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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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Bryan Johnson - Campus Director

Bryan Johnson - Campus Director

Bryan is the Campus Director at AoPS Academy Vienna. Originally from Ohio, he moved to Maryland after earning a BS in education at Bowling Green State University and an MS in mathematics at Michigan State University. Bryan is a published author who co-wrote an academic paper and wrote two children’s books for preschool students. Before joining the team, he worked for two educational publishers and the Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth, where he built online courses as well as piloted and grew additional support for online student engagement. In his spare time, he enjoys teaching his young children about interesting mathematics topics as well as riding his numerous bikes.

Sarah Tomsyck - Associate Director

Sarah Tomsyck - Associate Director

Sarah is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Vienna. She holds an MA in British literature from the University of Massachusetts and taught writing and literature courses at Indiana University for nearly a decade while completing doctoral coursework in Victorian studies. Sarah then moved to NoVA to share her passion for language arts with middle and high school students. She strives to foster curious, flexible thinkers and values the enthusiasm that young learners bring to the classroom. When Sarah isn’t reading or teaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their rescue dogs, bowling, and exploring local flea markets.

Dennis Loo - Associate Director

Dennis Loo - Associate Director

Dennis is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Vienna. He grew up in Northern Virginia, where he graduated from TJ before going to Virginia Tech to study physics and math. Later, he got his MT in math education from the University of Virginia. He has had a varied and colorful job history, but the one constant is the 22 summers he has spent working at the Lancaster site of Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth summer camp. In his spare time, he enjoys coaching quizbowl, staffing quizbowl tournaments, and watching soccer.

Dr. Michelle Quigley - Associate Director

Dr. Michelle Quigley - Associate Director

Michelle is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Vienna. Her expertise in mathematics has been a lifelong passion. She earned her PhD in physics from The Catholic University of America. Her impressive post-doctoral experience includes time spent with the department of Medical Physics at the University of Wisconsin and the department of Psychology at Georgetown University. She has extensive experience teaching students of all ages, from pre-school to young adults. Dr. Quigley is pleased to bring her breadth of knowledge to the classroom at AoPS Academy, where she enjoys sharing insights gained from her experience with astrophysics at NASA and her neuroscience research at the University of Texas.

Instructors

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Mariam Abdelhamid

Mariam Abdelhamid

Mariam is an educator who has worked with students from kindergarten through college, but she has primarily worked with upper-elementary students. A career switcher, Mariam studied finance and business analytics in college and went on to earn a master’s degree in economics. She is now working as a Finance and Strategy Specialist for DC Public Schools and is also working on her PhD in education, where she focuses on the relationship between mathematics and entrepreneurship.

Jessica Abshire

Jessica Abshire

Jessica is an experienced teacher who has worked with young students and adult learners all over the world. Her degree is in elementary and middle school education, and she has extensive experience in the areas of special needs, early childhood, and learning disabilities. Jessica has taught in private and public schools in Indiana, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C., as well as in India and Kosovo, where she spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English and mentoring fellow teachers. She graduated with her master’s degree in communication from Georgetown University and works as a Leadership Development Training Specialist for the Department of Homeland Security. Beyond the classroom, Jessica enjoys long runs, reading, and finding opportunities to interact with and learn about different cultures.

Dr. Ting Armstrong

Dr. Ting Armstrong

Dr. Armstrong has a strong passion for teaching math and has experienced the power of the AoPS curriculum first-hand—her own child attends AoPS Academy Vienna! She holds a Master's in finance from Johns Hopkins and a PhD in regional economics and policy from George Mason University. As a professor teaching quantitative methods, Dr. Armstrong is often invited to speak at colleges and businesses, and she has also had her research published in various academic journals.

Matt Bollinger

Matt Bollinger

Matt was born in Hong Kong, where he lived until age 4 and briefly worked as a baby model. As an adult, Matt studied at the University of Virginia, where he played quiz bowl and earned a BA in Classics. Matt continues to enjoy producing questions for quiz bowl tournaments, and currently serves as editor in chief for one of the main QB organizations. In his spare time, Matt also enjoys reading fiction and history, and just completed Rick Perlstein's series on the politics of the '60s and 70s.

