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Our Team

Our Founders

Richard Rusczyk

Art of Problem Solving was founded by Richard Rusczyk in 2003 to create interactive educational opportunities for avid math students. Richard is the author or a co-author of 7 AoPS textbooks and a past Director of the USA Mathematical Talent Search. He was a participant in National MATHCOUNTS, a three-time participant in the Math Olympiad Summer Program, and a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner (1989). He received the World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions Paul Erdös Award in 2014. He graduated from Princeton University in 1993, and worked as a bond trader for D.E. Shaw & Company for four years. AoPS marks Richard's return to his vocation - educating motivated students.

Glen Dawson

In 2014, Glen founded a learning center in Morrisville, North Carolina, that two years later became the first AoPS Academy campus. Glen served as the National Director of AoPS Academy until his retirement in 2019. He has experience as a college math professor, statistician, and expert SAS programmer. He has been a professional math tutor for many years, and specializes in training academically-advanced and high-performing math students. Glen is a graduate of Duke University and holds a graduate degree in statistics from Boston University.

David Patrick

Dave joined AoPS in 2004. He is the author or a co-author of 4 AoPS textbooks. Dave earned the sole perfect score on the American High School Mathematics Examination (AHSME) in 1988 and was a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner that year. He attended the Research Science Institute (RSI) in 1987, and the Math Olympiad Summer Program in 1988, where he first met fellow student Richard Rusczyk. He also finished in the top 10 on the Putnam exam in 1991. Dave graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 1992 with a BS in Mathematics/Computer Science and an MS in Mathematics. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT in 1997. He was an acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington from 1997 to 2001. Dave is originally from Western New York and is an alumnus of the SUNY Buffalo Gifted Math Program.

Management Staff

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Anatole Ginsberg - Campus Director

Anatole Ginsberg - Campus Director

Anatole is the Campus Director for AoPS Academy Santa Clara. Having earned an IB Diploma in high school, he went on to pursue a dual BA from Vassar College in mathematics and Chinese. He has been passionate about the exploration of math since he was 13, when he accidentally derived the quadratic formula and realized math was more about logic than numbers. His varied interests have led him to jobs in investor relations, veterinary medicine, daycare, and comedy, but the siren call of math education has always brought him back. Anatole has taught diverse math students in Beijing, New York, and San Diego. He speaks French, Mandarin, and Spanish, and doodles Fibonacci spirals to relax.

Katrina Ayres - Associate Director

Katrina Ayres - Associate Director

Katrina is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Santa Clara. She loves anything related to words, reading, or writing. She wrote her first poem at age 5 and created a classroom for her dolls and stuffed animals as a preschooler. As a middle school student, Katrina often read the dictionary for fun. Naturally, she became a teacher and author when she grew up. Katrina holds a Masters degree in education and teaching credentials in three states. She has published four books about classroom management for teachers. When Katrina isn't working, she loves to bicycle, play chess, and prowl her local library for new books.

Sonia Chumber - Associate Director

Sonia Chumber - Associate Director

Sonia is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Santa Clara. She is an experienced teacher, tutor and advisor who has worked with students of all ages. Sonia was a lecturer of English composition and literature at various colleges within the Los Angeles and Ventura counties. In addition to her MA and BA in English literature from California State University: Northridge, Sonia has a degree in behavioral sciences with an emphasis in psychology. Having been educated in both the U.K and the U.S, Sonia offers a global perspective on classroom management. Sonia's primary teaching objective is to help students see the connections between what they learn inside of the classroom with what they do outside of the classroom. Sonia is a published author, her essay "The Voices of the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishad in T.S Eliot's The Waste Land” was featured in The International Journal of Language and Literature. When Sonia is not teaching, she is either traveling with her family or enjoying a good book with a cup of tea in hand.

Matthew Heid - Associate Director

Matthew Heid - Associate Director

Matthew is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Santa Clara. He has always loved teaching mathematics! While getting his BA in Math at the University of Washington, he spent a few summers working as a teaching assistant and counselor for SIMUW, a summer camp where middle and high school students could learn challenging college mathematics. He has also received an MA in Education from UC Berkeley and an MA in Mathematics from San Francisco State. He worked for several years as a mathematics coordinator for UC Berkeley’s Student Learning Center. In this role, he supported undergraduate students in the transition into first-year math classes, helping them form an academic community and strive toward mastery and success. When he is not doing math, Matthew loves doing crossword puzzles, playing bridge, and baking cupcakes!

Beth Powell - Associate Director

Beth Powell - Associate Director

Beth is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Santa Clara. She loves helping students discover the “aha!” moments in math. She completed her BA in Mathematics at San Jose State University and her MA in Transformative Leadership, with a focus on math education, at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She is a featured educator in Jo Boaler’s book, Limitless Mind and she wrote a chapter for “Barriers for Teaching 21st-Century Competencies and the Impact of Digitalization”. She loves math as much as music and plays harp and violin.

