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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.

Management Staff

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Dr. James Conant - Campus Director

Dr. James Conant - Campus Director

Dr. Conant is the Campus Director for AoPS Academy Carmel Valley. He received his BA in mathematics from Rutgers University in 1995, winning the John Bogart prize as the top graduating math major. He earned his PhD, also in mathematics, from the University of California, San Diego in 2000, and became a postdoctoral associate at Cornell for the next 3 years. He has spent most of his career as a tenured professor at the University of Tennessee, where he has won awards for outstanding research. His work has been published in many internationally recognized high profile journals, including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He has served multiple times on the Problem Writing Committee for the University of Tennessee High School Math Contest and has graded for the USA Mathematical Olympiad. His true passion is teaching and he enjoys the challenge of developing problem-solving skills in the next generations of young minds.

Ashley Duncan - Associate Director

Ashley Duncan - Associate Director

Ashley is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Carmel Valley. She has always been interested in mathematics education, earning a BS from Brigham Young University, an MS from Arizona State University and is currently writing her dissertation to finish her PhD. She’s been teaching math since 2010. While teaching at ASU she was awarded the Teaching Excellence Award by the graduate and professional student association. She has a long history with math competitions, ranging from earning a perfect score in the Continental Math League in 6th grade, being the resident math expert on Scholastic Bowl, competing on her high school’s math team (which won state every year), to solving the problems on the current AMC for fun. She’s a Chicago native who loves reading, hosting game nights, playing volleyball, competing in trivia, and catching all the Pokémon.

Elizabeth Sweetman - Associate Director

Elizabeth Sweetman - Associate Director

Elizabeth is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Carmel Valley. She holds an MA in English from the University of Oxford and a BA in English and French from the University of Virginia. Elizabeth is also a certified English language teacher and has taught language and literature from 3rd grade to university-level. She has lived and worked in six countries, including as an EU-funded Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Universities of Muenster and Oxford, conducting literary research in diaspora studies. A published scholar, Elizabeth has also presented her research at more than 10 international conferences. When she is not teaching or writing, Elizabeth works as a cross-cultural facilitator with a higher education non-profit that works with refugees.

Instructors

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Jessica Allen

Jessica Allen

Jessica grew up in San Diego and attended Scripps Ranch High. Refusing to leave the beautiful weather, she continued her studies at the University of California, San Diego and earned her BS in Applied Mathematics. She supported herself through college by tutoring students in subjects ranging from algebra to calculus. She strives to inspire student to not only learn how to solve math problems but also understand the reasoning behind them. Her love for mathematics and teaching inspired her to be a professor’s assistant; she was responsible for holding weekly discussion sections for lower division math courses. Currently, she is a student herself with aims to earn her master’s degree in Data Science by the end of next year. Outside of studying and teaching, she loves to escape the heat by ice skating. She was a figure skating coach for six years and taught groups of 15+ children. A fun fact about her is she LOVES manatees and coffee.

Marco Paulo Aquinde

Marco Paulo Aquinde

Math instructor Marco is a student teacher at High Tech Middle Chula Vista (HTMCV) and pursuing his Master’s in Education at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. Marco earned his BS in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics from UCLA. Outside the classroom, Marco likes to sing with his friends, spend time with his family or at his church, and watch competitive eating videos on YouTube.

Ivy Chen

Ivy Chen

Ivy holds a BS in mathematics and an MEd in secondary mathematics education from the University of California, San Diego. She came to the US from Taiwan at the age of 10 and has a strong passion for mathematics, having completed an honors thesis on elliptic curves that received departmental honors during her undergraduate years. While teaching math at AoPS Academy, Ivy is also pursuing an MS in computational science, mathematics and engineering from UCSD. In her spare time, she enjoys watching Disney movies, drinking boba, and walking her dog in the park.

Irene Cullen

Irene Cullen

Irene holds a BS in psychology and an MEd in instructional leadership, both from National University. Her teaching credentials are in English, social science, and administrative services. She's worked at the Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District for 25 years, having held many different roles during her time there. She has taught English at the elementary-, middle-, and high-school levels, served as the coordinator for the beginning teacher support program and a mentor for beginning teachers, and been a teacher trainer. Irene has also developed materials for the San Diego County Office of Education. Her passions outside the classroom include reading, traveling, and early morning walks with her friends.

