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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.

Directors

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Anatole Ginsberg

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.

Sonia Chumber

Sonia Chumber

Associate Director

Sonia is an Associate Director for 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.

Portia Whiteted

Portia Whiteted

Associate Director

Portia is an Associate Director for AoPS Academy Santa Clara. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in political science and a teaching credential from SFSU, Portia began her career in education by teaching history and English in the US and China. Returning to the Bay Area to be closer to family, she spent seven wonderful years as an elementary school teacher and a director of a learning program for neurodiverse students. After obtaining a nursing degree, she worked in small villages in Cambodia and Nicaragua and loves serving her global and local communities through healthcare and education. Her primary goal teaching children is 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 niece, the silliest and smartest girl she knows!

Bill Zabor

Bill Zabor

Associate Director

Bill is an Associate Director for AoPS Academy Santa Clara. Prior to that, he was a math teacher at AoPS Academy Santa Clara since it opened in 2019. He graduated in 1983 from MIT with a master's degree in electrical engineering, and also holds an MBA from UC Davis. He worked for technology companies for 30 years as an engineer, project, and product manager. In 2004 he co-founded an online high-school where he taught the math and science courses. In 2017 he returned to his hometown of Cupertino, and began tutoring high school and college students in math and science. His passions are learning, innovation, and helping students grow. He loves to hike, swim, and bike. He volunteers every Friday morning at Deer Hollow Farm, where he helps feed and take care of the animals. He is also an active member of the Mankind Project (MKP) which is dedicated to helping men improve themselves through self-awareness.

Office Staff

Alisha Hernandez

Alisha Hernandez

Administrative Coordinator

Alisha is the Santa Clara Administrative Coordinator, and enjoys helping students not only by encouraging them to learn, but by continually learning herself. Alisha believes knowledge is power. She has worked at places that have progressed her administrative & customer service skills astonishingly over the time of her career. When she is not assisting in tasks for the Academy, Alisha can be found surrounded by her children indulging in games & cooking. She has also discovered a new-found interest in learning the stock market.

Akiko Kamijo

Akiko Kamijo

Front Desk Associate

Akiko is a Front Desk Associate for AoPS Academy Santa Clara. Akiko moved from Japan to America in 2019 and is very enthusiastic to help all students at AoPS Academy. She graduated from university in Japan, with a bachelor’s degree in communications. In Japan, she had a career at a medical publishing company and a thyroid clinic as a human resources administrator. Additionally, she has experience as a skiing instructor for students from kindergarten to high school. Akiko has a great passion for Japanese home cooking. She loves animals, and they always make her happy. When she is not at the Academy, Akiko enjoys spending time with her family.

Christina Nguyen

Christina Nguyen

Front Desk Associate

Christina is currently a third year student at San Jose State University pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in business marketing. Outside of academia, Christina has a passion for working with students. She has experience as a swim instructor and taught students as young as three years old on how to swim freestyle and backstroke! On her free time, Christina also enjoys volunteering at her local library to help assist first generation and low-income elementary students in language arts and mathematics. Christina's biggest aspiration is to one day become a foster dog mom and ensure all dogs have a safe and happy home!

Olivia Spycher

Olivia Spycher

Front Desk Associate

Olivia has always had a passion for math and is currently pursuing her associate’s degree in economics. She is studying at West Valley with hopes to transfer to UCLA. One day she wants to obtain her real estate and broker’s license and start her own brokerage. Olivia has extensive experience with kids from her years of teaching youth gymnastics and childcare. She adores nurturing her students and watching them grow every class. In her free time, Olivia loves to read, cook for her family, and hang out with friends.

Tejas Mani

Tejas Mani

Math Teaching Assistant

Tejas is currently a senior at Evergreen Valley High School, interested in computer science and data science. He’s been surrounded by math practically his whole life and loves the opportunity AoPS gives him to pass down what he’s learned to eager students. In the classroom, Tejas is often a teacher and a student - learning and participating in lessons while prompting the “lightbulb” to go off when an answer is reached. When he isn’t teaching math, Tejas is probably watching football, basketball, or baseball, with two of his favorite teams being the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco Giants. He enjoys listening to music, volunteering, and biking.

