Poly Welcomes Melissa Mack


Nathan Darmon

Ms. Mack, New Math Teacher and Upper School Diversity Coordinator

After only four months of teaching 9th grade geometry and 11th grade pre-calculus at Poly, Melissa Mack has already become a key part of our community.

Mack’s students love her teaching style and outgoing personality. Her humor allows her to create a more fun and enthusiastic approach towards math class.

“She’s the funniest teacher I’ve had in my entire life,” said Freshman Bella Farkas. “She is able to connect with the students in a way I’ve never seen anyone able to do.”

Mack’s passion for teaching and her care for students is evident through her work.

Freshman Tumai Chaiban said, “her mix of humor and knowledge blend perfectly.”

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Mack dreamed about becoming a mathematician, professional dancer, and marine biologist– all at the same time. She attended NYC College of Technology for her bachelor’s degree and St. John’s for her masters in applied mathematics. Before coming to Poly, Mack taught at Brooklyn Technical High School.

“I love New York,” Mack says, “Being a New Yorker exposes me to a lot of different types of people, and it’s important to bring different elements of culture into my classroom such as playing music.”

During her free time or while grading assignments, Mack loves to listen to music, especially soca and reggae.

She said, “speaking about my culture and letting my other students talk about their culture or diversity is equally as important” as teaching math.

That is why, in addition to her position in the math department, she was also appointed Upper School Diversity Coordinator this past summer.

Working alongside Diversity Director Motoko Maegawa, Ms. Mack is the “liaison for the US student body in regards to diversity, inclusion and equality related issues and events.”

Mack says that she “hopes to strengthen the greater Poly community by addressing prevalent issues that inhibit Poly from being the safe and inclusive community that all of its members deserve to coexist in.”

Maria Dicarlo, Mathematics Department Chair, said, “Ms. Mack has been a valuable addition to the Math Department.  In the classroom, she sets high standards for her students, and she always makes her lessons fun and engaging. Outside of the classroom, she takes her role as Upper School Diversity Coordinator very seriously. She is extremely reflective, and she always contemplates what’s in the best interests of her students. I am so happy to have her on our team.

In addition to her goal of uniting students, Mack said, “I think it’s important that students know that you are a regular, approachable human-being outside of your stage performance as a teacher, so that when they are going through issues, they can come to you.”

She said, “Once upon a time I was a high school student, way back when, in the Stone Age, but it happened, and I know what it’s like to be a teenager. I want my students to hear that the peer pressures that you deal with now, as an adult, it’s all over with. It goes away eventually.”