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Melanie Smith

283 Adams Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
To Whom It May Concern:
It is with enthusiasm that I recommend Christopher Luzniak for the position of Math Teacher at your
school. I have worked with Chris for over five years at the Urban Assembly School for Law + Justice and have
found him to be a reliable colleague, inspiring planning partner, and critical friend. Because Chris and I shared a
very small office space for two years, co-planned a brand new 9th grade geometry curriculum, and over the past 3
years worked together to facilitate learning experiences for a slew of student teachers, I believe I can speak
candidly and honestly about Chris’s qualifications.
Chris has a rigorous academic background in both math and math education which makes him the ideal
partner with whom to solve math problems (for fun) and problems of practice (for work). Chris thinks about the
big picture for our students and pushes us to try new things – from teaching coding in 12th grade math classes to
using debate structures as a way to facilitate discussions in the math classroom, Chris is an innovator and a risk
taker. As a planning partner, I have found Chris to be extremely organized and thoughtful. His lessons are well
planned and precise. It’s no surprise that students love Chris’s class, and that his colleagues look to him as a
sounding board.
Chris is a valued member of the SLJ community. In addition to being an extremely dedicated and organized
speech and debate coach (one of our school's most popular after school activities), Chris started a "Math Lab" (peer
tutoring center), helps to organize the yearly Pi Day celebration, facilitates internal professional development for
both new and veteran teachers, and often bakes and shares his famous chippers with his advisory and colleagues.
Chris is also a Master Teacher with Math for America. He consistently attends professional development
through MfA and even went to the Park City Mathematical Institute twice! Actually, Chris doesn’t just attend
professional development at MfA, he can often be found leading PDs. He’s dedicated several weeks over his
summers to running “first year teacher” bootcamps at MfA, and his debate mini-course is one of the hardest PD’s to
get a seat in (even I’ve ended up on the waitlist and I know the guy!!).
For the past 3 years, Chris has served as a mentor teacher to 5 different MfA apprentice teachers and a
cooperating teacher for 4 different student teachers. Chris is always patient, gracious, and kind to these newbies.
His classroom is a model of excellent teaching practice. Because of this, Chris has been invited back to NYU by his
former professors to speak about the challenges of early career teachers. He has also been invited to speak to preservice teachers in the selective Time 2000 program at Queens College, not to mention numerous conferences on
both the regional and national level.
Chris is actively engaged in bettering himself as an educator and improving his practice. It is a pleasure
working with Chris every day. I trust Chris implicitly and value his many talents. I hope that you will give strong
consideration to Christopher Luzniak's application as he embarks on the next phase of his career.
Sincerely,

Melanie Smith
Math Department Chair