Instructors

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Ricky Alexander

Ricky Alexander

Ricky believes the English language can be a magical tool for self-expression. He loves the creative process that a rigorous and engaging education in English Language Arts fosters. Ricky graduated with Honors from Santa Clara University in 2009 and has worked in education, government, real estate, and the non-profit sector. His greatest love has always been teaching students and inspiring them to strive for academic excellence and personal growth. He has been a private tutor working with students from Santa Clara and San Mateo counties for ten years and specializes in English Language Arts, Spanish, test preparation, and admissions advising and essay writing. Outside of being an educator or curling up with a good book, Ricky enjoys spending time with family and friends, being in nature, trying out different gym classes, and traveling.

Keith Ayres

Keith Ayres

Keith loves math! He earned his BS in elementary education from Western Oregon University in 1994 and holds teaching credentials in California and Oregon. He was named Coach of the Year in 2012 by Oregon’s Chess For Success and retired from classroom teaching in 2017. Currently, Keith works part time at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, where he gets to help children of all ages discover the joy of learning. When he isn’t teaching, Keith enjoys playing chess with his wife, exploring San Jose on his bicycle, and spending time with his grandchildren.

Dr. Gurjeet Bagri

Dr. Gurjeet Bagri

Gurjeet was born in England where he completed his PhD in Mathematics and later worked as an actuary within the finance industry. During this time he had various stints at teaching mathematics. He worked as a private tutor teaching students from age 8 all the way up to university undergraduates and also worked as a classroom assistant for professors in university classrooms. He feels his education and professional experience have given him a greater appreciation for mathematics, both in the theoretical side and in its application in today’s world. Gurjeet is keen to continue his journey and passion in teaching. He finds it both rewarding and fulfilling to be able to directly impact students and explain complex mathematics in an easy to understand way. Outside work, he has a passion for yoga and performance arts and works as a yoga instructor in the Bay area.

Dr. Zachi Baharav

Dr. Zachi Baharav

Dr. Baharav enjoys exploring new subjects with math students, and values emphasizing basic principles while also making time for reflection. He earned his PhD in electrical engineering from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and has worked as a researcher, manager, and CTO, as well as a high school teacher and a university professor. Dr. Baharav holds more than 30 US patents, has published over 40 scientific papers and book chapters, and is a distinguished lecturer and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Outside the classroom, he enjoys the outdoors, drawing, and running, and can often be found enjoying a game of chess.

Brooke Bishara

Brooke Bishara

Brooke earned her master's degree in English education from Columbia University Teachers College and has more than twelve years of teaching experience from grade five to the community college level. Passionate about professional development, she recently attended the Reading Institute at Teachers College and coached fellow teachers in their adoption of a new reading curriculum. She has always been drawn in by the power of words to help us think, feel, understand, and communicate with others. She enjoys coming up with new and effective ways to teach so that students don't just grasp the concept but also know its value and purpose. Brooke is a mother of two and loves to eat s'mores and tell stories around a campfire.

Lisa Brett

Lisa Brett

Lisa has been a math teacher for almost 20 years. Growing up loving all math and science classes, she majored in biology at UC Santa Cruz, with a focus in math, chemistry, and physics. She returned to Stanford University a few years later for a MA in teacher education and an emphasis in math education. For the past decade, she has loved developing her expertise in teaching struggling math learners in addition to her more extensive background of working with gifted math students. Lisa strives to bring mathematics to life for her students and to show them the beauty and inspiration of this subject. When she is not teaching or planning lessons, Lisa loves to garden, bake bread, hang out with her dog, and learn more about math and science.

Dr. Selena Burns

Dr. Selena Burns

Dr. Burns graduated summa cum laude from Wellesley College, has an MA from Stanford University, and a PhD from NYU in educational theatre where her dissertation research involved exploring the philosophical question "What does it mean to be human?" with 3rd graders using drama. She has more than 20 years of experience volunteering, teaching, and doing education research with students of all ages. She loves hearing kids and teens’ creative ideas, whether she's reading their writing, discussing their favorite books with them, or interviewing them about their favorite ways to learn.

Esther Chen

Esther Chen

Esther studied math at New York University where she earned her BS and went on to earn her MA in communication and education at Teacher's College, Columbia University. She enjoys teaching and working with all types of learners; Esther is constantly trying to find ways to engage her students in the learning process through collaborative group work or questioning. Nothing is more rewarding or satisfying to Esther than a student's “aha” moment! Esther is currently teaching high school math in San Jose, CA. When she's not lesson planning, solving math problems, grading or eating, Esther can be found playing volleyball or on the hunt for some tasty boba. She's always down for some boba recommendations!

