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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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Alex Hanner

Alex Hanner Senior Campus Director

Alex studied English literature and creative writing at Elon University, where she fell in love with North Carolina. She went on to earn her Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, and she began her education career as a middle school writing workshop teacher in New Jersey. Alex was thrilled to return to North Carolina in 2019 to join the AoPS Academy team--first as the Language Arts Associate Director, and now, as the Campus Director. She has always been drawn to the after-school learning space, as it attracts a uniquely-spirited student body--one that is passionate about learning, and has fun doing it! She was especially drawn to AoPS based on its rich curriculum and highly-motivated (and motivating!) staff. Alex loves getting to know each of her students deeply, not only as learners, but as individuals with unique interests and offerings. Moreover, she loves to laugh and learn, and she finds no shortage of opportunities for both in this line of work; there's never a dull moment with AoPS students! She strives to create a warm and welcoming environment for her students while also maintaining high standards and holding them accountable. She believes in fostering a sense of community in her classroom — one that is engaging, fun, and rigorous!

Angel Bell

Angel Bell Senior Associate Director

Angel knew she wanted to be a teacher at age five. In 2008, she accepted the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Scholarship and attended Queens University of Charlotte, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and secondary education. Since that time, Angel received licenses for K-6 Elementary Education, 6-8 Math and Science, and 9-12 Math. After leaving public education, she began working for private education, which includes managing a tutoring center, teaching for online private schools, and eventually teaching for Virtual Campus and AoPS Online. She first learned about the Art of Problem Solving through their textbooks, which were introduced to her when she began coaching students for math contests. She loves the curriculum and believes nothing can come close to the teaching methodology and rigorous content. Her love for teaching transfers to the joy she feels when students master something new. Their excitement about learning matters most to her, especially when they begin to become just as passionate as she is about mathematics. Angel strives to create a positive, fun, and welcoming classroom environment. Through her bubbly personality and excitement for her work, kids know they can come in wherever they are in their learning and have fun working through a challenge together.

Lakshmi Ganesan

Lakshmi Ganesan Senior Associate Director

Lakshmi has bachelor's degrees in mathematics and middle school education and a master's degree in computer science. Her professional background includes ten years of teaching experience in Wake County Public School System, coupled with her involvement in the AoPS curriculum. The curriculum offered by AoPS is what immediately caught her attention and drew her to work here. It's a perfect blend of challenge and in-depth knowledge presented in an easy-to-understand manner, making math fascinating for students. She is passionate about teaching and believes that a curriculum that emphasizes in-depth knowledge is the key to success. That's why she was excited to join the team at AoPS. She really enjoys seeing students develop and become more confident at school and seeing them learn and grow as learners. She also loves the fact that she is able to have such a huge impact on these students' lives. Every day is different and it is never boring! Lakshmi prioritizes class engagement in her teaching style, ensuring that all students are actively involved. She is flexible in adapting her teaching methods to accommodate the needs of every individual, breaking down instructions to enhance comprehension for all. Additionally, she strongly believes that as teachers, they play a crucial role in fostering the holistic development of students.

Hannah Beers

Hannah Beers Associate Director

Hannah is an Associate Director for Elementary Math and Language Arts with over 15 years of experience in education. A North Carolina native, Hannah grew up in Morrisville, graduated from East Carolina University with degrees in mathematics and mathematics education, and holds a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Concordia University. She first encountered Art of Problem Solving and Beast Academy in 2015, when she came across a local academy using the AoPS material to inspire and enhance children's problem-solving skills. She loves helping students find a safe place to learn, explore, and grow. Seeing their faces light up when they finally understand a difficult topic or leave the classroom telling their parents how much fun they had in class is the highlight of her days. In the classroom, Hannah is dedicated to creating a structured yet nurturing environment that effectively engages students at their individual levels.

Matt Smith

Matt Smith Associate Director

Matt is the Associate Director of Language Arts at AoPS Morrisville, a former North Carolina State University instructor, and a published short story author. He discovered his love for teaching while earning his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy with minors in literature and cognitive science at NCSU. His academic interests center around logic, grammar, and stream-of-consciousness literature. After teaching in primary and higher-education settings, Matt was drawn to the advanced-level writing curriculum at Art of Problem Solving. He often admires how the writing challenges at AoPS "require students to become independent thinkers and expert revisionists." Of the many things to love about working with students, Matt's favorite is teaching young writers to look at language scientifically. "There are formulas and variables in English just as in mathematics. If you use them correctly, you can prove your thesis." Matt's teaching style is a combination of interactive and energetic. He loves to laugh, tell stories, and hear stories from his students' lives.


Office Staff

Kirti Pathak

Kirti Pathak Administrative Manager

Kirti has an undergraduate degree in accounting from Delhi University. She has five years of experience in the fashion industry. She witnessed firsthand how much her children enjoyed the unique learning approach upon joining AoPS. She loves being with students; their energy and excitement is contagious. Watching them learn and discover something new every day is a rewarding experience.

