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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

Glen Dawson is the National Director of AoPS Academy. In 2014, Glen founded a learning center in Morrisville, North Carolina, that two years later became the first AoPS Academy campus. 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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Sean Russom - Campus Director

Sean Russom - Campus Director

Sean is the Campus Director for AoPS Academy Santa Clara/Cupertino as well as the Area Director for the broader South Bay region. Before coming to California, he served as the Campus Director of Virginia’s AoPS Academy Vienna, where he also oversaw the Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Princeton, New Jersey campuses. An experienced teacher of gifted children, Sean has taught math at both the middle- and high-school levels, served as the coach of a successful MATHCOUNTS team, and designed the Algebra 1 curriculum for the high school where he used to teach in North Carolina. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in math from UNC. In his spare time, Sean loves creating challenging math problems for his students.

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.

Ellen Kulinsky - Associate Director

Ellen Kulinsky - Associate Director

Ellen is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Santa Clara. She grew up in a mathematical family, where she was introduced to AoPS textbooks at a young age, and spent her school years competing in and training her fellow students for contests like MATHCOUNTS and the AMCs. Ellen earned her BS in applied math from UC Berkeley and has taught at math circles in the Bay Area and beyond. Her passion for working with young learners also drove her to conduct research in mathematical cognition, focusing on how to help students understand fractions. When Ellen isn't teaching, she loves comedy, live music, and traveling the world.

Rebecca Sodervick - Associate Director

Rebecca Sodervick - Associate Director

Rebecca is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Santa Clara and previously served in the same role at AoPS Academy Bellevue. She loves teaching math to students from elementary through college and once coached a state-qualifying MATHCOUNTS team. She holds an MS in mathematics from the University of Michigan and a BS in advanced mathematics from Michigan State University, where she supervised one of the math learning centers and spent her summers helping direct the math summer camp. Working with colleagues from universities in China, she also organized the Discovering America Exchange Program. For fun, Rebecca likes being outdoors, cooking, and spending time with her playful dogs, Dexter and Jill.

Sampada Raghavendran

Sampada Raghavendran

Sampada is the Bay Area Outreach Manager for AoPS Academy. She was one of the first to join the company in Morrisville, North Carolina in 2014 and holds a Bachelor's in computer science from Bangalore University in India. Sampada has served on the executive boards of many non-profit organizations, including Pratham USA, (NC Chapter), the North South Foundation, and Sampige. She has three wonderful kids (who are also big AoPS fans) and moved to the Bay Area in July 2017. When she isn't telling everyone how wonderful AoPS is, Sampada loves to read, travel and spend time with her family.

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. 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.

Sarah Crenshaw

Sarah Crenshaw

Sarah’s love of writing and storytelling first led her to a career as a journalist. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia and worked as a television news reporter and radio broadcaster, then completed a law degree while also teaching introductory writing classes for college freshmen and sophomores. After relocating to California with her family, Sarah switched careers again and became a middle school English language arts teacher. Outside the classroom, Sarah enjoys fishing, growing vegetables, and traveling with her husband and their two children.

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. She loves helping her students dissect math problems and develop the abstract-thinking skills to face complex challenges! Casey’s book Study Hacks contains many of these problem-solving strategies. She holds a BS in chemistry and biology from the University of California, Irvine, and completed her medical school coursework at Drexel University’s College of Medicine.

Drew Ellingson

Drew Ellingson

Drew holds a BS in mathematics from the University of Utah and an MS from the University of Michigan. He has taught math, physics, computer science to students from middle school through college and likes teaching with inquiry- and problem-based learning strategies. Outside the classroom, Drew deploys his mathematical interests in stochastics, machine learning, and statistical modeling as a business intelligence analyst. He enjoys playing guitar, drinking coffee, and spending lots of quality time with his girlfriend and their (very spoiled) dogs.

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.

Rachel Hoffman

Rachel Hoffman

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.

Eugene Ionel

Eugene Ionel

Eugene has been teaching for over 20 years and loves working with gifted students in math and physics. He holds an MS in applied mechanics from Moscow Civil Engineering Institute as well as an MS in applied math from San Jose State University. Eugene teaches math at the College of San Mateo and is passionate about helping his students understand concepts and gain problem-solving skills. Outside the classroom, he enjoys listening to math and physics lectures, reading about world history, and ice skating.

Mary Keonouphet

Mary Keonouphet

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!

Theo Kwong

Theo Kwong

Theo is passionate about math and enjoys sharing the problem-solving process with his students. He has been tutoring middle and high school students for several years, ever since he graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a BS in bioengineering. Theo is currently enrolled at the University of Southern California, where he’s working on a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. When he isn’t teaching or studying, Theo enjoys playing basketball, cooking new recipes, and baking bread.

Michael Nasti

Michael Nasti

Mike has been a contest prep and academic tutor for middle school through college math for the past eight years. He has a passion for teaching and extensive problem solving experience including qualifying for the USAMO and placing first in the Illinois State Math Team competition. He earned his degree in mathematics from UIUC in 2010 before moving to the Bay Area. In addition to math, Mike also enjoys cooking, fitness, West Coast Swing dancing, video games, and board games.

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!

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.

Vivian Tran

Vivian Tran

Math instructor Vivian earned her BS in biochemistry and Master of Arts in Teaching from Santa Clara University and works as a high school chemistry teacher. Vivian got her start teaching back in her own high school days, when she started tutoring her peers in math and science. Outside the classroom, Vivian enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, and trying out new bubble tea cafés.

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.

Stephen Wolfe

Stephen Wolfe

Stephen has been teaching math on and off since 1975 to middle schoolers on up to the community college level, including De Anza College. He graduated with a BS in math from MIT in three years and earned an MAT in math education from the University of Chicago in one. Combining his love of cycling and travel, he has bicycled in 29 countries and 49 states including a two year bicycle trip around the world. A love of art, especially photography, is in his genes and that colors his view of learning math as more like art rather than accounting.

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.

Joshua Zucker

Joshua Zucker

Math instructor Joshua Zucker first joined Art of Problem Solving's Online School in 2007. He was a member of the first US team at the International Physics Olympiad, a Top-10 scorer on the Putnam Competition, and competed for Team USA at the World Sudoku Championships. Joshua holds a BS in physics and an MS in mathematics from Stanford, as well as an MS in astrophysics from UC Berkeley. He has taught math to gifted elementary students as well as remedial courses at community college. A former problem writer for MATHCOUNTS and director of the Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad, Joshua also was the founding director of the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival.

"General coaching classes at many academic training centers stress repetition of the concept until a student grasps it thoroughly. At AoPS Academy, they go far beyond repetition. Their highly qualified instructors do a great job at teaching fundamental concepts to students at much greater depth, and challenge them to walk that extra mile by presenting them with more complex problems to solve. It provides a great learning experience in a friendly, fun, yet competitive and challenging environment. They provide their students with a combination of excellent instructional curriculum along with amazing online tools. AoPS Academy also encourages students to take part in various competitions. Overall they do an incredible job imparting a deep knowledge of both math and language arts to all of their students, and AoPS Academy sets them on a path towards their career goals. We are happy to be part of AoPS Academy family!"
-Sandeep J.
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