New Teacher Profile: Douglas Kiang

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Grace Tang

Kiang skydives as a hobby. To read more about Kiang’s skydiving adventures, see the last page of the December 2020 Coat of Arms print edition, titled “Experiencing Freefall,” at our Print Archives page. Staff illustration: Grace Tang.

Lexi Friesel, Social Media Director

Although this is his first year working at Menlo, computer science teacher Douglas Kiang has been teaching for nearly 30 years. “I started as an English teacher,” Kiang said in a Zoom interview with The Coat of Arms. “Eventually, I got into teaching about computers and technology […] as computer science started to become more popular in high schools.” This year at Menlo, Kiang is teaching Introduction to Computer Science as well as Algorithms and Data Structures.

Kiang grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii. When he was in school, Kiang’s favorite subject was English, and he especially loved learning about Greek mythology. “These classic stories keep coming back in so many different forms,” Kiang said. “They cover some of the basic characteristics of human nature.”

In terms of his higher education, Kiang received his undergraduate degree at Tufts University. In addition, he not only attended Harvard graduate school, but he also later taught a computer science course at Harvard. “[The Intro to Computer Science course at Menlo is] the same curriculum that the Harvard students do at the university,” he said.

Kiang also shared that his mother was a teacher, and she was one of the reasons he decided he wanted to pursue a career in education. “She was still learning even toward the end of her career, and she was still trying to get better,” Kiang said. “It appealed to me — this idea that there’s this job that never gets old that you have to continue to work at.” Throughout his career as a teacher, Kiang has worked all over the country in places such as Massachusetts and New Jersey. His job before Menlo was teaching at Punahou School in Hawaii. 

Despite working at a startup and at Apple, Kiang still kept coming back to being a teacher. “My favorite thing about teaching is feeling like I’ve made a difference in the lives of students and young people,” Kiang said. “It’s tremendously rewarding for me to hear from students years later.” 

In his free time, some of Kiang’s favorite hobbies are solving puzzles, playing computer games, visiting escape rooms with his family and reading books, especially those in the science fiction genre. Kiang is also a master level skydiver and has made jumps all over the world. (To read more about Kiang’s skydiving interest, see the last page of the December 2020 Coat of Arms print edition.) His wife, Mary Kiang, is working at Menlo Middle School as a computer science teacher. 

So far, Kiang has enjoyed teaching at Menlo and looks forward to having more students in person in the upcoming semester.