Mumma named ‘Distinguished Teacher’

Bill San Antonio

A Roslyn High School history teacher has been named a “Distinguished Teacher of 2013” by the Harvard Club of Long Island.

James Mumma, who has taught within the Roslyn School District for 18 years and currently teaches AP European History and Art and Architecture I and II, is one of a dozen teachers across Long Island to be honored each year with the award, according to a Harvard Club release. 

Mumma was nominated by Stephanie Wang, a Harvard senior and former student who described her former teacher as “an inspiring teacher for so many.”

“He pushes his students with questions and with his brilliant teaching technique,” Wang wrote in her nomination. “One wall of the classroom is painted black and becomes a chalkboard upon which Mr. Mumma draws a giant map of Europe, color-coded and daily covered with new historical events.”  

Because of the way Mr. Mumma integrates past and present, “I now look upon the Western world more knowledgeably.”

Mumma will receive his award at the Harvard Club’s annual University Relations Lunch April 7 and learn whether he has been awarded a scholarship for a “Harvard Experience,” a customized visit to the university that would allow him access to the same resources as Harvard students, such as meeting with faculty and visiting the school’s research laboratories and rare book archives. 

“Our awards recognize people who transform the future,” said Dr. Judith Esterquest, a Long Island Harvard Club board member, in the release. “Dedicated teachers like Mr. Mumma expend unfathomable amounts of time and energy on our Long Island teens, day after day and year after year. Their efforts inspire students to dream dreams, to work to accomplish those dreams, and to think rigorously about what they want their future to be.”

This year’s Distinguished Teacher Award winners were selected by Harvard students as well as Harvard Club of Long Island members, and teach history, math, English, science, music, and physical education.

“Jim has created a devoted student following for his classes in AP European History and Art History,” said Roslyn Superintendent of Schools Dan Brenner in the release. “Because his knowledge of his content areas is unparalleled as is his connection with students.”

Roslyn history teacher Ron Katovitz, math teacher Glenn Sherwood and French teacher Cecily Lawrence also received letters of commendation from the Harvard Club of Long Island. 

“These teachers inspire excellence — nurturing our Long Island students both to thrive at rigorous universities and to recognize their obligation to nurture others” said Susan Novick, president of the Harvard Club, in the release. “We are proud to honor them.”

According to the release, Harvard University has approximately 160 undergraduate students from Long Island and received close to 700 admissions applications for the coming school year.

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