Diane Sang

Diane Sang

Language Arts Teaching Assistant

Diane Sang is a recent graduate from San Jose State University with a bachelor's degree in animation/llustration. She enjoys working with kids, helping them reach their fullest potential in academics, and inspiring them creatively with art or animation. She is also a teacher's assistant at Little World Preschool. For personal art projects, she likes to design characters and environments to work on games.

Instructors

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Greg Farkas

Greg Farkas

Senior Instructor

Greg has been a math instructor at the Santa Clara AoPS campus since it opened in 2019. He greatly enjoys making math fun, interesting and educational! He has been tutoring students of all ability levels from elementary through high school for over twelve years. Greg has a bachelor’s degree in economics from UCSD and an MBA from SDSU. He is also a substitute math teacher, and taught graduate level summer school classes at SDSU. He has also taught database and spreadsheet classes to working professionals across Silicon Valley for many years. Greg was also Director of Finance for a Bay Area HMO and supervised a $60 million budget. When he isn’t teaching, Greg enjoys cycling, archery, and the great outdoors. He has a first-degree black belt in Shotokan karate, and taught martial arts at De Anza Jr. College. Greg also placed 4th at the Long Beach International Karate Championships.

Sharon Welty

Sharon Welty

Senior Instructor

Sharon is a senior instructor for AoPS Academy Santa Clara. She started with AoPS in 2019, and has taught in elementary education for 29 years. If she is not teaching, she loves to spend time with her family, enjoy time with her animals, and binge on Netflix. Teaching is not just a profession; it is her passion. Sharon is involved in an elementary school in a village in West Africa. She travels to Liberia and helps train the teachers and set up an after school program for motivated students.

Nataly Alvarez

Nataly Alvarez

Nataly has enjoyed math ever since she learned how to add. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics with an option to teach, and just finished her Master of Science in mathematics at California State University East Bay. While earning her master’s degree at CSUEB, she worked as a graduate teaching associate and was the instructor of record for several courses including pre-calculus and college algebra. Additionally, she facilitated activity sections to support other math courses at CSUEB. At CSUEB, she was also a contributing author to the college algebra guided notes. Some of her greatest passions in life include math/problem solving and helping others. As a kid she tutored her younger cousins and friends in math, and she has volunteered as a tutor for the Youth Enrichment Program. She is currently adjunct math faculty at Holy Names University where she teaches math and statistics. When she is not busy following her teaching passion she enjoys brushing up on her math and computer coding skills, doing sudoku or any other type of puzzle with her son, doing yoga and spending time outdoors with her family and friends.

Jen Austin

Jen Austin

Jen's passion for teaching started at a young age. She got an early start by "schooling" her siblings in the garage during playtime. Jen then went on to get her bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies with an English minor at San Jose State University. She followed that with a Multiple Subject Credential and a master's degree in Instructional Technology from SJSU. She also spent a summer extending her knowledge at the Teachers College at Columbia University. She loved her 30-year career teaching English Language Arts and Art. Jen also spent 18 years coaching boys' and girls' basketball, volleyball and track. After retiring in 2020, she has been missing the students and will be coming in to substitute and joining the staff at AoPS. Outside of teaching Jen enjoys reading, Zentangling, Wordle, Fishdom and hanging out with friends and family.

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.

Rahul Bansal

Rahul Bansal

Rahul was born & raised in the city of Jaipur, India. He developed a keen interest in mathematics from a very young age. He graduated in 2000 from the National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur college in with a degree in electrical engineering. He has worked for technology companies for the last 22 years in variety of roles. He has also taught various courses in the past as part of a corporate academy, and is now excited to work with young children. Rahul believes in teaching math to develop students' theoretical and applied mathematical skills. In his spare time, Rahul enjoys long walks, playing chess, and doing yoga. He also volunteers for the Isha foundation to support various yoga programs.

