Year Honored: 2022
Milken Community School
Los Angeles, CA
Milken Community School (MCS) has thrived thanks to math teacher Monica Daranyi’s three decades of commitment to excellence, devotion to community and deep concern for students and colleagues. Ms. Daranyi makes geometry rigorous and relevant, helping students build math competency and executive functioning skills that serve them well beyond the walls of her classroom. She looks for cross-curricular opportunities, such as a recent collaboration with Milken’s “Fab Lab” (makerspace) where students created and explored the geometry of stained glass windows.
In addition to her teaching role, Ms. Daranyi creates structures and opportunities for student life and engagement, as well as setting and administering expectations in and out of the classroom. As the division dean for ninth and tenth grades, she is on the front lines helping students who are struggling academically, socially or behaviorally. The “ruach” or spirit of the Milken community, Ms. Daranyi spearheaded the school’s 6-12 house system and “house cup” competition, worked with divisional rabbis to reimagine Purim week, and planned the first whole-school Hanukkah retreat (“Hanukkahton”) at American Jewish University’s Brandeis Bardin campus. She holds a bachelor’s in mathematics from Mount Saint Mary’s University (1981).
Ms. Daranyi has multifaceted goals for her students. “I want to provide positive learning experiences in mathematics and help the next g
’eneration find joy in problem-solving,” she says. “I hope they feel confident and have empathy for others. No matter how large a problem or a challenge may be, if you can break it down into manageable steps, you can accomplish anything.”
Note: This biography was current at the time this educator received the Award