Deepa Nidumuri

Deepa Nidumuri Front Desk Lead

Deepa earned her undergraduate degree in math, statistics and economics from Bangalore University and her associates degree in computer programming from Durham Tech Community College. She has been a member of AoPS Academy since 2015 where she is the Front Desk Lead and a Math Instructor. What drew Deepa to AoPS is their family-friendly culture and a supportive environment. She finds their curriculum and teaching methods very rich and engaging which foster a positive environment for the students. She enjoys seeing happy students and families at the academy. She loves reading the Beast Academy books, and her favorite beast is Grogg. Deepa finds working with students a very rewarding and fulfilling experience where she gets to see them learn and grow. She admires students' eagerness and enthusiasm to take on new challenges in classrooms. It is truly inspiring for her to see their happy faces and positive attitudes in the academy. She believes in creating an engaging and interactive learning environment.

Leanne Bajkowski

Leanne Bajkowski Front Desk Associate

Leanne has an educational background in art history and higher education. Professionally, she has been working in higher education for about 6 years. When learning about AoPS, she noticed their extensive curriculum and small class sizes. She noticed it's a great place to work with kids in the education field. Leanne enjoys being to interact with the kids and their unique personalities. Complementing on their colorful and fun outfits brightens her weekend.

Sonia Torres

Sonia Torres Front Desk Associate

Sonia holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in social work from NC State, as well as an MBA from UNC Pembroke. She currently works with diverse populations, facilitating access to medications and other essential services. Sonia was drawn to the AoPS for its reputation for providing effective strategies and resources that enhance problem-solving skills. Sonia loves seeing students' progress and growth as they grasp new concepts and gain confidence in their abilities. She also enjoys building meaningful connections and helping students achieve their academic goals.

Rohin Arivudainambi

Rohin Arivudainambi Campus Facilities Assistant

Rohin, a North Carolina high schooler with a strong educational foundation and former student of AoPS, was drawn to AoPS by its supportive atmosphere. He loves connecting with students, and witnessing their growth and success within the collaborative and kind environment AoPS offers.

Om Gautam

Om Gautam Campus Facilities & Teaching Assistant

Om is a rising freshman at Georgia Tech majoring in computer science. He was drawn to AoPS ever since he starting taking math classes there in 5th grade. He loves to help students solve their problems and keep a smile on their face.

Siddarth Giridharan

Siddarth Giridharan Teaching Assistant

Sid is a junior at the Early College at Guilford in Greensboro, NC, and has been a TA at AoPS for over a year now. He first started taking online AoPS classes in elementary and middle school, and has attended various summer camps at AoPS (his favorite was Game Theory!) Sid loves working as a TA for Office Hours sessions because it gives him a chance to understand the unique ways in which each of his students think.

Abhinav Gurram

Abhinav Gurram Campus Facilities Assistant

Abhinav is a high school senior at Green Hope High School. In the past, he was a student at AoPS and the engaging teaching style and rigorous curriculum drew him to want to give back. What he loves most about working with students is watching them develop not just their problem-solving abilities, but also their love of learning and discovering creative ways to tackle challenges.

Paul Hamrick

Paul Hamrick Teaching Assistant

Paul took quite a few classes at the Art of Problem Solving in elementary school, middle school, and high school and did well in mathematical olympiads. He is now a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in mathematics. When Paul was younger and needed challenging math classes, he found AoPS a valuable resource to use. Now that he is older, he wants to help students in the position he once was. He likes the moment when a student who has been struggling with a concept gets it.

Raina Martens

Raina Martens Teaching Assistant

Raina is currently planning to attend NC State this upcoming fall. She is majoring in electrical engineering at the College of Engineering. She has been passionate about math since she was a student at the Art of Problem Solving in 5th grade. Teaching allows her to share her love for the subject and give back to the organization which was so impactful in her own life.

Iye Massaquoi

Iye Massaquoi Front Desk Associate

Iye attended North Carolina State University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in anthropology. After undergrad, she decided to pursue a career in health care. Iye was drawn to AoPS because of AoPS' mission — challenging young minds to go beyond the basics of what is taught in the classroom. Iye believes pouring into our youth means pouring back into our communities. Iye enjoys working with students because no matter how academically gifted they are, she loves seeing kids just being kids.

Surekha Reddy Patlolla

Surekha Reddy Patlolla Front Desk Associate

Surekha joined AoPS in 2018 and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. She has completed medical billing and coding course and earned certified professional coder certification from American Academy of Professional Coders. She is currently working for a well-known and the best primary care clinic in NC. She always feels proud to be a part of AoPS and students' lives, who work very hard to achieve their goals. It is truly an amazing experience to watch them learn and grow.

