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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:

Vickie Brisbin

Vickie Brisbin, Center Director

Mathnasium Certified 




Armin Hamidi, Instructor

Armin studies Aerospace Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona and his dream is to do research for a major Aviation company such as Boeing or Lockheed. He enjoys reading and gaming and listening to Metallica. His favorite thing about math is that it can be used in every aspect of life. Its fundamental design which is applied to every discipline.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Don’t be afraid of math. Loosen up a bit and you will find that it is easier than you think.

Fun fact: Armin enjoys gardening.

Favorite number: 25 because it is funnier than 24.

Math joke:

A dozen, a gross and a score;

Plus, three times the square root of four;

Divided by seven;

Plus, five times eleven;

Is nine squared and not a bit more!


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.