By Sophie Fisher ‘21
This year, Heschel will be welcoming Donna Propp to the high school math department. Propp will be teaching a variety of courses including ninth grade honors geometry, tenth grade geometry with proofs, and eleventh grade algebra two/trigonometry. She will also be introducing discrete mathematics, the mathematics of the social sciences, to twelfth grade. In this course, students will learn about applying math in real-life situations like voting and sharing resources.
Though Propp is new to Heschel, she joins us with a wealth of experience, having spent 28 years teaching at Chapin, an independent day school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. When asked why she made the switch, Propp explained, “I was ready for a change, and most of all I wanted to work at a coed school after having been at an all girls school for so many years.” While she considered different types of schools, it was important for her to be at a Jewish school as well as a school that lived according to its values. She was also intrigued by the Heschel community’s egalitarianism, adding, “It just felt like it would be a really comfortable fit for me.” Although she describes the cultures and communities of Chapin as very different than that of Heschel, Heschel is “another academic powerhouse,” and she knew that she still wanted to work at such a school.
When she isn’t teaching, Propp spends a lot of time weaving, and even has a big loom in her apartment. She also enjoys travel writing and travel photography, hobbies she got a chance to take part in when she spent six weeks in Southern India with her husband last year.
“We got to visit a lot of weavers. That was one of the themes of the trip,” said Propp. Aside from having hotel reservations, Propp and her husband had no plans when they landed in India. “We just met people everywhere and they gave us advice and welcomed us into their homes.”
Propp is very excited to be at Heschel and become a part of such a “wonderful and welcoming” community. “I’m looking forward to meeting everybody,” she shared.