Dr. Andrew Cheng

Dr. Andrew Cheng

Andrew was born and raised in Michigan and found a love for math from an early age. Spending an inordinate amount of his youth solving puzzles and contemplating multi-dimensional spaces, he eventually pursued biomedical engineering degrees at both the University of Michigan (bachelor’s) and Johns Hopkins University (PhD). There, he found a passion for scientific research, working on projects ranging from synthetic biology to brain-controlled prosthetic limbs, to object recognition in visual neuroscience. Throughout this time, Andrew also thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to mentor and work with others, including serving as a teaching assistant and mentoring younger lab members. He is now excited to work with the young bright minds of the future! Outside of academic endeavors, Andrew likes to stay active. Hobbies include running, climbing, swing dancing, yoga, and basketball. His spontaneity and unpredictability has been known to drive his wife crazy from time to time, but they love each other very much! (He thinks).

Meiyi Cheng

Meiyi Cheng

Ms. Cheng graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in management science in 2014. She has taught gifted students of all ages in many different mathematics courses. She enjoys working with children and watching them grow. Her goal as a math teacher is to develop her students’ passion for learning and creativity. She wants to inspire her students to love learning and believes that there is an immense amount of potential inside of each and every student. Believing that students learn best through inspiration, encouragement, and fun math puzzles, she chose Art Of Problem Solving Academy because of the school’s passion for learning, education, and teaching. In her spare time, Ms. Cheng enjoys hiking, reading, and watching Harry Potter movies!

Sarah Crenshaw

Sarah Crenshaw

Sarah began her love of writing and storytelling with a career in journalism. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia before working as a television news reporter and radio broadcaster for several years. To support her investigative journalism path, she completed her law degree while working at the local NBC affiliate KOMU-TV in Columbia, Missouri. During her time in Columbia, Sarah taught Introduction to Writing to college freshman and sophomores. Later, after relocating to the Los Angeles area with her family, she continued with her passion to teach as a 6-8th grade english language arts instructor for six years. When she’s not teaching and writing, Sarah enjoys fishing, growing vegetables and traveling with her husband and two children.

Chelsea Criez

Chelsea Criez

Being an avid reader, Chelsea earned her BA in English education from San Francisco State University and her MA in English and comparative literature from San Jose State University. She also taught a first-year writing course for college freshman for two years at San Jose State University, hoping to gain the knowledge and practice she needs to be a good teacher for her students. From a young age, Chelsea dreamed of being a teacher. As a child, she often held classes in her garage for her younger brother and sister who enjoyed Chelsea’s lessons despite their claims they were held against their will. Though she enjoyed teaching her younger siblings, Chelsea struggled in school and had to work harder than other students to keep up. She decided that she would become a teacher to help struggling students like her and has enjoyed helping students become stronger readers, writers, and critical thinkers. When Chelsea isn’t teaching or studying, she enjoys singing, binge-watching shows on Netflix (she just finished the first season of “The Legend of Korra,” the spin-off of “Avatar: The Last Airbender”), and spending time with her two dogs, Goku and Rocky.

Dr. Paul Du

Dr. Paul Du

Dr. Du has been teaching math to students from middle school through college for more than 15 years. He holds a PhD in mathematics from the University of Ottawa and an MS in information and systems science from Carleton University. Dr. Du teaches math at De Anza College, tutors students in SAT math, and coaches competitors for the AMC 8/10/12. Outside the classroom, he enjoys hiking, swimming, and music.

Dr. Pete Dunten

Dr. Pete Dunten

Pete loves learning new math and teaching and tutoring local students. His favorite thing is when his students persevere in solving hard math problems! Pete has a PhD in biochemistry from UC Berkeley and specialized in X-ray crystallography, a field that took him deep into applied math. Pete enjoys the ways that math is elegant as well as interesting and spends his free time tracking local birdlife and visualizing the data from his observations using graphs and histograms.

Casey Dzuong

Casey Dzuong

Casey Dzuong has taught all levels of math from kindergarten to high school pre-calculus. As a math instructor, she enjoys working with students to dissect math problems and create algorithms for solving more complex problems that require higher levels of abstract thinking. The problem-solving strategies she has developed over the years have culminated in her book called “Study Hacks,” which has helped students improve from D+ grades to earn A+'s and break from A- grade plateaus, landing students in platinum A+ territory. Casey holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from the University of California, Irvine and completed her medical school coursework at the Drexel University College of Medicine.

