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Math Teacher Honored By Harvard Club

Roslyn High School math teacher Iftimie Simion has been named a “Distinguished Teacher of 2010” by the Harvard Club of Long Island.

“These awards seek to recognize extraordinary people,” said Dr. Judith Esterquest, a board member of the Long Island club. “Talented teachers like Simion expend uncounted hours and vast stores of energy to transform the lives of our Long Island teens. Day after day and year after year, they help shape our country’s future, inspiring students to dream dreams, to work to accomplish those dreams, and to think rigorously about what they want their future to be.”

Simion, who has taught advanced math and coached the math team at Roslyn for the past eight years, immigrated to the United States from Romania in the early 1990s. He had earned his master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Bucharest before teaching advanced math for 13 years at the University in Ploiesti, where he coached the Romanian national math team, and published papers in professional journals. Arriving in New York, he studied pure math at Queens College and began teaching at Stuyvesant High School in 1996, where he was recognized by faculty, parents, and students as a rare gem. He taught college-level courses such as multivariate calculus and differential equations, coached the math team, and supervised the math research program.

In 1999, he won the prestigious Edyth May Sliffe Award, given to high school mathematics teachers whose teams excel on the American High School Mathematics Examination (AHSME, now the AMC 12); each year the award recognizes the dozen or so top math teachers of the 86,000 who are annually involved in the exam.

Nominated by Stephanie Wang, a former student who is now a freshman at Harvard College, Mr. Simion was described as having “really touched me in his commitment to his students and his passion for the subject that he teaches, lives, and breathes — math.” Stephanie said that her fondest memories of high school revolve around Mr. Simon’s “always wanting to share another intriguing math problem with his math classes, and getting so caught up that he would involve his class in the struggle to figure it out.” “I have met no other teacher who is so genuine and, at the same time, so immersed in the subject he teaches,” Stephanie concluded. Simion is “a wonderful teacher and inspiring person, who has influenced the entire Roslyn High School.”

Besides Simion, English teacher Scott Segal also received a letter from the Harvard Club of Long Island recognizing his superb teaching.

When Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Dan Brenner, learned of this award, he observed, “In a school district that prides itself on excellence in education, we count Mr. Simion among our finest instructors. He not only provides the students of Roslyn a marvelous experience as he teaches the most advanced mathematics classes, but he is an ongoing source of information for his math colleagues. Simion has always been a teacher’s teacher.”

Steve Weiss, the Roslyn math department chair, said, “Mr. Simion’s exceptional knowledge of mathematics, along with his passion to teach all that he knows, define him as a true maser teacher. On the many occasions that I had to observe him teach, I can tell you that upon the conclusion of his lessons, I felt like getting up and applauding, as you would do after watching an awe-inspiring Broadway Performance.”