Classics Department

Mr Samuel Hitchings, BA, MSt
Head of Classics

Mr Sam Hitchings teaches Latin and Ancient Greek. He joined Brentwood School in 2019, having previously taught at Wellington College and Hampton School. He has a degree in Classics and a Master's in Greek and Roman History, both from the University of Oxford (Exeter College). Mr Hitchings' greatest passion in Classics is the history of these two fascinating cultures, from the emergence and rivalry of the Greek city-states to Rome's dominance of the entire Mediterranean and gradual decline in the face of barbarian invasion. His favourite authors are the contemporary but contrasting Greek historians, Herodotus and Thucydides, and Cicero, the man whose career illustrates the best and worst of the doomed Roman Republic.

Miss Karen Crane, BA (OB)
Teacher of Classics
Head of Transition (KS2/KS3)

Miss Karen Crane has a degree in Classics and Italian from Exeter University. Having taught at New Hall School in Chelmsford, she re-joined Brentwood School in 2000 (she had been a pupil at the school). Miss Crane has accompanied and led numerous trips to Italy and Greece, directed a number of school musicals and been RAF Section commander for the CCF. Miss Crane lived in a household that had many History books, especially Egyptology and Rome, and so she grew up with a love of finding out about ancient civilisations. Latin and then Classical Civilisation at school fuelled this interest. She is hugely inspired by literature and enjoys charting how the ancient Classics have influenced writers through the ages, such as Milton, Shakespeare, Tolkein, Arthur Miller right up to J K Rowling and modern epics like the Hunger Games.

Mrs Zeta Hill, BA, MA, GTP
Teacher of Classics
Head of Third Year

Mrs Zeta Hill teaches Latin, Ancient Greek and Classical Civilisation. She joined Brentwood School in 2011, having previously taught at Oundle School and Reading Blue Coat School. She has a Masters in Classics from Royal Holloway, University of London. Mrs Hill chose to study Classics because it combined all of her favourite subjects; language, literature, history and philosophy. She has always enjoyed the logical, perfect and precise nature of the Latin and Greek languages but also the more creative analysis of literature. She is fascinated by the vast influence the Greeks and Romans have had on world history and our lives today. Her favourite area of study is Greek philosophy. Inspired by questions such as “what is courage?” and “what is beauty?”, she went on to study the influence of Greek philosophy on early Christian thought in both her BA and MA dissertations.

Mrs Joanna Gray, BA
Teacher of Classics
Deputy Head of Fourth Year

Mrs Jo Gray teaches Latin, Ancient Greek and Classical Civilisation. She joined Brentwood School in 2008, having previously taught at Chigwell School. She has a degree in Classical Studies from Newcastle University and a PGCE in Classics from the University of Cambridge. Mrs Gray was drawn to Classics through a love of literature. A desire to find out more about the cultures that produced the literature drew her to read Classical Studies for a degree. It is literature that she continues to love, though she finds Greek civilisation and late Republican Rome/early Empire absolutely fascinating.  Alexander the Great and Augustus would be her dream dinner party guests.

Miss Claudia Martin, BA (OB)
Teacher of Classics

Voluntary Service Activity Coordinator
Deputy Head of Weald House

Since re-joining the school as a staff member in 2015, Miss Martin has qualified as a Classics teacher, become Deputy Head of Weald House and has been enjoying being a first form tutor. Miss Martin is also in charge of all the school’s fundraising for various causes and is working hard to initiate an exciting programme for the Voluntary Service Activity (formerly CSU) on Friday afternoons as Head of this section. She is grateful that she is able to continue inspiring students with a love of the Classical world, whilst also showing them the importance of community outreach and helping those in need.

Mr Bryn Roberts, MA
Teacher of Classics
Deputy Head of Fifth Year
Brentwoodian Editor

Mr Bryn Roberts teaches Latin and Classical Civilisation. He joined Brentwood School in 2015. He has a degree in Classics from the University of Edinburgh and a PGCE in Classics from King’s College, London. In addition to his teaching, he assists with rugby. As a film fanatic, the portrayal of the ancient world in cinema has always been a lure for Mr Roberts. The chariot-racing scene in Ben Hur epitomised the Roman lust for entertainment and spectacle; Disney's Hercules drew him to read about the heroes and their journeys in Greek myths. Film was the spark that ignited his love of Classics. He is inspired by what we can learn from Classics, particularly Classical writers. For example, Aristotle gives some splendid advice on decision-making, requiring both theoretical and practical knowledge, which is just as relevant for making decisions today.

Dr Christina Tsaknaki, BA, MSt, PhD
Teacher of Classics

 IB Extended Essay Coordinator

Dr Tsaknaki teaches Latin and Ancient Greek. She joined Brentwood School in 2016, after submitting her PhD in Latin Literature at the University of Cambridge, where she also taught Latin language and literature for three years. She has a BA in Classics from the University of Athens and an MSt from the University of Oxford. In addition to her teaching, she assists with swimming. Dr Tsaknaki knew she wanted to study Classics from the moment she was introduced to Ancient Greek at age 11. For years a devoted Hellenist, she fell in love with Latin when she first read Ovid during her undergraduate degree. She was so fascinated by him that she went on to complete her PhD on his exile poetry. Although literature is her favourite aspect of Classics, what draws her to the subject is its immense variety. When she isn’t reading poetry, she enjoys travelling to Classical lands, from the world-famous Athens to the less visited Constanța, Ovid’s resting place.

Mr Michael Whetnall, BA
Teacher of Classics

Mr Whetnall teaches Latin and Ancient Greek. He has a degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge, and joined Brentwood School in 2018, after teaching at Eton College and King’s College School, Cambridge. Mr Whetnall’s love for storytelling and mythology was what drew him to Classics and, after studying Classical Civilisation at school, he dived headfirst into learning Latin and Ancient Greek at University. Homer, Ovid, and Virgil are, of course, his favourite authors, but he also has a real passion for Greek Tragedy, and the storytelling of the ancient stage.

Miss Megan Swettenham, BA
Teacher of Classics

Miss Megan Swettenham teaches Latin and Ancient Greek. Miss Swettenham returned to Brentwood School as a member of staff in 2018, having read Classics at the University of Nottingham. Inspired to study Classics by her love of literature, Miss Swettenham hopes to instil this same passion for reading original Latin and Greek literature in her students. Miss Swettenham remains fascinated by the influence of ancient civilisations on modern society and the sheer breadth of Classical study. Alongside her love of Classics, Miss Swettenham is actively involved in the Army section of the CCF and also coaches netball.