Sara Fisher

Sara Fisher

Sara Fisher has been teaching language arts for almost 20 years. She holds a BS from Northern Arizona University and became an Arizona Master Teacher in 2015. In 2016, she was named Middle School Teacher of the Year in her county! Sara has helped develop curriculum that focuses on high-quality instruction and professional development. Now returning to her Southern California roots, Sara enjoys taking her kids to the beach, exploring new places, and searching for great vegan eats.

Dr. James Fung

Dr. James Fung

James joined AoPS in 2012. He received a PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied machine learning and linguistics and spent several years as a teaching assistant in engineering math courses. James has been tutoring and teaching math and science since high school. He was a National MATHCOUNTS contestant, qualified for the USAMO each year of high school, and attended the Physics Olympiad Summer Program. In his spare time, he applies math to boardgames, thinks of ballroom dancing as a Markov process, and is a novice kitchen scientist.

Dr. Julia Garibaldi

Dr. Julia Garibaldi

Julia earned her PhD in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004 and immediately proceded to a two-year postdoc at The Georgia Institute of Technology. She went on to teach courses at Emory University and Agnes Scott College and coauthored a book aimed at upper-division undergraduates. Her work with elementary-aged students started in 2014, when she ran a small math circle in Los Angeles for third graders. Since moving to San Diego, Julia has volunteered as a coach for the math club at the school that her three kids attend. Her hobbies include rock climbing, biking and solving cryptic crosswords and other word puzzles.

Kyle Guillet

Kyle Guillet

Kyle joined AoPS full-time in 2012, and is a co-author of the Beast Academy books for students in grades 2-5. In 2009, he earned dual BS degrees in mathematics and biology as a Dean's Scholar at the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating, he joined Teach For America (TFA) to help close the achievement gap in low-income communities. As part of the TFA corps, he worked in rural New Mexico, where he taught sixth- and eight-grade math, earning honors for achieving the highest one-year gains in the state. He enjoys dancing poorly, and as a matter of principle will only buy prime rib if the number of ribs is actually prime.

Dr. Aaron Demby Jones

Dr. Aaron Demby Jones

Aaron joined AoPS in 2017. His PhD is in media arts and technology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, focusing on audiovisual representations of mathematics. Before that, he got his master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Rochester and a joint bachelor’s degree in mathematics and music at Brown University. Aaron has had the pleasure and privilege of teaching the next generation of math superstars for many years at the CTY and HCSSiM summer math programs. Outside of math, he enjoys designing experimental electronic music, playing the piano and percussion, chess, Xiangqi, Go, and badminton.

Suet Man Lee

Suet Man Lee

Snow began her teaching career as a ballet instructor at the Jean M Wong School of Ballet in Hong Kong, before earning her undergraduate degree in statistics at Canada's University of Calgary. Before moving to San Diego, she worked as a grade 12 math teacher, preparing students for Alberta's Mathematics Diploma Exam. In 2015, Snow began her tenure as the MATHCOUNTS coach at Carmel Valley Middle School. In 2016–2017, her CVMS team earned first place across the county, the state, and the nation—from San Diego Math Field Day, to Southern California State MATHCOUNTS, 8th Grade Math League, and the Fall Startup Event. Three of her students also achieved perfect scores on the AMC 8. Outside the classroom, Snow loves to make hot pot for her two boys.

Melissa Rabaya Lim

Melissa Rabaya Lim

Melissa has been teaching English for ten years and continues to grow as an instructor with each student she encounters. She earned a BA in English education and a single-subject teaching credential from California State University Long Beach, as well as a Master’s in education from Concordia University, Irvine. Melissa has offered creative writing classes for elementary school students and spends the school year teaching at Oceanside’s El Camino High School. She is excited to be teaching at AoPS Academy this summer! Outside the classroom, Melissa is working on hiking all five of San Diego’s peaks in 2019.

Dr. Bessie McAdams

Dr. Bessie McAdams

Language arts instructor Bessie McAdams has taught reading, writing, and argumentation to students ages 3–65. She holds a PhD in English language and literature from the University of Michigan, where she taught as a Lecturer. Bessie has also taught language arts at the high school level, in addition to teaching the English language in Japan. Her first tutoring experience was a kindergarten math class when she herself was in third grade; her first teaching experience was in high school, teaching a drama class; and she started her first Shakespeare theater company in her freshman year of high school—it lasted for two seasons.

