National Association of Math Circles Wiki
Math Circle Leader Profiles

Finding people to lead math circles is not always easy. This page contains profiles of people who are willing to lead math circle sessions. Contact one or more if you want some help. If you are willing to add your name to this list, please send an e-mail to

To find leaders for specific audiences or in specific locations try searching using the Find command in your browser (usually ctrl F). E.G. Audience: Any

Key words are as follows.

Audience: Primary grade students, middle school students, high school students, teachers, or Any.

Location: West Coast, Midwest, East Coast, or State Name

Name: Dave Auckly
Location: Midwest -- Manhattan, Kansas
Audience: Any
Contact: e-mail:


Dave Auckly earned his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan and then held a postdoctoral position at UT Austin followed by an NSF postdoc at UC Berkeley. He then moved to Kansas State University before taking the Associate Director position at MSRI. His research interests cover a broad range of geometry/topology and overlap with PDE, mathematical physics and algebraic geometry.

He has been very involved in many special educational programs. For example, he helped incorporate mathematics into a residential college at the University of Michigan, and created a unique `Brainstorming and Barnstorming' program and the Center for the Integration of Undergraduate, Graduate, and Postdoctoral Research at KSU. He organizes the upper-level Math Circle at KSU and is a co-director of the Navajo Nation Math Circle.

He lights up like the Vegas strip when he talks about mathematics. Dave has directed around 30 undergraduate and graduate level research projects and he has been recognized with the Lester R. Ford Award from the Mathematical Association of America, and several teaching awards.

Name: Anna Burago
Location: West Coast -- Seattle, Washington
Audience: Any
Contact: e-mail:


Anna Burago is a math professional, educator, and a book author with passion for teaching extracurricular mathematics. In her classes, she combines the rich traditions of the Russian-style mathematics for gifted children with her experience of teaching math in a US classroom.

Anna’s passion for math dates back to her school years in Russia where she used to be an eager and motivated math circle student. She grew into a teacher who is enthusiastic about introducing children to the wonderful and challenging world of mathematics.

Anna is the founder of Prime Factor Math Circle, Seattle, and the lead teacher at the Northwest Academy of Sciences. She coordinates and leads math circles for students of all ages – from elementary to high school.
Anna’s book on extracurricular mathematics and creative problem solving has been published by the American Mathematical Society. (“Mathematical Circle Diaries, Year 1: Complete Curriculum for Grades 5 to 7.” 2012)

Anna is involved in a lot of math activities. She is a regular guest lecturer at SIMUW (Summer Institute of Mathematics at the University of Washington). She teaches Math Challenge and Math Stretch summer programs at Robinson Center for Young Scholars at the University of Washington.
Anna received her first degree in math from the St. Petersburg State University, Russia. Her M. S. degree in Mathematics and M. S. degree in Computer Science are both from the University of Washington, Seattle. Anna has spent many years balancing two careers: a software developer and a math circle leader. These days, she is a full-time math educator.

Name: Maria Droujkova
Location: East Coast -- Cory, North Carolina
Audience: Primary grade students
Contact: e-mail:


Dr. Maria Droujkova is a curriculum developer and mathematics education consultant. She organizes meetings with project and community leaders in the Math Future interest group, an online collaboration of hundreds of researchers and educators interested in modeling software, computational tools, and social media in mathematics education. Natural Math, the company Maria founded in 2001, provides consulting on math game development, family mathematics, early algebra, individualized instruction, and math clubs.

Name: Dan Finkel
Location: West Coast -- Seattle, WA
Audience: Any
Contact: e-mail:


The Co-Director of Math for Love, Dan Finkel is devoted to sharing the beauty and power of mathematics. After receiving a PhD in mathematics from the University of Washington, Dan co-founded Math for Love with his wife, Katherine Cook in 2010. Since then, he has taught hundreds of students and teachers, given numerous talks and workshops, and contributed regularly to the New York Times Numberplay Blog. Math for Love runs classes and Math Circles throughout Seattle, leads professional development for teachers, and hosts Seattle's Julia Robinson Math Festival.

Name: Chris Goff
Location: West -- Stockton, California
Audience: Teachers
Contact: e-mail: cgoff@PACIFIC.EDU


Chris is one of the founding members of the San Joaquin Math Teachers' Circle, started in 2013. He received his PhD from UC Santa Cruz in 1999 and then spent three years as a Teaching Postdoc at the University of Arizona in Tucson. After that, he began working at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, and has been there ever since. Chris has long been interested in and involved with professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers, especially middle and high school levels.

