Isil Nal

Mrs. Nal is a nationally well known mathematics teacher focused on contest math. As a math coach, Mrs. Nal taught State and National MATHCOUNTS participants, USA(J)MO qualifiers, MOSP attendees, USAJMO winners/honorable mentions.  She was the coach of the TX MATHCOUNTS Team that placed 1st at Nationals in two consecutive years, 2017 and 2016, 3rd in 2011 and 7th in 2015. In 2017, 3 of her students made MATHCOUNTS Nationals Count Down (top 12 students in the country among over 200,000 participants) including the MATHCOUNTS NATIONALS champion and the runner-up. In 2016, all her 4 students made top 12 in the country.

She is currently coaching the Quail Valley GT Academy team who won 2015-2017 Texas State MATHCOUNTS. She is a two time recipient of the MAA’s Edyth May Sliffe Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Raytheon MathMovesU Heroes Award.

Yi Zhou

Dr. Yi Zhou graduated from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) with a B.S. in Modern Physics and then continued to earn his Ph.D in theoretical/computational physics in the University of Houston.

He has been a math and physics enthusiast from an early age, and was ranked top 10 in both China Mathematics Olympiad and China Physics Olympiad in Tianjin city in 1993.

During leisure time, Dr. Zhou enjoys doing interesting math problems and distance running.

Ming Zhang

Dr. Ming Zhang graduated from University of Science and Technology of China and obtained his Ph.D. from Rice University with background in mathematics and computer science.

He has worked as an assistant professor at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley. With over 20 years of algorithm development and investment experience, Dr. Zhang now enjoys teaching students in mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, statistics and investments.

In the fall of 2016, all of Dr. Ming’s USACO Bronze Class students at Momentum Learning were promoted to USACO Silver, Gold, and Platinum with most of the students received perfect scores on the USACO Bronze test. Congratulations!!

Pelin Unal

Pelin Unal is a graduate student of Mathematics at University of Houston Main Campus.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Middle East Technical University, one of the top universities in Turkey.

Mrs. Unal has extensive math coaching experience with advanced middle and high school students.  She spent two years in Houston Public Schools primarily teaching honors math courses in 6th through 8th grades in addition to teaching contest math classes. Mrs. Unal also had experiences with SAT practices for high school students.

In her spare time, Mrs. Unal plays a stringed musical instrument called “baglama.”  She also has interest in drawing and painting.

Robin Maly

Robin Maly is currently a 6th and 7th grade teacher at Quail Valley Middle School. She has been with the Fort Bend Independent School District for almost 15 years now, and has greatly enjoyed her journey as an educator thus far.

Upon graduation from Dulles High School in 1990, Ms. Maly entered the world of instruction as a Pre-School teacher, and since receiving her Bachelor of Science degrees in Social Science and Education, has gone on to teach English Language Arts, Theater Arts, Social Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Theology with students up to 12th grade.

She attributes much of her success in the classroom to cutting edge professional development trainings, brain based education approaches, and “outside of the box” programs like Abydos. Highly creative, innovative, and inspirational, her classes are sought after by students seeking academic rigor and universal relevance. Ms. Maly challenges students to take ownership of their educations in a way that promotes positivity and productivity, as well as scholastic excellence and integrity.

Gwen Curtice

My name is Gwen Curtice, and I am currently teaching 5th and 6th grade math as well as the Contest Math elective for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade at the Honor Roll School. I have 44 years of teaching experience of which 31 were in elementary, 2 were in private and 11 were in middle school teaching math. My undergraduate degree is from Texas Tech University, and I earned my master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. It was my pleasure to be the original math teacher and math competition coach at the Gifted and Talented Academy at Quail Valley Middle School in FBISD.

My philosophy is simple: all math is connected. Introducing a logical progression of topics, I use hands-on activities combined with daily practice and problem solving of real world associations to obtain long-term understanding. I emphasize accuracy before speed. All students can learn to love math when they have the correct “tool kit” of strategies.

I have lived in Sugar Land for 33 years with my husband. Kolbe, and our labrador, Saxon.  Our daughter, Mallory, is a graduate of Texas Christian University and lives and works in Fort Worth.

Denrica Broussard

I am a dynamic, state-certified, educator with over thirteen years of experience in the areas of ELA (English, Reading, Writing, Grammar) and ESL (English as a Second Language). Currently, I teach English & ESL in higher education at a college, but I spent most of my teaching career in elementary and secondary education.

Over the course of my thirteen years in education, I’ve worked with all types of students of all ages and I learned one important thing–there is no one-size fits all approach to teaching students. After much experience with all types of students, ( ELL’s, Gifted and Talented, Special Needs, etc.) I’ve figured out effective methods to reach all ALL types of students that have proven effective time and time again. I have tutored students most of my career and my former students and parents come back time and time again to thank me and provide success stories of their students’ accomplishments thanks to the one-on-one specialized instruction and strategies that I provide.

Allow me to help fill the gaps, where others have failed. I not only offer an abundance of knowledge in the areas of ELA & ESL, but I can also help with test taking strategies that will ensure success on standardized and college entrance exams, as well. I offer compassion, knowledge and a passion to see ALL students succeed!

Harold Reiter

Dr. Reiter is Professor of Mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. For more than 30 years, he has contributed problems to math competitions including the American Math Competitions and MATHCOUNTS.

He has served as chair of the AMC committee and as a MATHCOUNTS judge. In the last 12 years, he has taught at math camps for high school and middle school students in the United States; Bangalore, India; Bali, Indonesia; and Chengdu, China.

