Sam WALLACE, Math & English

Mr. Wallace was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Northern Virginia. He received a BS in Mathematics from Virginia Tech, and completed a MFA in Writing at Columbia University. His multidisciplinary background has fueled Mr. Wallace’s belief that there is something in any subject for every student – anything is interesting, even amazing, if you look at it closely enough.

This is particularly true for math. Math seems to have a bad rap as a dry subject that you either get or you don’t.  The reality, however, is that math is an enormous field of research and knowledge that is rich with controversy, full of astounding ideas, and, most importantly, accessible to anyone. Mr. Wallace believes that everyone is a mathematician, and he is excited to convince his students of that in his second year at GWCS.

Outside of school, Mr. Wallace can be found reading and writing, hiking and camping, playing the odd game of chess, and petting his unappreciative cat Kevin.


Algebra I

Algebra is fundamental to all of modern mathematics. Students in Algebra 1 learn to solve equations and inequalities involving variables, which are symbols representing unknown quantities. The class will build on this skill over the course of the year, mastering problem types of increasing complexity and learning how to apply algebraic techniques to real-life problems.  Be warned, Algebra 1 is in many ways more fun and exciting than math courses preceding it.

Algebra II / Trigonometry

Algebra 2 / Trigonometry combines and builds on topics covered in Geometry and Algebra 1 to deepen a student’s algebraic powers. These powers include, but are not limited to: the ability to analyze graphs and their relationships to formulas; the ability to solve complicated equations using sophisticated techniques, and to understand the theory and proofs behind these techniques; an introductory knowledge of Trigonometry, a field of math with broad applications to the fields of science, engineering, finance, design, and even music; and the ability to use these skills to solve a variety of real world problems.

Math Applications (not offered 2019-2020)

Do we discover math, or do we create it? A fascinating quality of math is that it is both abstract and practical. It is both a purely mental game and a tool vital to human civilization. This means that there are many ways to study math, and numerous approaches to understanding its truths and uses. In this course we will try a lot of those approaches. The class will explore foundational concepts in mathematics, as well as build a powerful math toolkit that the student will find has endless applicability in the ‘real world.’

World Literature II

English has to be one of the most thrilling subjects anyone could choose to study. Really. Language not only enables us to express ourselves, not only empowers us to understand: it defines us; it is inseparable from ourselves and our experience of the world. To study English is to expand your mind in myriad ways, to enrich your world and to discover the brilliant words and ideas of others. In World Literature II, we will read some of the most influential, brilliant, and fun works written since the Middle Ages. We start with Beowulf, and we finish with the graphic novel Persepolis. In between we will read a wealth of the greatest stories ever told.

English Language Arts and Literature

In this course we will focus on the many forms, uses, and genres of literature as a starting point for honing and perfecting our own command of fundamental writing skills and essay strategies. We will read classic and contemporary crime and mystery novels, Westerns and adventure stories, science fiction page-turners and works that are potentially unclassifiable in any one genre. But not just that – we will read essays, poems, letters, news articles and more, all with an eye toward adding to our toolbox of techniques for writing, analysis, and thought. We each have a unique voice. This class is an opportunity to master our command of that voice.



Call:  703.978.7208 X312