Favorite teacher will chair math department next year

Ashley Mashian

Ms. Katerina Malikov conveyed a tough concept to students in Honors Pre-calculus last week.

Zev Hurwitz, Editor-In-Chief

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Ms. Ekaterina Malikov, part time Pre-Calculus Honors teacher, was appointed February 18 to become the new chair of the Math Department and begin teaching full time starting in August.

A February 22 e-mail to Shalhevet parents and faculty, signed by Board of Directors President Larry Gill and incoming Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal, praised Ms. Malikov’s years of experience and success.

“She combines superlative teaching skills with a unique rapport with her students to encourage them to excel at their own individual best levels,” stated the e-mail. “We are gratified that Ms. Malikov has decided to pursue the next chapter in her career with us at Shalhevet.”

This year, Ms. Malikov is teaching math at Maimonides Academy’s middle school in the afternoon after first period Pre-calc. She’s enjoyed great popularity at Maimonedes, where she has taught for 10 years now. What drew her to Shalhevet, she said, was the ability to teach higher level math.

“It was a hard decision to make,” Ms. Malikov said after class Feb. 28. “Maimonides feels like family, especially when I teach whole families of siblings. On the other hand, I do enjoy more challenging mathematics and the intellectual challenge involved.”

Current math department chair Mrs. Suzanne Halloran, who has been part-time herself for several years, said she welcomes the change and hopes to continue to teaching here.  She said she needs to work part time to care for her three children.

“I’ve actually been trying for a while to not be the department chair,” said Mrs. Halloran, been department chair for 13 of her 14 years here. “We’re looking forward to having Ms. Malikov take over as department chair. Everyone in the department only says good things about her.”

General Studies Principal Phu Tranchi said the new arrangement would help the Math Department grow.

“It will be a positive change, having a full-time chair,” Mr. Tranchi said. “Math could potentially go in a completely different direction and it is our goal to constantly improve our curriculum, for all of our classes.

Ms. Malikov said that there would be several changes for the department next year.

“We’re certainly going to be revisiting the curriculum,” she said.

Ms. Malikov, whose full name is Ekaterina Orfanova-Malikov hails from Moscow and speaks with a slight Russian accent.

News of her new appointment thrilled many students, especially those who have her for Pre-calculus this year.

“I’m really happy she’ll be here full time,” junior Raquel Garshofsky said. “Her full time status will make it easier for students to approach her outside of class. I’m really looking forward to taking math under her leadership.”

“She’s a really devoted teacher,” classmate Yossi Halpert said. “She’s the smartest mathematician I’ve ever met and she’s very responsible and helpful.

Algebra and Calculus teacher Mrs. Tamara Gidanian says that she is looking forward to a more involved relationship with parents under Mrs. Malikov’s leadership.

“I’m happy because I know she’s going to stand firm with parents and help with students taking the wrong class, which has been an issue this year,” Mrs. Gidanian said.

According to Mr. Gill, Ms. Malikov last month approached him to discuss options for the next school year. After collaboration with Rabbi Segal, who was in Los Angeles shortly before the announcement was made, the new contract was secured.

Maimonides is a West Hollywood Jewish school and a major feeder school for Shalhevet, where she has worked for over eight years. Her departure has upset many Maimonides students who were looking forward to having her next year.

“It was a pleasure to know her and to know that someone so smart is always by us to help us out,” said Maimonides seventh-grader Ofir Shasha.  “She has great attitude and she always smiles.”

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