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.

Heather Cassell

Heather Cassell

Heather's love of reading, writing, and asking questions led her to study creative writing and English literature in college. She started her career as a journalist after graduating from San Francisco State University. Reporting on local to global issues has taken her around the world. She currently works in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City. When she isn't writing about current events and travel and food, she's learning new skills and helping students develop their writing skills. Outside of the classroom she's checking out new restaurants, traveling, hiking, going to museums and events, reading, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, and spending time with her partner, family, and friends.

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!

Marcia Chron

Marcia Chron

Marcia has been teaching mathematics to students in grades 7-12 for 40+ years. She has a reputation for being kind and compassionate and for enabling students of varying academic levels to become more confident in their math abilities. She is particularly proud to serve as a role model for girls and to foster the idea that math is for everyone. She engages her students with a variety of fun and challenging logic and problem solving activities. She has served as the club advisor for Girls Who Code and Math Club and served as a Mathcounts coach. Marcia was born and raised in Chicago, where she began her teaching career. She and her husband moved to California in 1986. She loves to read (crime dramas/mysteries), garden, hike and travel. She has an adult daughter who lives and works in New York City.

Shelley Crocker

Shelley Crocker

As a child, Shelley wanted to be a writer. While she still dreams of having her stories published, she has since found that she really enjoys helping young people find their own love of writing, reading, and language. Shelley received her B.A. in language studies from UC Santa Cruz, as well as her master's degree in linguistics and her single subject teaching credential in English from SJSU. She has been teaching middle school ELA in San Jose for the past eight years. Outside of school, Shelley spends as much time as possible with her family, listening to music, crafting projects, playing board games, and cooking.

Darius Dadfar

Darius Dadfar

Darius always had a strong suit in math - his interest and love of mathematics prompted him to earn his bachelor's degree from San Jose State University in applied math, focusing on computational math. He's from Iran, and moved here 10 years ago! He's been team leader at two different retail stores, as well as a math instructor to 116 middle school students last semester! Away from work, he has a few hobbies to keep him busy: he plays, records, and listens to music; he plays (and watches 4 AM showings of) soccer every other weekend; and goes for long drives and hikes with his loving partner. Darius is detail-oriented, thorough, and easy to approach, as well as ready to teach some math to knowledge-hungry students!

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 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.

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!

Erin Hamson

Erin Hamson

Erin has always loved math. Her math love lead her to a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University in Utah. While she worked on her bachelor's, Erin joined a study abroad program in Peru where she used her knowledge to teach others how to solve their everyday problems. After earning her degree Erin started working as a manufacturing engineer, but that spark from teaching others eventually led her to a master's degree in teaching from the University of California, Irvine. After 4 years of teaching elementary school, Erin is now teaching middle school math during the day and AoPS students at night! When she's not teaching, Erin can usually be found in a different state or country. Erin is now over halfway to visiting every state in the USA!

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.

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.

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.

Indrani Kar

Indrani Kar

Indrani is passionate about English literature and loves to share her literary ideas with young inquisitive minds. She started teaching while she was pursuing her master's degree in English literature in Kolkata, and spent a year as a guest lecturer of English in Oxford School of Management, Bangalore. After earning teaching credentials from Bangalore University where she was a university rank holder, she worked as a high school teacher in a reputed institution in Bangalore and a member of CISCE evaluators team. Here in California, she is working as an English language instructor in various learning centers in the Bay Area. She loves creative writing, writing travelogues, stories and has articles published in newspapers. She was the school coordinator for a children's newspaper publication from ‘The Times of India' and encouraged her students in publication of their write ups. Outside academics, she loves to experiment with her culinary skills, travelling with family and friends, and gardening with her son.

