Popular teacher, hailed as a local legend, loses life in hit-and-run accident
“Math guys are typically on the awkward, more reserved side,” according to a former New Jersey math teacher.
But not Ray Levandowski.
“The kids absolutely loved him,” Frank Churick, who retired from North Hunterdon High School in 2018, said Thursday. “Whenever he taught this theory — it was called the sandwich theorem — he would get a sandwich from the cafeteria and slam it on the board, and … he came in with water guns chasing football players around the room one day. Just memories. He made memories for people.”
The beloved teacher, father and husband worked in the North Hunterdon-Voorhees High School District from 1984 to 2007, where he served as the supervisor of the math department and as an advanced calculus teacher at North Hunterdon Regional High School.
“He was a legend,” said Marjorie Paul, who had worked with Levandowski for many years. “He was such a good man. He would go out of his way to help everybody. He came off as gruff to the students initially, maybe in the beginning of the year, but they loved him and he taught them well.”
Gregory Cottrell, principal of North Hunterdon Regional High School, described Lavendowski as “an outstanding teacher who touched the lives of thousands of students.”
“At North Hunterdon Regional High School, we mourn the loss of a beloved and respected teacher,” Cottrell said. “He was known for always having a smile on his face. The students loved him, and he was involved in many different aspects of the school beyond just teaching.”
Nicole Smith, a student of the Class of 1989 and former counselor at North Hunterdon Regional High School, said Levandowski frequently spent his lunches working with students, “chalk in one hand and sandwich with saran wrap in the other.”
“‘You know that movie ‘Stand and Deliver’ that was done in ‘89? If I recollect it correctly, there was an A.P. Calc teacher out in Los Angeles who took a bunch of kids that looked like nobodies, and supposedly this man made everyone score a perfect 5 on the exam. And we were like ‘Wait, Dr. Lev does that all the time,’” Smith said.
“And it’s not because the kids were all that smart,” she added. “We worked because of him.”
‘Best teacher I’ve ever had’
Like Smith, Carrie Huff Souto, a graduate of the Class of 1993, said Levandowski had “a gift” for inspiring his students.
“He was the best teacher I’ve ever had in all of my schooling,” Huff Souto said. “He believed in his students so much, and made you want to succeed for him, and actually made you want to learn, in a way that no other teacher had inspired me. And math was not my love, but it became my love in working with him.”
Levandowski had a signature phrase that he would say to motivate students as they worked on difficult math problems,…