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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. 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.

Instructors

Interested in joining our team? Click here to learn more!

Kelly Jones

Kelly is the Director of the language arts program at AoPS Academy. Previously, Kelly was a public school teacher and a private tutor. She is a licensed elementary educator, reading specialist, and English language arts instructor spanning all K-12 grade levels. Kelly also holds a bachelor's degree in education from Penn State University and a master's degree in literacy education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kelly Jones

Katie Greene

Katie Greene is the Site Director for AoPS Academy in Morrisville, NC. Katie holds her master's degree in mathematics from Wake Forest University. Her thesis topic was "Three Player Partizan Game Theory". Katie has extensive teaching experience with students of many ages, from elementary school through advanced college courses. She was personally trained through Art of Problem Solving in middle and high school. As Katie puts it, "I feel that math at its heart is a very affectionate and enjoyable subject. When given the right presentation and learning tools, people can see how beautiful it really is. Art of Problem Solving does that better than anyone."

Katie Greene

Frank Ethridge

Frank earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from the highly regarded Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University (NYU). Frank also spent time as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. Currently, he teaches mathematics and statistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler School of Business.

Frank Ethridge

Shenek Alston

Shenek earned her Ph.D. in statistics from North Carolina State University. She has extensive consulting experience, including time with the SAS Institute where she specialized in Econometrics and Time Series analysis using the SAS programming language. Shenek is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, and she was instrumental in modeling extreme weather events in China. She also has extensive teaching experience in algebra, trigonometry, and statistics​.

Shenek Alston

Jing Gao

Jing earned her Ph.D. in polymer chemistry/material science from Texas A&M University. She has expertise in teaching advanced math competition preparation courses. Jing also has experience teaching at the Raleigh Academy of Chinese Language. Many of her students have won numerous awards at regional and state-level math competitions, including invitations to take the AIME (American Invitational Math Examination). Her own son was invited to take the AIME in all four years of high school.

Jing Gao

James Rutherford

James earned his Ph.D. in English literature from Princeton University. He has lectured widely across a variety of university campuses in Canada, Europe, and the United States. In addition to his collegiate teaching, James has experience teaching elementary, middle, and high school students. James is also an accomplished author, having published articles about Renaissance literature and the history of education.

James Rutherford

Cynthia Dawson

Cyndi is one of the founders of the AoPS Academy Morrisville Campus. She has served as an adjunct member of the college faculty at Northeastern University, where she taught introductory and advanced clinical microbiology and pathophysiology courses. Cyndi also has many years of experience as a professional microbiologist. Cyndi holds a Master of Science in Medical Laboratory Science from Northeastern University.

Cynthia Dawson

Jennifer Stuart

Jennifer has a passion for language, literature, and teaching. She has experience teaching middle school language arts as well as undergraduate courses in composition and literature. Jennifer holds a Master of Arts degree in English literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Jennifer Stuart

Seth Gearren

Seth specializes in elementary and middle school mathematics. He is an experienced math teacher in the Wake County school system, and has a solid mathematical background in a variety of courses through calculus. Seth is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he served as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. Seth also holds a master's degree in teaching from North Carolina State University.

Seth Gearren

Lakshmi Ganesan

Lakshmi received her Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and Masters in Computer Science from Madurai Kamaraj University in India and is currently teaching in the Special Education Department at Apex Friendship High School. She has also volunteered her time in teaching math to kids at elementary school and has worked as a substitute, teaching math and science to middle school students.

Lakshmi Ganesan

Susie Huser

Susie earned her Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. She has enjoyed working in the classroom with middle school, high school and undergraduate students, focusing on composition and creative writing. She has published work in several literary journals, and has also assisted with the publication of student literary journals while working with both middle school and undergraduate students. When not reading, writing, or doing other creative work, Susie can usually be found gardening or hiking.

Susie Huser

Sharon Levine

Sharon holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Mississippi and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Policy Analysis from UNC-Chapel Hill. Currently, she works in UNC’s Office of Undergraduate Retention overseeing a suite of courses designed to help students during transitional phases in their undergraduate career. She loves the classroom and has experience teaching middle and high school English, coaching teachers, and developing educational programming. She is a proud graduate of the Mississippi Teacher Corps program.

Sharon Levine

Saad Haider

Dr. Haider earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Texas Tech University. Currently, he is a postdoctoral fellow in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. He joins the AoPS Academy family with years of experience teaching and training college and high school students.

