Gary Kulik, an educator and coach for the last 30 years at Mount Sinai High School, has been named a “Distinguished Teacher of 2017” by the Harvard Club of Long Island.
“This award honors teachers who transform lives,” said Dr. Judith Esterquest, the Harvard Club of Long Island’s chair of the distinguished teachers selection committee. “Devoted teachers like Gary Kulik offer Long Island students deep expertise, extraordinary talents and countless hours of attention. By capturing the minds and imaginations of our children and preparing them for challenges that were unknown even a few decades ago, these teachers shape the future of our country.”
Kulik, the first from the district to be honored with the award, has been teaching calculus classes at Mount Sinai High School for the past 26 years. Prior to, he taught in the middle school for a few years. A graduate of Stony Brook University with a BS in applied math, he enjoys coaching the high school and middle school math teams.
Kulik also did graduate work at Stony Brook, earning a Master’s Degree in Coaching and Athletics. He is known for having coached the middle school football team since joining the district, and for coaching the basketball team for 15 years. Whether in academics or on the field, he is always there to coach students. He speculates he has written over 1,000 letters of recommendation for his students.
Kulik has a son who is a land surveyor specializing in laser scanning and a daughter who is a high school biology teacher. He was an actuary for a short while before starting his teaching career.
“Mr. Kulik is a beloved figure throughout Mount Sinai; his room is full even when he is not teaching” said Patrick Hanaj, a Mount Sinai High School alum who is expected to graduate from Harvard College in 2020.
“He consistently has the most alumni visit him each year,” Hanaj added. “Kulik forms lifelong connections to his students through programs like the 10-Year Letter, in which he personally mails letters to alumni from their 12th grade selves.”
When Superintendent of Schools Gordan Brosdal learned of this award, he described Kulik as “taking great pride in his work and the Mount Sinai school district.”
“Gary Kulik consistently establishes a culture of respect and trust in his classroom, while he maintains high expectations for all of his students.”
— Gordon Brosdal
“He believes the role of the teacher is the single greatest factor on maximizing student achievement,” Brosdal said. “Gary Kulik consistently establishes a culture of respect and trust in his classroom, while he maintains high expectations for all of his students. Gary’s classroom is engaging and exciting. Because he empowers his students to develop the ability to ‘think about their thinking’ and to learn independently. I enjoy visiting his classroom to watch him work his magic.”
Mount Sinai’s High School Principal, Robert Grable calls Kulik a consummate professional, adding the teacher plans and facilitates instructional designs that reflect a confidence in his students’ learning abilities.
“His students are active participants in the process, thus motivated to assume ownership of their learning,” he said. “Whether it be to receive extra help or simply to chat about life, Mr. Kulik is available for his students.”
Kulik will be one of 12 Long Island teachers honored at the Harvard Club of Long Island’s annual University Relations Luncheon on April 30. At the ceremony, the Harvard Club of Long Island will announce the Distinguished Teacher of 2017 who will also receive a scholarship for a “Harvard experience” at the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Mass. Past winners of the scholarships have enhanced their teaching by sampling the resources available to Harvard students — meeting with faculty, visiting research laboratories, rare book archives, and specialty museums.