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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:

           

Center Director/OwnerJana Frank, Owner/Director 

Jana is a former Chicago Public School teacher with degrees in psychology, education, and mathematics. She was individually selected to work under Dr. Paul Sally, the leading professor of the mathematics department at the University of Chicago who created the Everyday Math Program. In collaboration with him she spent her summers bringing math enrichment to underprivileged students from the south side of Chicago. She has over ten years of private tutoring experience with students of all ages and levels, ranging from special education instruction with children with autism and ADHD to gifted enrichment, as well as test preparation for the college entrance exams ACT/SAT. After teaching multiple grades and subjects for over half a decade in the public schools, Jana has developed a passion for creating math curriculum that focus on conceptual understanding and lasting fundamental knowledge rather than drill and memorization. Mathnasium, with its focus on number sense, has provided the perfect forum through which Jana can offer best practice in mathematical instruction and learning. She is excited to bring Mathnasium to Oak Park and join the community.

Fun Fact: In her free time, Jana practices flying trapeze and acrobatics!

 

Robert McMahon-Lovell, Director of Education

Robert graduated from Bradley University in 2014 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology. While there, Robert studied secondary education and Biology. In his final semester he ran an independent research project in order to aid future expeditions of the local Citizen Scientist organization and S.T.E.M. programs. He has a wide variety of experience working with students of all ages. Some of these experiences include being an Oak Park Park District summer sports camp counselor, volunteering as a science fair judge for Peoria public schools, teaching in both middle and high school settings and serving as a summer school aid for River Forest School District 90. Math has always been an important part of Robert's life, as both his favorite subject growing up and as a invaluable tool in his Biology studies. Assisting students of all ages in advancing their understanding and mastery of various mathematical skills is something Robert greatly enjoys and Mathnasium provides the perfect setting to accomplish this. 

Fun Fact: Rob is a pescatarian!

 

Jenny Holtzman, Director of Membership & Community Partnerships

Everyone has something that comes naturally to them without even thinking.  For Jenny, that something is working with children and interacting with people. Jenny graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana with a degree in Marketing.  In 2004, she stumbled upon an opportunity to merged her two passions for education and business marketing, and has not looked back since.  Prior to joining Mathnasium of Oak Park/River Forest, Jenny managed educational programs for SCORE! Educational Centers, a Kaplan Company, where she oversaw learning centers for both Arlington Heights and Lake Zurich.  She then joined Orion's Mind, an education solution provider, and managed after school programs for more than 60 Chicago Public Schools.  In 2011 she was selected by the CEO of Orion's Mind to start a region for the company in Denver, Colorado where she became one of the largest and most effective after school program in all of Denver Public Schools.  She returned to Chicago last year to be closer to her family and fell in love with the Mathnasium Method and the community of Oak Park/River Forest.  She joined Jana and the rest of the Mathnasium team upon her return and loves sharing her passion for our programs to the community, but her true passion is working with the members at our center and impacting the lives of so many children.  Jenny is honored to have the opportunity to work with the Oak Park/River Forest community and will continue to make math make sense for years to come.

 

Fun Fact: Jenny was a synchronized swimmer!

Zack Frank, Assistant Director 

Zack is a graduate of Kenyon College where he earned his bachelor's degree in Music Performance. Having excelled in math courses throughout high school including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, economics, and advanced calculus, he applied his interest in math toward studying the patterns and creative manipulations of rhythmic subdivisions of music. He further explored math in music and audio engineering at the Musician's Institute in Los Angeles where he earned an additional Associate's degree. He developed his instructional abilities through teaching private guitar lessons to students of all ages in Los Angeles. Upon moving back to Chicago in the spring of 2014, Zack became an instructor at Mathnasium. After leaving to work in technology sales for about a year, Zack returned as Director of Membership and now helps out as the Lead Instructor and Assistant Director so he can continue to pursue his interests and develop his skills in music and digital marketing. 

Fun Fact: Zack is 24% fluent in Polish!

