As you’ve probably noticed, many new teachers have started this year at Sequoyah. Among them is the new math teacher John Romano.
Explaining his path to becoming a mathematics teacher, Romano noted that he was always interested in any form of abstract mathematics, and early in his career he was an actuary at Metropolitan Insurance in New York City. He did not enjoy this job, which required him to calculate and measure risks for the company. When he was offered a teaching position at Trinity School, he accepted it.
“We lived mathematics,” John said about his time at Trinity. “During my several terms as a Mathematics Department Head [at other schools], I was never able to recreate that exchange of ideas that existed at Trinity.” He stayed at Trinity School for 12 years before he left to teach at Harvard-Westlake School in North Hollywood. He said “It was a great school; however, it lacked that free exchange of abstract ideas and seemed a bit stuffy.”
Reflecting back on his relationship to his field, Romano noted that “As I have matured, I have a better appreciation for the applications of mathematics.” He said that with great understanding of math you can become a physicist or economist; he has applied his abstract math training to fields like computer science over the years.
When it comes to his philosophy of teaching math, Romano stated that “I honestly believe that there is no one best way to teach a math class, as it depends on the students in the class.” However, he did say that it is necessary for the teacher to enjoy math and respect their students. He thinks that teaching is a wonderful experience when the student body is more socially, ethnically, and economically diverse.
Romano’s take on Sequoyah is incisive. He said, “In my opinion, what separates Sequoyah from other schools I taught at lies in their willingness to dispel educational norms and travel their own path. Most importantly, Sequoyah values traditional concepts while abstracting these concepts into an applied setting. There are schools that are effective at traditional processes while others focus on the applied. In my opinion, the faculty and administration at Sequoyah are committed to success at both ends of the spectrum.” He also thinks that Sequoyah is successful because they succeed at being able to “write useful evaluations rather than assigning a simple grade.”
In his free time prior to the pandemic, Romano enjoyed sailing, playing the horn, and racquetball, though he mentioned that he wasn’t very good at these hobbies. Now he enjoys spending time with his family and grandson. “Very few days have passed [that] I did not play some cool game like Beyblades with the little guy [his grandson],” Romano noted.
You’ve probably heard the rumor that Romano has a Guinness World Record for the most math classes taught. When asked about it, he replied, humbly, “Oh my, I have so many Guinness World Records, they are not even worth mentioning. I hate to brag.”
If you see John Romano around campus be sure to say hi–he has a lot of interesting things to talk about!