Colin McNamara

Humanities Teacher
Wesleyan University, MA
Colgate University, BA
email: colin.mcnamara [at] sonomaacademy.org
phone: (707) 545-1770 x2473

Colin grew up in a big family—the youngest of four boys. Every two to three years, his family took on new adventures and moved to different cities around the world, varying from Hong Kong to Dallas. Before he was born, his family lived in many Latin American countries, and although he himself never lived there as a child, these cultures influenced his childhood and cultivated his love of these cultures. Even so, he always felt that these cultures were just out of reach and that he had missed out on some vital part of what constructed his family’s identity.

Colin took initiative, seeking out Spanish speaking cultural experiences that he felt he had missed out on in his childhood. In his Junior year of college, instead of following friends attending abroad programs in Italy and Australia, he applied for the much less popular domestic program that included volunteer teaching three days a week at a Head Start program on the Tesuque Pueblo reservation outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. His love of Native American history flourished over the course of this semester, and the weekend road trips to reservation feast days and archaeological sites all throughout the American Southwest he still considers as some of the best times of his life. In his senior year, Colin also was given the opportunity to travel to Mexico with and conduct original research with a professor at the Mesoamerican ruins of Teotihuacan and Monte Alban.

Continuing on with his journey and yearning for more immersion into his familial roots, Colin moved to Honduras and Costa Rica, where he taught middle school and high school. For four years after this, Colin moved back to the states and taught at a boarding school in Massachusetts for four years and simultaneously worked on his master’s degree. He moved back to California after this and has been teaching at SA ever since. He keeps his love of Latin America alive and shares it with his wife and two children. Each January they take a trip to Mexico to visit his in-laws and get to learn a little bit more.

Colin’s favorite class to teach is Humanities II, the bulk of his courses here at SA. He loves how we don’t have advanced and regular courses in the HUM core classes—one of his favorite things to see is students of differing ability levels working together on a common goal.

Colin says that “SA sets itself apart from all the other schools I’ve worked at by being the most well-rounded. Many schools are known for their sports programs or their arts programs; unfortunately, the success of one program sometimes comes at the expense of another. But SA has amazing sports teams and a top-notch arts program (as well as an amazing Speech/Debate program, the list could go on ad infinitum). There are so many programmatic ways that SA sets itself apart from other schools, but the number one reason that our school is so special, in my opinion, is our intentionality behind creating space and opportunity for students to pursue whatever they are interested in. As a school, we don’t decide who we want our students to be—we just help them along in their pursuit of their passions and the construction of their identities.”
"The number one reason that our school is so special, in my opinion, is our intentionality behind creating space and opportunity for students to pursue whatever they are interested in. As a school, we don’t decide who we want our students to be—we just help them along in their pursuit of their passions and the construction of their identities.”

Sonoma Academy Is...

Sonoma Academy is the only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On our beautiful campus nestled at the base of Taylor Mountain in Southeastern Santa Rosa, our students are able to explore their interests and passions in a rigorous and inspiring environment that develops a lifelong love of learning and prepares them for college and beyond.