Kaitie Saxe, Lead Instructor 

Kaitie has been a math instructor since March 2016 and has 10+ years of experience working with children. Currently she is working toward her degree in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Illinois, Springfield. Kaitie is thrilled to be part of a community that fosters such oustanding growth and personal acheivement. She believes that every person on earth has the capacity to succeed in math, they simply have to tap into their intellectual curiosity.

 

 

 

Fun Fact: Kaitie is a certified yoga teacher!

 
 

Matthew Pakulski, Instructor

Matt Pakulski is at the midpoint of a career centered on music, but his first academic love was math - so when he found himself with some time on his hands, he doubled the foci and made an ellipse of his career by joining Mathnasium as an instructor. With his record label FPE Records ("For Practically Everyone"), and during his time in the music recommendations technology industry, he has worked to make it easier for people to connect with music by de-mystifying it and fighting elitism in music appreciation. Mathnasium's mission to "help kids learn math in a way that makes sense to them" makes sense to him, and he enjoys breaking down barriers in a new arena!

 

 

 

 

 

Sagana Ondande, Instructor

Sagana is currently a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. Before he came to Mathnasium, he spent a summer in Kenya tutoring classes of 30 students in Math and English and loved tutoring so much that he continued. He is currently taking AP Calculus BC and AP Computer Science and trained in all the classes up to Calculus AB. He loves applying the skills learned in math into his daily life, and will also find himself using them during choir!  Sagana is a singer, competitive Ultimate Frisbee player, and a member of OPRF Noteworthy show choir. He loves working at Mathnasium!!

Fun Fact: Sagana plays a total of 12 instruments! 


Lydia Heinig, Instructor

Lydia is currently a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. So far in her education she has mastered Algebra, Geometry and Precalculus and Calculus at the AP level. She is also taking a Leadership Class that develops important tutoring and mentoring skills. Lydia is excited to put her knowledge to use and help other students succeed and be the best that they can be because she understands the frustrations that math can bring, but also the importance of it in a student’s education. In addition, she loves working with kids of any age and has many prior experiences that include volunteering at her church, First Presbyterian Church of River Forest, during their weeklong summer camps and volunteering at the Alliance Francaise for their French camp. Lydia also plays the piano, runs cross country, and participates in lacrosse. She is thrilled to be apart of the Mathnasium Team! 

Fun Fact: Lydia has a fraternal twin sister!

 

Maeve Heflin, Instructor

Maeve is a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. She enjoys learning about all types of math and using math to solve problems in other subjects, especially chemistry and computer science. She is currently studying calculus and computer science in school, but she has taken courses in algebra, geometry, and precalculus as well. Maeve is a member of the OPRF math team, and she has participated in the state math competition for the last two years. In the past, she has tutored middle school students in math as part of a volunteer program. She also enjoyed teaching younger students about music through the PING program. In her spare time, she plays badminton for OPRF, competes on the OPRF Science Olympiad team, and plays violin. She is excited to be a part of the Mathnasium OPRF team.

 

Fun Fact: Maeve enjoys ice-skating in the winter!

 


Liam Peachey, Instructor

Liam is currently a senior at Oak Park River Forest High School. He has loved the STEM field for as long as he can remember, and by extension has found math to consistently be one of his favorite classes. He is currently taking calculus. Outside of school, Liam enjoys activities such as rock climbing, kayaking, and practices a martial art known as aikido. He plays the violin in one of the school’s orchestras, and he has participated in a Japanese exchange program. Liam is excited to become a part of the Mathnasium team!

 

 

 

Fun Fact: Liam had a pet hedgehog! 


Pedro Hurtado, Instructor

Pedro has had a passion for math since he was a little kid. He has always enjoyed working with other students to help them achieve a deeper understanding and appreciation of mathematics. Pedro decided he wanted to pursue an undergraduate degree in Bioengineering because he wanted to see the medical application of mathematics in the real world. He is in the final semester before graduating at the University of Illinois at Chicago. One semester, he participated in doing research analyzing cerebral hemodynamics. He was using linear algebra to calculate blood flow in various regions of the brain. He has taken the traditional engineering math courses such as Calculus 1, 2, 3, Differential Equations, and Linear Algebra. He believes mathematics is and will always be an important part of our lives so it is essential to have a strong basic understanding of the subject. Above all, mathematics challenges students to think logically and teaches them problem solving techniques.

