Later this month, the library at The Beacon School on the Upper West Side will be renamed The Jonathan Goldman Memorial Library, after an English teacher many say had a profound impact on the school and his many students over the years.
“Mr. Goldman taught lasting lessons that stay with me some 10 years after graduation from high school,” wrote one former student, nominating him for a Blackboard Award. “He was an amazing educator who opened our minds to so many things and really impacted the way I think to this day.”
Another former student remembered his passion for his job. “‘Jon,’ as many of his students called him, was a passionate English teacher, who inspired even the most disengaged students in the classroom. He had a way with words that left his students wanting to learn more.”
Goldman passed away in March. He was 50.
An online petition to rename the library after Goldman was established shortly after his death and has collected 230 signatures.
Goldman’s mother, Isolde Goldman, said more than 100 students and former students attended his funeral, which was held in Long Island.
“He loved the students,” she said. “I think that’s why he liked it. It made him feel good to take a young person, who might not know or be exposed to different literature, and teach them about it.
“One of his former students, now a teacher, was crushed and said she was a teacher today because of Jonathan’s influence.”
Goldman grew up in Huntington, Long Island, and lived a few years in Israel as a child. Upon graduating from Huntington High School, he moved to Manhattan to attend Columbia, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and later a master’s degree in French literature.
He also studied at Oxford University and worked with the National Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon.
The Beacon School, a selective secondary school on West 61st Street, was created in 1993. Goldman was a part of the founding faculty and said that helping to establish the school was one of his biggest professional accomplishments.
Prior to Beacon, Goldman began his teaching career at Seward Park High School, a school on the Lower East Side that is now closed.
In addition to teaching English, Goldman was a fencing coach at Beacon. He was an avid and talented fencer, Isolde Goldman said, and was a member of the U.S. Junior Olympic Team when he was in high school.
“Shakespeare was always his big love,” she said, remembering how much Goldman loved reading when he was growing up.
Goldman has an 11-year-old son named Jake, who Isolde Goldman said was his “best friend.”
“Jonathan absolutely adored him and admired him for his intelligence and personality,” she said. Jake also loves to read, she added.
Amanda Hass, Jake’s mother, recently divorced from Goldman, said she remembers how students used to write cards to Goldman to thank him.
“He was very involved. He was there for the students and all of their individual needs,” Hass said.
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