Dr. Grissom earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Macroeconomic Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1993. In 2006, he returned to school, earning his Master of Arts degree in Greek and Latin from The Catholic University of America and earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Ancient History from University of Maryland, College Park, in 2012.
Before becoming a teacher, Dr. Grissom served ten years as a Marine Officer. His long, varied teaching tenure includes teaching Latin and History at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School in Alexandria, VA, as well as Flint Hill School in Oakton and DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, MD. Dr. Grissom also taught at the university level as a professor of Classics at the University of Maryland, The Catholic University of America, and Montgomery Community College, Rockville Campus.
What drew Dr. Grissom to BASIS Independent McLean was the opportunity to build on the national and international success of the BASIS.ed model, as well as develop a Latin program that stands as the paradigm for other schools to follow.
“The leadership team at BASIS Independent McLean is focused on creating unique opportunities in which students can learn the skills they will need to be confident, adaptable risk-takers, prepared to meet the unknown challenges of the 21st Century. The mental agility to communicate in Latin is one aspect among many that will prepare our students for the future,” shares Dr. Grissom.
“Latin is very much alive and well in my classroom. My teaching style draws more inspiration from my modern language colleagues (French, Spanish, and Mandarin) than traditional Latin instruction. What this means is that in my classroom, we speak – yes, speak! – Latin daily, and understand it as a living, breathing language. This allows us to understand the ancients’ writings, philosophy, and artistic merit much more intrinsically than if we were to treat the language as a code to be deciphered. It is not unusual in my classroom for students to engage with creative writing assignments, card games, and short movies all in Latin. In short, don’t call it a ‘dead language’ around my students! They’ll respond, in Latin, to show you just how alive it really is!” says Dr. Grissom.