New math teacher, Ms. Jennifer Kong, joins faculty for second semester


Goldie Fields

WELCOME: Ms. Jennifer Kong, Shalhevet’s newest math teacher, visited with a very happy Mr. Danovitch after signing her contract in his office last Friday.

By Tamar Willis, Editor-in-Chief

After a tumultuous three semesters in which one class had four different math teachers, the school hired Ms. Jennifer Kong to take on 9th grade Algebra and 10th grade Geometry on Jan. 27 at the start of the second semester.

Ms. Kong is replacing Mrs. Fuller, who returned home to Maine where her husband will be heading at an international education initiative.

“I’m so glad that I have the opportunity to work here,” Ms. Kong said in an interview with The Boiling Point just before signing her contract in Mr. Danovitch’s office.  “The students are really nice, they participate in activities, and are very motivated.  I love them!  Also, being here is a different culture to me because I’ve never experienced a Jewish environment before, so I think that’s something that I will need to explore and something I’m really excited to do.”

Ms. Kong, who grew up in Hong Kong, moved to Northern California with her family in 2000 and attended UCSB.  She then moved back to Hong Kong where she got a Master’s degree in nutrition and a post-graduate diploma in education.  After teaching there for four years, she moved back to LA this past July because she “missed the lifestyle and loves the sun and beaches.”

The math department and administration interviewed several candidates, but chose Ms. Kong because of her unique approach to teaching.

“She’s a really gifted teacher,” General Studies principal Mr. Roy Danovitch said.  “She likes engaging students in the learning process and doesn’t lecture; instead she uses group work but at a high level and she’s very patient.”

Though she said she’s only experienced Jewish culture through movies, Ms. Kong has already—perhaps subconsciously—incorporated Judaism into her teaching methods by utilizing chevrutot as a part of her model lesson, which she gave to the 10th grade Geometry class Jan 27.

“I thought she was really good,” said sophomore Laly Chriki, who is now one of Ms. Kong’s students.  “She split us into partners, which helped because we had someone to help us work through problems.  She also came really prepared and even made a PowerPoint to help us review.”

Ms. Kong, who loves to swim, paint, and draw in her free time, hopes that her students enjoy her math class and participate.

“I want my math class to be very interactive,” she said.  “I want the students be fully engaged in the lessons and for it to be fun!”