Rodney Fierce

Humanities Teacher
The University of Southern Mississippi, PhD (ABD)
Simmons College, MA
Princeton University, BA
email: rodney.fierce [at] sonomaacademy.org
phone: (707) 545-1770 x3422

Rodney Fierce, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, had a very different adolescence than many Sonoma Academy students. He attended an all-boys parochial preparatory school, and when asked to compare it to SA, he said, “At SA, students are encouraged. We focus on celebrating the individual.” This wasn’t his experience in high school, although he was able to carve out pockets of positivity through his passions.

Rodney found respite in the theater. He especially loved the works of Shakespeare, along with a few mainstream classics and musicals. Rodney’s interest in the arts transcended theater; he was a ballet dancer and also had strong affinity for opera: “My parents and my grandmother encouraged it all. It was a way to escape from school and everything going on. I was also a HUGE Marvel Comics fan and a huge reader.”

Rodney attended Princeton University for his undergraduate degree. Though he entered college planning to become an attorney, he switched his major from pre-law to Classics and then to English. Rodney minored in theater, which he found to be very intensive and demanding. Rodney recalls his favorite role, played during his freshman year. The part called for him to play half of an interracial gay couple. Rodney says, “it pretty much spelled out my life. I was not out yet, but my friends pretty much told me I was gay. My best friends were instrumental for me coming to terms with who I was.”

Rodney describes his teaching philosophy as rooted in individuality and personal connection: “I want my students to develop their own voices, to engage with the voices in the text and find similarities. My goal is to get us to see history from different perspectives. History is full of imperfect people who did amazing things. We need to reconsider events from different perspectives, as it is the closest we can get to objective truths about life.”

When Rodney came to interview at Sonoma Academy, he was struck by our warm and inclusive-feeling community. He remembers seeing a student with a group of friends suddenly do a cartwheel in the middle of the plaza.“No one made fun of him or batted an eye. It was just great!” This past semester, Rodney taught Humanities III and a Humanities elective in Mythology. He says, “it’s been an amazing learning experience. Students are so willing to let me try new things and see how things work. It’s a collaborative process.”

When asked if he has any words of wisdom for his students, Rodney says, “define life the way you want to. Always do what you want for yourself. Always make sure you enjoy what you are doing.”
I want my students to develop their own voices, to engage with the voices in the text and find similarities. My goal is to get us to see history from different perspectives. History is full of imperfect people who did amazing things. We need to reconsider events from different perspectives, as it is the closest we can get to objective truths about life.

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.