You know you do it. We’ve all done it. It’s the Stuyvesant way. Every year, students scramble after receiving program cards to get the background story on all of their teachers. Alumni are called up, and upperclassmen are hounded in an obsessive attempt to know what to expect. After a week you can find out just about anything: catchphrases, grading policies, favorite television shows, food preferences. However, there is a specific group that nobody has an inside scoop on at the start of the year: new teachers. Luckily for all of you who just need to know, they’ve agreed to reveal their extraordinary background stories.
Carlos Bravo, Spanish Teacher
Carlos Bravo has returned to Stuyvesant this year as a Spanish teacher after teaching here nineteen years ago in 1993. He feels as if he has been welcomed back wonderfully and loves “everything about the school,” from the building to the intellectual atmosphere. As a teacher, he hopes that his students “learn to read and write Spanish fluently and use it in their lives,” especially if they travel, Bravo said.
He is also writing a book of poems in Spanish and English titled “Ambrosia a Manos Llenas” (Hands Full of Ambrosia) and hopes to publish it soon.
Andrea Fenyves, Mathematics Teacher
Andrea Fenyves had taught at Hunter College High School for two and a half years before becoming a mathematics teacher at Stuyvesant this year. A mother of four, Fenyves enjoys listening to classical music, specifically compositions by Chopin and Tchaikovsky.
Currently, Fenyves teaches Algebra and Geometry. “It is great to be here at Stuyvesant, but it is a bit overwhelming,” Fenyves said. “The students are amazing yet quiet, and I hope they will open up.”
David Hanna, History Teacher
David Hanna, a new history teacher, comes to Stuyvesant with a long and fascinating career in tow. Hanna has had years of teaching experience, including nine years of teaching and living in Brazil and Japan. He had originally come to New York City for his master’s degree and returned several years ago to work at a charter school. He has always had a “deep love for history,” and is happy to be working at Stuyvesant and looking forward to the year, he said.
Jeffrey Horenstein, Biology Teacher
Jeffrey Horenstein, the latest member of Stuyvesant’s biology department, has previous teaching experience at The Urban Academy of Government and Law and Satellite III MS 103. Trained as a biologist, Horenstein currently teaches Living Environment to ninth-graders.
“It is still early, but everything is nice so far. The biology department has been very supportive, and I am delighted to see the eagerness to learn shown by Stuyvesant students,” Horenstein said.
Aziz Jumash, Mathematics Teacher
Currently teaching Algebra II/Trigonometry and Geometry, Jumash enjoys teaching geometry and probability with an approach that “involves visualization,” he said.
In his free time, Jumash enjoys playing chess, biking, hiking, and taking dance lessons.
For Jumash, Stuyvesant has been a positive experience so far. “I am really happy to be here,” Jumash said. “The students are nice and the math department is very welcoming, so I am looking forward to having a great semester.”
Kaitlyn Lang, Mathematics Teacher
Math teacher Kaitlyn Lang comes to Stuyvesant with plenty of NYC experience. A Staten Island native who previously taught at Staten Island Technical High School, she has always “looked up to Stuyvesant,” she said. She has worked at schools all around New York and Staten Island and has also been an adjunct professor at the College of Staten Island. She hopes, however, that Stuyvesant will be her opportunity to settle down.
Even in high school, Lang had known that she wanted to be a teacher, and the hiring freeze on new teachers that occurred just as she graduated with her master’s in Secondary Education did nothing to suppress her desire. She is already enjoying teaching at Stuyvesant, calling her students some of the most polite she has ever known. She says she has never known students before who “won’t enter the classroom until I invite them in. I keep leaving them waiting outside.”
Catherine McRoy, AP Macroeconomics and Economics Teacher
Catherine McRoy is a first-generation Polish-American and comes to Stuyvesant with vast experience. Having worked on Wall Street, she understands the pressures of finance. She was a social studies teacher for the GO Project, which provides support for underprivileged elementary and middle-school students and their families in New York City.
McRoy’s face may not be completely unfamiliar to Stuyvesant students—she was previously a student teacher at Stuyvesant before becoming a full-time teacher. As an AP Macroeconomics and Economics teacher now, she wants to thoroughly educate her students because understanding the concepts “is important [in the] current financial state,” McRoy said.
Brian Sterr, Mathematics Teacher
Having co-founded the non-profit organization TETEA (Tanzanian Empowerment Through Education Association), Brian Sterr not only teaches Geometry and Algebra II at Stuyvesant High School, but also engages in humanitarian efforts to expand educational opportunities in the country of Tanzania.
Before forming TETEA, which primarily provides scholarships to qualifying Tanzanian students, Sterr had originally served as a U.S. Peace Corps teaching mathematics at a secondary school in Tanzania from 2004 to 2007. “Math is a subject that I really enjoy,” Sterr said. “I really like it when students learn and enjoy the beauty of math.”
Besides teaching and helping to run TETEA, Sterr enjoys cycling, hiking, and simply spending time outdoors. Before coming to Stuyvesant, Sterr had taught in Lewis and Clark High School for three years. Though Sterr has just begun teaching at Stuyvesant, he believes the culture is apt for teaching and learning.
“Stuyvesant is a tightly knit community, providing an environment conducive to learning and fostering many opportunities for students to reach their full potential,” Sterr said.