Ananya Pragaturu

Ananya Pragaturu Teaching Assistant

Ananya is in her senior year of high school at Panther Creek. She is planning on attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is very excited for the next chapter in her educational journey! Her love of learning and passion for teaching drew her to the wonderful AoPS community! She loves sharing new and innovative ideas with all of her peers. What Ananya loves most about working with students is how unique and out-of-the-box they can be. Hearing the most interesting solutions to the most basic of problems brings many new perspectives to the table.

Akshaya Rajesh

Akshaya Rajesh Front Desk Associate, Campus Facilities & Teaching Assistant

Akshaya is a senior, currently attending Panther Creek High School. She joined AoPS after seeing the welcoming campus and the wonderful staff. The biggest thing that Akshaya loves about working with children is the funny conversations they have. She enjoys learning about the way the students view the world.

Niklas Regan

Niklas Regan Campus Facilities & Teaching Assistant

Niklas is a high school senior who will be attending college in the fall, majoring in arts, animation. He joined the team when one of his favorite teachers recommended him for an opening. He loves the welcoming atmosphere and his coworkers. Nik loves getting to know all the unique personalities of the students and help them do their best.

Akash Sathish

Akash Sathish Campus Facilities Assistant

Akash is currently a junior at Green Level High School, and he has worked and volunteered in the educational field in multiple different positions before. He was drawn to AoPS because of the friendly staff and the campus environment. Akash's favorite thing about working with students is their happy attitudes and their smiles.

Jodianne Smith

Jodianne Smith Front Desk Associate

Jodianne's passion for business and connecting with people led her to attend the University of Central Florida and receive a degree in business. She has held various roles in business, including HR, project management, and accounting, but currently works in tech sales. She was drawn to AoPS due to their supportive culture and the students academic ambition. Jodianne admires the students drive to challenge themselves and learn more. She loves the students' enthusiasm and passion to do well. Her favorite part is hearing the students stories.

Gladys Torres

Gladys Torres Front Desk Associate

Gladys is a medical and dental insurance specialist. She became interested in AoPS when she was searching for a part-time position with flexibility. Gladys loves the atmosphere and enjoys seeing the students smile. She believes the staff is amazing!


Instructors

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Rasha Dumarieh

Rasha Dumarieh Senior Instructor

Rasha has been teaching at AoPS since 2019. She tutored math from the developmental level through calculus when she was a college student, and had recently been working with math students at Durham Tech Community College. Rasha earned her bachelor’s degree in software information systems with a minor in math from UNC Charlotte, where she also earned a master’s degree in architecture. She moved from Charlotte to the Raleigh area to start a fellowship at a non-profit design organization, but her interest in teaching and helping students led her to Durham Tech and then to AoPS. Rasha loves math and is passionate about making the subject engaging for her students. She likes to give a lot of examples in class and encourages her students to share and articulate their mathematical ideas.

Himani Pandey

Himani Pandey Senior Instructor

Himani's love for math and science sparked a deep appreciation when she started noticing intricate patterns, structures and relationship that math underlies in the natural world. The belief that everything around us is math prompted her to earn a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree in science from the University of Jabalpur, India. Furthermore, she earned a master's degree in business administration with specialization in human resource management from IGNOU Delhi, India. With more than two decades of experience in private tutoring, she was drawn to AoPS due to its innovative approach to teaching math which emphasizes on conceptual understanding and problem solving skills over memorization as this closely resembles her teaching style. She loves working with students and enjoys witnessing their moments of insight when they grasp a challenging concept on their own. Her teaching style is focused on creating an engaging and interactive classroom environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and exploring new ideas.

Dr. Shenek Alston

Dr. Shenek Alston

Dr. Shenek Alston has a PhD in statistics and BS in math. She has taught at the collegiate level. Currently she homeschools her children. She began tutoring math in college, and did so for years. In 2014, she joined what was then Advanced Placement Academy (which later became Art of Problem Solving). Working at Art of Problem Solving has provided Shenek the opportunity to be exposed to rigorous curriculum for children. Becoming a better math teacher is important to Shenek, and she hopes to be able to continue to learn. She likes to be able to explain math concepts step by step.

Linda Baker

Linda Baker

Linda is a caareer teacher with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Education. She is also certified to work with the Academically and Intellectually Gifted program and is an international instructor for IBM. Linda has experience teaching grades 1st through 8th grade language arts and math. She belives the AoPS vision corresponds with her vision, which is to propel and inpsire youth to reach their full potention. Working with AoPS students is her happy place because of the rigor, creativity, and critical thinking required in the material. Linda's teaching style is thorough, challenging, and inspiring, and she infuses it with a huge drop of positivity and humor.