Kashif Bhatti

Kashif Bhatti

If the phrase “perpetual educator” was in a dictionary, you would probably find a picture of Kashif there. You’ll find Kashif teaching 6th grade by day and teaching somewhere else by night. He was a recipient of the FCPS Outstanding New Teacher School Award and has his master’s degree in teaching. He’s a big fan of all things coffee and cars. He also lives up to the saying “teachers marry teachers” by being married to a teacher too. Away from teaching, you’ll find Kashif enjoying some rest and relaxation with his family or in pursuit of some delicious pizza.

Dr. Paul Cote

Dr. Paul Cote

Growing up, all Dr. Paul Cote wanted to do was talk, write, and think about his favorite books and movies. It drove his friends and family crazy. So he earned a doctorate in English and film studies from the University of Maryland, where he teaches and gets to talk and write about books and movies all the time! When he isn't teaching, Dr. Cote likes to spend time with his wife, listen to music, play video games, and hang out with his cat, Hobo. (The cat's fine with Dr. Cote talking about books and movies whenever he wants, just so long as he keeps giving her chin scritches and belly rubs).

Dr. Huaizhang Deng

Dr. Huaizhang Deng

Huaizhang earned an undergraduate degree in physics from Peking University and went on to earn a PhD in particle physics from Yale University. After his love of mathematics was sparked in middle school, in high school he participated in both the Physics and Mathematics Olympiads, taking fourth place in Physics and eighth place in Mathematics for his home province. After graduating from Yale, Huaizhang worked as part of the particle physics experiment at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory that received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2015. Currently, he is a quantitative hedge fund manager who develops mathematically sophisticated investment strategies for pension funds and university endowments. Huaizhang is very proud that his mathematics knowledge helps ordinary pensioners enjoy their retirement and helps talented students fund their studies. He is excited to join AoPS Academy and hopes he can instill love and knowledge of mathematics to young students.

Dr. Ann Denkler

Dr. Ann Denkler

Dr. Ann Denkler holds a PhD in American Studies and taught at the university level for seventeen years. She also holds a BA and MA in English Literature. She has published books and articles on African American history and attended Yale’s Summer Seminar on slave narratives. She started her career working in museums as a curator and educator and brought these skills to her university where she created and directed an Immersive Learning Center. She serves as an international educational consultant to India and Nepal, promoting the education of disadvantaged girls, and she was a Fulbright Scholar to India. She is also a certified group fitness instructor, specializing in indoor cycling. She loves working with students of all ages and encourages them to “Try and fail, but don’t fail to try!”

David Edelstein

David Edelstein

David holds degrees in computer science, mathematics, and privacy engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He's consulted for the UN, coded for Microsoft, and conducted a genuine parapsychology experiment. While working on his master's degree, he served as a teaching assistant, helping students from a range of backgrounds understand technical privacy concepts. Less officially, he cheerily shares his math knowledge with family, friends, and at times nearby strangers. In his spare time, he writes, cooks, and performs magic.

Dr. Hany Eldeib

Dr. Hany Eldeib

Dr. Eldeib has always loved mathematics. He has extensive experience teaching students of all ages, from younger children up to college students at George Mason University where he has taught many classes. He currently teaches mathematics and computer science at Bard High School Early College in Washington, D.C. Dr. Eldeib has his PhD in systems engineering from the University of Virginia. He has used his extensive knowledge of mathematics to train many of his clients in the satellite communications industry, while at the same time teaching college courses and tutoring his own very talented children.

Melissa Harding

Melissa Harding

Melissa is a 10-year educator who graduated from Meredith College with a BA in mathematics and a Middle Grades Teaching Licensure. She began teaching at AOPS Campus-Morrisville, NC in October 2018 and is excited to transition into the Vienna Campus. She has enjoyed working with AoPS students in all the Beast Academy classes from 2nd through 5th grades, along with Prealgebra as well. Her main goal is to inspire her students to increase their confidence and ability to think deeply and critically about the world and information that is always surrounding them. When not hanging with the coolest young mathematicians around, you can find her teaching Bible, math, and language arts at the Academy of Christian Education in Reston, VA. She loves spending time with her family, including her handsome 6-year old nephew. Dance is another one of Melissa’s passions, as it allows her to balance her brain by being creative, artistic, and expressive.