Fun Fact: Pedro has never eaten a hamburger!


 

Julia Meister, Instructor

Julia is currently a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. She has taken courses in algebra, geometry, precalculus, and is now studying calculus at the AP level. This year, Julia has focused more of her time and energy on improving her math skills as a journey of self-improvement. She’s done this by trying to immerse herself in math outside of the classroom, which she has done by joining her school’s Math Team and getting a job at Mathnasium! Julia is excited to combine her interest in math with her experience in working with children. In addition to coming from a family of four and years of experience babysitting, Julia also worked at West Suburban Special Recreation Association’s Day Camp last summer at Unity Junior High in Cicero. As a result of these experiences, Julia understands the importance of patience and positivity when working with kids. Julia is also on staff for her school’s yearbook, Tabula, and is an Ambassador Girl Scout currently working to obtain her Gold Award through a partnership with WSSRA.

Fun Fact: Julia has a pet fish named after actor-wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johson!


Zach Brown, Instructor

Zach is a senior at Oak Park River Forest High School, where he has taken Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus BC, and Computer Science courses. He loves finding new ways to approach difficult problems, whether in his classes at school or solving puzzles on his own. He especially relishes the challenge of finding new ways to communicate a solution to others, and the sense of achievement when understanding is reached. When he’s not furiously working on a Problem Set, he can be found volunteering to collect used soccer gear, participating in his school’s Model UN club, or playing guitar. He’s excited to share his love of math! 

 

 

Fun Fact: Zach published an essay which was a best-seller in its category on Amazon!


Alyssa Mandell, Instructor

Alyssa is a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. She has always been passionate about math and working with kids, and is excited to have the opportunity to combine them. Her favorite aspect of math is that there is always a definitive answer and that there are many ways to arrive at that answer. In addition to working at Mathnasium, Alyssa has volunteered with Hephzibah and is involved in Future Philanthropist Program, along with giving back to the community any chance she gets. She is a part of Student Council at OPRF. She looks forward to becoming part of the Mathnasium family! 

 

 

 

Fun Fact: Alyssa has 1 younger sister!


Racquel Hernandez, Instructor 

Racquel is in her junior year at Oak Park and River Forest High School. She has always been passionate about math since elementary school and loves using logic, creativity, and persistence to solve problems. She is trained in Pre-Calculus, Geometry, and Algebra I & II. Currently, she is excited to be taking on the challenge of  AP Calculus BC. Racquel also loves working with kids. She enjoys seeing their face when they grasp a new subject and wants every child to understand both the value and fun in math. She has volunteered at Beye Elementary School for two years now, where she tutored students in various subjects, including math. From those two years, and previous experiences with kids, she understands that every student learns in different ways. She is excited to work with many different kids at Mathnasium and hopefully get them to enjoy math as much as she does! When she is not working on math or working with kids, Racquel enjoys playing piano, singing in the choir, volunteering throughout the community and spending time with friends and family.


Fun Fact: Racquel is biligual; she speaks Spanish fluently!


Clare Roarty, Instructor 

Clare is a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. She has always enjoyed math, problem solving, and working with kids. She wants to help kids enjoy math as much as she does by steering them around the initial frustrations that can often be experienced by young students. She has volunteered at Whittier Elementary helping kids with their homework after school and enjoys babysitting. Clare has also coached field hockey for 4th and 5th grade girls and is involved in Best Buddies at the high school. She hopes to grow her passion for math and build meaningful relationships with the students through this new opportunity at Mathnasium.

 

 

Fun Fact: Clare enjoys wheelthrowing! 


Brian White, Instructor 

Brian is an Oak Park River Forest High School graduate and is currently working on courses in Computer Science at Triton College.  His winding road so far has included time at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and work in the real estate title insurance industry.  Brian has completed Calculus 1, 2, and 3 at the college level.  More recently he has also finished Differential Equations.  He looks forward to helping students learn math while having fun.  When not working, he can be found playing a variety of board games with several groups in the city. 