Sarah Elizabeth Godar

Sarah Elizabeth Godar

“Sarah Elizabeth Godar, MPS” is a really long name, so Sarah goes by Sarah instead. Sarah’s love of learning has led her to earning an associate’s degree in communications, a bachelor’s degree in psychology, master’s degree in political management, graduate work in political psychology, and a teaching credential in social sciences. She is now working on a teaching credential in English/language arts. She wants to share her love of learning and inspire it in others, which brought her to working with young learners and she never looked back. The desire to learn that young learners have inspires her. Outside of AoPS, Sarah sings and sews as well as hobbies that are less alliterative. She is a part of a medieval recreation group and has a big dog with her fiance named “Riot” (the dog, not the fiance)

Beth Fabiano

Beth Fabiano

Once Beth started volunteering in her children’s classrooms, she knew she had found her calling. Shifting gears, she ditched her career in business and earned a teaching credential. Beth then spent two consecutive summers honing her skills at The Teachers College at Columbia University. She draws on her lifelong love of language and a degree in communications from San Diego State University to teach English Language Arts and public speaking. Ultimately, she wants all of her students to not only read, write, and speak well, but to thoroughly enjoy doing so. Outside of school, she hikes, travels, and spends time with her husband and family. She also fits hanging out with friends and spoiling her dog, Cocoa, into her busy schedule. And she’s obsessed with music!

Greg Farkas

Greg Farkas

Greg enjoys making math fun and interesting for his students! He has been tutoring students of all ability levels from elementary through high school for ten years. Greg has a BA in economics from the University of California, San Diego, and an MBA in Finance from San Diego State University. He has also taught database and spreadsheet classes to working professionals across Silicon Valley. When he isn’t teaching, Greg enjoys cycling, archery, and the great outdoors and has a first degree black belt in Shotokan karate.

James Hancock

James Hancock

James is a family oriented and math-minded individual. He loves problem solving, logic puzzles, and academia in general. He double majored at U.C. Berkeley in statistics and geology. Most of all, James really loves teaching, particularly when it comes to educating young minds. His other interests include playing a variety of sports, including basketball, tennis, and soccer. James enjoys many other facets of fitness as well, such as cycling, swimming, and hiking.

Haka Haposan

Haka Haposan

Haka joined AoPS in 2020 in his journey as an educator. Growing up in Indonesia, he saw how his father inspires through teaching and he committed himself to follow in his footsteps. He earned his undergraduate degree in English (2016) and his graduate degree in curriculum and instruction (2018) from Pensacola Christian College, FL. Before joining AoPS, he started his career teaching 7-12 grade English in a private school in San Jose where he now lives. His biggest dream is to inspire people through his writing and art. In his free time, he enjoys going to nature, meditating, reading, and socializing, as well as immersing himself in music and literature.

Dr. Dana Hobson

Dr. Dana Hobson

Dr. Hobson studied math at Harvey Mudd College and earned a PhD in applied math at CalTech. He spent 2 years as an instructor in applied math at MIT teaching undergraduate math and then 4 years as a researcher at MIT/Lincoln Laboratory before moving into the banking and finance world professionally. He returned to the education world in 2016, teaching fun math in middle school and then high school math at Kehillah Jewish High School and San Francisco Waldorf High School and also tutors high school and college students in math online. He enjoys working with gifted students and helping them develop their capacity to question and learn independently. Outside of teaching he enjoys running, cycling, yoga and experimenting with sourdough starter in the kitchen.

Rachel Hofmann

Rachel Hofmann

Rachel's first writing project, circa First Grade, was an epic Magic Schoolbus-style adventure featuring George Washington. She's loved reading and writing since. After obtaining her undergraduate degree from Pepperdine, Rachel earned an MA from St. John's College in Annapolis. She's been teaching ever since. She especially enjoys reading and writing with middle school kids. When she's not at school, you'll likely find her sailing on the Monterey Bay.

Susan Holtzapple

Susan Holtzapple

After graduating from medical school and raising two daughters, Susan rediscovered her joy of playing with math, exploring new concepts, and working on challenging problems and puzzles. She returned to school in 2000 and earned her teaching credential at Santa Clara University. Susan subsequently taught math at Cupertino Middle School for almost 20 years, retiring in June 2019. During that time, she also coached the math competition club, sending several teams to state MathCounts and two students to Nationals. She has received several recognitions for teaching passion and excellence, including City of Sunnyvale Educator of the Year (2014), Sliffe Award (MAA), and the Sterling Award from Stanford. Outside of the classroom, Susan competes in triathlons and other running events, and enjoys hiking and reading.