Name: Dimitar Grantcharov
Location: South -- Arlington, Texas
Audience: Any
Contact: e-mail:


Dimitar Grantcharov received his Ph.D. in mathematics from University of California, Riverside, in 2003. He has been an assistant professor at the University of Texas Arlington since 2008. His research is in the areas of representations of Lie algebras and superalgebras. He is the Director of the Mid-Cities Math Circle located at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Name: Linda Green
Location: East Coast -- Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Audience: Middle and High School Students
Contact: e-mail:


Linda Green is currently a lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She directed the Marin Math Circle between 2009 and 2013. She particularly likes talking about topology and bringing in large or edible props.

Name: Mary O'Keeffe
Location: East Coast -- Albany, New York
Audience: Middle School Students, High School Students
Contact: e-mail:


Mary O'Keeffe founded Albany Area Math Circle in 2001 along with co-conspirator Mukkai (Moorthy) Krishnamoorthy, and their respective offspring, Alison Miller and Raju Krishnamoorthy, who were at the time in 9th and 8th grade. Neither Mary nor Moorthy is a professional mathematician: Mary is an economist and Moorthy is a computer scientist. They had been waiting for years for a mathematician to start a math circle in their area and, as none seemed likely to emerge within the time frame when their children needed one, they stopped waiting for a Godot who might never come and started their own. Alison and Raju have long since left home for higher education and are now advanced grad students, but the Albany Area Math Circle continues to grow and flourish. Math circle students have won many honors in math contests but Mary and Moorthy realize that such things are ephemeral frosting on cake. They are proudest of all of the many math circle students who have chosen to "pay it forward" by mentoring younger students in their turn.

Mary survived having Larry Summers as one of her grad school classmates at Harvard. She was the only woman in her cohort of 4 women and 16 men to complete the PhD. She gives great credit to her late husband, Ross Miller for his cheerleading and support of her, and she in turn has tried to be a cheerleader for others, and to inspire others to follow in her footsteps as cheerleaders. She is a homeschooling mom of two daughters, who taught her far more than she taught them. She currently teaches public finance at Union College in Schenectady, where her students run a volunteer income tax assistance program for low income working families. She also teaches in Union's STEP program for minority and disadvantaged students and has recently launched a new initiative she calls "Guerrilla Math Circles." At the age of 59, she herself has finally decided to do graduate work in mathematics at the University at Albany. She considers herself a "velveteen mathematician," and she aspires someday to become real (or possibly imaginary or transcendental or complex or surreal ...)

Name: Harold Reiter
Location: East Coast -- Charlotte, North Carolina
Audience: Any
Contact: e-mail:


Harold Reiter has been in the math circle 'business' since 1987 when he founded the Charlotte Math Club. He founded the Mecklenburg Math Club for students in grades 4 to 6 four years later, and the Charlotte Teachers Circle in 2006. He continues to volunteer at both student circles. In summer he enjoys working at math camps, especially Epsilon Camp where he gets to mentor his two grandsons John and Peter. In 2013 he was awarded the UNC Board of Governors Public Service Award for his many years of work with precollege students and with teachers.

Name: Mark Saul
Location: East Coast -- New York, New York
Audience: Any
Contact: e-mail:


Mark Saul, Ph.D., has touched the lives of thousands of mathematically gifted students through his work as a teacher and author, President of the American Regions Mathematics League (ARML), Director of the Research Science Institute, and editor of Quantum (the Russian/American journal of mathematics and physics for high ability students) and The Mathematics Teacher for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. He has also consulted abroad for mathematical organizations in Russia, Bulgaria, Taiwan, South Africa, Botswana, and India. In 2001, he served as Chief Guide for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) held that year in Washington, DC. He served as a program officer for the National Science Foundation and consultant for the John Templeton Foundation. Currently, he directs the Center for Mathematical Talent, and outreach program of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University.

Name: Amanda Serenevy
Location: Midwest -- South Bend, Indiana
Contact: e-mail:


Amanda Serenevy holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Indiana University South Bend and a PhD in mathematics from Boston University. In 2007, she completed a PhD dissertation on the dynamics of networks of inhibitory neurons in the hippocampus. She has additional research interests in dynamical systems, iterated matrix maps, geometric topology and mathematical origami.

