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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:

Bernardo Cobos, Center Director

Mathnasium Certified 

Bernardo comes to us after graduating from UCLA with a degree in Mathematics with Specialization in Computing  - then travelling through South America for two months! While in school, he was a resident assistant (RA) and served as a peer learning facilitator for underrepresented college students. Bernardo has been tutoring students from second grade through college mathematics since 2013 and would like someday to work in artificial intelligence/machine learning. He enjoys playing the electric bass, video games and learning new things.

Bernardo is enamored with Mathnasium’s curriculum and teaching style and wished he’d had that growing up! His favorite thing about math is finding common structure between seemingly disparate ideas.

Advice to Mathnasium students –  There are times math is going to be hard, or frustrating, or just flat-out boring. Keep working through those hardships, and your view of the universe will be forever changed.

Fun fact – Bernardo has been to Comic Con five different years

Favorite number -  2, because it was my elementary school classroom number for two years in a row (5th and 6th grade)

Math joke - There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Audrey Almeda, Instructor

Audrey earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies and a multiple teaching credential from Cal State Long Beach. She has been teaching a variety of grades for many years. Audrey enjoys singing, playing the piano and listening to music. She likes to inspire others with her singing. What Audrey enjoys most about math is: doing careful calculations; using orderly process; and solving problems.

Advice to Mathnasium Students: A B C

Attitude is important, be positive

Be complete with your work

Carefully read and think through problems

Fun fact: She is named after the famous and beautiful actress, Audrey Hepburn.

Favorite number: 9 because it’s her birthday and because it is a perfect square.

Math joke:

Q: Why did the 30-60-90 triangle marry the 45-45-90 triangle?

A: They were right for each other.

Esha Desai, Instructor

Esha attends Niguel High school and is passionate about math and science. Her dream is to work in the medical field and to be able to help in her community.  Esha enjoys reading and watching movies. She volunteers at the hospital and researches neurosurgery at UCI. Understanding the process of math and applying it to everyday life fascinates her!

Advice to Mathnasium students: Don’t give up. Hopefully, like her, the more you learn about math the more it will inspire you to keep learning.

Fun fact: Esha doesn’t like ice cream!

Favorite number: 0 because its properties are all so different.

Math joke: Why did the obtuse angle go to the beach? Because it was over 90 degrees!

Elliott Guiso, Instructor

Elliott studies Communications at Saddleback College. He has an engineering background and wants to work in an environment where he can do something creative that has a positive impact on people. He enjoys reading and playing games and his favorite food is Mexican. He enjoys using logic and critical thinking skills to solve math problems that relate to real world situations.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Put in the hard work. The effort you put in to your work is more important than the grades you receive.

Fun fact: He is a movie/TV “buff,” especially when it comes to animation.

Favorite number: He likes prime numbers because of how tricky they can make math problems. Even numbers are boring.

Math joke: ‘Pie are square’

Firooz Khosraviyani, Instructor

The last university Firooz attended was the University College of Wales in the UK where he earned a PhD. in Pure Mathematics. He enjoys gardening, games and learning about and discussing ancient history and different languages. What he likes best about math is it enables an individual to create a universe that the individual can be completely in control of.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Get into a habit to think for yourself. You were doing advanced mathematics at birth. You still can do so.

Fun fact: He comes across as too serious of a person.

Favorite number: 1 because it is the smallest positive integer. It is the abstract number that is used to define all else.

Math joke:

The novice mathematician, the engineer, the lawyer and the expert mathematician answering the question on 2 + 2.

And, What is the number of feet in a yard? That depends on the number of creatures in the yard and the number of feet each of them has.

Mel Moser, Instructor

Mel received a degree in Mathematics from Saddleback college. Someday Mel would like to teach math at a community college. She enjoys hockey, math and hiking - in that order! Her favorite team is the San Jose Sharks. Her favorite thing about math is that when you know something is true in math, you know the truth is unassailable. Math doesn’t lie.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Don’t give up and your ‘Aha!’ moment will come. It’s the best feeling in the world.

Fun fact: Mel has a giant Asian Water Monitor!

Favorite number: Tau. Because it simplifies trigonometry and because 6.28 is her birthday.

Math joke: One in every 3.14159653 Sailors are Pi-rates.

Gian Perez, Instructor

Gian studied Computer Engineering at Mapua University and would someday like to be a circus performer or work in Robotics. He enjoys Parkour, fire eating, electronics and eating Sushi. Gian’s favorite thing about math is how he can apply math to his life. He believes that there is further understanding of the world through math.

Advice to Mathnasium students: It doesn't matter if you have a natural talent or not, if you want to be good at something, you need to study and practice it. This doesn't just apply to math, it applies to everything we do in life.

Fun fact: His impossible dream is to be a Cirque du Soleil performer.

Favorite number: 0. Because it exists in every number base.

Not a math joke, but he can draw Finn (adventure time) on a scientific calculator.

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. 

Emily Trytten, Instructor

Emily currently attends Laguna Hills High School and plans to study Marine Biology in college. She likes to crochet, read, bake and she is passionate about conservation of the environment. Emily likes that math is an absolute; there is no room for interpretation.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Math can be confusing at times, but when you put in the time and effort to understand a concept, it's worth it. Don't give up just because you don't get the right answer immediately. You'll get there eventually.

Fun fact: Emily is great at balancing things on her head!

Favorite number: 7. No real reason. She’s just drawn to it.

Math joke: Did you hear about the mathematician who’s afraid of negative numbers? He’ll stop at nothing to avoid them.

Erin Zeider, Instructor

Erin currently attends Laguna Niguel High School and is headed to UCSD as a Biology major in the fall. Her goal is to one day be a surgeon. She likes puzzles, origami and hanging out with friends. Her favorite baseball team is the LA Angels of Anaheim and she’s been to more than 50 games! Erin enjoys how ‘universal’ math is and that someone from China can understand the same calculations of someone from Nigeria.

Advice to Mathnasium students: If you can’t figure out a problem, try a different method.

Fun fact: Erin lived in Nara, Japan when she was little.

Favorite number: 33. One year her classroom, basketball and softball numbers were coincidentally all #33.

Math joke:

Q: Why did you divide sin from tan?

A: Just cos.



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.