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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:

Armin Hamidi, Center Director

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!

Aesher Ogunleye-Johnson, Lead Instructor

Aesher earned his B.S. in Environmental Science and M.S. in Environmental Policy and Management at American Military University. He is also an alum of San Clemente High School and Saddleback College earning an Associates in History. He would like to go back to school for an M.S. in Analytics and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education. He is currently working on getting his teaching credentials for Middle School Science and Mathematics. His dream job is to work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and teach engineering to kids. Aesher enjoys anime, guitar, international relations, foreign languages, visiting museums, and military history. His favorite thing about math is that mathematics is in everything we see in life from nature to geometry in architecture.

Advise to Math Students: If a topic in math is difficult for you, embrace the challenge!

Fun Fact: He loves corgis and BBC shows

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

Math Joke: i 23 ∑ π ∴ delicious

               I ate some pie therefore it was delicious

Haley Pierson, Lead Instructor

Haley currently studies English Rhetoric and composition at the California State University, Long Beach. She would like to be a Professor of English at the community college of University level. She enjoys writing essays, editing, and reading. Her favorite thing about math is working hard to come up with an answer.

Fun Fact: She enjoys baseball and football

Math Joke: An opinion without 3.14 is just an onion

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.

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. 

OwnerJ. Steve Santacruz, Owner

 Steve graduated from DePaul University from the Honors Accounting Program with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and later received his law degree from DePaul. One of Steve's main passions in life is teaching children. He has been a little league baseball coach since college and enjoys coaching his own two boys in baseball. Steve brings that passion to Mathnasium - hoping to influence and enrich the lives of children through nurturing a passion and appreciation for math. Most students simply need more focused instruction in order to excel. "The Mathnasium method achieves this and much more, due to the richness and breadth of the Mathnasium curriculum. It is the ideal adjunct for a student?s daily classroom instruction, whether the child is struggling or advanced." Through Mathnasium, Steve is excited about being able to teach math to children in a way that makes sense to them. He also looks forward to teaching children the importance of strong study skills, which will serve them in subjects beyond math as they make their way through high school and on to college. 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. "I've always been a firm believer in teaching kids in a way they can understand. This allows for a love of learning whatever the subject!! The Mathnasium method does this so well, and allows kids to "work out" their minds!"

Center Director & Owner

Betty Wang, Director of Operations

Betty graduated from New Trier High School and obtained her Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in Biomechanical Engineering. Mathnasium's philosophy on learning and teaching resonated with Betty's belief that learning is at its best when it occurs in a nurturing environment where students can cast aside their fear and frustration. "Mathnasium offers an unique learning environment and individualized learning plans to helps students make sense of Math. It really makes math fun!"

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.