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:
Jana 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!
Robert McMahon-Lovell, Director of Education
Robert graduated from Bradley University in 2014 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology. While there, Robert studied secondary education and Biology. In his final semester he ran an independent research project in order to aid future expeditions of the local Citizen Scientist organization and S.T.E.M. programs. He has a wide variety of experience working with students of all ages. Some of these experiences include being an Oak Park Park District summer sports camp counselor, volunteering as a science fair judge for Peoria public schools, teaching in both middle and high school settings and serving as a summer school aid for River Forest School District 90. Math has always been an important part of Robert's life, as both his favorite subject growing up and as a invaluable tool in his Biology studies. Assisting students of all ages in advancing their understanding and mastery of various mathematical skills is something Robert greatly enjoys and Mathnasium provides the perfect setting to accomplish this.
Fun Fact: Rob is a pescatarian!
Jenny Holtzman, Director Community Partnerships
Everyone has something that comes naturally to them without even thinking. For Jenny, that something is working with children and interacting with people. Jenny graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana with a degree in Marketing. In 2004, she stumbled upon an opportunity to merged her two passions for education and business marketing, and has not looked back since. Prior to joining Mathnasium of Oak Park/River Forest, Jenny managed educational programs for SCORE! Educational Centers, a Kaplan Company, where she oversaw learning centers for both Arlington Heights and Lake Zurich. She then joined Orion's Mind, an education solution provider, and managed after school programs for more than 60 Chicago Public Schools. In 2011 she was selected by the CEO of Orion's Mind to start a region for the company in Denver, Colorado where she became one of the largest and most effective after school program in all of Denver Public Schools. She returned to Chicago last year to be closer to her family and fell in love with the Mathnasium Method and the community of Oak Park/River Forest. She joined Jana and the rest of the Mathnasium team upon her return and loves sharing her passion for our programs to the community, but her true passion is working with the members at our center and impacting the lives of so many children. Jenny is honored to have the opportunity to work with the Oak Park/River Forest community and will continue to make math make sense for years to come.
Fun Fact: Jenny was a synchronized swimmer!
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!
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.
Christina Behlman, Early Childhood Instructor
Christina is a student at Concordia University Chicago. So far at Concordia, she has completed her coursework in Early Childhood Education, and is working on endorsements in English as a Second Language and Special Education, as part of her mission to become a preschool teacher. Christina’s favorite part about teaching is creating fun ways for students to learn math and other subjects that make students excited and eager learners. She also loves to incorporate books into every subject! Christina is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and has had many opportunities to teach math, from nannying afterschool, to assisting in a preschool. In her free time, she participates in multiple honor’s programs on campus and many service events. Christina is excited to be able to share her love and knowledge.
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!
Bobby Reichert, 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.
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!
Nathan Devaud, Instructor
Nathan is currently a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. He is currently taking Statistics and has taken Calculus, Pre-Calculus, Algebra, and Geometry previously. He likes math and particularly enjoys its applications in physics and chemistry, both of which he has taken AP level courses in. He has previously worked with kids at his church's summer religious education program and looks forward to helping them further in his time at Mathnasium. In his free time, he enjoys reading a variety of books, running cross country, and writing.
Fun Fact: Nathan has had glasses since he was 4 years old!
Michael Klein, Instructor
Michael is a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. He has completed Algebra, Geometry, and AP Calculus BC. Michael loves the satisfied feeling when he solves a hard problem and is excited to help other students find the same feeling. He works with children at the Hephzibah home through the club “Huskie Helpers” at OPRF. Michael also plays for the Ultimate Frisbee team and runs track and field.
Fun Fact: Michael had bright red hair until he was 8 years old!
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!