Class Act: English teacher Max Boyd


Jordan Fullen

Max Boyd joined the St. John’s English department this year.

English teacher Max Boyd imagined many professions for himself when he was a child, from chef to astronaut to Best Buy manager. He never thought he would be a teacher.

Growing up with a family of teachers in Idaho and Virginia, Boyd was initially reluctant to pursue a career in education because he did not want to follow in his parents’ footsteps.

After studying English literature at Vassar College, he spent years away from school and campus life, working in customer service and retail. Boyd realized he loved the interactional and educational aspects of these professions, which inspired him to finally pursue teaching.

After a trip to visit family in San Francisco turned into a long-term move, Boyd worked as the manager of a Best Buy for a short time before beginning his teaching career. He taught at San Francisco State University for five years before moving to the University of Montana, where he earned his M.F.A in creative writing and taught for two years.

“It is a definite benefit to get to know students more–both on a personal level, an emotional level and an academic level, and really be able to take a serious interest in their learning,” Boyd said.

A lover of both writing and literature, Boyd admires the creative and persuasive power of writing. He aims to transmit this admiration to his English I students and provide them with the tools to appreciate writing.

“One of the neatest parts of literature is the ability it has to privately, one on one, teach you something,” Boyd said.

A personal connection brought him to St. John’s. His wife Sophia Proler attended St. John’s from sixth grade until she graduated in 2004.

One of the first conversations Boyd had with his then-girlfriend centered around their educational experiences.

“I had been telling her stories about what my college experience was like, and as I was talking to her, I began to realize that she wasn’t talking to me about college at all,” Boyd said. “She was talking about high school, but it sounded a lot like college.”

Proler’s ringing endorsement of the St. John’s community was the major factor in Boyd’s decision to teach at SJS as he sought out opportunities at independent schools.

Boyd’s colleagues are excited to work with him.

“Mr. Boyd is a wonderful addition to our department,” English teacher Brian Beard (‘95) said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to collaborate with him.”

An avid basketball fan, Boyd has a mini hoop in his room on the Quad, which he says is always open for students to come in and “shoot some hoops or attempt to solve the Rubik’s cube, play chess or make origami.”