Anjaneyulu Karusala

Anjaneyulu Karusala

Having a passion for math from his school days, Anjaneyulu’s interest in enjoying mathematical riddles led him to frame his own mathematical brain teasers that were published in the popular science journal “Science Today,” a popular publication of Times of India. He studied civil engineering at Calicut Regional Engineering College, and received his post graduate diploma in computer applications at Central University of Hyderabad. Being an enthusiastic academic, he contributed mathematical articles for several years that were published in popular newspapers. As he has a great interest and enthusiasm for mathematics, he pursued his career as a senior faculty member for mathematics for over 25 years in various colleges in India. His students have gained national ranks and excelled in national-level competitive exams. The subjects of his expertise include algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus and probability. Other than loving mathematics, he likes reading books, photography and exploring new places, playing table tennis, and watching movies.

Vikranth Kattakuri

Vikranth Kattakuri

An automation engineer by profession, Vikranth (goes by Vik) graduated with a bachelor's degree from IIT Madras and a master's degree from Purdue University both in mechanical engineering with minor in robotics. Math and robotics have always been his favorite subjects. Vik's teaching experience started during his undergrad when he worked as a teaching assistant in his senior year. While attending Purdue for grad school, he was a teaching assistant for two years teaching fundamental and advanced topics in machine design and robotics. Aside from teaching math, Vik enjoys playing badminton, pickleball, soccer, watching sports and tinkering with embedded systems.

Marina Kim

Marina Kim

Marina’s fascination for mathematics started as a child, when she learned that the entire field of Euclidean geometry was built upon just a handful of axioms. From then on, she knew she’d be studying math and science for the rest of her life. She eventually studied geophysics (at Brown University and Stanford University), a multidisciplinary field applying mathematics and physics to study our planet. She found early on that her passion for math and science included sharing of knowledge when her friends frequently brought their questions to her, which led to her first job as a tutor all the way back in high school. She has been teaching math and science at various levels ever since. When she is not teaching, she loves to play video games, listen to K-Pop, and cuddle with her cats.

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.

Deepti Kumawat

Deepti Kumawat

Deepti has always been passionate about teaching mathematics and science. Her interests made her start teaching students when she was in high school. Since then, she has been privately tutoring and teaching these subjects to middle and high school students. She secured 1st rank during her bachelor's degree, and was awarded a "Gold Medal" for securing 1st rank during her master's program in physics at the University of Kota, India. She has worked as a physics faculty member for the IIT-JEE foundation level at Base Educational Centre, Bangalore. She strongly believes that meaningful math education goes beyond memorizing formulas and procedures. Thus she encourages high goal setting and working with students to develop a strong foundation. Outside of teaching, she likes hiking, listening to music, and dancing, and also loves to spend time with her family.

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 degree 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.

Liam Lawson

Liam Lawson

Liam is a math competition fanatic, having participated for a decade and coached for the majority of that time. He majored in math at Arizona State, pursuing a more theoretical look at the wonders of the world around us and the patterns within it. Liam has previously worked with students in Phoenix and the Bay Area for various contest prep, including MathCounts Nationals and ARML. He has also served as a teaching assistant at the high school and undergraduate levels. When not teaching, Liam enjoys science fiction novels, chess, and playing the piano. He also appreciates a good cartoon binge, or a relaxing hike.

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.

Miranda Leon Guerrero

Miranda Leon Guerrero

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.

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.

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.

Lisa Ni-Lewis

Lisa Ni-Lewis

Lisa was amazed at the simplicity behind complexity in mathematics when she was a kid. After obtaining a PhD in computer science, she worked for high-tech companies in Silicon Valley for over 10 years as a software researcher and developer. Her research has mainly involved mathematics, statistics, and advanced algorithms in computer science. The last project she has worked on in the tech industry is deep learning-based 2D and 3D perception for self driving cars. In the past few years, her interest has shifted to the financial industry and equity analysis. Most recently, after she tutored her 9 year old son, she learned that she loves to teach math, especially competitive math, to kids. When she is not working, she likes reading, exercising, and traveling.