Saad Haider

Dana Dahringer

Dana is an experienced teacher offering enthusiasm, creativity, and a proactive approach to her students’ educational needs. She has trained students in mathematics from elementary to high school. Dana earned her Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University. She spends her spare time volunteering at a crisis prevention center, camping, and exploring nature.

Dana Dahringer

Nesren Elhertani

Nesren holds a master's degree in English with a specialty in rhetoric and composition from NC State University. Nesren also has several years of experience as an editor, which has heightened her expertise in writing and grammar. Passing that expertise onto her students is where Nesren's passion lies. Nesren cares deeply about the success of her students, and her passion is contagious in the classroom. She has taught a wide array of learners, ranging from preschool to university students. What never changes, though, is the reward that Nesren's students gain both in their skills and in their confidence in writing.

Nesren Elhertani

Bhavana Muddukrishna

Bhavana is currently in the process of completing her PhD in molecular biology. She has extensive teaching experience, and very strong math skills, including in the area of data analysis and statistics. Bhavana is a creative thinker and a very articulate, engaging instructor. She has numerous research articles to her credit, and is a member of the Association for Women in Science.

Bhavana Muddukrishna

Diya Abdeljabbar

Diya earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University in 2012. He has taught mathematics at the elementary school, high school, and university levels with topics ranging from introductory algebra to differential equations. Diya has a passion for teaching students with great enthusiasm for learning and improving. He is currently working in the biopharmaceutical industry as an Associate Director in Engineering.

Diya Abdeljabbar

Jeff Zidman

Jeff has a passion for math, science and a good puzzle. He has a degree in Industrial Engineering and spends his days solving complex business supply chain and quality problems. Jeff is creative and engaging and brings that energy to his classroom, whether he is teaching foreign language, history, statistics or a hands-on science project. He has taught elementary and middle school students and instructed adult learners.

Jeff Zidman

Boyd Blackburn

"Dr. B" is the LEAP math teacher and MathCounts coach at Smith Middle School in Chapel Hill, NC.  LEAP is a district-wide program for highly gifted students.  His math teams are consistently among the top two or three in the state for MathCounts, the AMC8, and the AMC10, and his students have frequently won the NC State Math Contest  He has twice coached the NC state team at National MathCounts.  Over the last 16 years, Dr. B has taught PreAlgebra through Precalculus, and he holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology and an MS in Secondary Math Education.  His passions include tennis, bridge, and (surprise!) math.

Boyd Blackburn

Erin Kayajian

Erin holds a master's degree in British and American Literature from North Carolina State University, as well as a bachelor's degree in Marketing/Management from Siena College, which is located in upstate New York.  She has taught middle grades language arts and high school English for the past fourteen years; in addition to middle and secondary education, she has taught undergraduate English classes and loves teaching all facets of grammar, composition, and literature.

Erin Kayajian

Alice Verstrat

Alice Verstrat got her B.A. in English from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges in 1991. She then pursued her Masters in Education at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts to launch a career teaching middle and high school English. She earned her National Board Certification (NBCT) in Secondary Language Arts in 2010. Alice's 21-year teaching career has enabled her to share her love of literature and language with students in Boston, Brazil, California, Turkey and in Wake County, North Carolina. In order to pursue training to become an advocate for students, families and schools in a different role, she left teaching in 2014 to enroll in a doctoral program in School Psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill. She has been teaching educational psychology to undergraduates at UNC while pursuing her doctorate in a combined clinical and school psychology program. She is a life-long learner and hopes to inspire all students with a love for challenges and opportunities for growth.

Alice Verstrat

Alissa McElreath

Alissa McElreath has a master’s degree in creative writing from Binghamton University, where she studied under the poet Ruth Stone. She also has a master’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Rochester in New York. She has published fiction and non-fiction, served as a senior editor for the acclaimed online literary magazine Literary Mama, and taught a wide range of students, from high school to the university level. Alissa loves working with students from all backgrounds and of all ages, and watching their skills and confidence grow and flourish.

Alissa McElreath

Hannah Beers

Hannah Beers is a North Carolina native. She graduated from East Carolina University with a double major in Mathematics and Education. Hannah has been teaching for 8 years. She currently teaches Math 1 and Math 2 at Green Hope High School in Cary. Hannah holds a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University.

Hannah Beers
"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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