Katrina Hough

Katrina Hough

Katrina discovered her passion for education when she was just ten years old serving as a volunteer teaching assistant at the pre-school across the street from her childhood home. Her love for teaching continued as she got to pursue additional opportunities for teaching like the Peninsula Bridge Program. Ultimately, Katrina hopes to encourage curiosity and empathy in her students so they can be well-rounded learners. In addition to teaching, Katrina works as a clinical research coordinator at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School where she seeks to provide care and social opportunities to the geriatric population. She has degrees in both English and neurobiology from the University of California, Irvine. When she isn’t working, Katrina loves to read (or re-read) classic novels, bake cookies, and knit scarves for her loved ones.

Peter Kane

Peter Kane

Peter owes his interest and ability in mathematics to his mother, who was a teacher before marrying a dairy farmer in upstate New York and raising a family of five boys. Peter learned about sports and the dairy business from his father and would study milk production tables and baseball statistics, honing his ability in mathematics. Peter obtained a master’s degree in mathematics from SUNY Potsdam, a college specializing in education, mathematics, computer science, and music. He then moved to California and completed a long career at Hewlett-Packard, where he was an engineer and manager. Peter's specialty at Hewlett-Packard was problem solving, and this was his favorite activity, He has since returned to his favorite subject of mathematics and thoroughly enjoys teaching and tutoring students. Outside of teaching, you will often see Peter jogging in his neighborhood, singing at his local church, or playing his trumpet. He also enjoys reading and hiking.

Dr. Atul Kapur

Dr. Atul Kapur

Atul started his math education career in 2013. Since then, he has taught math to hundreds of students as well as designed and managed curriculum for dozens of private schools across the US. Atul loves working with children and strives to motivate each child in his class with just the right amount of challenge. His passion is to turn abstract ideas into vivid real-world demonstrations that leave no doubt in a student’s mind as to the meaning and value of a concept. Atul believes his STEM background helps him tremendously in this regard: he holds a PhD in meteorology from University of Miami and an engineering physics degree from IIT Delhi. When he is not working on math, Atul loves to play tennis, watch dramas, or study history.

Aarathi Kashyap

Aarathi Kashyap

While growing up, Aarathi had a keen interest in logical reasoning and exploring the practical applications of mathematics. This interest led her to pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science. She then went on to pursue a career in software engineering and management in the Bay Area, working on software products used by billions of people. Aarathi has always found joy in teaching and mentoring. In her corporate career, Aarathi has hired and mentored several software engineers. She also actively volunteers in her children’s classrooms. In her spare time, she enjoys going on nature walks with her family, photography, and playing the piano.

Mary Keonoupheth

Mary Keonoupheth

Math instructor Mary has been an educator for many years and has worked with primary, secondary, and post-secondary students both in the US and abroad. She focuses on math but has taught a range of other subjects. Mary holds a BA in psychology and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in statistics. When she isn’t studying or teaching, you can find her hiking, camping, and enjoying the outdoors!

Chris Knoblaugh

Chris Knoblaugh

Chris taught English at the middle school and fifth grade levels for 18 years at various San Jose Unified School District schools before retiring in 2020. Chris also offers one-to-one creative writing tutoring for students in grades 2-10, and has taught four award-winning clients. She published her first novel in 2018 and released a nonfiction title in 2019. She is writing four more novels at the current time and working on a tutoring series. Chris has a B.A.in English Literature with High College Honors, a B.S. in Biology, and an M.A. in Teaching with Reading Specialization. Her novels and stories incorporate myths, cryptids, regional traditions, and historical settings. She enjoys writing for her students and for her tutoring business. Outside of teaching, tutoring, and writing, she enjoys gardening, reading, and travel. She and her husband live in Sunnyvale with more books than necessary and two rescue kitties.

Dr. Merryl Kravitz

Dr. Merryl Kravitz

Dr. Kravitz believes that education is the key to success! She completed two degrees in anthropology and linguistics before earning a Ph.D. in education and linguistics at the University of New Mexico. She’s had the privilege of teaching middle school Language Arts and preparing teachers at the university. She loved the cultures of New Mexico but came to California to use her leadership skills as Dean of Language Arts. Now she has come full circle, teaching high school Spanish. Dr. Kravitz is bilingual (English/Spanish), speaks some Russian, is studying Yiddish, and knows some Lithuanian and Vietnamese. Languages have opened many doors for her. She worked in language programs in the US and Mexico and taught English at Vilnius Pedagogical University in Lithuania on a Fulbright scholarship. Whether it’s English or another language, Dr. Kravitz wants it to come alive for you! Dedicating her life to education has been easy because students’ energy is contagious.

Traptilisa Kumar

Traptilisa Kumar

Traptilisa’s greatest passion in life is teaching math and science. Her interest in teaching stems not just from her commitment to quality education, but also her desire to enrich the lives of students. She has been tutoring and teaching middle school to college-level students for 14 years in various settings – tutoring small and large groups, individual private tutoring, and teaching in classroom settings. She is currently adjunct physics faculty at Foothill College, Los Altos. Her background includes a BS in mathematics, a master’s degree in physics from India and an MS in Physics from San Jose State University. Outside the classroom, she likes to solve math puzzles and enjoys hiking and spending time with her son.

