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Mod Mid says goodbye to Goldberg and welcomes Wolman

A fresh face takes over one of OPRF's favorite classes

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Four students sit scanning pictures of Persian rugs, carefully analyzing each one for its unique history and symbolism. This project typified Modern Middle Eastern History which, until recently, was taught by revered OPRF history teacher Steve Goldberg.

Goldberg, perhaps best known for creating this Modern Middle Eastern History course, will be missed by students and colleagues alike. “He was a great teacher so that’s always a hard loss for a division, but we have so many very strong teachers that I’m excited to see what happens next,” said Jason Spoor-Harvey, the new history division head.

Spoor-Harvey has 16 years experience teaching at William Fremd High School in Palatine, said he “wants to respect what’s already happening here,” while acknowledging, “at the same time we have a direction we need to go.”

Daniel Wolman, who has taught Criminal and Civil Law and World History at OPRF for three years, will be taking over “Mod Mid.” Wolman began teaching five years ago following his previous career as an attorney. Wolman remarked that OPRF sparked his interest. “I wanted to work at a school that offers their students a rich and rigorous education in a community that deeply values education,” he said.

Wolman lauded Goldberg with “creat[ing] such an impressive and ambitious class.” While Wolman admits feeling pressure in filling Goldberg’s shoes, he is genuinely optimistic. “The pressure I feel is good pressure, it keeps me working hard and I feel deeply invested in seeing the class continue,” he said. “One of the joys of doing it is I get to relive the experience of being a student as I teach myself about that area so that I can deliver something meaningful to my students.”

Wolman also eagerly looks forward to the school year as “it gives me a chance to interact with different students, any given day I have a really great cross section of Oak Park students and I love that.”

Wolman strongly encourages any students with an interest in the Middle East to give Mod Mid a try. “Taking Mod Mid is a great way to push yourself – it’s a challenging course that uses sophisticated texts and involves a very complex history.” Wolman’s enthusiasm and approach clearly continues Goldberg’s legacy.

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