Ex-Instructor Pilot Has a New Mission

Sep 24, 2013 | Plano

As Dan Parker tells it, he recalls the exact moment the “teaching bug” bit him. “I was trying to teach a young lieutenant cross-wind takeoffs and landings, and he wasn’t getting it.  He was drifting closer to the edge of the runway, and I was about to take over the controls, which would mean he’d failed his lesson.  At the last moment, he jammed in the rudder pedal and returned the aircraft to the centerline, while exclaiming, ‘Oh, I see!’   In my mind’s eye I could see that cartoon light bulb over his helmet, and I thought to myself, ‘This is what teachers live for.’ " 

Years later, those moments come more frequently as struggling Mathnasium students suddenly see the light.  “Many times the breakthroughs are quite dramatic,” says Parker.  He says “I get it” is heard fairly frequently around the Mathnasium of Plano learning center. 

Mr. Parker and wife Lynda purchased Mathnasium of Plano in June 2008.  They hope to reach the shop’s nominal capacity of 100 2nd- through 12th-grade students in 2012.  “We were hit pretty hard by the recession,” he says. “Parents got laid off or just had to cut back on expenses. But business is picking up again and it’s looking pretty good.” 

Mathnasium is an award-winning world-wide franchise headquartered in Los Angeles. There are some 240 learning centers in the US, and about 60 in other countries. The proprietary Mathnasium Method is the brainchild of Los Angeles’ celebrated “Math Guy,” Larry Martinek, who has been teaching kids and teaching teachers for over 35 years.  Martinek trains all Mathnasium franchisees in his unique lesson planning and teaching techniques. Franchisees like Parker in turn train their instructors, mostly teachers and college students. Since its inception in 2002, Mathnasium has helped thousands of students improve their grades and learn to love math. The proprietary method is summed up in the company’s slogan, “Teaching Math That Makes Sense to Kids.” 

Mathnasium of Plano is located in the Parkway Plaza shopping center at 3115 W. Parker Rd, Suite 560, behind the Country Burger and across the parking lot from Whirly-Ball and USA Toys. School year hours are 3:30-8:00 Monday-Thursday and 11:00-3:00 Saturdays, closed Fridays, Sundays, and PISD holidays. Interested parents can call 972-519-3240 for an appointment or more information. They can also visit the learning center’s web site at www.mathnasium.com/plano.