Kendra Lafond

Kendra Lafond

Kendra loves the concreteness and creativity of math, and she enjoys engaging with students who also love exploring and understanding new concepts. She is a preschool teacher in Santa Clara going on her third year, but she has her bachelor’s degree in Child Life Psychology, and is currently working on her master’s in Counseling Abnormal Psychology. She has worked as a math tutor for two years, teaching bundling to kindergarteners all the way up to exponential equations and pre-trigonometry to 8th graders. Her favorite thing about working with younger students is creating a safe environment for them to learn and explore new, and sometimes hard, concepts. The look of accomplishment on their faces when they are able to apply what they’ve learned to their own work, nothing beats that! In her spare time, she loves singing with the worship team at her church and eating lots of poke.

Ahrin Lee

Ahrin Lee

Ahrin was born in South Korea but moved to San Jose as a child where she discovered her love of reading at the local library. Ahrin graduated with high distinction from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a BA in English and a minor in Sociology. She is currently working on earning a MA in Secondary English Education at the University of California, Berkeley. In the classroom, she loves showing students their strengths and refining their analytical skills. Being able to construct and deconstruct an argument is vital in today's world and she hopes to teach others how to do it well. When she isn't at school, Ahrin enjoys knitting with her two cats, watching bad horror movies, and going to local bookstores.

Dr. Lukas Moe

Dr. Lukas Moe

Lukas is passionate about literature and the conversations it inspires among people of all ages. He is especially interested in how good writing gives us a lens for seeing the world in new ways. Having earned his PhD from Yale University, Lukas currently teaches college courses and continues his independent scholarship on American poetry. He knows the feeling of excitement that comes from discovering a new poem or novel, and enjoys helping young people access the same. When not teaching, Lukas likes to be outside, shop for old poetry books, and listen to music and podcasts, many of them about basketball.

Lorena Montiel

Lorena Montiel

Lorena loves teaching mathematics at a wide spectrum of levels, ranging from elementary school through college. She earned her Math in Applied Mathematics from the University of Waterloo, in Canada. Currently, she is working on obtaining a MA in Teaching and a teaching credential at the University of Santa Clara. Lorena has been tutoring math since she was an undergrad in Mexico and loves helping her students to gain strong math foundations and, most importantly, self confidence in their math abilities. When she is not in the classroom, either as a teacher or as a student, she enjoys exploring the many ecological corners that our planet offers.

Janet Nelson

Janet Nelson

Janet received her BA in English literature and psychology from UC Davis in 2016. Any and all methods of storytelling have always been her passion. After being told most of her life how well she explained things for classmates, and inspired by her classes in educational psychology, she sought out teaching and fell in love with facilitating the natural process of learning. She has worked as an English, college application essay, and psychology tutor for kids from age 7 to 20 and teaches classes on communication skills and poetry/rap analysis, but her specialty is guiding young writers through the process of finding their voice -- and preparing them for the challenges of academic writing ahead. When not teaching, you’ll find her playing mad scientist with her oven, analyzing the narrative structure of video games, or befriending neighborhood cats.

Rama Nemani

Rama Nemani

Rama has always loved math and teaching, both a credit to her family’s teaching lineage and “one can learn anything” mentality. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Rutgers University and worked in the banking industry in NYC for a few years. She stayed home with her two daughters and in watching them learn at school, decided to go back for her mathematics teaching credential and a master’s degree in education. She taught advanced math in middle school and has tutored middle and high school students. Rama believes that a strong foundation in fundamental mathematics and reasoning is critical to mastery. Rama loves to cook and bake with and for her family.. She is an avid reader, learner, and traveler. She has traveled to over 10 countries, nearly half the states in this country, and 25 national parks. Her current project is to learn Sanskrit to read and understand ancient Hindu texts.

Jennifer Palacios

Jennifer Palacios

Jennifer believes when students make meaningful connections in their learning process, they will thrive in knowledge and understanding. Currently working on a Doctorate in Educational Psychology, Jennifer has also acquired a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Shasta Bible College & Graduate School and a BS in Counseling Psychology from Jessup University. Jennifer loves it when her students develop and successfully apply their language arts skills in communication, text, problem-solving skills, or in practically every aspect of their everyday lives. When not in the classroom or writing doctoral papers, Jennifer reads cookbooks, is an avid runner, traveler, and will cook for a party of two or a hundred. While a vegetarian, her husband recently gifted her with a Traeger grill because he believes carnivores need to enjoy her cooking skills as well.

