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The Women That Make RSM Unique

Over twenty-five years ago two women, mothers – both passionate about mathematics and the power it holds to develop a child’s mind and fling open the doors of opportunity – launched the Russian School of Math.

Inessa Rifkin and Irina Khavinson built RSM by recruiting talented women just like them. Most had a background in STEM, most were mothers, and all were passionate about what a solid mathematical education can do.

Most importantly – none believed that a deep knowledge of mathematics was only within the reach of a gifted or inclined few, or of a particular gender. Over the years, our students have studied under the tutelage of these gifted instructors. For our students – women who are passionate about and talented in mathematics is the norm. For our students - reaching the highest levels of mathematical learning and achievement under the guidance of a female instructor is the norm.


Educating the Next Generation of Women in Math

We see the effect of this environment on our students every day. Our female students, as compared to their counterparts who may not experience such an environment, stand out especially.

RSM girls have qualified for and won various elite math competitions, including the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament, AMC 10/12, Berkeley mini Math Tournament, Girls in Math at Yale, Math Kangaroo, and more. This year, six girls represented team RSM in the 2024 Girls in Math at Yale competition, a competition for over 150 students. In the team challenges, RSM placed 7th, and in the individual competition, RSM students Selena Ge and Anika Mittal placed second and third, respectively.

RSM alumni have gone on to have impressive careers in diverse fields including medicine, engineering, health informatics, business, and the arts.


Meet (Some of) the Great Women of RSM

On this International Women’s Day, we are incredibly proud to share with you some of the women and girls who make up the tapestry of RSM.

Anusha Senapati

Anusha Senapati  |  RSM Alumna

Anusha attended RSM for 11 years, starting in Kindergarten. In 2023, she was invited to participate in the Advantage Testing Foundation/Jane Street Math Prize for Girls. This is the largest math prize for girls in the world and only selects 250 young women in the world to participate. 

We’re incredibly proud of your achievement - congratulations Anusha!

“Participating in math competitions has helped me to explore math in a way that’s different from school math and has taught me creative ways to approach math problems.”


Girls in Math at Yale

RSM Competition Winners

This year, six students represented team RSM in the 2024 Girls in Math at Yale competition, Alli Katila-Miikkulainen (6 years with RSM), Anika Mittal (8 years with RSM), Anna Tang (9 years with RSM), Chelsea Yan (6 years with RSM), Erica Ho (9 years with RSM), and Selena Ge (4 years with RSM). 

This competition for over 150 students aims to cultivate a love of math. In the team challenges, Team RSM placed 7th, and in the individual competition, RSM students Selena Ge and Anika Mittal placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

Congratulations to all!


Olga Pristin

Olga Pristin  |  Vice President, Operations

Olga began her journey with RSM in 2008 as a teacher and enrolled her two children at the same time. She later served as the Principal of RSM Newton and now works as the VP of Operations at RSM Headquarters. 

“I like being part of a community of like-minded people who come to work every day knowing that we make a difference for so many children. RSM is a place where anyone - a man or a woman - can fulfill their full potential. This is the most supportive and caring environment, the place where people are valued and given the opportunity to grow.”


Leah Gallo

Leah Gallo  |  Regional Director, North Connecticut

Leah has been with RSM for over 8 years and is passionate about making math understandable and enjoyable for her students. After receiving her B.S. in Mathematics, Leah began her journey in education when she joined Teach for America, where she laid the foundation for her commitment to educational excellence. Following this experience, she earned her Master of Arts in Teaching in order to pursue her interest in secondary math education.

At RSM, I have had the unique experience of being part of an organization founded by women. Witnessing female leaders making a tangible impact on a daily basis is immensely rewarding. Moreover, the trust placed in me to make region-wide decisions underscores the empowerment and autonomy I am afforded within the company. RSM's commitment to providing both autonomy and mentorship has significantly contributed to my professional growth, enabling me to support my team members in a nurturing and compassionate manner.”


Darena Gateva

Darena Gateva  |  Principal, RSM Bellevue

Darena has been with RSM for 14 years, starting as a parent, then as teacher, and now serves as the Principal of RSM Bellevue. She holds a M.S. in Economics from the University of Economics in Varna, Bulgaria.

“As an immigrant, finding a place to fit, and a career path to follow was something I could only dream about. RSM has provided both. It is a place where I found comradery and shared interests with like-minded people. It rewards hard work and dedication with career opportunities and recognition. RSM has allowed me to put my skills and passions to productive use, become a contributor to childrens' success, and feel accomplished.”


Simply put, we at RSM are grateful to have built a team of intelligent women who are educating and serving as role models for children of all genders in our math classrooms.

Join us in celebrating the women of RSM on this International Women’s Day!

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