Each Center for the Humanities teacher is specially selected to teach in the Center due to their experience and understanding of the humanities. Each faculty member has a deep commitment to the high academic standards of the program, to student support and achievement, and to the student-centered educational philosophy of the Center.
Our faculty members have earned many honors and hold positions of leadership within the school district. Our teachers are department chairs, HEA/VEA leaders and members, Teacher-Of-The-Year winners, AP readers, prestigious grant and fellowship winners, and advanced degrees holders in the humanities and beyond. Each teacher is fully trained and accredited in his/her own specific courses and has a vast understanding of the Humanities courses. Most importantly, the Center teachers create a nurturing environment where students feel loved and supported.
Bruce Marr: Director, Level I History
Bruce Marr was named Center Director in the 2009-2010 school year after many years as a social studies teacher in the Center. Mr. Marr is a graduate of the University of Richmond. Mr. Marr has been teaching World History and Geography in Henrico County since 1996. A former Teacher of the Year and REB award winner, Mr. Marr is loved by his students. They always rave about what they learn in his class as he makes every lesson fun and interesting with an original "Mr. Marr twist". He teaches World History II outside of the Center as well, and sponsors Key Club.
Melissa Hyde: Level I English
A graduate of James Madison University, Mrs. Hyde has dedicated her time and effort to being the wonderful, loving teacher that all students adore. Mrs. Hyde teaches freshman English honors along with the freshman Humanities curriculum, and has since 2001. Outside the Center, she teaches AP Literature and Composition. Mrs. Hyde sponsors the SCA, as well as Student Congress, and always finds the time to make Hermitage High School one of the most spirited and most welcoming schools in Henrico County. It is no secret that Mrs. Hyde loves her two children, but ask any Center student and he/she will tell you she loves each of her students like her own. Whether through an excellent lesson on the foundations of writing or through sharing a batch of home-made cookies, Mrs. Hyde helps the freshmen feel confident and secure in their new home in the Center for the Humanities.
Jane Swenson: Level II English
Jane Swenson, teaching in the Center as of 2014, is a veteran Hermitage teacher. She graduated from the University of Richmond with a degree in English and a minor in history. Mrs. Swenson's experiences traveling the world and her love for reading undoubtedly shapes the essence of her English and Humanities classes. Her energy and compassion have made her a beloved teacher at Hermitage High School, and her new Center students will certainly feel welcome and cared for in her presence. In addition to her time in the Center, Mrs. Swenson also tutors students in English and the SATs. Outside the Center, she teaches English 11.
Curt Fritts: Level II History
Mr. Fritts has been teaching at Hermitage since 2011 and joined the Center for Humanities in 2018. Known for his energetic classrooms and provocative discussions, Mr. Fritts’ teaching style conveys a passion that makes each class a memorable experience. He is a graduate of Old Dominion and Virginia Commonwealth Universities. What he loves most about teaching Humanities and AP Human Geography is the way he can help students “think globally” and to develop an understanding and curiosity about their role and importance in the world. You can hear the "Golden Voice of the Hermitage Panthers" under the Friday night lights as Mr. Fritts announces the play-by-play of each Hermitage Football home game, as well as various other events. He also co-sponsors Rho Kappa (Social Studies Honor Society). Mr. Fritts is an avid VCU Men’s Basketball season-ticket holder and supporter of the outstanding Richmond arts community.
Jennifer Jones: Level III English
Mrs. Jennifer Jones, a graduate of Longwood University, has been teaching AP English 11 and Level III Humanities in the Center since 2003. Teaching her classes with the perfect blend of wit and humor, Mrs. Jones can always be found with her signature wry smile on her face. Mrs. Jones also serves as the head of the English department, was the Teacher of the Year in 2010, and has served as an AP reader for College Board. She loves to pass on her love for the English language to her students and helps them understand the mysteries of the written word. While keeping her class entertaining, Mrs. Jones also manages to fully prepare her students for the AP Language test in the spring, empowering them to take the test with confidence.
Len Orange: Level III History
As a graduate of James Madison University and Virginia Commonwealth University, Mr. Orange has an expansive understanding of the history courses taught at the Humanities Center. With degrees in mass communications and history under his belt, Mr. Orange has a wide base of knowledge he offers in his AP U.S. History course. He imparts his passion for U.S. History onto every student that passes through his room and leaves them smiling with his trademark touch of humor. Mr. Orange is also the producer of the student-led morning announcements known as "HERM TV," the co-sponsor of Rho Kappa (Social Studies honor society) and he is the Varsity softball coach. With three daughters who have all gone through Hermitage, Len Orange is truly Panther Proud.
Colleen Savino: Level IV English
Known as the "other" Savino, Colleen Savino, a graduate of Shippensburg State University in Pennsylvania, has been teaching at Hermitage since 2002. Mrs. Savino teaches AP Literature and Composition in the Center and English 11 honors outside the Center. She co-sponsors the NHS with Mrs. Chewning. Mrs. Savino's enthusiasm and passion for literature is palpable in her classroom. Students often describe her love for novels such as Life of Pi as contagious. What Mrs. Savino wants more than anything is for her students to leave Level IV with a deep appreciation for the written word. After Mrs. Savino's class, each student leaves a better writer, thinker, and most of all in a better mood!
Jeannine Chewning: Level IV History
A graduate of Furman University, Jeannine Chewning has been at Hermitage since 2001. She teaches AP Government in the Humanities Center and U.S. History outside of the Center. In addition, she serves as the President of the Henrico Education Association and co-sponsor of the National Honor Society. Mrs. Chewning's quirky sense of humor and knowledge of current events make her students excited about the class. Her theory is that every aspect of government and history could be made into an action movie, starring Matt Damon or Denzel Washington. Mrs. Chewning wants her students to be active participants in government, and in doing so, the students leave Level IV with a deeper understanding of the political system.
DeyJah Chappell: Humanities Counselor/Director of School Counseling
DeyJah Chappell is thrilled to be here at Hermitage High School. She holds a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Frostburg State University . She also received her Bachelor's of Science in both Psychology and Biology, while being part of both the Cheerleading and Women’s Track teams at Shenandoah University. While attending graduate school she worked as a counselor at Timber Ridge School. She is a native of Richmond, Virginia where she graduated from Hanover High School. She is a motivated counselor who seeks to provide academic, personal, and social growth for all our Panthers.