Jim Block grew up in Norfolk and Falls Church, Va., attended the University of Virginia, served on a Navy aircraft carrier as a public affairs officer during the Vietnam war, and then took an M.A. in English at the University of Iowa. In 1971, he and his wife moved to Northfield Mount Hermon School, a 9-12 boarding school in Western Massachusetts. Their three children were born there.
At NMH, he taught English, coached soccer, wrestling, and cross country, lived and worked in dormitories, advised the school newspaper, yearbook, and debate society. On two teacher exchanges, he taught at Marlborough College, Wiltshire, England, and at Robert College, Istanbul, Turkey. Twice at NMH, he and colleages led study trips to Turkey, which included teaching Turkish literature in translation, Turkish culture, and Islam.
Jim and his wife retired to Chestertown in 2014. He has taught three literature courses in the Washington College Academy of Lifelong Learning. On the KCPS Multicultural Committee, he prepared a study guide for KCHS students and Kent County readers to read Wil Haygood’s Tigerland. A member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church and vestry, Jim serves on the Diocese of Easton’s Diversity Awareness Commission.
Having lived his daily life with teenagers for 43 years, he still very much misses them.