“I was an extremely marginal student. I was very afraid of school,” he said.
He avoided school, even to the point of warming his forehead on an oven to convince his mother he had a fever.
He stayed and applied for a special algebra class, memorizing the standard test questions and answers. Teachers took note of his ability, albeit it was a ruse.
“Overnight, I was treated differently. Before that, I was largely overlooked. I wanted so desperately to achieve something,” Wang said.
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He went on to receive a math degree from Princeton and a doctorate in pure math from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has a passion for teaching teachers.
Wang tells his own story about his early diagnosis as a slow learner.
“Remember, every student has untapped potential,” he said. “Expanded expectations often bring it out.”
He turned down the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics job a year earlier. The board pursued him a second time and he began his duties there in August.
“Education is not the most lucrative field,” he joked. “This is the lowest-paying full-time job I’ve ever had, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to work with very bright, young people.”