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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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Justin Paige

Justin Paige

Campus Director

Justin is the Campus Director for AoPS Academy Frisco/Plano. His journey in mathematics began when he taught himself Algebra I in the summer of 1996. As a Joseph E. Pogue Scholar at UNC Chapel Hill, his love for solving deep, challenging problems led him to earn a degree in philosophy. Justin then joined Teach for America and began a career in education teaching elementary students in Miami, Florida. Returning to North Carolina, he transitioned to teach high school mathematics and earned a PRAXIS Award of Excellence along the way. When Justin is not coaching mathletes at AoPS, you can find him working on his grilling techniques, watching football or lacrosse, or browsing a calculus book.

Bobby d'Angelo

Bobby d'Angelo

Associate Director

Bobby is an Associate Director for AoPS Academy Frisco/Plano. He holds a BS in mathematics and a BA in philosophy from Stony Brook University, and is pursuing a master's degree in STEM education from the American College of Education. He has been a member of the New York City Teaching Fellows and taught algebra and geometry, as well as engineering and robotics in the Bronx, New York, and later in Durham, North Carolina. Bobby's philosophy of education centers around empowering students to ask the right questions and to pinpoint their own misunderstanding by giving them the proper vocabulary tools. In his free time, Bobby enjoys recreational mathematics, hiking, piano, chess, and solving puzzles. He has been a competitive Rubik's Cube solver for 15 years, has held several state records, and is a staff member of the National Championships every year.

Emma Holt

Emma Holt

Associate Director

Emma is an Associate Director for AoPS Academy Frisco/Plano. Her bachelor's degree is a double major in English literature and rhetoric and composition from the University of Texas at Austin. Her master's degree is in library science with a focus in archival management and digital imaging technology from the University of North Texas, and she is currently deciding the focus of her next degree. She specializes in rhetorical and compositional analysis, literary criticism, and philosophy. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, reading, writing fiction, and recommending books none of her friends and family will end up reading.

Office Staff

Jalaja Koteeswaran

Jalaja Koteeswaran

Administrative Coordinator

Jalaja is the Administrative Coordinator for AoPS Academy Frisco/Plano. With an education in electrical engineering and a decade-long experience in tax consulting, Jalaja’s search for challenging educational opportunities for her kids and a fun curriculum ended with AoPS. Her belief that the AoPS curriculum of problem solving is so distinctively structured to educate and increase children's confidence is what convinced her to be not only an AoPS parent, but also to be an ambassador for the program. She also volunteers in numerous community related events, Scottish-Rite Hospital and Frisco ISD’s Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) and Band Boosters. Besides taking care of a family of two daughters and a husband, Jalaja enjoys connecting with nature and doing math problems for fun.

Alexia Heath

Alexia Heath

Front Desk Associate

Alexia Heath is a Front Desk Associate at the AoPS Academy located in Frisco, Texas. She received her MBA from Strayer University in 2015. She has over 18 years of customer service and problem solving experience, and is ready to greet you and your child with a smile. Her primary career is in healthcare, but she missed the interactions she shared with children during her time at the Boys and Girls Club and was ready to get back to that space. She's a Texas native and been in the DFW area for 9 years. She has two dogs, Sam and Lucky, that she loves dearly. Her hobbies include watching movies, attending local events, traveling, spending time with family, and exercising. She is ready to tackle any questions you may have.

Sruthi Vallabhajosyula

Sruthi Vallabhajosyula

Front Desk Associate

Sruthi is a driven high school student with a passion for both learning and educating. Her love for creative problem-solving and critical thinking prompted her to join AoPS Academy. She hopes, in the future, to study education or computer science. When she isn't studying or working, she is often found building and designing websites, volunteering, and perusing the shelves at the library. Outside of school and work, she enjoys creating (and playing) Roblox games, writing strange novels, and hanging out with friends.

Instructors

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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.

Farley Ferrante

Farley Ferrante

Farley earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Juniata College in Pennsylvania and a master's degree in physics from SMU in Dallas. For the master's thesis, he did research in stellar astrophysics. He has taught or tutored physics and math in public and private schools for over 20 years, including three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Fiji, which was his first teaching experience. He enjoys problem solving and making connections between mathematics and physics and other natural sciences. Outside of teaching, he enjoys sports, reading, and walking.