Lia Pratomo

Lia Pratomo

Lia Pratomo has taught all levels of math from middle school through calculus and loves helping her students master math concepts. Before she became a math teacher, Lia worked as a materials and technical engineer at Hewlett Packard, Wacker Chemical, and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. She earned her Bachelor’s in materials engineering from NTU. Lia is excited to work with AoPS Academy’s wonderful students!

Sandhya Raman

Sandhya Raman

Sandhya’s passion for teaching math was instilled through decades of watching her mom teach with utmost passion. She has an engineering degree in computer science from India and a Masters in teaching from Rossier School of Education (USC). Sandhya first came across Beast Academy when her daughter was 6, and has been an ardent fan ever since. Sandhya self-identifies as a “carb-ivore” and strongly believes that travel is the best teacher. Her favorite pastime is sleep, though she also enjoys hand embroidery, reading, hiking and traveling.

Marc Roth

Marc Roth

Marc Roth is a veteran math teacher. He has a B.A. and a secondary teaching credential from U.C. Berkeley. He is also a math circle instructor for students and teachers, a conference presenter, and a curriculum designer.

Michelle Sekuras

Michelle Sekuras

Language arts instructor Michelle loves watching creative younger learners play with words and build ideas. She holds degrees in history, religion, and law, and has taught students as young as five and as old as sixty. Michelle teaches writing and essay skills to elementary and high school students, which means she gets to use her background in communication, logic, and research and writing to help others hone their ideas. Outside the classroom, she loves cycling, hiking, kayaking, and listening to music.

Miranda Sorchini

Miranda Sorchini

Miranda’s love for history inspired her to earn a BA in History from CSU Chico and a MA in modern American history from SJSU. Eager to understand the world, she studied abroad in Bilbao, Spain where she began her teaching career and traveled through Europe. Miranda has been teaching children of all ages for 8 years, beginning with teaching English abroad to teaching 8th grade United States history today. Miranda’s passion for understanding the past grew into a larger mission to help her students understand the importance of examining events that occurred in American history and identifying trends and ideas that have created today’s society. Outside of her teaching career, she loves to rollerblade, read, play sports, takes strolls on the beach, travel, and simply stay at home and hang out with her furry friends Diana and Duke.

Amy Stenberg

Amy Stenberg

For the past 14 years, Amy Stenberg has been an elementary school teacher in a variety of grades. Her passion for teaching was ignited in college where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Child and Adolescent Studies, followed by a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential, and later her Masters in Education. As a college undergraduate at Cal State Fullerton, she participated in a program that took her to Shanghai, China. There, she had her first experience leading a class as an English Teacher for primary students. That experience began her love of working with children to help them be as successful as they can. The opportunity to work with the youth by supporting their education and inspiring their minds and potential has always been her purpose.

Jaya Swaminathan

Jaya Swaminathan

Jaya loves problem solving. Whether it’s puzzles, a tricky math problem or a strategy game, she is always up for the challenge! She holds a Bachelor’s in engineering from BITS Pilani, India and worked as a software engineer. After moving to the Bay Area, Jaya has been helping her children prepare for math competitions. She believes in building strong foundations to equip her students to become creative problem solvers and lifelong learners. Outside of math, Jaya enjoys cooking, spending time with her daughters, and getting creative with DIY projects!

Richard Tiongco

Richard Tiongco

Richard holds a MS degree in chemical engineering from SJSU and currently works as a research assistant at the Intel Corporation in Santa Clara. He is an engineer by profession but an educator at heart. For many years, he has taught various mathematics courses from pre-algebra up to differential equations. He is a self-described sushi aficionado and HQ Trivia and Words enthusiast. In his spare time, he enjoys playing video games, watching documentaries and crime series’, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Stanio Tse

Stanio Tse

Stanio pursued his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He loves to work with students as academic, sports and music hobbies and was a swimming coach, piano teacher and math tutor in his college days. His way of coaching is to engage students to discuss and practice because that was the way he learned best. Besides teaching and lesson planning, he is very active in soccer leagues. He is an energetic player and loves to learn from good players.

Sharon Welty

Sharon Welty

Sharon loves teaching math to children and especially enjoys seeing their light bulb moments! She has been an elementary school teacher for more than 25 years and has a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Hyles-Anderson College. In 2019, Sharon also earned her National Certificate for STEM Teaching through the NISE. She teaches fifth grade in Santa Clara and spends her summers in West Africa, training teachers at a school in Liberia. Sharon enjoys spending time with her husband, their three adult children, and two cats.

