The Lang School is named for Cyril Lang, founder Micaela Bracamonte’s tenth grade English teacher—and an inspiration to her. He stood up to the Department of Education to teach a curriculum they considered too difficult for his “average” students. Lang taught challenging material in unconventional ways, engaging his students in Socratic debates about Machiavelli’s The Prince and Plato’s Republic, texts limited to 12th grade advanced placement classes. Although the school threatened to fire him if he didn’t comply, he persisted. “I made a premeditated, intellectual decision to continue teaching the way I had,” he said at the time. “There’s nothing wrong with the genetic makeup of these students. It’s the educational system that’s declining. We are bearing witness to the triumph of mediocrity.” Upon retirement, Lang joined the Peace Corps to teach literature in developing nations.,9171,922234-1,00.html