A valedictorian in our midst: Adam Resheff ’15 returns to teach in Upper Division Math Department

Emma Colacino, Staff Writer

“When I first came to Horace Mann at the age of three, I had two goals in mind: to learn how to tie my shoes, and to one day become Valedictorian,” Adam Resheff ’15 said in his Valedictorian speech. “Today, I am happy to announce that I have accomplished one of those goals.” Just six years after making his speech, Resheff returned to the school as an Upper Division (UD) math teacher.

Teaching at the school and joining the school’s community again has exceeded every expectation Resheff previously had, he said. “Everyone here is so engaged and super interesting in all different ways, and it’s such a great community,” he said. “This was true when I was a student, and now I can see it with all of my students today.”

Outside of school, Resheff enjoys taking walks, working out, and reading non-fiction novels. Resheff played on the high school and middle school tennis teams during his time at the school, and in middle school, he was even able to be a ball boy for Serena Williams during her match, he said. “Looking back on it, that was one of the craziest things that has ever happened to me.”

Resheff particularly enjoys watching Breaking Bad and The Office, and occasionally makes references to the shows during his classes, he said. “At one point we were referencing the murder mystery episode of The Office, and all of the sudden everyone started speaking with a southern accent, and I could see a few people were like ‘what is happening.’”

During his time at the school, Resheff was a part of the Community Council (CC): in his sophomore and junior years of high school, he was the grade representative for his class, and in his senior year, Resheff became the CC chair. The main projects Resheff worked on during his time on the CC was returning paper towels to the school’s bathrooms and creating a free SAT and ACT test material webpage.

In addition to the CC, Resheff was also an editor of the Review, the schools political-opinion publication, the head of the tutoring program in the Middle Division Mentoring Program, and a part of the Horace Mann Orientation Program (HMO). “I tried to keep myself involved in the school community, and I basically had my hands full with everything I was doing,” he said.

While he loved his math courses and his math teachers, Resheff’s favorite classes during his time at the school were his history classes. His favorite class was History Department Chair Dr. Daniel Link’s AP U.S History class, he said. “I really loved the class because [Link] structured the class like a college class,” he said. “We read serious historical papers and dove into them as a group and we spent basically the entire semester going through books on one topic and trying to dive into it.”

Resheff also enjoyed Barry Bienstock’s History Seminar class, which he took as a senior, he said. “I basically spent a year just writing about McCarthyism, which was awesome,” he said. “Taking on a bigger paper was a great experience and a great kind of good preparation for college.”

At the end of his senior year, Resheff was elected to give the valedictorian speech during his classes graduation. While he is unsure of exactly why he was elected, he said he thinks he was elected to give the speech because he had given speeches in front of his grade before during his time on the Community Council and because he was known as a friendly person. “I felt honored, and I felt really appreciative that all of my friends voted for me,” he said. “It was an amazing opportunity and I really treasure that memory.”

Resheff’s experience at the school prepared him for time at Columbia University, where he attended after graduating from the school, he said. At Columbia, Resheff was a part of the student government for all four years he was at the school; specifically, he was responsible for distributing the student government budget to all the student groups and helping to plan the school’s spring concert. 

At Columbia, Resheff decided to explore courses he had not taken in high school, including some in computer science. “It felt similar to writing history essays, where all the pieces had to come together to make something,” he said.

Resheff’s growing interest in computer science motivated him to take more math courses. “I came to really appreciate how everything in math just fits together,” he said. “I still liked my history classes, but when it came time for homework, I’d be looking forward to my math homework.”

After graduating from college, Resheff worked for a tutoring company where he  ]taught SAT and ACT preparation, as well as biology, computer science, and history. When he began tutoring, he did not envision that it would eventually lead to teaching, he said. “I was starting [tutoring] this year, but then there was an opening here that was presented to me and I thought, ‘Yeah, I want to try this.’”

Resheff had kept in contact with Upper Division Library Department Chair Caroline Bartels, who knew that Resheff was tutoring, so when the opportunity to teach in the math department became available, the school reached out to him, he said. 

Before teaching his first class at the school, Resheff was excited, terrified, and overall looking forward to the experience, he said. “It’s great seeing the school from the other side of things,” he said. “I always felt supported and challenged by my teachers in high school and seeing things from the other side has more than verified what I always thought was the case.”

Resheff has also especially enjoyed becoming colleagues with teachers whose classes he took, he said. “It’s funny because teachers call each other by their first name, and so there was this moment where I did not really know what to call them, but it brings back fond memories because I enjoyed all of their classes.”