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:
Elliott Guiso, Center Director
Elliott started as an instructor at Mathnasium of Laguna Niguel in January of 2017. He had an engineering background, but wanted to work in an environment where he could do something to have a more positive impact on people. He found that kind of role at Mathnasium. After working his way to Lead Instructor and then Assistant Center Director positions at the Laguna Niguel location, he started as the Center Director for Mathnasium of Dana Point in September of 2019.
Learning math has allowed him to use logic and critical thinking skills to solve problems that relate to real world situations. That said, one of his favorite benefits of working at Mathnasium has been conquering the skills gap between solving math problems and teaching others how to solve them.
He enjoys books and games of all kinds, and he loves Indian food.
Advice to Mathnasium students: Put effort into learning everything you are required to, and put a lot of effort into learning about everything you are interested in. The experience of doing this will be infinitely more valuable to you in the future than your grades alone. Learning doesn't stop when you graduate - that is when it begins for real.
Fun fact: He is an all-around media “buff,” but especially when it comes to animation and rock music.
Favorite number: He likes prime numbers because they can either make math problems very tricky or very simple. His favorite are 7 and 11 because his birthday is 7/11.
Math joke: Pie are square.
Mojisola Aesher Ogunleye-Johnson, Lead Instructor
Mojisola Aesher earned his B.S. in Environmental Science and M.S. in Environmental Policy & Management at American Military University. He is also an alum of San Clemente High School and Saddleback Community College earning an Associates in History. He is currently studying to take the GRE and CSET. Mojisola Aesher will be continuing his education in Winter 2020, taking courses in Business Administration, International Relations and Engineering/Nursing. He loves to read topics in Military History, Foreign Languages, Shakespeare, Global Folklore /Tales and Manga. His favorite pastimes are playing guitar, visiting museums, photography, biking, watching BBC drama/crime and participating in his alma mater club activities (NSBE, MUN, Sigma Beta Delta, ATEP, Saber and Scroll Historical Society). His dream career is to be able to work independently in his passions and travel around the world. His favorite thing about mathematics is that it is in everything we see in life from patterns in nature to geometry in architecture. In September 2018 he completed Experienced Center Director training, and his CBEST Certification in December 2018.
Advice to Students: If a math topic is difficult for you, embrace the challenge!
Fun Facts: He loves dogs, foxes, and dragons!
Favorite cuisines: Nigerian, Southern, and Japanese
Math Joke: i 23 ∑ π ∴ delicious :: I ate some pie therefore it was delicious
Joel Baldo, Instructor
Joel is currently a senior studying Business IT at the University of California, Irvine. In his down time, he’s often found playing video or board games, throwing himself into an engrossing fantasy novel or manga, or making Japanese food. He loves teaching for the moments where a student jumps from confusion to clarity and loves math for the way it’s consistent.
Fun Fact: Joel once had to evacuate his house because he didn’t know how to boil something.
Math Joke: 3.14% of sailors are pirates!
Christopher Hibler, Instructor
Christopher is currently studying to be an electrical engineer at Saddleback College. His dream job would be to be an electrical engineer at - or do something for - a Virtual Reality company! Christopher enjoys reading, playing table-top games, programming and the occasional sport. He most enjoys the flow of math. The way complex mathematics can be proven by earlier theories. How all proofs have earlier concepts that validate them.
Advice to Mathnasium students: Keep trying at a problem. No matter how hard it seems, the moment you figure out the answer all the effort becomes worth it.
Fun fact: Christopher is pretty good at snow boarding and skiing. He skied his first double black diamond when he was 12.
Favorite number: 8, because it is symmetrical no matter how you slice it, and it’s an important number in programming.
Math joke: Math is amazing to me. It’s always getting ‘e’xponentially greater.
J. 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!
Karen 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!"
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.