Dilip Barman

Dilip Barman

Dilip Barman loves math and teaching. He has taught students at all levels from elementary school through college, and holds degrees in mathematical sciences from The Johns Hopkins University, computer science and software development from Marist College, and computer science from Brown University. His post-graduate research applied computationally feasible hypermedia and artificial intelligence (AI) to practical instructional. He then worked in software and hardware development at IBM. Dilip is also a prize-winning photographer and has taught photography for many years. A passionate vegan cook, he hosts the largest vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner in the US every November. Dilip is a member of the Triangle Math Teachers' Circle and homeschools his elementary-school-aged daughter.

Devan Beers

Devan Beers

Devan is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with her bachelor's degree in elementary education. She has 6 years experience as a 6th grade mathematics teacher. She has also worked in pre-k for two years and as a special education assistant for 2 years. Devan began working at AoPS after learning about the program; she loved that the students learned why math concepts work, not just memorizing formulas. She would describe her teaching style as hands-on and engaging, while also having fun with her students.

John Bolen

John Bolen

John has taught English and Writing at the university and high school levels. He was drawn to AoPS for the curriculum and students, and he loves watching students succeed and learn new ways to express themselves. He describes his teaching style as immersive, structuring his lectures by activities and opportunities to be creative.

Kyra Burton

Kyra Burton

Kyra has over ten years of teaching experience, including classroom teaching, ESL, and STEM. She is a lover of creative writing, children’s books, and public libraries. In 2018, Kyra published her first children’s book, “America, Here I Come!”. The story was inspired by Kyra’s actual students who moved to the United States and have shared their feelings and experiences. In addition to being an author, Kyra has been a writer for educational programming for television for 10 years and is an accomplished documentarian with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. She was drawn to AoPS because of the unique learning experience in the Language Arts classes that boost confidence and creativity. She also enjoys getting to know the families. Kyra's teaching style is nurturing and supportive.

Nikita Choudhary

Nikita Choudhary

Nikita got her undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University, where she took many math and statistics classes. She was drawn to AoPS once she realized it would be an ideal environment to keep her passion for teaching and working with students alive. What she loves most about working with students is seeing the smiles on their faces once they finally understand something. She really loves getting the inquisitive side of students to come out. She would describe her teaching style as warm and welcoming, striving to connect with each and every student, while supporting them every step of the way in their learning experience. She aims to make sure every student of hers is excited to come to class and thoroughly engaged with the material.

Logan Do

Logan Do

Logan has always had a deep passion for mathematics and education, which led her to obtain a bachelor's degree in engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. During her time in college, she worked as a math tutor for a large variety of students and subjects. After working as a consultant post-grad, she decided to return to her tutoring roots and became a math instructor with AoPS. In this role, Logan discovered her passion for teaching and working with adolescents to engage and explore their critical-thinking skills. Logan deeply enjoys connecting with her students and helping them look at math through a different perspective. She loves getting to hear and visualize problems from all the different lenses of her students. She is a high-energy, supportive teacher who frequently applies Socratic questioning to build her students' confidence through teaching them how to independently solve problems.

Katie Doles

Katie Doles

Katie was previously the Campus Director for Morrisville for five years before moving to a position with AoPS headquarters. She holds a master's degree in mathematics from Wake Forest University, where her thesis topic was Three Player Partizan Game Theory. She has extensive teaching experience with students of many ages, from elementary school through advanced college courses. Having received her own middle and high-school math education through Art of Problem Solving, Katie said in her initial application to Art of Problem Solving in 2017, “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 has a heart of a coach and a genuine love for mathematics. Her goal is to spread her contagious passion for math and learning to those around her. She finds great meaning and satisfaction in guiding students to understand the why of math, she loves the potential students have, and she is honored to be part of their journeys. Katie is a generally strict teacher. However, if the students follow her rules (which mostly involve not making noise without permission), she is very fun and easily excited. Questions are welcome, no matter how silly it may seem, and exploration and curiosity are the priority.

Joshua Edgerton

Joshua Edgerton

Joshua graduated from Appalachian State University where he earned a bachelor's degree in applied physics and a master's degree in engineering physics. From there he went on to work as a controls engineer until he decided to pursue work in education. He was drawn to AoPS by their philosophy of having students explore challenging problems themselves and pushing them to become critical thinkers and problem solvers. Joshua's favorite part of working with students is watching them break down and overcome problems that they initially think they won't be able to solve. He finds it incredibly rewarding to guide students in developing their math skills. He likes to let students take the lead on problems, even if they make mistakes. He believes those mistakes and examining the problem solving process is crucial for student growth, and often times it is the problems that students get wrong that teach them more than the ones they get right!

Lisa Eise

Lisa Eise

Lisa went to Meredith College, where she received her bachelor's degree in education. Lisa has been in education for 28 years and has taught a variety of grade levels, including 2nd, 3rd, and 5th. Lisa is currently teaching 3rd grade at York Elementary. AoPS is a collaborative, high-energy, and fun learning environment where students are challenged academically with a strong curriculum and supportive instructors and classmates. The students are so smart, energetic, and willing to take academic risks, which always leads to them shining and becoming confident learners as they continue their education journey. Lisa has a safe, caring, and collaborative classroom environment. She makes the students feel welcome which allows the students to feel safe to take risks and flourish as learners.

