Richard Kalustian teaches sixth grade math, seventh grade math, seventh grade algebra, and eighth grade geometry. He has also coached volleyball, basketball, softball, soccer, Knowledge Bowl, and math contest teams. “I enjoy the high-pitched enthusiasm of Middle School Knowledge Bowl tournaments, where the pride of ‘knowing stuff’ shines brightly in each student’s face,” he says.
In 2001 the CWA Parent Association presented Richard with the Inspirational Faculty Award. He particularly enjoys dropping in on Bob Gordon’s seventh grade art class on duck days, when students are hard at work hand-carving duck decoys. “Each student is proud to show off and explain his or her duck’s unique characteristics,” he explains.
Richard knows some stuff himself. He is a regular participant in the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament and placed nineteenth in 2005. He’s a member of the National Puzzlers League and was once a contestant on Jeopardy! He says he fell into teaching “almost by accident” when he interned at an independent school during a work-study quarter in college. “I was initially apprehensive (well, terrified) about working with seventh graders, but I was surprised to find them funny, creative, quirky, affectionate, and never boring,” he recalls. “I’ve been in seventh grade ever since.”