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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.

Instructors

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Mark Smith - Campus Director

Mark is the Campus Director for AoPS Academy in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Houston at Victoria and a Master of Education degree 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, through all of which he has shared 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 with various instruments making music.

Mark Smith - Campus Director

Lisa Voss - Language Arts Department Chair

Lisa is the Language Arts Department Chair. Lisa has more than 16 years’ experience developing and delivering academic writing courses. Her areas of expertise include developmental English, basic and advanced composition, technical writing, business writing, and creative writing for students from middle school through graduate school. She is also a playwright whose work has been produced in Washington, D.C. and New York City. Lisa has an MA in Fiction Writing from The Johns Hopkins University and a BS in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Lisa Voss - Language Arts Department Chair

Rebecca Poyatt

Rebecca has taught and tutored for over eleven years. She currently serves as a fifth grade language arts teacher at Landon School in Bethesda, MD. She has previously worked in elementary and middle school classrooms across Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. Rebecca also has extensive experience as a K-12 tutor, focusing on reading, writing, history, and test preparation. Rebecca holds both a master's degree in education and a specialist degree in education theory and practice from the University of Georgia. She actively continues to study the teaching of writing through the National Writing Project.

Rebecca Poyatt

Dr. Alessandra King

Alessandra is an astrophysicist by training, with a Doctor of Physics degree from Milan University. She has over 15 years of experience teaching mathematics at several local schools. She was Director of the mathematics department at Green Hedges School in Vienna, VA for over 7 years, and currently teaches middle and high school level mathematics at Holton-Arms School in Bethesda.

Dr. Alessandra King

Ben Stone

Ben Stone is an experienced high school math teacher who has assisted in many of the Art of Problem Solving online classes from Pre-Algebra to Calculus. He is also a very experienced teacher of math competition classes. Ben was a three-time AIME participant, and also placed second in the Oregon High School state math championships. Ben holds a B.S. in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.S. in mathematics from the University of Washington. Ben is also a content developer for the Art of Problem Solving's Beast Academy online, for students from grade 2 to 5.

Ben Stone

Joyce Yang

Joyce Yang has participated in math competitions including the American Regions Mathematics League (ARML) and American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). Ms. Yang obtained a B.S. in Mathematics from Harvey Mudd College in 2016 and started grading for Art of Problem Solving in 2011. Ms. Yang also has experience in research in mathematics and statistics.

Joyce Yang

Dr. James Tian

James is a math professor at Hampton University. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Mathematics from The University of Iowa, and has over 10 years teaching and research experience. His work involves questions originated in signal processing, machine learning, operator theory, and mathematical physics.

Dr. James Tian

Cezar Serban

Cezar received his undergraduate degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University in 2004. He participated in math competitions in middle and high school, and later fell in love with teaching math to bright students as a TA in college. He first discovered AoPS in 2013 and has been hooked on problem solving ever since. He's had a blast being involved with the AoPS online community and classes as a student, grader, and course assistant. Cezar's other hobbies involve running long distances, playing lots of chess, and attempting to improvise jazz on his clarinet, all while being constantly entertained by his highly energetic six year old son.

Cezar Serban

Shahzad Rajput

Shahzad has over 10 years of teaching and research experience. His area of expertise includes using computers for understanding and analyzing text. He strongly believes that building a strong mathematical foundation at a young age plays a key role in maintaining interest in mathematics later in life, thereby expanding career options for the individual. Shahzad's hobbies include playing strategy games.

Shahzad Rajput

Jonathon Baker

Jonathon has spent ten years working in various locations teaching mathematics to many diverse people. He has spent most of his time working for the Community College of Baltimore County as an adjunct Professor of Mathematics and Baltimore County Public Schools as a math teacher. He currently holds a Bachelor's degree from Goucher College in Mathematics and will soon be working towards his Master's Degree in the same filed of study. He enjoys the field of teaching.

Jonathon Baker

Dr. Mark Helfand

Mark is a retired earth scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Goddard Institute for Space Studies. At GSFC, he researched the Earth’s atmosphere and climate variability, designed and built state-of-the-art Numerical Weather Prediction and Climate Simulation models, and lectured in outreach programs as a NASA “Ambassador." Mark holds a BS in Mathematics from MIT and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from Cornell University. Mark has taught mathematics and earth science at several universities, and currently is a substitute math and science teacher within the Montgomery County Public School System. He is a scientific consultant and independent scientific and technical editor.

Dr. Mark Helfand

Gil Laqui

Gil has twenty years of teaching experience in Mathematics in both public and private schools. He has a Bachelor of Secondary Education and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with Specialization in Actuarial Science and Statistics from De La Salle University, Manila. Gil has coached many students for various math and robotics competitions, including the Robotics team that won the 2017 Robotics Skills and Team Awards in Washington DC.

Gil Laqui

Phil Rennert

Phil is a semi-retired research engineer in information science, in the overall business of extracting wisdom from information overload. He specializes in machine learning, natural language processing, data mining, and statistics. Earlier Phil worked for NASA, doing Space Shuttle guidance and control and satellite orbit determination. Phil's teaching experience includes remedial math instruction for college freshmen, and volunteering for Mathcounts. Phil has a BA in math from Yale and an MA in applied math from NYU. He's an alumnus of MIT's high school studies program.

Phil Rennert

Jasper Diggs

Jasper joined AoPS Academy in 2017. Both Jasper’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees deal with reading specialization in the elementary grades. She has been an educator for the past 15 years--13 years with Montgomery County Public Schools and 2 years with Okaloosa County in Destin, FL. In 2015, Jasper worked as a reading interventionist for Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR). Since then, she has continued to pursue opportunities that allow her to practice her specialization in reading diagnostics. She currently serves as a reading specialist in the public school system. In her spare time, Jasper loves to read anything suspenseful or quirky, and she shares this love with her monthly book club. She looks forward to instilling a love of reading in her AoPS Academy students!

Jasper Diggs

Michael Maschmeier

Mike joined AoPS in the Fall of 2017. He has taught English as a Second Language since 2014, living and working first in Seoul, South Korea and last academic year in Izmit, Turkey. While teaching the International Baccalaureate program in Izmit, he also served as the faculty adviser for the school's new Model United Nations club, taking the team to an award-winning conference appearance only a few months after the club was founded. He has also tutored students of all ages in ESL and Language Arts. In his spare time he enjoys gaming with friends, listening to audiobooks, and following politics and current events. He is looking forward to being able to watch American football again, especially the Virginia Tech Hokies. He graduated from American University in 2008 with a B.A. in International Studies.

Michael Maschmeier
"Our homeschooled son is extremely gifted in math and science.  He really feels at home at AoPS Academy.  Through coaching and personal attention at AoPS, he achieved a 5 in AP Calculus at 11 years old and a 4 in AP Statistics at 12.  He also achieved an 800 on SAT II math at 12 years old.  Our son feels very comfortable in the atmosphere of AoPS, where being gifted in math is not looked down on, but treated with respect.  He has truly found his peers at AoPS Academy. 

AoPS Academy allows my son to be himself, learn that there are other kids well advanced in math, and gives him the confidence to know that it is OK to be great in math, and that other people will respect and value his ability."

-Neil D.
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