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His Name is Reiman. David Reiman.

How is being a math teacher like being a spy?

“Both require you to earn people's trust, to continually learn new things, and to develop a symbolic representation system that transmits information to those in the know. One major difference between the two is life expectancy.”

—David Reiman

—By Kathy Smith

David Reiman is soft spoken and seems understated, but don’t ask him a question about math unless you really want to know the answer. And not just the answer to the question, but the reason why the answer is the answer, and how the concept to derive the answer was invented. And when. And by whom. David Reiman, Upper School math teacher and cross-country coach, will tell you that math is his favorite subject to talk about. “I love to talk about math all day,” he confides. And he does. Quite infectiously.

Tom Clancy and 007

As a middle and high school student, David showed great promise in mathematics. He had placed impressively high at the National MathCounts competition. This early positive feedback laid the foundation for continuing quantitative studies in college. David’s birthplace in Colorado, however, felt provincial and the worlds of James Bond and Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October held great appeal. So when David matriculated at Yale University, he signed up for courses in linguistics and international studies with the full intention of becoming a spy.

The Yale Choir

It has been said that there are YouTube videos of the Yale a cappella singing group and the Yale Choir, and that if you look closely, you can see Mr. Reiman, but he denies this. Yes, he was in the choir. Yes, he sings. But there is no video evidence. He had been, after all, considering the life of a spy.

But his friends in the choir were science majors. Many were physicists. They appealed to David’s rational side. Being a spy is…not safe. David, having an inquisitive mind, took some physics courses and eventually graduated from Yale with a major in Physics.

The Road to Shipley

“I probably wouldn’t have entered the teaching profession if it weren’t for my father, who made a mid-life career change. He had been a very successful lawyer but decided he was no longer growing as a person.” Having spent three years working as an Admissions officer at Yale, David learned that different schools have different cultures and those cultures manifest themselves even in college applications. “I wanted to teach at a school that had good students, good families and wasn’t one of those crazy, over-the-top places. There are schools that I’ve experienced as an admissions officer where the entire effort is to ‘look good for college.’ I wanted to find a place that prepared its students to be PEOPLE.”

Shipley was the first name on that list.

What’s Next?

David admits he’s already checked off a number of things on his bucket list. “I’ve gotten married, run a marathon, competed in the national crossword championship. I’ve had a team I’ve rooted for win the Super Bowl, the World Series (Go Phillies!), and the Stanley Cup."

"I hope I’ll have a family. I hope I’ll have lived comfortably and given a good life to my kids and my family. I think a lot of people have big professional goals. I have a lot of personal goals and I spend my day doing math. And it’s really fun."

The Shipley School

814 Yarrow Street, Bryn Mawr PA 19010
T: 610.525.4300 F: 610.525.5082
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