Amanda has been active with the Math Circle movement to connect mathematicians with young students interested in mathematics. She first became involved with Math Circles as an instructor in Bob and Ellen Kaplan's Math Circle program in the Boston area. She now regularly co-organizes events for mathematicians and teachers from around the country who are interested in starting their own outreach programs, and has mentored many new Math Circle leaders.

In 2006, Amanda and her husband Dean founded the Riverbend Community Math Center, located in South Bend, Indiana. She continues to serve as the executive director, leading professional development sessions for teachers, and math programs for people of all ages.

Name: Shahed Sharif
Location: West Coast -- San Marcos, California
Contact: e-mail:


Shahed Sharif founded the Cal State San Marcos Math Circle in the Fall of 2012. He earned his PhD from UC Berkeley in arithmetic geometry. After making the rounds, including a postdoc at Duke University, he settled down in San Marcos in 2011.

Name: Tatiana Shubin
Location: West Coast -- San Jose, California
Audience: Any
Contact: e-mail:


Tatiana Shubin joined the faculty of San Jose State University in 1985 after earning her Ph.D. in Mathematics from UC Santa Barbara. In 2006, she won the Northern California, Nevada, and Hawaii Section (a.k.a. Golden Section) of the MAA Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.

She was born and grew up in the USSR, and as an eighth grader attended a specialized physics and mathematics boarding school in Siberia. These years were instrumental in kindling her passion for mathematics, and convinced her that interaction with working mathematicians can give young students much more than merely a solid training in the subject. This experience prompted her to co-found San Jose Math Circle and the Bay Area Math Adventures in 1998, and to become one of the leaders of the National Math Circles movement.

Shubin translated and edited several books published by the AMS in the MSRI Mathematical Circles Library. She is also the chair of the editorial board of this series.

She is a co-director of Navajo Nation Math Circles project which is aimed at launching and supporting math circles for students and teachers on the Navajo Nation, and providing other mathematically rich experiences, such as summer math camps, to Navajo children.

Name: Zvezdelina Stankova
Location: West Coast -- Berkeley, California
Audience: Any
Contact: e-mail:


Dr. Zvezdelina Stankova (Zvezda) is a Professor at Mills College. She was drawn to mathematics when, as a 5th grader, she joined the math circle at her school in Bulgaria and won, three months later, the Regional Math Olympiad. She went onto compete on the Bulgarian National Team at the Balkan Mathematical Olympiad in Romania ’86, and at the International Mathematical Olympiads (IMO’s) in Cuba ’87 and Australia’88, earning three silver medals. Zvezda completed her undergraduate degree at Bryn Mawr College in 1992, and in 1997 she received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in the field of algebraic geometry. Meanwhile, she earned high school teaching certificates in the state of Massachusetts and later in California.

As a postdoctoral fellow at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley and at the University of California at Berkeley in 1997-1999, Zvezda co-founded the Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad and started the Berkeley Math Circle. Her pioneering work inspired dozens of new circles throughout the U.S. and abroad. She trained the USA national team for the IMO’s for six years, including the memorable year 2001 when three of the six team members were from her circle, and USA tied with Russia for a second overall place in the world.

Since 1999, Zvezda has been at Mills College. Her inspiring style and passion to teach have been recognized by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA): in 2004 she was selected as a recipient of the first Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member. In 2009, she co-edited with Tom Rike the book “A Decade of the Berkeley Math Circle – the American Experience,” volume I, which was among the 2009 top 10 bestsellers of the American Mathematical Society. In January 2011, at the joint AMS/MAA meetings in New Orleans, MAA awarded her the highest math teaching award in the United States, the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics. The award honors college on university teachers who have been widely recognized as extraordinarily successful and whose teaching effectiveness has been shown to have had influence beyond their own institutions. Zvezda was featured in the Salutes Program of the ABC 7 News in spring 2011. In 2012, she was listed in Princeton's Review "300 Best Professors".

She is a co-director of Navajo Nation Math Circles project which is aimed at launching and supporting math circles for students and teachers on the Navajo Nation, and providing other mathematically rich experiences, such as summer math camps, to Navajo children.

Zvezda's most enduring passion remains working at the Berkeley Math Circle every year with about 350 pre-college students who are interested in mathematics and motivated to discover new mathematical wonders.