Bob Gregory

Bob Gregory

Bob comes from a family of math nerds and met his wife at a calculus reform conference in the early 1990s. Bob holds BA and MS degrees in mathematics from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale. He has worked as a math instructor, math department chairman, and principal at schools labeled as America’s public elites. Bob spends his spare time investigating brain research, working sudoku puzzles, examining motivational strategies, and problem-solving. He reads mostly non-fiction, follows Wired, Fast Company, and Sports Illustrated, and his favorite URL is Ted.com. An engaging topic of conversation for Bob would be about how things work.

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.

Charles Hui

Charles Hui

Charles Hui likes to teach math to such an extent that he wants to hack into your brain to let you get every math idea. He believes math is a convenient tool to solve a lot of problems at a much faster rate and learning this requires tremendous stamina and training. Mr. Hui received his master’s degree in math from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. His hobbies include playing badminton and reading the Wall Street Journal to understand business models.

Arpitha Kotla

Arpitha Kotla

Arpitha's passion for problem solving led her to teach at AoPS academy. She earned bachelor's degrees in math and science and an MBA in finance from Osmania University, India and MS in computer science from California State University, East Bay. She has been working in the IT industry for several years. Arpitha loves analytical reasoning and problem solving. She likes to work with young minds to sharpen their mathematical reasoning skills and explore creative solutions which can bring millions of possibilities. Outside of work, Arpitha enjoys spending time with family, cooking, running and fashion designing.

Dr. Jinhee Kwon

Dr. Jinhee Kwon

Jinhee graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a doctoral degree in physics. Ever since she was an undergraduate student, she has worked with many kids as a private tutor. She also worked as an instructor of engineering physics lab classes at UT Austin and has experience helping and guiding other students from her time working as a research scientist at Rutgers University at UT Dallas. She has found that teaching young kids and interacting with those bright minds is more rewarding than anyone could imagine. She currently lives with her wonderful husband and two amazing sons in Frisco.

Reema McMullen

Reema McMullen

After obtaining her MS in physics from Oklahoma State University, Reema taught at various levels, ranging from MS to college for 12 years. She is currently pursuing her PhD in physics. Reema loves how math explains the working of the universe and is utilized to improve technology. She is passionate about learning, teaching, and gardening.

Mary Mansfield

Mary Mansfield

Mary began her career in finance after gaining her bachelor’s degree in political science. She then earned her MBA with a focus in international business. After undertaking the biggest challenge and joy of her life, being a domestic manager, Mary earned her Masters in teaching. She has taught in an elementary school setting for almost 20 years. Mary has taught all subjects, but truly enjoys teaching and engaging in mathematics. Finding new and innovative ways to challenge her students drives her passion for problem solving and real world application of learning. She has introduced gamification to bring her students’ math learning to the next level. Mary loves playing strategy board games with her family. They love to go to board gaming conventions all over the country. She is an empty nester who loves to take cooking lessons and crochet lessons via zoom with her children. She’s silly and finds joy in teaching.

Mitzi Miller

Mitzi Miller

Mitzi earned her degree from Texas Tech University and just completed her 15th year in the classroom. She taught Reading for 5 years and has been teaching Integrated Language Arts for the last 10 years. Figuring out what motivates each student, understanding their needs, and watching them learn and grow is what she finds most rewarding. When not in the classroom, you can find her spending time with her 17-year old twins and attending their many extracurricular activities. She loves going out to eat, board games, and country music.

Natalie Monzavifar

Natalie Monzavifar

Natalie earned her BS in mathematics and computer science from the University of South Carolina Honors College. She has over 7 years of teaching experience, which started in high school where her first job was working as a math instructor at Mathnasium. She also founded a tutoring program at her local library and volunteered with the North Carolina Virtual Public School. She enjoys working with students, helping to nurture their curiosity and inspire a love for math. Her favorite moments are when students are excited to learn and ask really great questions. In her free time, Natalie loves to read and play with her cat Evie, who just turned three this year. She also enjoys volunteering at the art museum!

Patrick Ramirez

Patrick Ramirez

Patrick's fascination with nature led him to get a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Texas at Dallas. He has been teaching and tutoring a variety of subjects between math, science, and language arts for a few years now. He will always be amazed by how far humanity has been able to decode the universe through education and is honored to contribute. Patrick loves music, art, and gaming, and his favorite Pokemon is Gengar.

