Mathnasium 1101 Chicago Ave, Oak Park IL 60302 (708) 613-4007   oakparkriverforest@mathnasium.com

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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!

 

Amy Rissley, Center Director

Amy graduated in May of 2013 from Saint Xavier with a Bachelor’s in Math. Amy has always had an interest in teaching, and a passion for working with children and volunteered for many children’s organizations. Some of Amy’s favorites were being on the Freshman Committee for the Indiana University Dance Marathon and coaching for the Frankfort Wildcats Kindergarten cheerleaders. Amy originally worked at Mathnasium OPRF when it first opened as an instructor and eventually Lead Instructor from 2014-2015 until she left to work as an account manager at a point of sales company. After several years working in corporate America, Amy has returned to Mathnasium to pursue her true passion. Amy loves seeing the face of a child the moment they grasp the concept of something they were struggling with and is inspired everyday by seeing children grow in their education. Amy is so excited to come back in the director role and work more with the community and families who make Mathnasium OPRF such a special place!

Fun Fact: Amy is the first employee Jana ever hired!

 

Jamal Riley, Assistant Director of Membership

Jamal is an undergraduate at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Majoring in Computer Engineering, he is on the road to his goal of one day becoming an engineer and an educator. A versatile learner, he is also studying business and working toward a teaching certificate. Jamal loves to teach because he believes that it goes beyond helping students with math. Although he has a high passion for STEM subjects, Jamal believes that the best part about teaching is building a mentoring relationship and connecting with the youth of today. Above all, he loves to be supportive of those around him. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, Jamal has had many opportunities to teach STEM subjects in underdeveloped neighborhoods, teaching and assisting youth as young as preschool to as old as college undergraduates. In his free time, he dedicates his time to NSBE, an organization dedicated to community service, STEM subjects, and overall minority excellence. Jamal is thrilled to be able to spread his love and knowledge of math!

Fun Fact: Jamal loves Marvel comic books and movies!

Matthew Pakulski, Assistant Director of Education

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!

Fun Fact: Matt can count to Mathnasium's favorite number, 10, in Amharic, the language spoken in the capital of Ethiopia!

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Pilditch, Lead 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!

 

Pedro Hurtado, Lead 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 recently graduated from 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!

 

Bobby Reichert, Assistant Lead Instructor

Bobby is always ready to learn new and interesting things. He has experience ranging from flying airplanes, writing computer code, and wilderness survival, to rock climbing and cooking gourmet meals. He prides himself in his ability to apply mathematics and logic to any task in order to make things easier and excel. Throughout college at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, he completed Calculus 1 and 2. Bobby found his love for teaching working seven years at a summer camp in Holmen, Wisconsin. There, he worked many years in the outdoor skills area, and ended his tenure as the director of climbing operations. Bobby spends his free time playing all sorts of video games and board games, obsessing far too much over baseball stats, or out and about listening to Sci-Fi audiobooks and his favorite podcast, StarTalk.

Fun Fact: Bobby witnessed a lightning-struck tree explode 30 yards in front of him! It felt like slow motion as he dodged a three-foot long splinter that he now keeps on his desk at home. 

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!

 

 

Lydia Turk, Instructor

Lydia is a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. 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, geometry, and pre-calculus, and she is currently looking to expand her knowledge of math by taking AP Calculus BC. Besides her passion for math and working with kids, Lydia is on the the lacrosse and field hockey teams at OPRF. 

Fun Fact: Lydia's favorite food is cereal!

 

 

 

 

 

John Hurtado, Instructor

John is a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School, he has taken courses in Geometry, Pre-Calculus, AP Computer Science, AP Calculus BC, and is currently taking Linear Algebra and Calculus III. He has always been interested in math since he was a kid. He would always find himself playing with math related toys and games and that has turned into a long journey of furthering his education in math. Before John started working at Mathnasium he would spend summers volunteering at the Oak Park Public Library, he would either be working on quality of life tasks for the library or setting up activities for kids to do at the library. John enjoys seeing students’ faces light up when they finally finish a problem that they have been stuck on and seeing them achieve the “Huzzah Moment”. This is what he wants to help the students at Mathnasium achieve.

Fun Fact: John plays the trumpet and nothing else!