Name: James Tanton
Location: East Coast -- Washington, DC
Audience: Any
Contact: e-mail:


Believing that mathematics really is accessible to all, James Tanton (PhD, Mathematics, Princeton 1994) is committed to sharing the delight and the beauty of the subject. In 2004 James founded the St. Mark’s Institute of Mathematics, an outreach program promoting joyful and effective mathematics education for both students and educators. He worked as a full-time high school teacher at St. Mark’s School in Southborough MA,(2004-2012) and conducted mathematics graduate courses for teachers.

James is now the Mathematician in Residence at the Mathematical Association of America in Washington D.C. and is still actively engaged in professional development for educators throughout the U.S, Canada, and overseas. He also conducts the professional development program for Math for America, D.C.

James is the author of SOLVE THIS: MATH ACTIVITIES FOR STUDENTS AND CLUBS (MAA, 2001), THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MATHEMATICS (Facts on File, 2005), MATHEMATICS GALORE! (MAA, 2012) and twelve self-published texts. He is the 2005 recipient of the Beckenbach Book Prize, the 2006 recipient of the Kidder Faculty Prize at St. Mark’s School, and a 2010 recipient of a Raytheon Math Hero Award for excellence in school teaching.

He also publishes research and expository articles, and through his extracurricular research classes for students has helped high school students pursue research projects and also publish their results.

More about James can be learned from his website He is also making his content-focused development work available for free online at

Name: Blake Thornton
Location: Midwest -- St Louis, Missouri
Audience: Any
Contact: e-mail:


Blake earned his PhD at the University of Utah and then moved to St. Louis where he has taught at St. Louis University and Washington University. Blake is currently teaching at Washington University in St. Louis where he has been running the Washington University Math Circle since 2006. Blake has also organized a Teacher's Circle and has been involved in several education programs involving middle school teachers.

Name: Peter Trapa
Location: Intermountain West -- Salt Lake City, Utah
Audience: Any
Contact: e-mail:


Peter started the Utah Math Circle in 2001 at the University of Utah, and help found the Utah Teachers' Circle a few years later. He has a long-standing interest and appreciation for working with mathematically talented kids.

Peter earned his PhD from MIT and held postdoctoral positions at Harvard and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton before joining the faculty at the University of Utah where he is now Professor and Chair. He also serves as Director of the NAMC.

Name: Sam Vandervelde
Location: East Coast -- Potsdam, New York
Audience: Any
Contact: e-mail:


Sam Vandervelde is currently an Associate Professor of Mathematics at St. Lawrence University, where he teaches calculus, geometry, number theory, combinatorics, and a proofs course. He is particularly interested in exposing students to the mathematical research process, and was awarded the Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2010. He is the author of two books: Circle in a Box, and Bridge to Higher Mathematics.

In the fall of 2006 Sam launched the Stanford Math Circle, and soon after helped to found the Teachers' Circle as well. He has led numerous math circle sessions around the country but never seems to tire of introducing eager students to exciting mathematics. His current activities include chairing the SIGMAA on Math Circles, spending two weeks at MathPath each summer, co-leading a PREP workshop for teachers on involving their students in mathematical research, and coordinating all aspects of the Mandelbrot Competition for high school students.

Name: Japheth Wood
Location: East Coast -- Kingston, New York
Audience: Middle and High School Students, Teachers
Contact: e-mail:


Japheth Wood is a mathematician interested in how students learn mathematics and what they are taught. He's also involved in the mathematical preparation of teachers and their continuing mathematical development. Dr. Wood co-founded the Bard Math Circle in 2007. He has been the executive director of the New York Math Circle since 2012, continues to direct the Bard Math Circle, and is a math professor at Bard College.

Name: Paul Zeitz
Location: West Coast -- San Rafael, California
Audience: Any
Contact: e-mail:


Originally trained as an ergodic theorist (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1992), today Paul Zeitz's overriding interest is mathematical problem solving and the promulgation of an Eastern European-inspired problem-solving culture to American audiences.

Towards this end, he wrote The Art and Craft of Problem Solving in 1998, co-founded the Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad in 1999, and co-founded the San Francisco Math Circle in 2005. In 2009 he produced a series of video lectures for The Teaching Company on problem solving. He is a frequent presenter at math circles throughout the country, working with audiences ranging from elementary school students to high school teachers.