Dr. Mohamed Elgindi

Dr. Mohamed Elgindi

Mohamed has a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Ph.D. in mathematics. He has taught mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1987-2011) and Texas A & M University in Qatar (2011-2020). He also has experience in design and managed the offering of Mathematics for Young Achievers to K-12 students with special interest and talent in mathematics (1995-2008). AoPS is a program that offers excellent mathematics courses to K-12 children with a passion for mathematics. He finds working with young students and observing the development of their skills, interests, and knowledge in mathematics to be very interesting. Mohamed practices conventional lecturing and group work on challenging problems and activities.

Dr. Frank Ethridge

Dr. Frank Ethridge

Frank has a Ph.D. in mathematics from Courant Institute at New York University and an MBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill. He chose AoPS because it represented an opportunity to work with talented young people and a chance to help teach and motivate students as they prepare to transition to college studies. Frank enjoys seeing students make progress and break throughs in learning. He believes it is always fun to see a light come on when a student understands a new concept for the first time. He also likes hearing from prior students about successes in the college admissions process is also rewarding. Frank's teaching style is interactive and involves a lot of cold calling. His experience has been that students learn more when they are on their toes and engage in the lecture.

Shyamala Gopalakrishnan

Shyamala Gopalakrishnan

Shyamala has a master's degree in math, computer science, and data processing from India. Before joining AoPS, she taught reading and math to elementary students as an instructional aide. Shyamala also worked as an instructor at Mathnasium. Shyamala was drawn to AoPS by its rigorous problem solving-focused curriculum. It encourages students to pursue a deeper understanding of the content. It is very rewarding to see the progress made by students over time. The meaningful interactions and experiences with the students is an enriching learning experience for all involved. Her role as a teacher is to encourage student engagement and critical thinking. She believes in creating a classroom atmosphere where students feel comfortable expressing themselves and taking risks in their learning.

Anastasiia Gorodilova

Anastasiia Gorodilova

Anastasiia earned both master's and bachelor's degrees from Novosibirsk State University in Russia, followed by a Ph.D. in mathematics at a scientific center in the heart of Siberia. With 10 years of experience as a math researcher and teaching math courses at both high school and university levels, she is well-equipped to engage students in the subject. Anastasiia is happy to share her love for mathematics with students. That's why she is here with AoPS, where mathematics becomes challenging! It is fantastic to see a student find a solution to a difficult math problem. She knows how incredible that feeling of discovering new amazing mathematical facts is! Her teaching style is inspired by her university motto: "We will not make you smarter; we will teach you to think!"

Isaac Groves

Isaac Groves

After going to UNC-Chapel Hill for a journalism degree, Isaac was a reporter at the Burlington Times-News for more than a decade. He enjoyed the work, and it honed his writing and research skills. The prospect of teaching at AoPS appealed to Isaac because he wanted to pass on his experience and education. Actually teaching, however, has been a true learning experience for him. Students' questions and ideas have pushed Isaac to think more deeply about writing and its mechanics than he has since college. While it's important to manage a classroom, Isaac has learned letting students talk out their thoughts about their lessons brings out the most interesting ideas. It can get a little loud, but helping them flesh those ideas out brings real satisfaction, and seeing them stretch themselves and improve their writing is truly rewarding.

Paul Hlebowitsh

Paul Hlebowitsh

Paul went to MIT for his undergraduate and master's degrees in electrical engineering. Electrical engineering can be very math heavy, and being good at math has helped him my career, where he has worked on wireless power, ultra-low power package trackers, and industrial smart LED lighting. Recently, he was the lead electrical engineer on a commercial carbon nanotube-based x-ray system, and he's currently working on improving image quality in tomosynthesis-based reconstruction algorithms. Back in high school, math competitions were his favorite activity. To prepare for them, he used the "Art of Problem Solving" textbooks. Back then, there were fewer opportunities to learn problem solving, and he really enjoyed the books. In general, he's attracted to the philosophy of AoPS, where the application of strong fundamentals to novel problems is emphasized. Paul enjoys seeing students learn and passing down the fire! His teaching style is high-energy.

Donald Katahdin

Donald Katahdin

Don has earned one master's and three bachelor's degrees, all from different universities. His majors include physics, electrical engineering, computer studies, and mathematics. Professionally he has designed electric circuits and written countless software programs. Currently, he is most interested in teaching mathematics, which is how he found AoPS. Students are amazing people. They are like sponges, soaking up knowledge. It's quite rewarding to witness this from a teacher's perspective. He loves to solve problems but loves even more the different ways that students solve them. Nurturing creativity is key to finding alternative ways of thinking about mathematics.

