Pia LoMonte is a 29-year-old art teacher on her first “official” job in Boston, at the Haskell School, in the suburb Wessex. Her dream is to live in Boston near the Red Line, and when she meets and falls in love with Rod Tucker, it looks like that dream might come true.
Rod Tucker is 35 and owns a successful paving business, which includes landscape design. He’s rugged, confident, and capable. But in time, his good qualities are overshadowed by his jealousy, ignorance, and conservative viewpoint.
Lori Schlusser is dean of the Haskell School and thrives on harassing her teachers. From day one she particularly targets Pia.
Ambrose Haskell is Lori’s alcoholic husband and the scion of the school’s dynastic family. Lori and Ambrose have a young daughter, Taylor, and the family lives in Cambridge.
Wafa Jandran is in her mid-thirties and originally from Mumbai. Her exotic beauty belies a sharp wit and even sharper tongue that gets her into trouble with Lori. She’s Haskell School’s new fundraiser for the annual arts festival.
Dixie Ames is the upper-school English Literature teacher and faculty advisor for the school’s Haskell Voice newspaper. She’s 40 but looks like one of the students, with her dark ponytail and armload of books. She’s divorced with a 7th grade son, Cal, at the school.
Hao Minh, 40, heads the art department and teaches ceramics . He was a child refugee from Vietnam and grew up in Boston. He’s gay and his boyfriend, Jim, markets his ceramics.
Jean-Pierre, “JP,” is the French sports teacher. He’s adorable and all the schoolgirls have crushes on him. He’s affectionate, bubbly, happy, demonstrative, and dramatic. His American wife Louise teaches French.
Dale Higgins is the white-haired, white-bearded head of the school but has little to do with its day-to-day operation. He’s scholarly, lofty, and seeks prominence in the field of progressive education.
Anita is the grandmotherly school receptionist who sits outside Lori and Dale’s offices.
Tian Wu, 40, is a handsome Chinese entrepreneur, educated at Harvard and now an American citizen. He lives on Beacon Hill and travels between Boston and China for his investments.
Mei Wu is Tian’s 17-year-old daughter who boards at the Haskell School.
Charles Harding is a junior at the school and a gifted artist. He and Mei are boyfriend and girlfriend.