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Our Team

Our specially trained math instructors will teach your child how to understand math in an individual setting; our unique approach enables us to explain concepts really well and lend a helping hand to every student. Our tutors foster a caring, encouraging environment that helps kids thrive and learn! Read below to learn more about our talented team:

Robert Whiteside, Center Director

Robert went to DePaul University in Chicago as a Game Design and Animation major. Robert brings almost five years of Mathnasium experience to Dana Point.  He grew up in the Chicagoland suburbs before recently moving to Orange County.  Prior to joining the Dana Point team, Robert was the Center Director for Mathnasium of Oakbrook (IL) and Assistant Center Director at Mathnasium of Hinsdale.  Robert finds it easy to work with students, teach, and explain things to others. He has always excelled at math. He is specialized at working with Middle School and High School students, but has vast experience with students from kindergarten level to Calculus. ‘Math is a game we play with numbers that helps us to understand the world. Mathnasium lets me teach and share that way of thinking with kids.’”

Victoria Cobos, Instructor

Victoria attends Orange Coast College. She enjoys photography, swimming, reading and all food! Her favorite sports team is Real Madrid for soccer. Victoria has tutored students in grades K through high school. Her favorite thing about math is that there is always a correct answer.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Never give up no matter how impossible a problem seems.

Fun fact: Victoria graduated high school at the age of 16!

Favorite number: 3. It was the month and time she was born (she was also born on the 30th, a 3-based number)

Math joke:

Q: Why don’t calculus majors throw house parties?

A: Because you should never drink and derive.

 

Kyle Johnson, Instructor

Kyle currently attends Chapman University where he focuses on Education Studies. His future ambition is to be an inspirational teacher to a local community! Kyle enjoys Marvel and Star Wars movies and he is passionate about sports, specifically basketball and the LA Lakers. His favorite thing about math is that everything is interrelated and can be used in our everyday life.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Kyle would advise Mathnasium students to continue building foundational skills in order to achieve higher levels.

Fun fact: Kyle is 6’ 4” tall, in case you were wondering his height!

Favorite number: 8 because of Kobe Bryant and how common it is in math.

Math Joke: 2.14% of sailors are Pi Rates

Aesher Ogunleye-Johnson, Instructor

Aesher earned a BS in Environmental Science and MS in Environmental Policy and Management. He’d like to go back for an MBA in Analytics and a PhD in Engineering Education. His dream job is to work for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and teach engineering to kids. Aesher enjoys anime, guitar, international relations and foreign languages, visiting museums and military history. His favorite thing about math is that mathematics is in everything we see in life from the truck he drives to how geometry is needed in architecture.

Advice to Mathnasium students: If a topic in math is difficult for you, embrace the challenge!

Fun fact: He loves Corgis!

Favorite number: 3 because good things happen to him in threes!

Math joke: I ate some Pi and it was delicious!

Haley Pierson, Instructor

Haley currently studies English and Philosophy at CSULB he’d like to be an editor for a social media or publishing company one day. She loves to write, listen to music and hang out with her friends. She likes figuring out math problems as if they are puzzles and finds it rewarding when she works hard to come up with an answer.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Every day is a step in the right direction. Every day means progress!

Fun fact: Haley can wiggle her ears.

Favorite number: 2 because it can make big numbers less intimidating when you break them in half.

Math joke: An opinion without 3.14 is just an onion

Mike Tourchian, Instructor

Mike studies Biological Sciences and Neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine. He thinks it would be cool to be a Neurosurgeon one day. Mike enjoys playing soccer, drawing photography and listening to music. His favorite thing about math is its applicability and definitiveness. Plus, he’s good at math so that makes it fun to teach.

Advice to Mathnasium students: No matter what you may think, you can learn and be really good at math! All it takes is practice and some good instruction.

Fun Fact: Mike was born in Iran. He moved to America when he was 2 and Farsi was his first language.

Favorite number: Zero because there are so many ways to use it in upper math and it is very interesting to think about conceptually. 

Owner

J. Steve Santacruz, Owner

Steve likes to call himself a 'recovering attorney.'After practicing law for nearly 20 years, Steve found Mathnasium and reinvented himself as a franchisee. One of Steve's main passions in life is teaching children. He has been a little league baseball coach since college and enjoyed coaching his own two boys. Steve brings that passion to Mathnasium - hoping to influence and enrich the lives of children through nurturing a passion and appreciation for math. 

 Steve and his wife, Karen, are humbled to be recognized as one of the top 5 performing franchisees in the Mathnasium system. Steve and his wife, Karen, are busy raising two sons, Austin and Dylan. They look forward to serving your family!

 

OwnerKaren Santacruz, Owner

Karen graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with an emphasis in Athletic Training. She has a Master of Science from Northeastern Illinois University in Exercise Science and Cardiac Rehabilitation. Before starting a family Karen worked as an Athletic Trainer for Illinois Sportsmedicine and Addison Trail High School. She then taught physical education and was the Head Athletic Trainer at Stevenson High School. While raising their two boys Karen has taught PE part-time, coaches her sons' sports teams, is a substitute teacher, and volunteers her time in boy scouting and at St. Joseph school. Karen loves working with children, and is excited about opening Mathnasium!! She has always been a strong advocate for developing fitness in children, and knows how important math skills are to the overall educational development of a child. "

 

Sam Larimer, Director of Training/Operations Associate

Sam hails from northwest Indiana, where he completed his B.S. in Mathematics and minor in Civil Engineering at Purdue University Calumet. His interests vary all over the spectrum, from the great outdoors to an engrossing role-playing game to rooting for the Cubbies, Bears & Blackhawks. Most of all, though, his adoration for math has led him to pursue interests in actuarial science and statistics. New to the North Shore, he is excited to help Mathnasium students break into the puzzle-solving world of math that he’s enjoyed his entire life.