George Kattan

George Kattan

George holds a master's degree in mathematics focused on statistics and finance from Western Illinois University. He also earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Chowan University. George gained a lot of his experience through teaching assistantships and private tutoring by working with students of all different ages and backgrounds. George loves working at AoPS as he enjoys teaching talented students who love math and show passion to learn. Working with students of different ages imposes a lot of challenges that help George expand his knowledge in the subject and share it as part of his teaching style while allowing students to critically think.

Lucas Leveillee

Lucas Leveillee

Lucas received his undergraduate degree in English literature & creative writing from Elon University. Lucas has teaching experience running creative writing workshops with students and is an active substitute teacher in the Carrboro-Chapel Hill school system. He was drawn to instruct at AoPS because of the opportunity it provides to hone his teaching skills for the benefit of the students in his local community. He also feels that language arts learning can and should be engaging and enjoyable at any level of education, and AoPS embodies that philosophy. What Lucas loves most about working with students is how they can often surprise you with their creative ideas, and he likes collaborating with students to make learning and presenting new ideas fun. He would describe his teaching style as promoting creativity and insightful learning by creating an environment for students to ask questions and explore new ideas without fear.

Dr. Shelly-Ann Love

Dr. Shelly-Ann Love

Shelly-Ann is a Ph.D.-trained epidemiologist who conducts health research studies. Her love for math and desire to see students succeed drew her to AoPS. Shelly-Ann loves it when students conquer their fears and other challenges to learn and master new mathematical concepts. Her teaching style is simple, motivating, uplifting, reaffirming, and fun. Shelly-Ann creates a safe space for the students to express their thoughts boldly and freely.

Alina Lozhnikova

Alina Lozhnikova

Alina works as a teacher of math for 7th and 8th grades in WCPSS Connections Academy Middle School. It is an alternative school serving students at different levels of math. Alina teaches Math 7, Math 8, and NC Math 1 courses. She was always curious about different ways of teaching math, so she applied to AoPS and got hired. What caught her attention was how they go above and beyond each topic keeping students' interest to math and helping them not to be afraid of complicated problems. Working with students Alina loves most when the students say: "I solved this problem the different way!" Sometimes they demonstrate very sophisticated and efficient strategies which she as a teacher didn´t even think of. Her teaching style is calm and friendly. She likes good laugh and encourages students to express their opinions on different matters.

Auten Lunsford

Auten Lunsford

Auten earned a B.S. in applied math and a minor in statistics and analytics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has experience as a summer camp counselor and has tutored students of all ages in math and statistics. While studying real analysis in college, Auten developed a deep appreciation for rigorous mathematics. He began teaching at AoPS to foster a similar appreciation in youths, challenging them to think critically and master the fundamentals of math early on. The passion and curiosity of young learners inspires Auten to investigate his own knowledge and learn more. He is delighted to be a role model to the rising generations and promote their understanding of such an important subject. He tests students' depth of understanding, requiring them to explain their thinking and offsetting their expectations with unusual problems. He believes it is most important for a student to be able to clearly demonstrate and communicate their knowledge.

Tim MacNeil

Tim MacNeil

Tim received his bachelor's degree in mathematics education and his master’s degree in statistics at North Carolina State University (NCSU). Tim previously worked as the Associate Director at AoPS in Morrisville and ran a tutoring center at a community college before choosing to take a position at his alma mater. At NCSU, he hires, teaches, and trains the teaching assistants of the computer science department to better prepare them to support their fellow students. Tim first heard about AoPS when he was working through a difficult math problem for hours and discovered an elegant solution presented by AoPS. To his surprise, the first AoPS Academy was within driving distance and he applied for a job. Tim loves working through challenging and fun problems and having 'lightbulbs' go off when students see the 'big brain' approach. His teaching style is engaged, critical and fun with a lot of random stories.

Courtney Manahan

Courtney Manahan

Courtney completed her bachelor’s degree in education at Frostburg State University and earned her master’s degree in mathematics education from Towson University. She taught for 6 years and now works in curriculum development. She loves the challenging and thought provoking curriculum that AoPS has and enjoys getting students excited about math. She strives to have an engaging classroom environment that students feel comfortable working in.

Benjamin Martens

Benjamin Martens

Benjamin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from MIT, where he served as a TA for an introductory computer science class. His career has been varied, including vaccine biopharmaceutical production, controls engineering for a turbine manufacturer, and work as a bond trader and strategist. He developed a love for teaching as a MATHCOUNTS coach and was drawn to AoPS because of the level of challenge available. He most loves the enthusiasm of his students and the atmosphere of friendly competition. Benjamin's teaching style is in the direction of applied mathematics. He loves to provide real world commentary on the practical application of the techniques that students are learning.

