Mathnasium 1060 Gage Street, Winnetka IL 60093 (847) 786-8638   winnetka@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:

Christopher Jones, Interim Center Director

Christopher majored in Computational and Applied Mathematics at Carnegie Melon University. He enjoys surfing/SUP, movies, reading music and yoga. Christopher’s favorite thing about math is its universal accessibility – anyone anywhere can learn!

Advice to Mathnasium students: There are many paths to an answer. Keep looking. Don’t give up.

Fun fact: Christopher can recite the US presidents in chronological order.

Favorite number: 23, Michael Jordan’s number as well as the day he was born. Plus, it’s prime!

Math joke: What do you call a snake that’s 3.14 inches long? A pi-thon.

Mia Cavalier, Instructor

Mia is currently a junior at New Trier High School. Her dream job is to work as an astrophysicist at NASA. She loves music and drawing and spending time with friends and family. Her favorite thing about math is problem solving and being able to work through the problems.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Go with your gut feeling because a lot of times it is right.

Fun Fact: Mia likes country music.

Favorite number: 5, because it is the day she was born.

Math joke: Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 8 9!

Isis Davis, Instructor

Winnetka math tutor Isis attended Northwestern University for a B.S. in Education and Social Policy with a concentration on human development and psychological services. She’d like to stay working in the field of education in an advisor or counselor role and providing math homework help is perfect for this. She enjoys hanging out with her giant puppy, dancing and running and eats more sweets than she likes to admit. Isis’ favorite thing about math is that there are multiple ways to solve problems and different methods may make more sense to different people, yet all are valid.

Advice to Mathnasium Students: If at first you don’t success, try again – but take a breather and give yourself a mini pep talk if you feel frustration welling up inside.

Fun fact: Her birthday falls on Thanksgiving every 5 years.

Favorite number: 8, because there are usually 8 beats in a dance combination.

Math joke: Calculus jokes are all so derivative.

Joseph Farina, Instructor

Joseph graduated from New Trier High School and is taking a gap year and applying to colleges. He’d like to someday work in a science or math-based field – possibly in a hospital. Joseph likes to read, play board games and play the clarinet. He loves the problem-solving aspects of math. In math if you don’t know how something works you can figure it out.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Don’t give up! Sometimes it takes time for the solution to become clear.

Fun fact: His favorite Pokémon is Jigglypuff.

Favorite number: 6, because its factors, other than six (1, 2 and 3) add up to six and multiply to six.

Math joke: There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don’t.

Bridget Forbes, Instructor

Bridget is currently a student at New Trier High School and would someday like to be an engineer. She enjoys track and field, cross country, drawing and the Milwaukee Bucks. Bridget’s favorite thing about math is the feeling of accomplishment after figuring out a difficult problem when all the pieces come together, and it all makes sense.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Stick with it. Sometimes a problem takes a while to understand, but if you keep practicing it will start to make sense.

Fun fact: Bridget has three pets - a dog and two rabbits.

Favorite number: 5, because it was her soccer number as a kid.

Math joke: What did one math textbook say to the other? Quit bothering me. I have my own problems.

Logan Grzesiek, Instructor

Winnetka math tutor Logan graduated from Indiana University with a BA in Mathematics and a minor in Education. Logan’s interests vary from drawing and playing the guitar and Minecraft Magic to WW2 books and documentaries. He wants to help the world discover the joys of math and likes that math prepares you for “real life” in new ways every day. Math homework help is a way to prepare students for math success.

Advice to Mathnasium students:  do not let your surroundings dictate your attitude toward math, or life in general. If you truly enjoy something, be proud that you have found it and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Fun fact: Logan has driven through 44 of the 50 states.

Favorite number: 20. It was his number for seven years in baseball.

Math joke:

Q: How is an artificial Christmas tree like the fourth root of -68?

A: Neither has real roots.

Brooks Herb, Instructor

Brooks currently attends New Trier High School and plans to study journalism in college. He’d like to work in the sports industry one day as a journalist, agent or manager. Brooks is a die-hard sports fan and enjoys movies and writing and writes for the school newspaper. He enjoys the rewarding feeling of solving a difficult problem. Problems that get him thinking are his favorites!

Advice to Mathnasium students: Do your best! If you put in the effort and try your hardest, things will eventually work out. The harder you work the bigger the payoff will be.

Fun fact: Brooks lived in London for 5 years, visited more than 12 countries in Europe and went to Egypt also.

Favorite number: 3, because it is the number of some of his favorite basketball players and he loves taking the 3-point shot in basketball.

Math joke: Why would you never talk to Pi? Because they’d go on forever and ever.

Kathryn Morrison, Instructor

Winnetka math tutor Kathryn studied at Harper Community College, College of Lake County and DePaul University. Her dream job would be running a home for abused and neglected children. She enjoys spending time with family and baking, reading and playing word crossy. Her favorite thing about math is that it is an essential part of life.

Advice to Mathnasium students: You can do anything you put your mind to.

Fun fact: Kathryn enjoys learning new things.

Favorite number: 13, because 1 + 3 =4. Which is the number of people in her home.

Math joke: Why didn’t the quarter roll down the hill with the nickel? Because it has more cents!

Catherine Murdock, Instructor

Catherine is currently studying math at University of Notre Dame. She’s not exactly sure what she’d like to do but is interested in possibly being an actuary one day. Catherine likes all sports, but she is passionate about basketball and has played for as long as she can remember. Her favorite thing about math is that there is always a right or wrong answer. No ‘grey’ area in math.

