BREAKING NEWS: Dr. Yoss will not return next year


Katia Surpin

DAPPER: Dr. Yoss taught a ninth-grade class in the Music Room last week. The Oxford-educated veteran history teacher also teaches American History and Humanities this year.

By Eric Bazak, Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Michael Yoss, the longtime History teacher known for his humor, fashion and rigorous classes, will not be returning to Shalhevet next fall, the Boiling Point has confirmed.

One of the longest serving teachers now at the school, Dr. Yoss told his Honors U.S. History class just before Mincha yesterday that his contract had not been renewed for 2016-2017, and confirmed that when contacted by the Boiling Point this morning. He did not want to comment further.

Sophomore Maia Julis, who was there, said the class was shocked.

“We were all in shock when he told us,” said Maia.  “We were all pretty upset and sad that he was no longer going to be with us next year.”

Dr. Yoss joined the faculty in 1999 and has taught 9th and 10th grade World History, AP World History, AP U.S. History, and SAS humanities. He left the school in 2007 for three years to teach at Friends Academy, a Quaker school in Locust Valley, N.Y.

Mati Davis, a senior who has been close to Dr. Yoss, said the irreverent South African expatriate had greatly enhanced his high school experience.

“I’m devastated, not only because I have a good relationship with him, but because future classes will never get to meet him,” Mati told the Boiling Point this morning.

“It’s a big loss for Shalhevet,” Mati said. “He has had a huge impact on my life and on the lives of many others in our school. Not only is he a fantastic person, many people don’t realize how much he contributes to the Shalhevet culture. Also, his teaching has not only taught me skills to use in history class, but skills to use everyday for the rest of my life.

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

He described his experience at an all-school observance on Martin Luther King Day this year, and earlier in an interview with the Boiling Point when Nelson Mandela died.

“I grew up in our family home near the Atlantic Ocean and it overlooked Robben Island, so I was always aware of home and what he meant,” Dr. Yoss said in 2014.

“One of the greatest experiences in my life was witnessing Mandela getting the keys to Oxford, because I realized just exactly why I had left South Africa and what he meant and stood for. I was standing there with people all over the world, and one doesn’t have to be South African to appreciate him. His values are universal.”

Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal, Principal Reb Noam Weissman and General Studies Principal Mr. Daniel Weslow were not immediately available for comment.

Related: EXODUS: Jewish population wanes in South Africa