Teacher Daniel Appel Adds Sum Fun to Math


Daniel Appel teaches students Pre-Calculus and Algebra 2/Trig in the morning before leaving for Acalanes to teach Geometry.

Davis Walker and Kate Laughton, Staff Writers

Standing at 6’ 5”, new math teacher Daniel Appel is the talk of many Miramonte students this year. Appel has attended three prestigious universities in California, which include UC San Diego for a major in math, UC Berkeley for a Masters in teaching and Stanford for a Masters of Science degree in civil engineering.

After Stanford, Appel entered into an engineering career for a couple years. “It was fun at first, but after awhile I got tired of traveling back and forth from Tahoe every week and being in a cubicle,” Appel said.

Appel started his teaching career at Berkeley High School.  “Berkeley High was very different from Miramonte,” Appel said. “It’s a huge school with an open campus at lunch, and many of the kids don’t come back.” Appel also recalls that the students ranged from being homeless to having parents that teach at UC Berkeley.

Appel’s childhood was similar to that of many Miramonte students, having grown up in suburban Pleasant Hill and attending the Bay Area sports powerhouse, De La Salle High School. Appel fit the mold perfectly, playing both club and high school soccer all four years. Although his high school team never won an NCS title, they came close.

“Junior year my team lost in the semi-finals and senior year my team lost in double overtime in the finals,” Appel said.

After high school, Appel went on to play division two soccer at UC San Diego. “Playing soccer in college was a lot of fun because we got to travel a lot and it wasn’t as competitive since we were only a division two school,” Appel said.

At the age of 25, Appel went out of his comfort zone and picked up some new hobbies. After trying motorcycling and realizing it was too dangerous, Appel and his brother settled on skateboarding.

“Almost every weekend my brother and I would pack up the car and travel to a new skatepark,” Appel said. “After a lot of practice I was finally able to skate pretty much any bowl.”

Appel admits that he and his brother were very competitive with each other by nature. “The better you get at skateboarding the more dangerous and competitive things get,” Appel said. “Unfortunately I had to stop because I dislocated my elbow and health insurance was getting expensive.”
Last March, Appel and his wife had their first son, Evan. “It’s amazing to see him grow up and learn how to do things he couldn’t do at first,” Appel said. Later that year, Appel started teaching at Miramonte and Acalanes. He currently teaches Pre-Calculus and Algebra 2/Trig at Miramonte in the morning, and Geometry at Acalanes in the afternoon.

“Mr. Appel is by far one of my favorite teachers because he really understands everything he teaches us and he is sympathetic towards his students,” junior Julia Nishioki said. “You can tell he truly cares about all of his students. He’s also super funny.”

When asked if he had any wise words of wisdom, he said “Don’t stress about the decisions you make right now; everything will work out in the end.”