Alissa McElreath

Alissa McElreath

Alissa holds two Master of Arts degrees — one in creative writing from the University of Binghamton, where she studied under the poet Ruth Stone, and a second degree from the University of Rochester in English language and literature. She has been an educator for over 25 years and began her career teaching in higher education before switching to work with the public school system. She is licensed to teach grades 6-9 and 9-12. She also holds an add-on certification to teach reading in grades K-12. She has been teaching 8th grade in Wake County since 2021 and will be taking on a new job teaching high school English for the 2024-2025 school year and beyond. Alissa has been an instructor at AoPS for 7 years and loves the energy and excitement towards learning that her students bring to the classroom. She seeks to foster a life-long love for learning and curiosity about the world in all of her students and enjoys sharing her passion for reading and writing with them at every opportunity.

Dr. Michael Medvinsky

Dr. Michael Medvinsky

Today, Michael is an applied mathematician, but he also carries additional background and experience in education, and software and hardware development. He was drawn by many good stories from parents of AoPS students — he thought he could be a part of that good story. He loves to share his knowledge. In addition, he loves that young students provide immediate feedback through their eyes and smiles when they understand. Michael explains and provides extra examples while encouraging the student to learn. He tries to create situations where students are able to find the solution by themselves.

Deepa Nidumuri

Deepa Nidumuri

Deepa earned her undergraduate degree in math, statistics and economics from Bangalore University and her associates degree in computer programming from Durham Tech Community College. She has been a member of AoPS Academy since 2015 where she is the Front Desk Lead and a Math Instructor. What drew Deepa to AoPS is their family - friendly culture and a supportive environment. She finds their curriculum and teaching methods very rich and engaging which foster a positive environment for the students. She enjoys seeing happy students and families at the academy. She loves reading the beast academy books and her favorite beast is Grogg. Deepa finds working with students a very rewarding and fulfilling experience where she gets to see them learn and grow. She admires student's eagerness and enthusiasm to take on new challenges in classrooms. It is truly inspiring for her to see their happy faces and positive attitudes in the academy. She believes in creating an engaging and interactive learning environment.

Jayasri Panangipalli

Jayasri Panangipalli

Jayasri has over 7 years of experience teaching at both elementary and college levels. She holds a master's degree and bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in India. She has taught students at an engineering college for 3 years. Currently, she has been working at a Wake County public school. She enjoys finding various ways to make learning fun, challenging and to encourage students to form a positive connection with math. Jayasri admires their natural curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. She feels like it is rewarding to see young minds grasp new concepts and to foster a love for math that can last a lifetime. Her teaching style focuses on creating a fun and engaging environment in the class where students feel free to give creative ideas. She is a coach and demonstrator, and uses exciting activities depending upon the topic and situation.

Brian Phillips

Brian Phillips

Brian is a retired environmental, health and safety professional with 40 years of experience. He holds a BSChE from NCSU, and a Masters of Science in occupational health and safety from Eastern Kentucky University. He learned about AoPS through word-of-mouth. He has always wanted to be a teacher and upon retiring, he taught math and science at local middle schools. He enjoys getting young people excited about learning. He has a hands-on style and likes to use real-life experiences to motivate young people.

Wendy Rich

Wendy Rich

Wendy earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stonehill College and her master’s degree in education from UMass Boston. She has experience teaching English both domestically and abroad, conducting educational research, coordinating districtwide language assessments, and writing curriculum for after-school programs. Wendy appreciates the unique synergy between AoPS’ challenging curriculum and highly motivated students. She is passionate about teaching language arts and enjoys connecting with students to help them overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential. Her teaching style is fair, open, and inclusive of all voices. She sets high expectations but is always available to provide guidance and support along the way.

Stephanie

Stephanie "Blake" Sigmon

Blake has been an LA instructor at AoPS since 2018. She is also a licensed speech-language pathologist specializing in language acquisition and use (i.e., phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics) in school-aged children. Blake is a North Carolina native and earned her Master of Arts degree in speech-language pathology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She loves watching students develop confidence in translating their thoughts into writing. She aims for students to have the speaking and writing skills to express their perspectives efficiently. Additionally, Blake strives to create a supportive and engaging learning environment that shows the real-world relevance and applications of what is taught to motivate and engage students.

Shannon Smithberger

Shannon Smithberger

Curiosity about the natural world led Shannon to earn a bachelor's degree in biology and animal behavior from Hiram College in Ohio and a master's degree in natural science from Rensselaer in New York. She has 25 years of teaching experience in traditional and nontraditional classrooms in Maryland, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. While passionate about science, Shannon's love of reading and writing (she was a K-8 school librarian and middle school language arts teacher for two years) led her to AoPS. Their accelerated and engaging curricula and novel selections really caught her attention. The highlight of any teaching experience for Shannon is the ""a ha"" moment - when a student suddenly has true understanding of a concept or makes the deeper connection with the instructional material. The student's facial expression in that moment is priceless and is why she teaches. Shannon's teaching style of student-centered, teacher-anchored encourages a collaborative classroom dynamic while still focusing on individual self discovery.

