Origins

MathElf’s story begins in 2006 when our CEO, Vanessa Roth, founded Scholar’s Station, an in-home academic support company in the San Francisco Bay Area. Scholar’s Station quickly developed a strong reputation for its incredible tutors and unwavering dedication to student success.

The mission was clear: deliver exceptional tutoring that focused on the whole person and empowered students to become self-sufficient, confident learners.

Over nearly ten years, Scholar’s Station expanded, serving thousands of students, offering additional support services, collaborating with school districts to develop academic skills and college readiness courses, working with Fortune 500 companies to bring academic classes to their employees, and continuing to push the boundaries of tutoring to deliver a student-centered service that produced results.

But for Vanessa and the Scholar’s Station team, the boutique nature of elite tutoring, with rigid scheduling limitations, high costs to students, and arbitrary minimum commitments was a frustrating nut to crack. They believed that the same quality tutoring could be more accessible, affordable, and convenient.

Teaching Meets Tech

In 2014, Scholar’s Station teamed up with a San Francisco tech startup to create MathElf and make that dream a reality. The team was determined to find a way to deliver the quality tutoring their students had come to rely on in a way that better fit their lives and budgets. MathElf leverages technology to bring Scholar’s Station’s methods and quality tutoring to students across the globe.

Students today want:

Immediate access to tutors
They want to be able to reach us the moment they have a question.
Few commitments
They don’t want to commit to an hour-long session when they have a five-minute question.
Better organization
They want convenient digital storage of all of their session notes for quick access.
Easy session review
They want to be able to watch and listen to a session again to review a tricky concept or share it with friends.
Affordable pricing
They want to be able to connect with the best tutors in the country for a fraction of the cost of boutique, in-home tutoring.

Rethinking Tutoring

MathElf meets these demands. With MathElf, students everywhere connect with the most effective tutors in the country the moment they need help. Our tutors provide a safe and enriching learning environment, personally connecting with students and providing an opportunity for curiosity and the natural love of learning to thrive. We have taken everything that was magical about our in-home service and made it available to students at a fraction of the cost and without all of the hassles of scheduling and minimum commitments.

MathElf is changing the way families think about tutoring and proving that the highest quality tutoring can be accessible, affordable, and convenient.

MathElf HQ

Vanessa Roth
Founder/CEO
Vanessa graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley and holds certifications in Professional Editing and College Admissions and Career Planning from UC Berkeley. She has spent her entire professional career in education, working for numerous tutoring companies and school districts throughout and after college, and in 2006 founding Scholar’s Station, the academic support company that became the foundation of MathElf. She has extensive teaching and tutoring experience, working with students of every skill and achievement level and specializing in helping students with learning challenges. As an independent college advisor since 2005, Vanessa assisted hundreds of students in all aspects of the college planning process. Vanessa is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the Western Association for College Admission Counseling, and the Higher Education Consultants Association. Vanessa currently lives in San Francisco where she remains active in both her high school and college alumni communities.
Dan Kokotov
Founder/CTO
Dan completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After college, Dan joined Vecna Technologies, Inc., serving as Product Architect and Director of Software Engineering. He then moved on to 5AM Solution, Inc. as Director of R&D. Dan’s passion for education and belief in the power of individualized instruction began when he was a graduate student at MIT, working as a teaching assistant for the software engineering lab. Dan taught a class of 20 students, supporting them through their first steps learning to code and working one-on-one with each student during office hours. Today, Dan draws on his past experiences as both student and teacher in his role as MathElf CTO. He oversees the entire MathElf engineering team and ensures that we are delivering the best possible experience to students and tutors. Dan currently lives in Albany, CA with his wife and two daughters.
Sarah Snyder
Head Tutor
Sarah holds Bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Space Science, and a Master’s degree in Space Science from the Florida Institute of Technology. In college, Sarah worked as a TA in the Physics and Space Sciences departments. During her Master’s program, she taught the Physics 1 Lab for undergraduate students. Sarah then took a position at Pierce College in Washington, teaching Algebra 1 and 2, Precalculus and Trigonometry, Algebra-Based Physics, General Chemistry, and Overcoming Math Anxiety. She moved to the University of Washington, Tacoma and took over their Calculus-Based Physics courses and revised the physics lab program. In 2013, Sarah joined Scholar’s Station, teaching Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, Trigonometry, Precalculus, Calculus(AP, AB-BC, and college), Physics (regular and AP), and Chemistry (regular and AP). She transitioned to MathElf in 2015 and took on the role of head tutor. As head tutor, Sarah trains and manages all of the tutors and tracks students’ progress. Sarah currently lives in Maine with her fiance and favorite pup.
Katie Gandolfo
Recruiting & Ops
Katie completed her undergraduate studies at Gonzaga University in Washington. Throughout college, she worked as a tutor in the juvenile court system and in juvenile treatment centers. Katie joined Scholar’s Station in 2014 as Tutor Manager. In that role, she managed student accounts, recruited new tutors, and matched students with the perfect fit tutor. Katie transitioned to MathElf in early 2015, taking on the role of Recruiting Manager and Operations Associate. Katie is responsible for finding and vetting all of our fantastic tutors. She puts them through our extensive application process that tests their subject mastery, teaching skills, and personality fit for our program. She then assists tutors as they transition into the program and tracks their early sessions to ensure they are delivering MathElf quality instruction from day one. Katie currently lives in San Francisco.
Jaleh Afshar
Design
Jaleh graduated from the University of Utah with a BFA in Design, and holds certifications in Digital Security and IT Project Management from Stanford University. For the last decade, she has been designing various mobile apps and products for kids, teens, and adults. In January 2015, she joined the MathElf team as a UX consultant and later became Lead Designer in July 2015. In that role, she is responsible for designing all aspects of the student and tutor app, plus creating the MathElf website, marketing material, and logo. Originally from Los Angeles, Jaleh now lives in Salt Lake City with her partner and two rabbits.

Meet Our Tutors

Educated at the country’s most prestigious universities, our tutors come to us with subject mastery, extensive teaching experience, and that special magic that makes them outstanding tutors.

We require all MathElf tutors to have at least 3 years of tutoring or teaching experience. Most MathElf tutors also have, or are pursuing, graduate degrees or teaching credentials in mathematics or a related field.

All of our tutoring applicants undergo an extensive vetting, testing, and training process before they ever work with MathElf students. We also review every session to ensure consistent, top quality support for all of our students.