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Faculty Focus: Robert Jampol

By Julia Lytle
Published: May 2009

Having taught at Newton South for almost 30 years, Robert Jampol has worked alongside four principals, four housemasters, five athletic directors, and four superintendents. “I have outlasted almost all of them, Jampol said.
Jampol grew up in Jamaica, New York where he attended Jamaica High School, a huge school with a student population of 5,000. Jampol describes Newton South, with its smaller population of almost 2,000 students, as a “paradise in comparison.

Focusing on literature and American studies during his college career at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, Jampol went on to receive a master’s degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

Jampol began his career at South in March 1981 and says that overall he has loved his time here. “Few experiences are more pleasurable for me than a class discussion on a great work of literature, Jampol said.

In addition to teaching English classes at South, Jampol continues to give his support to clubs throughout, as the faculty advisor for South’s student literary magazine, Reflections, and a co-supervisor of the International Club.
Jampol has also been a part of the faculty council for many years, and was formerly a member of the Newton Teachers Association. For the past 20 years of his career at Newton South, Jampol has served as Assistant Housemaster for Wheeler House.

Jampol, as current head coach for the varsity girls’ tennis team, has also had plenty of coaching experience at Newton South since he began coaching in 1982 as the coach of the boys’ junior varsity team. At the time, Ed Jackson was the head coach of the varsity boys’ team.

In 1991, Jampol began coaching the girls’ team, making this spring season his 19th season coaching the girls. With the addition of a great group of freshman girls this year, the team is looking better than ever. “My current team really wants to win; we have a bit more edge this year, Jampol said. After coaching both the boys and girls tennis teams at South, Jampol is able to compare the two and their different playing styles. “The boys are usually more aggressive and competitive, and they live to slam the ball, Jampol said. He describes his girl players as “more steady and cautious, with a goal to outlast their opponents.

Especially with spirited co-captains Jillian Schwartz and Lauren Hollender, Jampol notices the exceptional enthusiasm and spirit that exists among the girls on the team, adding that the girls “hang together more; they are more affectionate towards each other.

In addition to his obvious love for tennis, Jampol has a passion for jogging and runs several times a week. “[I run] usually for a half hour an outing, he said.

Outside of school, Jampol spends a lot of time reading, specifically about subjects relating to the Civil War, as well as “all things Shakespearean. Jampol also writes, composing poems and other pieces, contributing occasionally to the Newton Tab.

Jampol is also musical, as he plays the guitar and the bass and will once in a while perform for his classes. Jampol recently sang Spanish songs in a sombrero to his classes in honor of the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo. Fluent in Spanish, Jampol says that he loves Afro-Cuban music and Salsa.

Jampol played lots of gigs before having children, but gave it up around the age of 30 and says now that family lies at the center of his life. Jampol and his family remain active in their Jewish community, the Newton Center Minyan, however he admits that his Hebrew is mediocre: “Mah atzoov!

A leader both in the classroom and on the tennis courts, Jampol uses his worldly experience, his love for music, and his love for literature to inspire his students and his athletes.

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