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 Center Director

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 gardener 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!

Abby Giardina, Instructor

Abby is a senior at Oak Park River Forest High School currently taking AP Calculus BC. She has previously taken Advanced Algebra, Geometry, and Precalculus. Abby has always loved math, mostly due to encouragement from her grandmother, who was a math teacher. She loves connecting with children and helping them to find the same love of math that she found. Abby also plays softball, and is part of both the Psychology and Civics clubs at OPRF. She is super excited to work with the great kids at Mathnasium!

Fun Fact: Abby loves watching college football!

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!

Bianca Meyer, Instructor

Bianca is currently a junior at Saint Ignatius College Prep. She’s on the honors track and has taken Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and is currently taking Pre-Calculus. Bianca has a love for learning and sharing her knowledge with others. She’s always loved working with kids because of the new outlooks on problems they offer. She’s excited to work with all the amazing Mathnasium students! Her other interests include music, rowing, and history!

Fun Fact: Bianca has 3 pet bunnies — Daisy, Dusty and Luna!

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!

Daniel Castellano, Instructor 

Daniel is currently a senior at Fenwick High School. He going to be studying AP Statistics and Multivariable Calculus in the fall and spring. He used to struggle with math in middle school, but with the help of an impactful teacher, he now loves math and what it is all about. He believes that a fun and intelligent teacher or tutor can help anybody enjoy and get better at math. Daniel has been on the competing math team at Fenwick since freshman year and now is one of their strongest members. In his free time, he likes to play the drums and hangout with friends.

Fun Fact: Daniel's alarm is the song "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire!

Elias Hernandez, Instructor 

Elias is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Statistics and Actuarial Science. He has tutored privately, volunteered at learning centers, lectured a course on calculus-based probability at the university, and is excited to be joining the Mathnasium team! Elias started growing interested in statistics at young age when playing card and video games. Over time, these interests grew into an appreciation for randomness. Currently in his spare time he can be found coding stochastic models for games, studying for actuarial exams, creating aleatoric music algorithms, or painting at the park!

Fun Fact: Elias didn't learn how to ride a bike until college, but now rides everywhere!

Elise Scheuring, Instructor

Elise is currently a senior at Oak Park River Forest High School. She has taken Advanced Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus and is currently in AP Calculus BC. 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!

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!

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!

Jacob Friesen, Instructor

Jacob is an Oak Park and River Forest High School graduate and currently a student at Dominican University in River Forest, working on a double major in Economics and Mathematics. Jacob thinks math is fun and can be exciting, and he often gives himself opportunities to figure out little problems here and there in creative ways. Jacob has done tutoring before through college classes, and he absolutely loves working with children in figuring out math. Outside of math, Jacob likes to play video games and write down jokes for comedy skits or bits I'm working on. The only things Jacob loves more than math are dogs, and luckily, he also work at a Doggie Day Play. Jacob is happy to be a part of the Mathnasium team and is excited to work with all of the students!

Fun Fact: Jacob was born in Chad, Africa!

John Hurtado, Instructor

John is a freshman at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and has taken courses in Geometry, Pre-Calculus, AP Computer Science, AP Calculus BC, 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!

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 Spain!

Lucas Vergara, Instructor

Lucas is a senior at Oak Park/River Forest and is currently studying AP Calculus. When he is not in school, he carries a good balance of math, music and theatre. He is a member of the math and Shakespeare competition teams. Lucas, a tenor and baritone, was a part of OPRF's noteworthy show choir for 2 years. He regularly teaches teenagers and adults and enjoys playing piano, reading sci-fi/thrillers, solving puzzles, and taking care of bonsai. He has an interest in longboarding in hopes of surfing the ocean waves. An avid learner, Lucas loves to share and teach what he knows, and is excited to share his math knowledge here at Mathnasium!

Fun Fact: Lucas is a black belt martial artist!

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!

Marina Atkin, Instructor

Marina is a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School who is very passionate about the STEM field. She does lots of programming as her primary hobby and 3D modeling as a secondary hobby. She knows several programming languages, and is most proficient in HTML, PHP, and JavaScript. However, Marina also knows Java, Python, and Arduino. She has made games, websites, and more! She likes math because of how much it applies to the real world. Marina has known about her love of math and the sciences since she was little.

Fun Fact: Marina is in her school's Robotics Club!

Nic Ubogy, Instructor

Nic is a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. He has taken Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and is currently taking AP Calculus BC. Math has always been his favorite subject in school, and always finds it very satisfying when he is able to solve a complicated or difficult problem. Nic also enjoys assisting his classmates and siblings when they need help with their math homework by helping them to understand tricky concepts. He is also a fan of outdoor activities such as rock-climbing, camping, soccer, and frisbee. Nic also fosters a healthy love of music, table-top games, movies, and books.

Fun Fact: Nic studied abroad in Argentina for his junior year of high school!

Oliver Green, Instructor

Oliver is a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School and has been passionate about math from a young age. He has taken everything up to AP Calculus BC in high school. This year and plans to further his math education with more applied mathematics courses such as economics and computer science. He also incorporates math into his personal life through music. Oliver plays piano and has been doing so for about a decade. He also enjoys working with kids because he wants them to be able to enjoy math as much as he does.

Fun Fact: Oliver loves to rock climb and has been doing so for 5 years!

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!

Priya Rawal, Instructor

Priya is a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. At her time there, she has taken Geometry, Pre-Calculus and AP Calculus BC, and is currently taking AP Computer Science. 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!

Sammy 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!

Sarah Pilditch, Instructor

Sarah is a senior 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 College Algebra and Honors Trigonometry and is currently 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!

Sebi Torres, Instructor

Sebastian, or Sebi, is a senior at Fenwick High School and is currently taking Multivariable Calculus and AP Statistics, and has previously taken AP Computer Science. Sebi has an affinity for Computer Science and plans to study the subject area in college. He loves seeing students succeed and has previously privately tutored students in mathematics and science. His favorite moment is seeing the light bulb go off in students' minds when they understand a concept or learn something new! At Fenwick, he competes at the state level for both the Math Team and the WYSE Competition. Outside of working at Mathnasium, Sebi enjoys playing the guitar and playing video games competitively.

Fun Fact: Sebi is a verified Twitch streamer focusing on competitive Fortnite, where he placed top 2000 in a September 2019 Solos Tournament!