Robert Martinez

Robert Martinez

Robert holds a BA in literature and writing from the University of California, San Diego, where he created and taught his very own creative writing workshop class for undergraduates. He then forged ahead into the technical writing and the software industry, developing his programming, computer, and ping-pong skills. After almost four years in front of a screen, he turned his love of fitness into an amateur bodybuilding journey, as well as a career as a personal trainer. He also holds an MA in English from San Diego State University (where he taught undergraduate academic writing and served as an editor for the school's student fiction publication) and is pursuing a California teaching credential. He enjoys, reading, writing, music, performing guitar, playing games, cooking, trying to learn Japanese, watching films, surfing, and working on his nerd culture website, podcast, media blog, and YouTube channel.

Daniel Minsky

Daniel Minsky

Daniel Minsky is an adjunct math professor at San Diego Mesa College and has also taught courses at several area high schools. He earned his BA in math at Columbia University and is currently working on his PhD in math at UC San Diego, where he researches quantum computing. In high school, he got to attend the PROMYS math research program for two summers; in college, he was a high scorer on his school’s Putnam team. Daniel is also fluent in Russian, and enjoys playing Scrabble and table tennis.

Mackenzie Moriarty

Mackenzie Moriarty

Mackenzie is passionate about teaching language arts at the elementary- and middle-school levels. She holds a BA in English and a minor in theater arts from Loyola Marymount University, where she graduated magna cum laude. Mackenzie began her teaching career in New York City at the Success Academy Charter Schools before she and her husband returned to their native San Diego. Mackenzie has taught at San Diego’s High Tech Middle Media Arts and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching as well as California teaching credentials at Point Loma Nazarene University. She loves helping young students become lifelong readers and writers!

Dr. Meggie Morris

Dr. Meggie Morris

Meggie brings over a decade of experience in teaching and tutoring to AoPS Academy. She specializes in the humanities, teaching subjects ranging from reading comprehension and writing to foreign languages and history. Meggie holds a PhD and MA in art history from New York University, as well as a BA in international relations and history from the University of Richmond. In addition to her work as a humanities instructor, Meggie continues to work as an independent scholar and freelance writer and has published essays and chapters in both English and Spanish publications. She is excited to share her enthusiasm for language arts with the outstanding students of AoPS!

Tasha Moyer

Tasha Moyer

In 2009, Tasha graduated with a math degree from Arizona State, where Barack Obama gave her commencement address. After college, she joined Teach For America and taught Algebra I and Algebra Readiness for two years at Willow Glen High School in San Jose, CA. She then moved to Oakland, CA to teach Precalc and AP Calc at KIPP King Collegiate High School. At King, she also served as Math Department Chair. In 2014, Tasha joined AoPS, where she has worn many hats. Now, she could not be more excited to be back in the classroom. In her spare time, Tasha enjoys exploring San Diego with her friends, running and doing yoga by the beach, and cuddling with her adorable cat Eli.

Mariebelle Oliva

Mariebelle Oliva

Language arts instructor Mariebelle believes that words are a powerful way to impact the world and learn about others. She has worked with all levels of elementary student in her 20+ year career in education. Mariebelle holds a Bachelor’s in liberal studies and Master’s in education from Loyola Marymount University and enjoys guiding students as they hone their intellects and develop into thoughtful, creative writers. A San Diego native, Mariebelle loves spending time with her family, crafting or sewing, and relaxing.

Wei Paxson

Wei Paxson

Wei's interest in math was sparked in her youth when she won many regional math competitions. Now she loves showing young learners how beautiful the subject can be. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and an MS from Michigan Technological University, and has worked in hardware/software development and testing for more than a decade. Wei has been a math team coach at both the elementary and middle school level, in addition to coaching First Lego League and First Tech Challenge. She enjoys music, playing bridge, and spending time with her two sons.

Dr. Rudolph Perkins

Dr. Rudolph Perkins

Rudy obtained his BA in mathematics from the University of California, San Diego, where he was awarded the Dean of Sciences Undergraduate Award for Excellence. He also holds a PhD in mathematics from The Ohio State University, where he won a Presidential Fellowship from the Graduate School for his doctoral research. He has pursued math research internationally, first in France at the Institut Camille Jordan, and then in Germany at the University of Heidelberg, where he was an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow. Rudy loves teaching students of all ages to enjoy the mathematical process as they learn to solve challenging problems. Outside of math, Rudy is crazy about his wife and two kids, San Diego-style Mexican food, cold-brew coffee, and enjoying the sun on his skateboard.