 

Sophie Schoenmeyer, Instructor

Sophie is currently a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. She is currently taking Linear Algebra/Calculus III and AP Statistics, but has also completed courses in algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and calculus. Although math is her favorite school subject, Sophie also enjoys computer science and chemistry, the former of which she has mastered at the AP level and the latter of which she is currently taking an AP course in. Sophie competes on her school math and scholastic bowl teams in her spare time and began a science and engineering club of her own this past year, allowing her to develop the leadership skills necessary to succeed in tutoring. She also runs on her school cross country team and has competed in track and field, softball, and soccer in the past. Sophie has past experience working with kids after teaching Sunday school for two years and also enjoys babysitting. She is so happy to be part of the Mathnasium team!

Fun Fact: Sophie's fears including rats, ceiling fans, and treadmills to name a few! 

Thomas Gao, Instructor 

Thomas is currently planning his residence in Chicago and is looking to secure a position at a chemistry lab in the future. He graduated from UCSD with a degree in biochemistry and also did a short Master Program in physical chemistry. He enjoys sharing his experience on not only how but why students need to learn mathematics, especially because S.T.E.M. has become such a focus of the modern world. Currently in his free time, he likes to read about Chemometrics, which is analysis of chemical data with statistics. Thomas worked at Mathnasium OPRF in 2016 and thoroughly enjoyed it but he had to leave for family reasons. Now everything is good and he is very excited to join the Mathnasium team again, educating students and learing from them as well! 

 Fun Fact: Thomas's Chinese first name means 'star' and 'boat' so... Starship is his first name!

 

Matt Shack, Instructor

Matt Shack is currently a senior at Oak Park River Forest High School. He has excelled at math for most of his education, and is currently enrolled in AP Statistics. He has completed honors track for math at OPRF and although he is quite successful now he too had difficulties with math early on. Having the background that Matt does with math allows him to relate to and better assist students who are struggling! He enjoys working with children and helping them through what is often a very challenging subject. He also enjoys playing guitar, watching football, and hanging out with his dog Leia.

Fun Fact: Matt enjoys playing the harmonica! 

 

 

 

Maeve Ryan, Instructor 

Maeve is a currently a senior at Oak Park River Forest High School. So far she has taken Geometry, Algebra, Pre-Calculus, and is currently taking AP Calculus. Maeve hopes to keep working on new math courses in college. Math has been her favorite subject in school for as long as she can remember, and she is so excited to teach the awesome Mathnasium students! Maeve's previous experience working with kids includes being a counselor for sleep away camp and as a youth sports coach and she is excited to expand that experience to include Instructor. Maeve is also active in softball, track and field, field hockey, and choir at her high school. 

Fun Fact: Maeve is obsessed with ice cream!

 

 

Dina Paul, Instructor

Dina is currently a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. Throughout her years in high school, she has taken courses in Geometry, Algebra, and BC Calculus. Dina began her tutoring journey her freshman year, when she started volunteering at Beye Elementary School with a program called Cats and Dogs. She has continued with this local program for four years now, and has risen to the position of Co-President. This year, Dina also created her own volunteer tutoring program in partnership with Hephzibah called SPARK. She is a firm believer that every kid has an immense academic potential, and sometimes they just need help seeing that. Mathnasium allows Dina to pursue this passion in helping students grow, and she is so excited to build her own teaching experience in the process!

Fun Fact: Dina has never broken a bone!

 

Garrett Credi, Instructor

Garrett is currently a junior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. He is currently taking Linear Algebra/Multivariable Calculus and Abstract Algebra, as well as the Student Leadership class. He has always been an avid lover of STEM, and has a special affinity for math and computer science. He loves running, and is a part of OPRF's cross country and track team. Along with running year round, he also competes year round with OPRF's math team. He plans to study math in college and use that knowledge to solve some of math’s biggest problem. He is very excited to teach his favorite subject!

Fun Fact: Garrett studies Chinese!

 

 

 

Tess Rutstein, Instructor

Tess is currently a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. She is currently taking AP Calculus and has taken algebra, geometry, and pre-calculus. She is looking forward to taking even more math classes in college. She loves doing math with kids because it makes her look at the problems differently. Math has always been one of her favorite subjects and she’s so happy that she gets to help other students understand it, too. She also plays field hockey at OPRF.