Nicole Inge

Nicole Inge

Nicole earned her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Mary Washington and her MFA in poetry from George Mason University. She has several years of experience as an editor and writing tutor, was an intern with the Fall for the Book Festival, and currently works in content marketing. Nicole's poetry has also been published in several literary journals. She has been with AoPS since late 2018 and loves teaching creative writing because it allows students to be as weird and wonderful as they can. In her free time, she loves to read and write poems, explore antique stores, and collect moths.

Dr. Alessandra King

Dr. Alessandra King

Alessandra, an astrophysicist by training, with a doctorate in physics from the University of Milan, has taught physics and mathematics at the middle and high school levels on three continents—in Milano (Italy), Manila (Philippines), and the greater Washington area (USA) and in both the AP and IB systems. She has taught everything from pre-algebra to calculus 2 (equivalent to AP Calculus BC) at the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, MD for eleven years. Alessandra likes to be engaged in professional associations such as NCTM. She is an editor for the NCTM journal “Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching” pre-K -12 and has published articles and blogs in various professional magazines such as MTMS, AMLE Magazine, JAIMS, The Australian Mathematics Teacher, Edutopia, and Mathematics in School. She greatly enjoyed collaborating with TED Ed on a couple of TED Ed lessons on the history of numerical systems and on banned numbers. Besides teaching, Alessandra likes to spend her time reading, hiking, watching good movies, knitting, and crocheting, and making in general.

Mary Lee

Mary Lee

Ms. Lee's Bachelor of Science is in chemistry and applied mathematics from The George Washington University, where she was a JUMP Scholar (as part of the NSF–funded Joint Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics Scholars program). She also holds a Master’s degree in secondary education in mathematics from The George Washington University. Ms. Lee joined AoPS in 2016 and has been at the Vienna campus since its opening. Ms. Lee started her career in the BASIS Curriculum network at BASIS Washington DC. She is currently a subject expert math teacher at BASIS Independent McLean. She has extensive experience in counseling, teaching, and tutoring math for students from elementary school through college in Washington DC and Northern Virginia. She is bilingual in English and Korean. She enjoys watching live performances and musicals, swimming, running and playing musical instruments.

Dr. Sanggoo P. Lee

Dr. Sanggoo P. Lee

Math instructor Dr. Sanggoo Lee graduated from the University of Arizona with a PhD in physics. He has worked as a scientist and optical engineer in Japan, Korea, and the USA and has spent the past decade teaching and tutoring math and physics to students of different ages. Sanggoo is just as excited about math contests and mathematical problem solving as the bright students at AoPS Academy! When he isn’t teaching, Sanggoo loves to solve math and physics problems and watch educational TV shows.

Laura Champe Mitchell

Laura Champe Mitchell

Laura is a lifetime educator, having worked with and taught all ages -- preschoolers to high school to college to adult professionals. She is currently a high school teacher with Fairfax County Public Schools, and her past roles include being a teacher and program developer for the Close Up Foundation, serving as an adjunct professor at American University and George Mason University, and being Head of School for a private, progressive school. She owns two companies - a product manufacturing company and a business consulting firm. She has specific expertise working with gifted and special needs learners, and is particularly passionate about creating an immersive, fun, and connected classroom. She loves to inspire her students to make connections between Language Arts and their everyday lives and future careers. In her free time, Laura is an avid reader, TV watcher, and board game player who also loves to spend as much time at the beach as she can.

Vanita Murali

Vanita Murali

Math instructor Vanita Murali holds a Masters in astrophysics from the University of Delhi, in India. After a 25-year career in IT, she has embraced her passion for teaching. Vanita has taught and tutored math, physics, and chemistry to students from elementary through high school, and works as a substitute teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools. Outside the classroom, Vanita loves to bike, hike, kayak, play board games, and watch movies. She also enjoys playing with her pug, Anya, and making beds and blankets for local animal shelters.

