By Jon Hooten


Nancy Roome, a longtime teacher and founder of the nationally renowned Learning Strategies program at Dunn School, died June 4 at home in Chevy Chase, Md., surrounded by her four daughters. She was 95 years old.

Roome came to Dunn School in 1973 to institute, develop, and direct the Learning Skills program, which helped students with learning challenges such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and auditory processing differences succeed in their studies. The program she began in the 1970s is thriving today and is nationally known among independent schools.

“Nancy’s early vision and leadership laid the foundation for the Learning Strategies program to grow and flourish into the life-changing program that it is today,” said Alice Berg, Director of Learning Strategies at Dunn, who took the reins upon Roome’s retirement in 2002.

“Nancy was delightfully sarcastic and didn’t suffer fools kindly,” Berg added. “Her students knew that she was not to be trifled with, and they also knew that she would give her all to teach them how to help themselves to thrive as students at Dunn and in their lives after Dunn.”

Roome’s distinguished career at Dunn lasted for 30 years until she retired at age 80 and moved to the East Coast to be near most of her children and grandchildren.

Her impact on the hundreds of students she taught cannot be overstated. Students who came to her with “word blindness” were able to graduate and attain advanced degrees, thanks to the skills she taught them. Her tireless devotion allowed her students to exceed expectations and fulfill their dreams.

Born in New York City on Aug. 21, 1922, she was the first child of Willet Lawrence Eccles and Dorothy Davey Eccles. She attended the Horace Mann School before moving with her family to Andover, Mass., where her father became the dean of students and instructor of chemistry at the Phillips Academy Andover. She graduated from Abbott Academy in 1941.

A lifelong musician and composer, Roome attended the Longy School of Music in Boston before joining the U.S. Navy in 1944. She graduated from the Navy Hospital Corps and served as a pharmacist’s mate at Camp Detrick in Maryland. She was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1946 and eligible for the American Theater and Victory Medals.

She then studied the neurology of language disorders, language and semantics, and the developmental and remedial approaches to language learning. She went on to tutor children and teach high school for 55 years.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be made to the Nancy Roome Endowment at Dunn School.