Dr. Yoss: Back to the future

Zev Hurwitz, Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Michael Yoss, who was known for his unique teaching style and humorous attitude during an earlier eight-year tenure at Shalhevet, has returned to school this fall and will head the History Department.

Dr. Yoss spent the last three years teaching at Friends Academy, a Quaker school in Locust Valley, New York.

“Personal reasons brought me to New York and now they’ve brought me back,” he said.

Dr. Yoss will be teaching all freshman World History sections as well as AP World History. He specifically asked Principal Phu Tranchi to teach freshmen, as he did when he last worked here.

“I like to teach freshmen because I build up a connection and after four years, I know everyone in the school,” said Dr. Yoss.

Born in Capetown, South Africa, Dr. Yoss left for London during the apartheid regime in 1978. After six months there, he moved to the United States to run a clothing design business, later returning to England to earn his doctorate in history from Oxford University.

The last students Dr. Yoss had taught as freshmen graduated this past June, though some still remember his attitude and his mission.

“Dr. Yoss is inspirational,” said Maxwell Rotbart, a former Shalhevet student who hopes to become a history teacher. “Both in terms of making history a relevant subject and in serving as a role model for me. His students this year are in for an unforgettable experience.”

Recent alumnus Jeremy Lowe ’10 agreed.

“Dr. Yoss not only taught me the study skills I needed to survive high school but also taught me how to formulate my ego,” wrote Jeremy in an e-mail.

Dr. Yoss says that he hasn’t changed his teaching style at all. He also has managed to keep up relationships with some of his former and now current colleagues.

“The school has changed a lot in its organization, but I haven’t really lost my connection with some of the staff who are still here,” Dr. Yoss said.