Lauren Pinkerton

Lauren Pinkerton

Language arts instructor Lauren first wanted to be an English teacher when she was in second grade! She teaches middle school humanities at Chabad Hebrew Academy and loves working with students of all ages. Lauren holds a Master’s in curriculum and instruction, earned her BS in English education at Miami University, and is certified in Gifted and Talented Education. Outside the classroom, Lauren loves to explore and is working on visiting all 50 states and hiking in all 59 National Parks.

Dr. Noah Prince

Dr. Noah Prince

Noah Prince joined AoPS in 2016 after teaching math and coaching Quiz Bowl at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. Noah earned his PhD from the University of Illinois in 2008, having done research in graph theory. He also earned his BS in math from U of I in 2004. He has taught both graduate math classes and enrichment camps for mathematically-interested middle schoolers. He likes proofs that involve mathematical induction, and his favorite proof (of the Erdos-Ginzburg-Ziv Theorem) uses two inductions in its base case. When not doing math, he plays with his three kids, reads novels, and eats lots of hummus.

Evan Pruitt

Evan Pruitt

Evan is a math instructor at AoPS Academy Carmel Valley. He earned a BS in chemical engineering and a minor in physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he worked as a tutor and discovered his passion for teaching. He has since taught math, science, robotics, and engineering at independent schools in San Diego, including The Bishop’s School. Outside of the classroom, Evan enjoys oil painting and building drones.

Mark Richard

Mark Richard

Mark develops curriculum materials at AoPS Headquarters. Mark graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in mathematics, doing a senior thesis involving physics and probability. He is also passionate about mathematics history. When he isn't watching videos about the Turing-completeness of PowerPoint, you can find him playing guitar, piano or percussion, or writing code to simulate games. He is an avid baseball player and fan and also learned how to play squash in college. He does a podcast with his friends and owns 7 harmonicas. He is excited to join AoPS full time now that he is done with school!

Maggie Roby

Maggie Roby

Maggie creates Language Arts Curriculum at AoPS. A proud graduate of The Ohio State University, Maggie joined the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program in 2013, and moved to Saitama Prefecture to teach high school English. She returned to the US to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh, where her research interests in children’s and young adult media helped her to design unique course components for her undergraduate writing classes. After earning her MA in English, Maggie spent a year as a middle school language arts teacher, learning many important things from her students: patience, adaptability, and—most importantly—how to dab. She has a strong belief that kids are capable of way more than they’re often given credit for and she can’t wait to use her love of stories and language to help students learn to think creatively.

Jayme Rosenquist

Jayme Rosenquist

Jayme fell in love with math in high school, when she learned precalculus and AP Calculus from inspiring women teachers. She earned her BS in applied mathematics at UC San Diego and served as a teaching assistant in the calculus sequence. Next, Jayme headed to Tanzania as part of the Peace Corps, where she discovered the joy of making math inspiring for all learners. She is currently working toward an MS in applied math at San Diego State University. When she isn’t teaching or studying math, Jayme is a committed dancer and has been performing almost her whole life. She also choreographs for an adult tap dance group!

Shelly Ruderman

Shelly Ruderman

Shelly joined AoPS in 2017. She received her Bachelor's in math at San Diego State University and her Master's at DePaul University. She has been teaching in the San Diego area for the past six years. She has taught math from elementary school to the community college level. She is currently working at several different community colleges. She is also looking forward to teaching students that are at the same level as her son!

John (Jack) Sanchez

John (Jack) Sanchez

Jack received a BA in philosophy from Arizona State University and an MA in religion from Yale University, where he was awarded a Mary Cady Tew Prize for distinction in philosophy, ethics, and literature. He completed much of the coursework for a philosophy PhD at Purdue University before moving to San Diego to teach middle and high school humanities courses at a San Diego private school. When he is not teaching, Jack can be found enjoying time with his wife and two sons.

Dr. Khashayar Sartipi

Dr. Khashayar Sartipi

Khashayar loves watching his students figure out the mysteries of math! He grew up in Iran, where he won silver and gold medals in the Iranian National Math Olympiad. He then went to Sharif University of Technology to earn a BS in math before moving to the United States, where he completed his PhD in math at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Outside the classroom, Khashayar enjoys cycling, hiking, and watching movies.

Naoki Sato

Naoki Sato

Naoki joined AoPS in 2005 after a successful career in investment banking. He won first place in the 1993 Canadian Mathematical Olympiad, and represented Canada at the 1992 and 1993 International Mathematical Olympiads, winning a bronze and silver medal, respectively. He also served as deputy leader for the Canadian IMO team in 1997, 2002, and 2006. A native of Toronto, Canada, Naoki earned a Bachelor's in mathematics from the University of Toronto, and a Master's in mathematics from Yale University. His interests include cycling and wine tasting.