Fun Fact: Brian's favorite board game is Civilization, which usually take 12 hours to play!

 

 

 


Chloe Volpe, Instructor

Chloe is currently a senior at Oak Park River Forest High School currently taking AP calculus.  She has always loved math and plans to pursue a career in the math field.  She likes working with kids and hopes to support them in their math journey and make it a more enjoyable experience.  Out side of school, Chloe is a Girl Scout currently working toward earning her gold award.

 

 

 Fun Fact: Chloe used to play ice hockey!

 

 

 


Jonathan Banks, Instructor

Jonathan is a senior at OPRF, and he has loved math since he was very young. He has competed on the Math Team since sixth grade, and he loves discussing math with his peers. In the past, he has tutored children at his church, and he earned his tutoring certificate from Triton University after weeks of training. The one thing he loves more than doing math is helping other people understand it! He is so excited to be working at Mathnasium! 

 

Fun Fact: Jonathan has an inspirational blog! 

 

 

 

 


Sorcha Chow, Instructor 

Sorcha is a current junior at Oak Park River Forest High School.  Sorcha has not always had an easy time with math and worked hard to improves.  She believes her experience will help her connect with students and encourage them to strive for succes in math!  She looks forward to helping students seeing the importance of math in real life.  Sorcha is currently taking AP Statics and AP Calculus BC!  She has instructing experience in different settings and is excited for the opportunity to add Mathnasium to that list.  

 

Fun Fact: Sorcha is 1/4 Chinese! 

 

 


Lydia Turk, Instructor

Lydia is a junior at OPRF. She has always had a love for math and working with kids. She is excited to put these things together by working at Mathnasium. Lydia has taken both algrebra and geometry and is currently looking to expand her knowledge of math by taking precalculus. Besides her passion for math and working with kids, Lydia is on the the lacrosse team and field hockey team at OPRF. 

 

Fun Fact: Lydia's favorite food is cereal!

 

 


Matt Pilditch, Instructor

Matt resides in Oak Park with his wife and three children.  Formally trained in medicine, he currently works part-time in Family Practice in Lisle.  This has freed up his schedule to pursue one of his other passions, education.  The son of a teacher and grade-school/high-school principal, Matt is building on experience he has gained teaching patients, medical students, and fellow church members.  Matt is looking forward to Math Instructor being another successful teaching experience!

 

 

Fun Fact: Matt is an avid gardner and loves the outdoors, especially camping with his family!

Where are they now?

 

Jonah 

Jonah graduated from OPRF in 2014 and went on to study Physics and Math at Harvard University!

Willa

Willa is working towards her Master's in Mathematical Biology at Ohio State! 

 

Fiona

Fiona graduated from OPRF in 2015 is studying for her Bachelor's degree in Clarinet Performance and Computer Science at Indiana University!

 

Eric

Eric graduated from OPRF in 2015 is studying towards his Bachelor's degree at Illinois State University! 

Katie

Katie graduated from Fenwick in 2016 and is attending Notre Dame, studying for a degree in Biomedical Engineering!

 Anna

Anna graduated from OPRF in 2016 and is working towards a Biomedical Engineering degree at Washington University!

 Andy

Andy graduated in 2016 from Oak Park and River Forest High School, and is attending the University of British Columbia, studying Biology and PreMed!

Michaela

Michaela graduated from OPRF in 2016, and is attending John Hopkins University!

Veronica

Veronica graduated in 2016 from Fenwick High School, and is attending Notre Dame to study Neuroscience!

Angela

After two years of working her way from instructor to Director of Operations at Mathnasium of Oak Park/River Forest, Angela took the next step in her career and is now an Analyst at Mediavest|Spark on their Analytics and Insight Team. She plans on graduating with her MS in Applied Statistics from DePaul University in June 2017.

 

Mo

 

Mo is now working as an engineer at La Marche Manufacturing where he is testing and designing industrial battery charger circuits for batteries used by planes, the Marines, railroads, and power conversion equipment for industrial use.