Advice to Mathnasium Students: Don’t get discouraged if you don’t understand something! Lots of things take time and practice.

Fun Fact: Catherine had to get her appendix out!

Favorite Number: 16, because it’s the number that her birthday is on!

Math Joke: Why was the math textbook sad? Because it had so many problems!

Margaret Murdock, Instructor

Margaret currently studies math at the University of Notre Dame. She’s not exactly sure what she’d like to do in the future, but wants to combine math and business, her two favorite subjects! Margaret enjoys playing sports. She plays volleyball and tennis, but basketball is her favorite. Her favorite thing about math is that there are different ways to get to the answer. If one way doesn’t resonate with someone, there might be another way that makes more sense.

Advice to Mathnasium Students: If you get stuck on a problem, it might make sense to skip it and come back to it. It won’t be as frustrating and if you come back to it and look at it like a new question, it might become clearer.

Fun Fact: Margaret once got stuck in an elevator in the Eiffel Tower!

Favorite Number: 7, but she’s not sure why other than there are 7 people in her family.

Math Joke: How do you keep warm in a cold room? Go to the corner – it’s always 90 degrees

Daniela Ostrov, Instructor

Daniela is currently a student at Glenbrook North High School. She’s like to become a doctor one day. Daniela enjoys playing the piano, reading and participating in youth groups. Her favorite thing about math is that math is organized, and different parts come together the more you learn.

Advice to Mathnasium students: If a problem doesn’t make sense right away, have patience. Sometimes you just need to give it a little bit of time for it to make sense.

Fun fact: Daniela once saw the Queen of England when she was visiting Windsor palace.

Favorite number: 11, because her birthday is February 11 and because it is symmetrical.

Math joke: Why did the student get upset when his teacher called him average? It was a mean thing to say!

Ned Seaman, Instructor

Ned currently attends Loyola Academy and hopes to study biochemistry in college. He loves being active and enjoys lacrosse and soccer the most. He aspires to be a doctor or chemist in a lab one day. He enjoys how the topics you learn in math can be applied to the real world and other core academics.

Advice to Mathnasium students: To make your life less stressful, do your homework diligently every night so you won’t have to cram before tests.

Fun fact: Ned use to play in a jazz band

Favorite number: 7, because a favorite lacrosse teammate wore that number

Math joke: There was a statistician that drowned crossing a river…it was 3 feet deep on average.

Mikaela Wefald, Instructor

Mikaela earned a BS in Economics from University of Kansas and a MA from University of Chicago. One day she’d like to work for the census bureau. Mikaela enjoys rock climbing, reading, seeing live music and eating sushi! Her favorite thing about math is being able to solve the puzzles.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Practice really does make perfect!

Fun Fact: Once Cher tweeted at her.

Favorite number: 3, because it was her childhood soccer number.

OwnerJ. Steve Santacruz, Owner

 Steve graduated from DePaul University from the Honors Accounting Program with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and later received his law degree from DePaul. One of Steve's main passions in life is teaching children. He has been a little league baseball coach since college and enjoys coaching his own two boys in baseball. Steve brings that passion to Mathnasium - hoping to influence and enrich the lives of children through nurturing a passion and appreciation for math. Most students simply need more focused instruction in order to excel. "The Mathnasium method achieves this and much more, due to the richness and breadth of the Mathnasium curriculum. It is the ideal adjunct for a student?s daily classroom instruction, whether the child is struggling or advanced." Through Mathnasium, Steve is excited about being able to teach math to children in a way that makes sense to them. He also looks forward to teaching children the importance of strong study skills, which will serve them in subjects beyond math as they make their way through high school and on to college. Steve and his wife, Karen, are busy raising two sons, Austin and Dylan. They look forward to serving your family!

OwnerKaren Santacruz, Owner

 Karen graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with an emphasis in Athletic Training. She has a Master of Science from Northeastern Illinois University in Exercise Science and Cardiac Rehabilitation. Before starting a family Karen worked as an Athletic Trainer for Illinois Sportsmedicine and Addison Trail High School. She then taught physical education and was the Head Athletic Trainer at Stevenson High School. While raising their two boys Karen has taught PE part-time, coaches her sons' sports teams, is a substitute teacher, and volunteers her time in boy scouting and at St. Joseph school. Karen loves working with children, and is excited about opening Mathnasium!! She has always been a strong advocate for developing fitness in children, and knows how important math skills are to the overall educational development of a child. "I've always been a firm believer in teaching kids in a way they can understand. This allows for a love of learning whatever the subject!! The Mathnasium method does this so well, and allows kids to "work out" their minds!"

Center Director & Owner

Betty Wang, Director of Operations

Betty graduated from New Trier High School and obtained her Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in Biomechanical Engineering. Mathnasium's philosophy on learning and teaching resonated with Betty's belief that learning is at its best when it occurs in a nurturing environment where students can cast aside their fear and frustration. "Mathnasium offers an unique learning environment and individualized learning plans to helps students make sense of Math. It really makes math fun!"

Sam Larimer, Director of Training/Operations Associate

 Sam hails from northwest Indiana, where he completed his B.S. in Mathematics and minor in Civil Engineering at Purdue University Calumet. His interests vary all over the spectrum, from the great outdoors to an engrossing role-playing game to rooting for the Cubbies, Bears & Blackhawks. Most of all, though, his adoration for math has led him to pursue interests in actuarial science and statistics. New to the North Shore, he is excited to help Mathnasium students break into the puzzle-solving world of math that he’s enjoyed his entire life.