Fun Fact: Tess loves making friendship bracelets!

 

Priya Rawal, Instructor

Priya is a junior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. At her time there, she has taken Geometry and Pre-Calculus, and is currently taking AP Calculus BC. She has loved math ever since she was learning her times tables at age 4, and also enjoys helping other grasp the concepts of math. She has always been one to help friends who are stuck on hard math problems. Priya has a passion for working with kids and knows how much an instructor or teacher can affect whether a student has a positive or negative experience in the math world. She hopes to help more kids have positive experiences with math while working at Mathnasium because she believes every kid can come to love math and excel in it with the right environment and instruction. Her other hobbies include playing tennis, dancing, and playing the piano, the latter two being things she has done since she was 4 or 5 years old.

Fun Fact: Priya is in the wheel throwing club at OPRF!

Alex Cleofe, Instructor

Alex is a junior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. He has taken Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and is currently taking AP Calculus. Ever since Elementary School, Alex has been interested in math and many of its applications to other courses, such as AP Computer Science, which he is also currently taking. He first started tutoring in 8th grade for a volunteer program that helps 6th graders that struggle with math, and has been interested in tutoring ever since. Alex believes that tutors also have opportunities to learn from their students, whether it is a new strategy to solve a problem or a whole different way to view something. Alex plays for OPRF’s Ultimate Frisbee team and is one of the selected leaders for OPRF’s “Project Snowball” event. He also enjoys listening to music, as well as playing instruments such as the guitar and piano.

Fun Fact: Alex can turn invisible, but only if everyone closes their eyes!

Alex Yuan, Instructor

Alex is a junior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. Currently, he takes Statistics, but he's already finished most of the algebra, geometry, and calculus classes. He's always been passionate about math ever since his sister introduced it to him. To help others appreciate math or learn to hate it a little less, he's always helped others whenever they have felt confused or frustrated. He's never liked it when people have said they just aren't "math people," so he always goes out of his way to show people that everyone has the capability to do math. Besides math, Alex also likes to play soccer, learn more, and sleep. 

Fun Fact: Alex has yet to learn how to whistle!

Jay Buhmann, Instructor

Jay is excited to help students learn math! He is an experienced tutor who has worked with students of all ages and abilities. Jay recently graduated from North Park University with a degree in math. Some of his favorite topics are algebra and mathematical logic. His favorite part of tutoring is the "A-ha" moment when a student understands how to solve a problem using previous knowledge. Jay hopes to soon become a certified educator in the classroom where he can share and express his love for math and teaching all the more!

Fun Fact: Jay loves taking care of his many house plants! He likes his house to look like an indoor jungle!

Isaac Schiff-Lewin, Instructor

Isaac is a sophomore at Oak Park and River Forest High School taking intermediate algebra honors, and is involved with multiple clubs including ultimate frisbee and debate. He is going to Alaska next summer for a month backpacking and is super excited! Isaac has worked with kids in a classroom as a teaching assistant for 2 years, and really enjoys it! Isaac is excited for the chance to help students with math, and make them better mathematicians!

Fun Fact: Isaac has spent two months at summer camp each year for the past 6 years!

Margaret Bell, Instructor

Margaret is a junior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. She has completed Algebra, Geometry, and is currently taking Pre-Calculus as well as AP Computer Science. Margaret has always had an affinity for math and enjoys helping others develop a passion for the subject. She hopes to impact other students in a positive manner because she realizes the importance of instruction to show that everyone has the capability to be successful in math. She hopes to pursue engineering in college and learn more about the world around her in a forward-looking field. Margaret looks forward to tutoring at Mathnasium so she can learn from other students and become a skilled instructor. Margaret also dances at her high school and enjoys writing.

 

Fun Fact: Margaret went camping in Hawaii for 2 weeks!

Simone Paul, Instructor

Simone is currently a junior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. She has always had a passion for math, as well as applied math in subjects such as engineering and physics. Simone also enjoys interacting and helping young kids by reffing in the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) and babysitting. She has completed Geometry and Pre-Calculus already, and is currently taking AP Calculus BC. She is very excited to share her passion for math and help kids overcome difficulties they might have because she knows just how much fun math can be once it makes sense.

