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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.

Instructors

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Kelly Jones - National Language Arts Director

Kelly is the National Language Arts Director of AoPS Academy, and she considers herself lucky to have been a part of the Morrisville Academy since it opened its doors in 2014. 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 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kelly Jones - National Language Arts Director

Katie Doles - Campus Director

Katie Doles is the Campus 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 Doles - Campus Director

Tim MacNeil - Assistant Campus Director

Tim MacNeil is the Assistant Campus Director for AoPS Academy in Morrisville, NC. Tim completed his Bachelors of Science in Mathematics Education at North Carolina State University and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Statistics. For five years, Tim worked as a private tutor and the Assistant Coordinator of the Academic Skills Center at Vance-Granville Community College where he specialized in training the school's mathematics tutors, organizing study groups and assisting students at all skill levels. In his free time, Tim loves spending time with his daughter, solving problems that 'are just a few steps away', playing video games and coordinating a yearly academic conference focusing on the study of games.

Tim MacNeil - Assistant Campus Director

Dr. 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.

Dr. Frank Ethridge

Dr. 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​.

Dr. Shenek Alston

Dr. 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.

Dr. 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

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

Dr. 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.

Dr. 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

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

Dr. 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.

Dr. 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

Dr. 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.

Dr. Boyd Blackburn

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

Lisa Eise

Lisa is a veteran teacher with over twenty years of classroom teaching experience. She holds an education degree from Meredith College's renowned program. With her vast teaching experience across a variety of grade levels, Lisa brings creativity, joy, energy, and a love for teaching into her classroom each and every day. Lisa has a passion for the language arts, particularly for reading and making books come to life in the classroom.

Lisa Eise

John Warren

John Warren has twenty years of experience teaching language arts in both English and Spanish to a wide variety of learners. He is a graduate of Florida State University with a major in International Affairs. John also graduated with distinction from New York University with a Master's degree in International Education. In 2012, he was the banner-bearer for the Department of Humanities at NYU’s Steinhardt School. During his time at NYU, John was president of the student board and received a service award from the department faculty. John is passionate about learning new things in his own life, and he hopes to pass on that enthusiasm to his students as well.

John Warren

Miriam Diller

Miriam holds a master's in English literature from Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey) and a bachelor's in English from North Carolina State University. In the past 15 years, she has taught or tutored students at almost every level of reading and writing, from elementary school to college. She also has extensive experience in editing and research. In the classroom, Miriam loves to incorporate students' interests and backgrounds into the classroom when possible, engaging students while emphasizing the wide applicability of language arts skills.

Miriam Diller

Matthew Smith

Before joining AoPS Academy, Matthew gained experience teaching and tutoring across a variety of settings. After working as an ACT, SAT, and academic reading and writing teacher at a tutoring center, Matthew's passion for education prompted him to become an English instructor at NC State and Durham Tech Community College. Matthew's degree in Philosophy from NC State has led him to reflect often on the power of inspirational teachers. Matthew firmly believes that the mark of a good teacher is made by his ability to inspire others, and he's excited to inspire AoPS students to become brilliant thinkers and communicators.

Matthew Smith

Melissa Harding

Melissa Harding is excited to join the team of instructors here at AoPS. She received her degree in Mathematics from Meredith College in 2011 and proceeded to teach six years of middle school math in Person County. Having recently relocated back to the Triangle area, Melissa now tutors math privately during the day for two 5th graders and helps two high school students with homework in the evening. Her favorite number is three and when she is not doing math she enjoys visiting her with family, dancing until she drops, or creating beautiful arts and crafts. She can't wait to jump into deep problem solving and intense critical thinking while getting to know all the wonderful students in her class.

Melissa Harding

Sudha Kona

Sudha has earned her Master’s degree in Computer Science from University of Illinois at Springfield with a GPA of 3.95. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and has extensive programming experience in web and enterprise technologies. She taught programming languages for undergraduate students in India. Sudha has a passion for mathematics and loves to help children in discovering the joy of math. She likes to spend her spare time solving Sudoku puzzles and listening to music.

Sudha Kona

Douglas Marks

Douglas earned his M.S. in mathematics from the North Carolina State University. Douglas spent five years teaching at the North Carolina School of Math and Science. He currently works for an educational software company coding math problems. Douglas has experience with a range of high school level mathematics courses and electives. Douglas enjoys teaching highly motivated students to learn and understand mathematics.

Douglas Marks
"My children have been students of AoPS Academy for several years now. The staff is very good at identifying and encouraging high achieving students to attain their fullest potential. The instructors engage kids to solve tough math problems, and push them to think logically and come up with unique solutions, instead of following a memorized formula. I have witnessed many classes where students are given the opportunity to suggest multiple ways of approaching the same problem. This has really helped my children develop independent learning skills and a stronger foundation in mathematics. The staff truly care for each and every student’s growth. Every child gets an abundance of individual attention. Programs such as the math competition classes, MATHCOUNTS Trainer Contest, and Short Story Contest really challenge the kids to reach up to the next level. The language arts classes like Debate & Public Speaking and College Essay Writing provide a much higher quality of education for their students. Thank you so much for being such a valuable resource for my children. "
-Usha D.
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