Shreyas Tikare

Shreyas Tikare

Shreyas grew up in Cary, NC and has a BS in mathematics from UNC Chapel Hill and an MA in mathematics from Princeton University. He has been tutoring middle and high schoolers in math since 2006, and he most recently worked as a data analytics consultant at IBM. He was drawn to AoPS because of the program's commitment to helping students develop analytical and problem solving skills. Shreyas loves sharing his passion for math and helping his students recognize the connections between math and its real life applications. In the classroom, Shreyas strives to inspire confidence in his students to take on challenging problems one step at a time and to learn from their mistakes rather than being afraid of failure.

Richard Tillies

Richard Tillies

Richard has a Master of Science in education and Bachelor of Science in computer science from Radford University in Virginia. His professional background includes over two decades of college classroom teaching experience in information technology and mathematics. His students (as well as many of his colleagues and friends) call him "Professor T." He was gifted in math and technology as a child, and he wishes a program like AoPS existed. To that end, he enjoys working with advanced students to broaden their STEM horizons beyond the traditional curriculum. He believes teaching is all about the "A-HA" moment. You can see it in their eyes, their face, and their body language. There is a mutual feeling of joy for himself and the students. Richard's teaching style is all about scaffolding: learning the fundamentals to the point where you can teach someone else, then layer with "shortcuts" that only make sense because you understand the basics.

Karen Varney

Karen Varney

Karen earned her bachelor’s degree in the political economy of industrial societies from the University of California, Berkeley. She then went on to earn her master’s degree in education from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She has over twenty years of experience as a middle school classroom teacher, teaching both language arts and social studies. She was drawn to AoPS by the excellent reputation the academy has in the community surrounding the Morrisville, North Carolina campus. Her strongest students mentioned going to AoPS to advance their skills, and that seemed like a great recommendation. Karen loves seeing students grow as learners and young people. Her students value education, and she is always in awe of the amazing things they are doing after leaving middle school. Her teaching style is influenced by a combination of Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and Constructivist theory. She designs learning experiences for her students and encourages them to engage with their peers to construct new ideas based on previously learned concepts.

Giri Venkataraman

Giri Venkataraman

Giri earned his master’s degree in engineering science and mechanics from the University of Alabama. He is now a principal solutions architect at Red Hat. He discovered his love for teaching when he was a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Alabama teaching undergraduate courses in engineering science and mechanics. That was 30 years ago and that passion for giving back to education was only reinforced when Giri volunteered for Math Club coaching for elementary and middle schools. This led him to AoPS. Giri loves the opportunity to challenge himself to inspire students with a love of math and how to apply it in the real world. He encourages students to lead by example and engages them to think for themselves.

Justin Verstrat

Justin Verstrat

Justin has been working as a teacher for all of his adult life. He is currently a National Board accredited high school English teacher working in Wake County. He subbed for one of his wife's summer classes back in 2017 and liked it so much that he never left. He loves working with students at AoPS who are curious and eager to learn. His teaching style involves developing positive and encouraging relationships with students and creating a fun learning environment with challenging academic goals.

Barbara Webber

Barbara Webber

Barbara has a bachelor's degree in English education from Monmouth University and a master's degree, as well as a literacy specialist certification from Mary Washington University. She taught high school for 15 years before transitioning to a reading specialist in elementary school. Barbara is now a preschool director in Apex, NC, where she has been for the last 3 years. AoPS is a place that allows her to focus on higher level thinking and communication skills that are not possible to teach in a regular school day due to time and testing constraints. It is exciting to work with students on skills they will use throughout their lives, both in school and beyond. The lessons are creative and fun to teach. At AoPS, teachers and students build a rapport that is different from regular school. Barbara loves the discussions her classes have and watching the students grow as they begin to understand the value of what they are learning. She would say her teaching style is about staying positive and pushing students to work hard through focusing on their strengths. She knows every student is capable, and she lets them know that she believes in them. Her students will hear her say, "You can do this," most often in the classroom.

Jeff Zidman

Jeff Zidman

Jeff has a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering and master's degree in business. He currently manages supply chain operations (warehousing, supply and demand planning, network optimization and data analytics). Jeff also has teaching experience in a variety of settings, from community college down to elementary school age. He loves how the AoPS curriculum challenges young minds to think about math in a totally different way. He loves how eager the students are to learn and take on challenging problems. Jeff is energetic and kinesthetic. He believes the mind works best when the body moves and enjoys creating visuals (e.g., bad drawings) to explain problems.

Our family regularly talks about AoPS. We try to think about how our life would be different without you all. What if my daughter hadn't learned to love math? What if she never experienced being pushed to her limits? Overcoming failure? She wouldn't be who she is. And she is AWESOME! A very proud mom here. We are so fortunate that we found AoPS Academy. I credit AoPS for much of her confidence.

Kelly B.,

AoPS Academy parent to 16-year-old engineering major at UW and future cancer researcher