Meet Bernie

Hi there! I’m a teacher and cultural critic who has long been interested in the intersections of technology, culture and society.

I have a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service focusing on humanities in international affairs, and a master’s in English language and literature plus three years of Ph.D. coursework from the University of Maryland, College Park (alma mater of Jim Henson).

While at UMD, I taught Introduction to Academic Writing and Introduction to Literature courses for four years. I also published articles like “Responses to the Alien Mother in Post-Maternal Cultures: C.J. Cherryh and Orson Scott Card,” a close reading of popular science fiction and feminist psychoanalytic texts.

As I started writing my dissertation, I thought long and hard about why I wanted to go into teaching. I realized I preferred to be in the classroom full-time, working directly with teenagers, as opposed to balancing teaching and publishing.

I decided to return to school (again!) and obtained a master’s in education — this time from the University of Vermont in Burlington (alma mater of John Dewey). It was an accelerated program that involved interning for a year at Otter Valley Union High School in Brandon, Vt., an experience I’ll never forget.

Upon graduating in 2000, I joined the English department at Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park, Il. I’ve taught at every grade level, but I mostly recently have taught freshmen, juniors, and seniors in World Studies, American Studies, American Literature (AP Language), and College English (AP Literature).

The same year I began teaching, I worked on the development of, an online magazine founded by my spouse (Christine Cupaiuolo) that covered the intersections of politics and pop culture, and one of the original sources for cultural criticism on the web. I wrote a number of longer articles, including “Now Rolling …,” one of the first analyses of the pop culture filter through which Americans viewed the 9/11 attacks (which led to several media appearances), and “Just When Men Thought They Were Out,” a look at the modern crisis in masculinity as represented in The Sopranos and recent presidential campaigns. I would return to these subjects in subsequent years, such as when I wrote about teaching 9/11 to a new generation for PBS Newshour.

I like to spend my free time reading, hiking, discovering new music, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and caring for our rescue mutt, Althea.