Thomas Ray

Thomas Ray

Thomas is a lover of all things written because the strength of the written word communicates far beyond the author's sphere. Thomas holds a BS in finance from Tuskegee University, an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and an MA in literary studies from the University of Texas at Dallas. Thomas transitioned from a successful career in sales and marketing to education in 2019. As a certified educator in the state of Texas, Thomas teaches Advanced Placement Literature, Independent Study & Mentorship, and continues to create authentic literature of his own. When not educating others, Thomas can be found at home with his wife, three children, dog, and more than likely working fervently in the family garden. Thomas's philosophy of teaching is simple: I teach because I have been taught.

Michael Salimitari

Michael Salimitari

Michael Salimitari is a 7th grade Language Arts teacher at Clark Middle School in Frisco, Texas. From an early age, his mother instilled in him an obsession with books and storytelling. Weekly trips to the library led him to try acting in plays, which he loved. In fact, he loved it so much, he decided to get his degree in acting from a drama school in New York. Upon leaving New York, he moved to San Diego, CA where he got a job as a resident teaching artist for a professional theatre company. This provided the opportunity to teach elementary, middle, and high school kids about all things theatre: Shakespeare, improv, voice lessons, monologues, scene study, etc. While he loved teaching theatre, he decided he wanted to switch to teaching English because of his love of reading and writing. Michael received his bachelor's degree in English education from Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas and is accredited to teach anywhere in Texas. Aside from teaching, Michael loves going to the movies, writing short stories, and seeing stand-up comedy shows. He still takes frequent trips to the local library. Some things never change.

Judy Steen

Judy Steen

Judy earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Texas State University. After teaching 4th and 5th graders for 10 years, she returned to school to earn her master’s degree in library science. She now has her dream job as librarian to preschool through high school students at a local private school. She also tutors Chinese students to help them learn the English language. She finds joy in helping students grow into life-long readers and learners. She believes the book is always better than the movie. When she isn’t reading or teaching, you can find her bingeing on her favorite show, cooking new recipes, and knitting. She loves spending time with her husband and two college aged children.

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.

Shanda Trees

Shanda Trees

Shanda earned a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. She has taught language arts and reading for over 10 years, and is passionate about helping her students love language as much as she does. She is a total grammar nerd and has a huge passion for theatre, specifically musicals. In her free time she likes to spend time with her husband and three kids, and run marathons, while listening to Broadway showtunes.

Kaleb Warneke

Kaleb Warneke

Kaleb’s passion for mathematics encouraged him to earn his BS in mathematics at The University of Texas at Dallas in 2020. While tutoring students and completing coursework to become an educator, he also spent two seasons as an assistant cross country coach at his alma mater high school where he taught students the skills and dedication it takes to be successful in that sport. While teaching out in the field to complete specific coursework, Kaleb developed a love for teaching and especially enjoys instilling his passion for problem-solving in young learners to spark their own love of mathematics. Outside of teaching at AoPS Academy, Kaleb loves mountain biking, hiking, and eating delicious tacos on Taco Tuesday.

Angela Xing

Angela Xing

Angela has four years of experience teaching mathematics. She has worked for Moorpark Unified School District teaching middle school math for two years, and has taught high school math online since 2020. So far, she has taught more than 2500 hours of pre-algebra, Number Sense Tricks, HS algebra, HS geometry, HS trigonometry, HS precalculus, and SAT/ACT math. She enjoys mathematics and is passionate about exploring deeper into this beautiful world with her students. She is dynamic, fun, loving, and interesting, but also serious and strict. Her particular skills are breaking down complicated problems into different steps and making them easy to solve. She can always find the steady stream of fun in math and looks forward to sharing what she has learned with her students!

Dr. Dongsheng Zhang

Dr. Dongsheng Zhang

Dongsheng received his doctorate in physical chemistry from Purdue University. He has loved math since he was a kid and attended different math competitions from middle school through college. Working on math problems is one of his favorite activities. In his free time, he likes reading books, doing yard work, and playing with his children.

"General coaching classes at many academic training centers stress repetition of the concept until a student grasps it thoroughly. At AoPS Academy, they go far beyond repetition. Their highly qualified instructors do a great job at teaching fundamental concepts to students at much greater depth, and challenge them to walk that extra mile by presenting them with more complex problems to solve. It provides a great learning experience in a friendly, fun, yet competitive and challenging environment. They provide their students with a combination of excellent instructional curriculum along with amazing online tools. AoPS Academy also encourages students to take part in various competitions. Overall they do an incredible job imparting a deep knowledge of both math and language arts to all of their students, and AoPS Academy sets them on a path towards their career goals. We are happy to be part of AoPS Academy family!"
-Sandeep J.
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