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:
Michelle Koester, Owner & Center Director
Michelle (she/her/hers) is the Owner and Center Director at Mathnasium of Papillion. Prior to opening her Mathnasium center, Michelle worked as a Vice President of an international in-home care provider, leading a team of business coaches and adult learning professionals. She also worked for a global computer software training company, leading a team of professional instructors in teaching people to use MS Access, Excel, Word and proprietary software applications.
Michelle holds a B.S. in Mathematics and Secondary Education from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, and a M.S. in Leadership Development, Adult Learning and Performance Improvement from Drake University.
She has enjoyed tutoring and mentoring math students of all ages throughout her career. The opportunity to do that and to work with a team of passionate, talented instructors make Mathnasium a great fit! This committed group has over 311 combined years of experience using math! Michelle's favorite numbers are 7 and 23. Both primes, 7 has been a fav since she first learned it, and she spent many years wearing softball jerseys with 23 on the back.
Dana Spaccarotella, Instructor
Dana has always had an interest in mathematics. In 1985, he received two degrees - an BS in Mathematics & BA in French from University of Connecticut. In 1990, he thought it prudent to continue his education and received his MS in Applied Mathematics from University of Nebraska at Omaha.
He has been a teacher, tutor, actuary & operations research analyst working at multiple colleges and in the Air Force. Currently, he is retired from the Air Force and from government service.
Dana's favorite numbers are 0 and 1. He appreciates their humble identity abilities - to be added to or multiplied by any number without changing them!
Max Lauritsen, Instructor
Max is a freshman at Creighton University and is majoring in neuroscience with a minor in Spanish. He is knowledgeable in math topics up to Calculus III and has served as a peer tutor and teaching assistant at multiple metro schools. In his free time, Max enjoys running, lifting, or simply building things.
At Mathnasium, Max loves the opportunity to form personal bonds with students and help them tackle and overcome their math uncertainties. “I’ve seen first hand how students put in the work and become A+ students in something they previously struggled on, that’s just the outcome of the environment we strive to establish here at Mathnasium.” In addition, Max loves the prospect of giving his love of learning and teaching to students with the potential to teach the next generation. Max's favorite number is -ε for reasons his colleagues will understand.
Robyn Helwig, Lead Instructor
Robyn Helwig (she/her/hers) is a current graduate student at College of Saint Mary studying Elementary Education with a K-6 Special Education endorsement. She moved from Oregon to teach theater at the Rose Theater, and has been a theater educator at the Rose, Omaha Community Playhouse, and the Apollon Arts Space for the past five years, working with students ages 4 to 18. She is also the Camp Director for Oxbow Animal Health’s junior vet camp, a summer camp exploring veterinary and animal science for 2nd-5th graders. During the school year she works as an educational assistant in the special education department at Oakdale Elementary in the Westside School District.
When Robyn isn’t teaching, she enjoys getting back to her theatrical roots and designing props and sets for local theaters and making silly jokes with her improv teams. Robyn loves solving logic puzzles, making music, marathoning Netflix, and eating burritos. She lives in Omaha with four guinea pigs: Midnight, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and C.J., as well as her furry roommate, Pancake the Cat, (who has way more followers than she does on instagram!).
Colton Short, Instructor
Colton Short is a mechanical engineering student with the University of Nebraska. He has a broad love for all STEM topics with particular interest in technology and mathematics.
At Mathnasium, Colton has the opportunity to get students excited about math and science. As someone who has chosen STEM as his life path, Colton enjoys sharing his understanding of the applications of the material we teach.
Colton's favorite number is 9.8m/s^2, the constant for gravitational acceleration near the surface of the Earth (in a vacuum).
Renea Panska, Instructor
Renea holds a B.A from the Mississippi State College for Women, a M.A.T. (Master of Arts for Mathematics Teachers) and has done work toward her PhD. Renea taught middle school, high school and college math students for decades at schools including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Union College, Nebraska Wesleyan University and Southeast Community College.
Married, a mother of 2, and grandmother of two, Renea is retired and enjoys reading, hobbies and travel.
Kaitlyn Jeffrey, Instructor
Kaitlyn is a senior at Platteview Senior High School who just finished taking Advanced math and plans to take AP Calculus next. She is in math club, national honor society, and Spanish club, and before covid participated in math competitions placing top 5 in all of them.
For college, Kaitlyn plans to study criminal justice to become either a forensic accountant or a homicide detective. She has always enjoyed math and solving problems, knowing there will always be an answer. Kaitlyn loves working with kids whether babysitting, as a nanny, or teaching. Her favorite part about working with kids is seeing when we make a difference in their lives. Kaitlyn babysits and serves as a lifeguard at Louisville State Park for a kids' splash park. She volunteers at her church in the kids' care area playing with them and teaching them about God.
Outside of work and school, Kaitlyn plays multiple sports, including softball, wrestling, and track (triple jump, hurdles, and relays). Her hobbies include drawing, fishing, and running.