Nicholas Kotelko - Experienced Math Learning Center Director

Nicholas Kotelko - Experienced Math Learning Center Director

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About this tutor

I have worked professionally as the Center Director of Mathnasium in Manhattan Beach, Redondo Bech, and Rolling Hills Estates, managing the education of over 1000 students. I have a degree with honors in Applied Mathematics from UCSB and have helped students with math for over 20 years.

I am expertly efficient with all math up to precalculus. Also, I KNOW COMMON CORE!! Yes, I can take that confusing, convoluted monkey off your back and make sense of it with your student.

I can not only teach them how to do the math, but how to make sense of it so they understand it. I guarantee my services.

This is my passion and my life. We change lives by helping students understand math, and I guarantee we will not only see improvement in math, but in their overall attitude and abilities of handling problem sovling in general.

I love being able to make sense of math to those who struggle with it. I believe anyone has the ability to learn with the right help, and with the tools and experience I have gained working with hundreds of students, I strive to achieve that "Aha! I get it now!!" moment with each and every student. 

Math is my passion, and it is my life. It always made sense to me, and I want to help others learn how to problem solve and think critically, because it applies not only to math, but so man aspects of our lives.

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Torrance, CA 90505
Email verified
Phone verified

1 Review


  • Desiree Webster

    He is very professional and friendly! He is an excellent teacher!

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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

I always want to make them comfortable, so getting to know the student first is crucial to developing a good relationship. What are they into? Do they like math(it's ok if they say no at the beginning)? How was their day? I like to quickly build rapport, and also find relatable topics that will help me with instruction.

Then I find out their curent level of understanding by asking both direct and socratic questions, I can quickly assess their math comfort level, and begin from there, both helping them with their current material, and filling in any foundational gaps that may be causing current issues.

I set realistic goals and organize a basic curriculum/timetable for working with each student, and communicate this with them and the parents.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

Bacholor's with honors from UCSB in Applied Math. While there I worked in the Math lab tutoring lower level undergraduates.

15+ years of math instruction in k-undergrad math and all forms of test prep. This was done both privately and professionally.

Worked for Youth Policy Institute through LAUSD tutoring students in low income areas. 

Have been Instructor, Assistant Director, and Center Director at Mathnasium, where I still run our Rolling Hills Estates location.

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

I start at $60/hour and like to hold 60-90 minute sessions if I can. My rates go up to $75+ for higher math and specialized test prep.

I am always open to negotiation for a plan of multiple visits and setting a strutcure up. 

How did you get started teaching?

I was always 'the math guy' in school. It just made sense. I then began helping other students in my classes beginning as early as I can remember, probably late elementary school.

I like to help, and if it made sense to me, I wanted it to make sense to other people, because math and problem solving always fascinated me. Like solving a puzzle, there is a great 'Aha!!! I got it!' moment we see perpetually in math development, and I love to achieve that with students.

I began tutoring professionally while at undergrad, instructing local students and even other undergradutes struggling with their workload. 

What types of students have you worked with?

K-12 students

Undergradute and adults in need of math help

Struggling and enrichment students

Test prep situations

Student's with special needs, including ADD/HD and autism

I feel I have worked with them all; from the eager to detached, struggling to advanced, and able to incapable. If you have a student, I can help.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

A student at Mathnasium came in in Fall of 2017 and was struggling in geometry because there were severe gaps in his algebra pre-requisite skills. He had a bad attitude and I knew it'd be a project for me. Over the months we developed the algebra skills we needed to address, and moved into applying them to geometry. 

His attitude changed, and we could see the confidence returning each visit. More recently he has been performing very well, asking mostly questions just to affirm his work and check that he has taken the correct steps, as opposed to asking for hand holding through entire problems. 

We started studying for a big test, and he was at the center almost every day the week leading up to it on a Friday. The following Monday his mom called in nearly shrieking to start. I thought I was going to get grilled for a second, but she was so excited she had run out of her office and called us right away because he got an A on the test, second highest score! It was awesome when he came in the next day and we could all celebrate it together. I love it when a 'project' of mine really comes together, and it has for this student.

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Even though you may need help in a subject or assignment you are currently taking, it is most likely that you are really struggling with a concept from a previous grade level or class. Math builds on itself, so if topics aren't mastered as you go, they will lead to foundational gaps that grow as you continue to move along your curriculum.

To really get the help you need, you must have a firm understanding of the why and how behind the processes that we learn. Just getting right answers on paper and rote memorization do not help without context. You need to be able to explain it, make sense of it, and try to apply it to other areas within math. That is how you develop a true fluency in math.

If you need help for a current assignment, I will help you with it, make no mistake, but the biggest progress we make may be on focusing on something else that the current objective. I have experience with this, and can guide you to true math development.

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

What are the pre-requisite topics I should be comfortable with before working on my current topics?

Am I making careless or conceptual errors in my work?

What is my ultimate goal for math development?

Am I open to really learning, and not just getting an assisgnment done? Will I be accountable to do my part to get the most out of instruction? (yes it relies on you as well as me)

What are my current objectives, timelines, and realistic goals I want to achieve with an instructor?

Services offered

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