Portia Whiteted

Portia Whiteted

Portia began her career in education by teaching History and English in the US and China, followed by seven awesome years as an elementary school teacher before going back to school to pursue a career in pediatric nursing. After graduating and working in small villages in Cambodia and Nicaragua, her dream now is to bring healthcare and education to underserved communities all around the world! She loves working with children to build their confidence by giving them the tools they need to succeed because with every success, they become eager to tackle new goals and challenges. In her free time, she loves going on hikes, playing board games, and traveling, but her favorite thing to do is spend time with her 6 year old niece, the silliest and smartest girl she knows!

Katherine Wolterbeek

Katherine Wolterbeek

Katherine enjoys helping students learn that math is “mathemagical” while encouraging them to develop a positive and growth mindset throughout their math experience. She reminds her students, "you know more than you think you do.” As an educator of 25 years (and going), she has taught students from first through eighth grade, with her last nine years focused on middle school mathematics. Katherine holds a multiple subject teaching credential, MS in math education, and a Tier 1 Administrative Credential. Katherine also enjoys attending and presenting workshops at local, state and national conferences to strengthen connections and staying current on best teaching practices. Her other interests include staying active with hiking, biking, sports, visiting her favorite place, Capitola Beach, as well as spending time with her family and three cats.

Dr. Shanshan Wu

Dr. Shanshan Wu

Shanshan loves teaching math. She earned a BS in applied math from Wuhan University in China and a PhD in applied math from Stony Brook University. She has been teaching students at all levels of math subjects ever since she was in college. Her favorite part of teaching is to ask challenging questions to inspire students to think deeper. She thrives in helping students build solid foundations in math by doing math games and projects. Her goal in teaching math is to help students explore their greatest potential with the subject. During her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, organizing the home and learning piano.

Dr. Ying Xu

Dr. Ying Xu

Ying loves math and teaching. She enjoys interacting with young minds and helping them to reach their full potential. After receiving a BS from Tsinghua University in China, she earned a Master’s and PhD in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Rochester, where she studied laser and condensed matter interactions in the femto to picosecond regime. Now, working as an optical engineer, Ying is working on new technologies that can help improve the quality of life. Outside of work, Ying enjoy spending time with her family and friends and traveling around the world.

Rachel Yang

Rachel Yang

Rachel earned her BA in education from Biola University in 2018. She is a public school teacher who is passionate in teaching mathematics that is fun and engaging for students. Previously, she has experience teaching math as a tutor and as an assistant teacher. Her teaching philosophy is to teach students as a whole, both academically and socially. Therefore, teaching students gets her excited because she wants to influence students where they can be creative thinkers for our future generation. Outside of teaching at AoPS Academy, she loves watching movies, going to the beach, bowling, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends.

Kiana Young

Kiana Young

Kiana (she/they) believes in the power of language and art as tools of social change. Kiana is an accomplished public speaking instructor, artist, and competitive speech coach who has coached both middle school and high school students to final rounds at Speech & Debate Nationals and every year since her coaching career began in 2018. For the past two years, Kiana has enjoyed directing middle school and elementary speech & debate programs, and most recently, an elementary creative writing program, at several private schools in the South Bay. Prior to coaching, Kiana worked as an educator and advocate with the UC Berkeley PATH to Care Center and the Consent Education Working Group at the housing nonprofit, Berkeley Student Cooperative. Kiana holds a BA in rhetoric with a concentration in public discourse and minor in LGBT studies from UC Berkeley. In 2016 and 2017, Kiana competed on UC Berkeley’s national poetry slam team, helping them earn the ranks of 8th and 13th in the nation, respectively. In 2019, Kiana was honored to be a Mentor Artist at the inaugural Queer & Asian Performing Artist Residency at San Jose State University. In their spare time, Kiana can be found baking, performing, working on a new DIY project with her fianceé, or cuddling her pups, Jasper and Basil.

Bill Zabor

Bill Zabor

Bill Zabor loves helping his students learn new concepts and overcome challenges. He has been teaching math for more than 15 years and tutors middle- and high-school students from across Santa Clara County. He is experienced in a wide range of math subjects, from algebra and geometry to trigonometry, calculus, and statistics. Bill holds a Master’s in electrical engineering from MIT and an MBA from UC Davis. Outside the classroom, he enjoys hiking, spending time outdoors, and traveling.

"AoPS Academy has a superb curriculum, combined with outstanding teachers who have provided our son a fantastic foundation in mathematics. If only I could have experienced teaching like this when I was young, it would have changed my career choice. The academy is a perfect extension of school in that they challenge students to learn at a much deeper and rigorous level. They also stimulate their interest in mathematics by emphasizing analytical thought over rote memorization of formulas.

The academy truly lays a deep foundation in mathematical thinking for success in all areas involving STEM subjects. It is really exciting to be among teachers and children who love math!

The harder the problem - the more exciting it is to the students and teachers at AoPS Academy."

-Molly and Richard T.
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