AoPS Academy Team

Summer and fall enrollment are now open. Summer classes will be held online; fall class format to be determined.  VIEW COURSES

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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.

Management Staff

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Mark Smith - Campus Director

Mark Smith - Campus Director

Mark is the Campus Director for AoPS Academy Dallas-Frisco/Plano. He holds a BS in mathematics from the University of Houston at Victoria and an ME in educational leadership and administration from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has worked at schools in the US, China, Hong Kong, and Jordan, teaching a broad range of rigorous math and computer science courses and leading both mathematics and technology departments. Mark enjoys sharing his passion for math and technology through active, student-centered, and inquiry-based pedagogy. In his spare time, Mark likes to tinker: on his computer with web design, in his workshop with tools, and making music with various instruments.

Jessica Seekamp - Associate Director

Jessica Seekamp - Associate Director

Jessica is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Frisco. She sees math as a record of human creativity and perseverance and loves sharing this view with her students. Jessica holds a BS in applied math from the University of Texas at Dallas and formerly served as a high school Math Department Chair, where she wrote curriculum and taught everything from middle school math to AP Calculus. As a teacher, she wants her students to think deeply as they discuss math, to be creative as they approach problems, and to appreciate the beauty of mathematics. Outside the classroom, you can find Jessica running ultramarathons or climbing mountains in Colorado.

Rhonesha Simmons - Associate Director

Rhonesha Simmons - Associate Director

Rhonesha is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Frisco/Plano. She holds an MEd in elementary education from Texas State University and enjoys mentoring and building relationships with children. Rhonesha has worked as an elementary teacher and team leader. Additionally, she spent nearly 8 years in K-12 assessment where she developed language arts standardized tests and was a content lead on several assessment programs. Rhonesha wants students to embrace reading and writing and not think of them as a chore. When she’s not teaching, you might find her exploring Dallas, spending time with family and friends, and possibly knitting a scarf.

Instructors

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Carla Bratland

Carla Bratland

Carla loves how the creative use of the English language drives thinking skills. An avid reader and poet, she earned her Masters in Education from Lesley University after many years working in corporate facilities and real estate. Carla went on to teach fifth grade for 13 years where she found that she could share her passion for reading and writing while students inspired her teaching. When she isn’t teaching, you will find Carla and her family exploring the great state of Texas.

Peter Farrell

Peter Farrell

Peter enjoys teaching his students how the math topics they’re learning get used every day in the real world. He has taught and tutored math for nearly fifteen years, including two years with the Peace Corps in East Africa, where he taught math and English at a community school on Mount Kenya. Peter earned his Bachelor’s degree in math from Merrimack College. His passion is digging into the math behind games, puzzles, computer art, and Big Data. His most recent book, Math Adventures with Python, was published in January 2019 by No Starch Press.

Sadie Hackney

Sadie Hackney

Sadie graduated cum laude with a BS in business administration, minoring in English, from Austin College. She is currently a member of Sigma Tau Delta, an International English Honor Society, and P.E.O., a philanthropic educational organization benefiting the further education of women. Sadie has been working with children in various capacities for most of her life, and currently teaches at a homeschool co-op and has plans to homeschool her own children. Coming from a long line of teachers, Sadie has a passion for helping students reach that "a-ha!" moment that comes with mastery of a subject. Sadie's hobbies include genealogy research, painting, spending time with her husband, working in her backyard, and renovating her new home.

Michael Halstead

Michael Halstead

Michael earned his BS in mathematics from Wayne State University and worked in risk management and quality management in the finance industry before becoming a high school math teacher. He finds teaching math to be a rewarding endeavor and enjoys showing his students the beautiful ways that math can describe reality. In his spare time, Michael enjoys hiking, camping, and running.

Tianbao Hao

Tianbao Hao

Tianbao enjoys teaching math to students and showing them how math can be leveraged in everyday life. He holds advanced degrees in math and computer science, and works as a statistician/data scientist, building models that help companies make decisions. In his spare time, Tianbao’s hobbies include listening to classical music, reading about science, math, and AI, and solving math competition problems.

Andrea Hitefield

Andrea Hitefield

Andrea finds it fascinating that the 26 letters of the English alphabet can encode ideas that change people’s lives or even transform an entire culture. She holds a Master’s degree in media and communication, has taught AP Rhetoric and English literature, and also works in non-profit communications. Andrea loves teaching gifted learners and helping her students discover the power of words! Her hobbies include drinking tea on cozy rainy days.

Jennifer Lazarus

Jennifer Lazarus

Jennifer has a love for mathematics and how it connects the world. She understands that math is a tool developed over hundreds of years by brilliant thinkers and she enjoys contributing to its rich history by teaching curious minds to think critically. She holds an MS in Mathematics from Texas A&M Central Texas and a BA in Mathematics and BS in Biochemistry from the University of North Texas. Her recent accomplishments include being recognized as the Outstanding Graduate Student in Mathematics and receiving the Outstanding Graduate Thesis Award, both for Texas A&M Central Texas, in 2018. She also authored a chapter of the textbook "Elementary Abstract Algebra: Examples and Applications." She has taught a wide range of mathematics courses, from algebra to college-level calculus. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her family, playing tennis, biking, listening to music, and going to Starbucks.

William Lewis

William Lewis

William recently graduated from the University of North Texas with a BS in computer engineering and a minor in mathematics. He currently works as a software developer and loves to learn and teach new and interesting mathematical concepts. William also plans to teach his children mathematics at home with his wife. His hobbies include problem solving, puzzle games, board games, scripting, camping, and video games.

Christina Ondrey

Christina Ondrey

Christina enjoys helping her students explore literature while they work to understand and interpret what they’re reading. She teaches upper elementary reading and language arts with Dallas ISD and earned her BA in political science from Texas A & M University–Corpus Christi. Christina lives in Richardson with her son, Christian, and their dog, Belle. When she isn’t teaching, Christina enjoys cheering on the Astros, finding new books to share with her students, and spending time with family.

Mattie Oveross

Mattie Oveross

Math instructor Mattie is currently working on her PhD in educational psychology at the University of North Texas, where she focuses on gifted and talented education. She is interested in creativity, curriculum, and preschool-age gifted students, as well as other topics in the field of gifted education. Previously, Mattie served as the Curriculum Director for a small K-12 private school in North Texas, teaching AP Statistics, research, and pre-algebra. Her work has been published in Gifted Child Quarterly and the Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education.

Priya Rajan

Priya Rajan

Priya loves helping her math students develop higher-order thinking skills! She holds a BE in electronics and communication and has worked as a software developer for more than 15 years. Priya lives in Plano with her very supportive husband and their two daughters.

Karen Smith

Karen Smith

Karen has been teaching for eleven years. Eight of those years were overseas at international schools in China, Hong Kong and Jordan. Before recently moving to Texas, Mrs. Smith was the Upper School Learning Specialist at Washington International School. She also taught grade 5 and 8 Language Arts at the AoPS campus in Vienna, Virginia. Mrs. Smith is an English inclusion teacher at Wakeland High School in Frisco ISD. Karen Smith has two college-age children who live in Vermont and New York City. She enjoys running, cooking, traveling, and cuddling her two dogs during her free time.

David Steen

David Steen

David teaches AP Physics and AP Chemistry and chairs the science department at a local private school. He loves helping his students use math to understand the universe. David earned his BA in zoology from the University of Texas at Austin. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, being outdoors with his wife and their two kids, and participating in anything sports-related—including refereeing local soccer games.

"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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