Terra Caputo loved to read as a child, but love of literature doesn’t necessarily translate into writing prowess. She remembers getting Cs on writing assignments as a student at Notre Dame Cathedral Latin High School.
“Math and science were my strengths. I had to really work at writing. I believe it’s a skill you can cultivate,” she says.
She’s put the lessons she learned into practice for her students. The high standards she has for her English and Honors English III classes will benefit them greatly – and she should know. The C student went on to earn a Ph.D. in English from the University of Miami (Fl.), after getting a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from Allegheny College. She has taught English at many levels, including college. Her most recent job prior to coming to Saint Ignatius was Director of College Writing/Assistant Professor of English at Allegheny.
English department chair Mike Strauss ’87 praises Caputo for her emphasis on developing students’ work ethic.
“Terra brings valuable experience to our department, having taught writing at the college level. In the classroom, she nurtures her students, yet pushes them to put forth their very best by setting high expectations. She won't settle for anything less than 100% effort, and this translates into her students producing writing that they didn't think they were capable of achieving,” says Strauss.
Caputo is proud of her Saint Ignatius students, whose commitment to their education outshines all the other class levels she’s taught.
“The kids at Saint Ignatius work harder than all the rest combined,” she says. In fact, Caputo’s switch to teaching at the high school level is due in large part to the impact she feels she can have in shaping young lives.
“I came here because I believe in the mission of the school. I truly believe we are not just shaping minds but shaping character,” Caputo says. “I want them to take responsibility, to be active, engaged and inquisitive observers.”
She doesn’t believe in taking it easy outside of the classroom, either, at least in her personal life. A longtime devotee of the CrossFit physical fitness regimen, Caputo says knee problems forced her to switch to yoga about three years ago, which she practices daily. She still enjoys reading. Her tastes vary with time, but “I tend to love contemporary ethnic novels and historical fiction. My current favorite is And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini,” she says.
Addendum: In March 2018, Caputo was named a Distinguished Young Woman by the YWCA of Greater Cleveland.