Tandis Nowrouzi

Tandis Nowrouzi

Tandis loves teaching and learning languages and believes it's the fundamental step toward bridging gaps and communication between people. She believes that the youth of today are the light of the future and hopes to make an impact on their educational path toward achieving this. She loves teaching kids because of their passion and life and contribution of exciting new ideas. She has experience teaching students from second grade all the way to college. She currently is also an adjunct instructor at Mission College and graduated with a BA in Spanish and a MA in linguistics from San Jose State University. She has also taught abroad in China for one year. Her passion for language and connecting people can be expressed through her teaching. She loves to travel and has been to over 20 different countries, learning new languages (she speaks 4 already!), and dancing to all kinds of music.

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 degree in educational psychology, Jennifer has also acquired a master's degree 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.

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 master's degree 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.

Lovepreet Singh

Lovepreet Singh

Lovepreet is a design engineer who loves teaching mathematics and complex problem-solving by creating a fun and interactive learning environment that encourages questions and discussions. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from UC Davis. While studying at UC Davis, he also worked as a tutor for the engineering department, where he tutored many students with various skill and knowledge levels. Lovepreet believes tutoring sessions should be a safe space for students to try new approaches to their work and feel comfortable making mistakes, as mistakes can often lead to the best learning experiences. In his spare time, Lovepreet likes running, hiking, and playing tennis to keep himself physically active, and he is also passionate about learning new technologies and advancements in the industry.

Ashley Son

Ashley Son

Ashley’s passion for teaching started at a young age. She began tutoring in middle school and continued doing so privately, at a tutoring center, and at her university throughout college, gaining experience teaching students in every age range. An East Coast native, Ashley earned her bachelor's degree in biological sciences and biomedical engineering and her master's degree in health care policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University. During the week, she works as a Project Manager for Stanford Health Care. Having only recently moved to California in May of 2022, Ashley is still exploring the Bay Area in her free time, occasionally joined by her Yorkie. In addition to touring locally, Ashley hopes to soon pick up her international traveling adventures, which were put on hold due to COVID. She also enjoys hiking and baking in her spare time, though still a novice at both activities.

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 subject teaching credential, and later her master's degree 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 degree 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!

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.

Zenichi Yasukawa

Zenichi Yasukawa

Zen is an avid mathematician and especially enjoys discrete mathematics. He has earned a dual bachelor's degree at Santa Clara University in mathematics and computer science, while also studying in Budapest, Hungary - a birthplace for many renowned mathematicians. Through teaching at Bellarmine College Prep and San Jose State University, he enjoys discussing the intricacies and beauty of proofs. He is currently working at Bellarmine College Preparatory to not only educate students in math, but also emphasize the importance of building character. Outside of the classroom, he loves being active and watching the Golden State Warriors.

Emily Yim

Emily Yim

Emily Hall graduated with a B.A. in English from Wellesley College in Massachusetts. For over a decade, Emily has taught English to K-12 students at schools, learning centers, and private tutorials. She was also a visiting lecturer at Hong Kong Polytechnic University when she was living overseas. Having taught both Native English Learners as well as English as a Second Language students, Emily has enjoyed teaching both in Silicon Valley as well as abroad in Asia. In particular, she is very familiar with working with students who have grown up in dual cultures with bilingual or even trilingual backgrounds and is very excited to be a Language Arts Instructor at AoPS in Santa Clara. During her down time, Emily enjoys watching comedies, hiking scenic trails, attending festive music events, and traveling to relaxing destinations near and far.

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.

"One of the best decisions I ever made was to send my son to AoPS Academy for improving his math skills. The results are simply amazing! In addition to dramatically improving his math skills, my son also enjoys the social environment that the academy offers. Personally, I am very impressed with the quality of the entire staff (teaching and non-teaching alike). I would not hesitate to recommend AoPS Academy to any parent who is serious about developing their child's academic potential in a safe and stimulating environment."
-Kiran H.
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