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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Matthew Heid

Matthew Heid Campus Director

Matthew is the Campus Director at AoPS Academy Mountain View. He has known Art of Problem Solving since his high school days. During school, he participated in the American Mathematics Competitions and used contest math to deepen his understanding of different topics. He went to the University of Washington for undergrad, where he received a BA in Math. He has also received an MA in Education from UC Berkeley and an MA in Mathematics from SF State. He has always loved teaching mathematics, and he has taken on roles to guide and mentor students throughout his academic career. Matthew joined AoPS Academy in 2021 as an Associate Director at the Santa Clara campus. In 2022, he helped open AoPS Academy Fremont. When he is not doing math, Matthew loves doing crossword puzzles, playing bridge, and baking cupcakes.


Instructors

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Dr. Izhak (Zachi) Baharav

Dr. Izhak (Zachi) Baharav

Dr. Baharav earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. He worked in tech as a researcher, manager and Chief Technology Officer. He holds more than 30 issued US patents, published over 40 scientific papers and book chapters, and is a distinguished lecturer and a senior member of the IEEE. Dr. Baharav's experience as a teacher spans the gamut from being an engineering professor to high school teacher. He especially enjoys exploring new subjects with students. His teaching style combines an emphasis on basic principles together with a strong belief in the value of reflection and contemplation. Dr. Baharav enjoys the outdoors, is an avid runner (100 mile runs), and when not running/reading/drawing, he can often be found enjoying a game of chess.

Sierra Gordon

Sierra Gordon

Sierra Gordon is enthused about teaching Language Arts with AoPS Academy; she recently joined in the summer of 2022 with over 10 years experience working with children and 5 years teaching experience. She graduated with her degree in psychology with an emphasis on child development. She is passionate about teaching elementary ages so much so that she is currently teaching a group of fourth graders whom she also taught 3rd grade humanities to last year! Her life passion has become fostering young minds above their capabilities and helping those under grade level reach above grade level. As exciting hobbies, she enjoys building famous Lego structures as well as cooking and writing. However, some of the most cherished time spent is with her two children, Alexa and Eli and their 2 year old cat, Zara.

Erin Hamson

Erin Hamson

Erin has always loved math. Her math love lead her to a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University in Utah. While she worked on her bachelor's, Erin joined a study abroad program in Peru where she used her knowledge to teach others how to solve their everyday problems. After earning her degree Erin started working as a manufacturing engineer, but that spark from teaching others eventually led her to a master's degree in teaching from the University of California, Irvine. After 4 years of teaching elementary school, Erin is now teaching middle school math during the day and AoPS students at night! When she's not teaching, Erin can usually be found in a different state or country. Erin is now over halfway to visiting every state in the USA!

Kendra Lafond

Kendra Lafond

Kendra loves the concreteness and creativity of math, and she enjoys engaging with students who also love exploring and understanding new concepts. She is a preschool teacher in Santa Clara going on her third year, but she has her bachelor’s degree in child life psychology, and is currently working on her master’s degree in counseling abnormal psychology. She has worked as a math tutor for two years, teaching bundling to kindergarteners all the way up to exponential equations and pre-trigonometry to 8th graders. Her favorite thing about working with younger students is creating a safe environment for them to learn and explore new, and sometimes hard, concepts. The look of accomplishment on their faces when they are able to apply what they’ve learned to their own work, nothing beats that! In her spare time, she loves singing with the worship team at her church and eating lots of poke.

Huy Lam-Vu

Huy Lam-Vu

Huy has a passion for mathematics that he's been eager to share with students for over ten years. As a dedicated math teacher, Huy strives to bring math to life in the classroom, fostering love for numbers, problem-solving, and critical thinking among his students. Huy holds a bachelor's and a master’s degree in mathematics from California State University: East Bay. His educational background has equipped him with the knowledge and tools necessary to effectively communicate mathematical concepts in a relatable and engaging manner. His teaching philosophy is centered on the belief that every student can succeed in mathematics. Huy is committed to creating a positive learning environment where students feel supported and encouraged to ask questions and explore mathematical ideas. Huy firmly believes that understanding the “why” behind mathematical principles is just as important as mastering “how”. When not teaching, Huy enjoys solving math problems and reading mathematics literature. For relaxation, he enjoys watching and playing chess games. His favorite chess streamer is Hikaru Nikamura. For games, Huy likes to play League of Legends. At his peak, he was a Master Ranked Solo Queue player; right now, he is an average Diamond Ranked player.

Uma Sridevi Nadiminti

Uma Sridevi Nadiminti

Uma has been very passionate about teaching since her childhood. Inspired by her father who was a high school math and science teacher, she used to tutor her peers in school and college. Uma was a valedictorian in high school and university, and always loved math and math riddles. She earned a master’s degree in materials science and metallurgical engineering from IIT Kanpur and has research experience in computational modeling of materials from IIT Bombay. She worked as an Assistant Professor in College of Engineering Pune, India, where she taught engineering undergraduates. She is also a home educator for her homeschooling kid. She believes in student-centered pedagogy and nurturing critical thinking & analytical skills. Uma is a trained Indian Carnatic singer and enjoys singing, writing stories, photography and biking. She also does volunteering in schools and non profit organizations whenever possible.

John Pelias

John Pelias

John loves mathematics so much that he has been doing it as a profession his whole life! He has a master's degree and is currently finishing his doctorate degree in mathematics at UC Santa Cruz (where he also teaches). He studies geometry and topology, particularly geometric concepts and techniques that are inspired by physics. He loves studying and teaching "hard but awesome" mathematics, like topology! (By the way, topology is the branch of mathematics where a coffee mug and a donut are considered the same shape!) He also loves understanding and teaching the motivations and history of concepts, because doing so helps us remember them. When John isn't doing mathematics, he likes to play table tennis, play board or word games, talk about philosophy with his friends, sit by the beach while reading a novel, play the piano, pet random dogs at the park, watch anime, or cook.

Dr. Dok Rupnik

Dr. Dok Rupnik

Dr. Rupnik has a doctorate in public health and a master’s in psychology from Capella University. He also has substantial education in medical anthropology. He is an accredited ESL instructor and has taught English language skills in the classroom setting in Indonesia as well as online to students in Japan and China. As a Doctor of Public Health, Dok traveled to Asia to study the effects of Ramadhan prayer and fasting on tobacco use and to conduct ethnographic research on traditional Indonesian healing and medicine. Having made presented his research to the American Anthropological Association, the National Council on Tobacco or Health and other scientific organizations, he knows how important language arts skills are in effectively comprehending and sharing important information. Teaching these skills to others is his passion and he is excited to be part of the AoPS instructor cadre.

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