Fun Fact: Simone plays soccer with Chicago Edge!

Alexis Gandhi, Instructor

Alexis is currently a freshman at Concordia University Chicago. She is studying Marketing with a minor in Spanish. Originally from south Florida, she spent her sophomore and junior years of high school tutoring students in Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II. In her senior year, Alexis was a TA for a freshman Algebra I class and taught quite a few lessons. Alexis is excited to work with younger students and help them grasp the intricacies of math!

Fun Fact: Alexis plays lacrosse and volleyball!

 

Rachel Kelly, Instructor

Rachel graduated Oak Park and River Forest High School in 2018. She finished her first semester of college at Brandeis University and then transferred to DePaul University, where she is currently attends. At Brandeis, Rachel tutored elementary students in math, which increased her desire to tutor other students. Rachel took Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and AP Calculus in high school, and they were some of her favorite classes. Although Rachel loves math, she is interested in majoring in English or Peace Studies. Rachel is grateful to work at Mathnasium and be able to help students learn a subject she loves!

Fun Fact: Rachel loves Harry Potter!

Sarah Pilditch, Instructor

Sarah Pilditch is a Junior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. From the time she was able to understand math, she's always loved it. Sarah adores working with kids and watching them learn and grow as individuals. Sarah has taken Geometry, Intermediate Algebra, and is currently in College Algebra and Honors Trigonometry. Next year, Sarah will be taking AP calculus AB. At Oak Park and River Forest High School, she also participates in Badminton, Marching Band, Jewish Student Connection, and Women in Leadership. Sarah is very excited to be working at Mathnasium!

Fun Fact: Sarah is terrified of stepping onto escalators!

 

Griffin Kelley, Instructor

Griffin is a freshman at Oak Park and River Forest High School. He has taken Pre-Calculus, Geometry, and Algebra. Griffin is an avid math learner who competes with the Oak Park and River Forest High School Math Team. He desires to see others enjoy math to the same extent he does. Outside of math, Griffin plays for his soccer and lacrosse teams at his high school. During his free time, Griffin enjoys watching YouTube and playing Fifa!

Fun Fact: Griffin plays Ultimate Frisbee and collects discs, owning 18 discs in total!

Samantha Smith, Instructor

Sammy is a freshman at Oak Park River Forest High School. Sammy has always had a passion for math and looks forward to her future of calculus next year. Sammy is a strong advocate for women in STEM and hopes to see herself take on a future in medicine or math. Sammy believes that math can be fun and exciting and loves to help others feel the same.

Fun Fact: Sammy learned how to read Japanese before English!

 

 

Kyla Narayan, Instructor

Kyla is currently a sophomore at Elmwood Park High School. She has taken CP Honors Math 1 through 4, which has been a combination of Algebra, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus. Kyla 's interests include theatre, music, science, and of course, math! Kyla has also been involved in all sorts of clubs such as Theatre, Choir, Key Club, Dance, and Snowball. Kyla is very excited to be helping kids understand math better through Mathnasium!

Fun Fact: Kyla has been to India, Mexico, Jamaica, the Bahamas, London and is looking forward to adding Spain this summer!

Elise Scheuring, Instructor

Elise is currently a junior at Oak Park River Forest High School. She has taken Advanced Algebra, Geometry, and is currently in Pre-Calculus. Math has always come easy to her and she hopes to help young students enjoy it as much as she has. She has loved working with kids ever since she started babysitting as a middle schooler. Aside from working at Mathnasium, Elise enjoys playing saxophone in the OPRF marching band and painting.

Fun Fact: Elise's favorite food is Oreos!

 

Paige Bednash, Instructor

Paige is currently a freshman at Concordia University of Chicago. She is pursuing a degree in Christian Education with a double minor in Theology and Psychology. In high school, Paige took Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus.  She loves working with elementary and middle school students. She believes that she can make a difference in the lives of youth. She is so grateful to help students not only learn math, but to have them understand it for themselves.

Fun Fact: Paige has been to 25 states and 5 other countries! She has traveled to France, Belgium, Costa Rica, and Canada all within the past year!