skiing and tennis. He lives with his wife and three children in Litchfield.