Ryan Schneider

Ryan Schneider

Ryan has been teaching and tutoring math since high school and is currently a PhD student in math at the University of California, San Diego. He loves helping his students make connections between the topics they’re learning and is passionate about making the field of math more accessible and inclusive. Ryan grew up in the Chicago suburbs and earned his BA in math from Washington University in St. Louis. When he isn’t teaching, Ryan enjoys seeing musicals and exploring coffee shops.

Haley Smith

Haley Smith

Haley loves math and teaching. She tutored and worked as a teaching assistant at California Baptist University in Riverside, where she earned her BS in chemical engineering. Haley also had the privilege of learning from amazing math teachers when she was in high school. She’s proud to be paying that forward to a new generation of students as an instructor at AoPS Academy! Hayley also works as a laboratory technician at a local San Diego company. Outside work, she enjoys playing soccer, snowboarding, camping, and hiking.

Andrea Steel

Andrea Steel

Andrea was inspired to teach math by the incredible math teachers that she had as a student growing up in Germany. She moved to San Diego to pursue a Master’s in math at SDSU and has been teaching since 1997—including at UC High School, Mesa College, Grossmont College, and Coleman University. Besides being a Realtor, Andrea also works with her husband’s seaplane tour business. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering and spending time with her family.

Tina Tai

Tina Tai

Tina Tai teaches language arts at AoPS Academy Carmel Valley. Originally from Wisconsin, she’s been teaching and tutoring elementary and middle school kids for over 20 years and considers San Diego her home sweet home. Tina believes that learning should never be boring and loves seeing her students discussing, analyzing, and sometimes laughing their way through lessons. In her class, you’re as likely to study grammar or vocabulary or a classic work of literature as you are to hone the life story of your very own number two pencil. When Tina’s not teaching, you can find her enjoying the California sun with her husband, two dogs, and three children.

Lilliana Tannous

Lilliana Tannous

Lilliana believes that the art of effective communication might just be the most important tool in a student’s toolbox. She holds a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing from the University of San Francisco, and an MFA in creative writing from UC Irvine. Lilliana has taught composition, rhetoric, and poetry at the college level and tutored elementary, middle school, and high school students for more than five years. In the classroom, she works to enhance her students’ learning outcomes, honor their existing strengths, and help them develop to their highest potential. Outside the classroom, Lilliana enjoys writing at the beach, playing tennis, and sampling delicious foods from different restaurants.

Amanda Turk

Amanda Turk

Amanda joined Art of Problem Solving Academy in 2019 after six years of classroom teaching. As a teacher, she launched a flaghsip engineering academy and a Physics First initiative, and developed curriculum for thirteen different physics and engineering courses. In addition to holding a BA in physics education and a teaching credential, Amanda has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and worked as a mechanical design engineer before becoming a teacher. She loves empowering students to view the world through the lens of physics, to learn from authentic laboratory experiments, and to apply physics to design cool things! Amanda also enjoys reading, history, and strategy board games. She is an avid theater-goer, hiker, rock climber, and backpacker.

Deven Ware

Deven Ware

Deven joined AoPS in 2014. During this same year he earned both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in mathematics from UCLA. While there, he led the Intermediate Circle at the Los Angeles Math Circle and played with electron lasers for fun. Outside of school, he attended MathPath twice as a counselor and attended the UCLA Logic Summer School as a student. In his free time, Deven enjoys solving logic puzzles and pondering about interesting math problems. He also acknowledges the concerning fact that in this bio he has claimed attending school as one of his outside-of-school activities.

Jing Yang

Jing Yang

Jing has taught math to middle and high school students in San Diego as well as Phoenix, Arizona. She developed her love for math as an elementary school student, when she was lucky to have amazing math teachers! She holds a BA in economics and a Master’s in education from Arizona State University and is credentialed to teach math and Chinese. In her spare time, Jing enjoys badminton, Zumba, and watching TV.

"One of the best decisions I ever made was to send my son to AoPS Academy for improving his math skills. The results are simply amazing! In addition to dramatically improving his math skills, my son also enjoys the social environment that the academy offers. Personally, I am very impressed with the quality of the entire staff (teaching and non-teaching alike). I would not hesitate to recommend AoPS Academy to any parent who is serious about developing their child's academic potential in a safe and stimulating environment."
-Kiran H.
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