Jessica Reynolds

Jessica Reynolds

Jessica’s interest in both math and art led her to attend Skidmore, where she majored in mathematics and minored in studio art. She went on to earn her master's in teaching from AU as part of a Math for America fellowship. After working in DC public schools for five years, Jessica decided it was time for a change in location and ended up teaching in the Cayman Islands before returning to the DC area in 2016. Throughout her career, Jessica has enjoyed presenting concepts in ways that allow for student discovery and watching the joy students experience when they have solved a challenging problem. Outside of teaching, Jessica spends her time traveling the world, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, or finding time to play around with ceramics, knitting, and weaving.

Cezar Serban

Cezar Serban

Cezar received his BS in electrical and computer engineering from Cornell University in 2004. Having participated in math competitions throughout middle and high school, he 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 classes and community as a student, a grader, and a 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 ten-year-old son.

Teresa Sievers

Teresa Sievers

Teresa Sievers started her career as an engineer before becoming a teacher. She joined the Air Force through the ROTC program while studying Aerospace Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. Her first assignment after college was testing satellites prior to launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida. After serving in the military, Teresa changed careers to pursue her passion for education. Since 2014, she has taught high school math, physics, and engineering. Her engineering background carries over to her teaching; her favorite learning tool is applying math to real world scenarios, such as using sine waves to model length of day in different areas of the globe. When she isn't marveling at how math describes the universe, she enjoys watching the Great British Baking Show, drinking tea, and planning her next trip to the United Kingdom.

Kristy Silva

Kristy Silva

Kristy has been teaching math and language arts at AoPS Vienna since 2019. She earned her B.S. from Northern Arizona University and her M.Ed. from American University. Before moving to Washington, DC, she served with AmeriCorps City Year in Sacramento, CA for two years, tutoring elementary students in math and language arts. Kristy strives to foster a love of learning in her students by making it fun and engaging. When she is not in the classroom, she likes to travel, read, and host game nights.

Won Suh

Won Suh

Won’s journey through academia has been an interesting one, to say the least. Having graduated from TJ, Won set out to establish himself as a premier physician. Well, that clearly didn’t happen. But what’s a math major (who decided not to pursue a career in medicine after all) to do? Why, go to law school (obviously, he said, sarcastically). It makes complete and absolute sense, of course, that as a licensed (and active) member of the Virginia Bar, Won pursued teaching instead. Over the years, Won has taught math of varying levels up to AP Calculus BC, AP Computer Science A, language arts (reading comprehension, English grammar, and essay writing), and logical reasoning. Won one day hopes to write a really amazing novel.

Dr. Aman Ullah

Dr. Aman Ullah

Dr. Ullah earned his PhD in computational biophysics from Ohio University and recently accepted a tenure-track position as a Research Assistant Professor at George Mason University. He has also worked as an Assistant Professor at Northern Virginia Community College. His work on cardiac functioning has led to cutting-edge research developing novel computational algorithms to efficiently solve the large-scale stochastic models that are used to study the heart. Dr. Ullah's research involves extensive use of Markov models, reaction-diffusion equations, bifurcation theory, and numerous other nonlinear dynamics tools.

Dr. Zach VandeZande

Dr. Zach VandeZande

Zach VandeZande (aka "Dr. Zach") has been teaching English and creative writing to all ages for the past ten years. He has a PhD in English - Creative Writing from the University of North Texas. He also writes and edits books. He has published two books of fiction, a book of cartoons, and an anthology of essays on postcolonial theory. He lives in DC with his fiancée and his dog. Zach loves teaching language arts because of the way his students are always surprising him with the ways they use language. Kids understand that "making sense" is an act of creation, the same way that baking bread or singing a song are acts of creation. He loves showing students the exciting, weird, and wonderful ways they can make sense with their writing.

"AoPS Academy is truly a wonderful place to learn advanced concepts in math. The academy has highly qualified instructors who not only help kids learn rigorous math concepts in great depth, but also inspire them to achieve the lofty heights that they are capable of. The instructors are truly an inspiration for my children due to their thoughtful mentoring. Thank you for everything you do for our kids."
-Praveen T.
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