After growing up on Bainbridge Island, Washington, Jem graduated from Bates College in 2020 with a degree in French and Francophone studies. There, he spent a semester studying in Nantes, France with IES Abroad. Jem was a four-year varsity athlete in the men’s swimming and diving program and led the team to its best finish in program history his senior year as a captain. While also captain of the club water polo team, he enjoyed two trips to the national tournament in three years, finishing as high as third place and earning All-American honors.
Jem joined the Suffield Academy community in 2020 as a member of the languages department, teaching introductory French courses. Jem is also the head coach of the varsity water polo team at Suffield. When not in the classroom or on the pool deck, Jem soaks up the outdoors. An avid fly-fisherman and hiker, he has enjoyed streams and mountain ranges across the United States. He also loves spending time with his family and exploring the great state of Maine.
Where were you born?
I was born in Seattle, WA.
If someone was traveling to where you are from for 24 hours, what would you recommend? What would you tell them to do/ where would you tell them to go?
If someone were traveling to the Pacific Northwest for 24 hours, I would tell them to go hiking in the Olympic or Cascade mountains. Then, they should go explore Seattle Center and the Space Needle. And they should bring a raincoat!
What do you love about where you are from?
One thing I love is how green it is. It's called the Evergreen State for a reason!
What is your favorite thing about day-to-day life at Suffield Academy?
My favorite day-to-day thing at Suffield is interacting with so many students and faculty.
What was your favorite thing about life at Suffield Academy this fall?
My favorite thing this fall at Suffield was coaching water polo! We had a very successful season, and it was an amazing learning experience for me. My players rock, too!
Who is your favorite artist?
My favorite artist is currently the band Cake.
Which of your roles at Suffield Academy do you relish the most?
The role I relish the most at Suffield is being on the pool deck coaching every day.
What is something your Suffield Academy family might not know about you?
Something Suffield might not know about me is that I'm a huge Harry Potter fan.
What is your favorite book?
If I had to choose a favorite book, it would be The Stand by Stephen King.
What advice would you give a new teacher at Suffield Academy?
I would tell a new faculty that they have just arrived in an incredibly welcoming and supportive community. Don't be shy, take advantage of it!
What is the most important life lesson for someone to learn?
I think an important life lesson is listening, thinking, and then speaking. With an emphasis on the thinking part.
What is/are your prized possession(s)?
My prized possessions are a signed Pedro Martinez jersey, along with other signed Red Sox photos and baseballs. I also love my artwork, my guitars, and my speakers.
If you could have dinner with one person, alive or dead, who would you dine with?
If I could have dinner with one dead person, it would be Eleanor Roosevelt.
If you could ask anyone (alive or dead) for advice, who would you ask?
If I could ask anyone for advice, I would ask Bob Weir how he managed success while also focusing on his personal life.
What is your favorite song?
My favorite song of all time is “Lost Sailor/Saint of Circumstance” by the Grateful Dead.
What is your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is Inglorious Bastards.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
If I could go anywhere in the world, I would go to Rwanda because I have done a lot of research about it and want to see what it's like in person.
What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is pizza. Or steak. Depends on the day.
What has been the most interesting thing you have learned from a student?
The most interesting thing I've learned from my students is how much their backgrounds lead them to live their lives. It consistently makes me think retrospectively about my upbringing and who I am today.