Joseph Bernhart

Joe Bernhart has been teaching secondary English Language Arts for the past 20 years in Houston and Fort Bend ISD. He is certified in gifted and talented education and English Language Arts (6-12) by the Texas Education Agency.

Currently, he teaches ELA grades 7 and 8 at the Quail Valley Middle School Academy for the Gifted and Talented. He is a published author of Stand Up! Speak Out! The Social Action Curriculum for 21st Century Learners and was featured in the Corporation for Public Broadcasting/Maryland Public Television professional development video series called Making Meaning in Literature. He is also co-owner of GTInnovators, LLC, a company that provides teachers around the state of Texas with professional development specifically in the area of teaching gifted learners.

He earned his master’s degree in teaching from the University of Houston-Downtown in 2005, graduating with honors. He also has over 5 years of experience teaching SAT Reading and Writing and offers a plethora of strategies to help students progress in their reading and writing skills in general.

Tanzila Khorshed

Tanzila Khorshed brings enthusiasm, dedication, and seven years of teaching/tutoring experience to Momentum Learning. Her passion and commitment to help each and every student reach his or her highest potential is quite evident.

Ms. Khorshed graduated from the University of Houston. She earned a BS in Mathematics. She has designed & tailored curriculum and action plans, and has taught SAT/ACT Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2, Precalculus, and Calculus. She is also experienced in the sciences including Biology and Chemistry.

Ms. Khorshed’s enthusiasm, expertise, and strong passion for helping students shines through. She has a contagious enthusiasm and works well with all.

Oner Celecpcikay

Oner is a published Data Scientist and CyberSecurity Education expert who teaches Data Mining, MIS, Data Security, Machine Learning, and Business Analytics courses for University of Houston Downtown and Texas A&M Commerce. Oner is one of the founding members and current Chairman of the Board of Harmony Public Schools, the largest charter school system in Texas with a STEM focus and 48 campuses.

Oner is the founder of InnovED Education & Technology Solutions which provides STEM educational technology solutions to elementary and secondary schools. Oner got his CyberSecurtiy training from MIT CyberSecurity Certification program and currently pursuing M.A. in Management degree from Harvard University. Oner is a co-author of the book titled “A Practice-based Model of STEM Teaching: STEM Students on the Stage (SOS)™”

Bulent Dogan

Dr. Bulent Dogan is an Associate Professor of Instructional Technology with a B.S degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Houston. He is currently teaching Technology Applications, Computers, and Education courses at North American University (NAU). Prior to NAU, Dr. Dogan taught classes at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, Texas and worked as a research assistant under a National Health Institution’s grant at University of Texas-Houston Medical School.

Dr. Dogan has 6+ years of public school teaching and school administration experience in San Antonio and Houston areas. Dr. Dogan is currently serving as the project director and developer of the Digital Storytelling Contests (DISTCO), DISTCO PBL, a STEM project, (series of annual STEM contests for K-12 students to demonstrate results of their STEM projects through digital storytelling).

He was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award twice at North American University in 2014 and 2016.

His research interests include educational technology training; educational uses of digital storytelling; tablets/games in education; social media in education; virtual reality applications in education; and teaching programming to youth.

Tina Faris

Tina Faris graduated from San Diego State University in California where she received her certification in General Education and English (1-8) and ESL (1-8). In her 15 years of teaching she has taught grades 3-5 in California, as well as here in Katy. Four years ago, she made the move to junior high where she joined the Beckendorff Jr. High team teaching 7th grade English Language Arts.

Tina believes that all students can succeed with the right support system and is excited about her role here at Momentum Learning.


Troy Drayton

Troy Drayton is co-author of Stand Up, Speak Out: The Social Action Curriculum for Building 21st Century Skills. He had been a classroom teacher at Quail Valley Middle School in Fort Bend ISD for 14 years, earning distinctions as a Fort Bend ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year Finalist in 2009 and Texas Association of Gifted and Talented (TAGT) Gulf Coast Teacher of the Year in 2012. Now Mr. Drayton teaches English at Ridge Point High School.

In addition to his role in the classroom, he has served as English/Language Arts Department Head, curriculum writer, instructional coach, professional development provider, and interventionist. After presenting for Fort Bend ISD and the TAGT and Texas Council of English Language Arts (TCTELA) state conferences independently for many years, he co-founded the GT Innovators LLC in 2011 and travels over the summer engaging teachers in high quality, interactive professional development in districts across Texas.

Since earning his Master’s Degree from the University of Houston in Educational Administration and Supervision in 2008, he has remained in the classroom because of the challenge and inspiration found through daily interactions with students.

Megan Kent

Megan Kent has been teaching math and science in Sugar Land for 10 years. She started with elementary students at Southminster School, then moved up to 6th-9th grade math at Cornerstone Christian Academy, and has spent the last 2 years at Quail Valley Middle School.

She co-taught the award winning math competition team with Mrs. Curtice and Mrs. Nal in the 2014-2015 school year. Mrs. Kent has a special talent for relating to young people in ways that foster a level of comfort and safety.

Mrs. Kent, her husband, and 3 children have lived in Sugar Land for 25 years.

Connie Carrillo

My teaching skills have been refined and polished over the past nineteen years teaching middle school science within the spectrum of mainstreaming to gifted and talented classes. I spent the past eight years teaching science at the Academy of the Gifted and Talented from FBISD.

I had earned a Master of Science in Education. Not only I earned the Postgraduate Professional License for education, but also earned a Gifted and Talented Supplemental Certificate. During the years of teachings, I had earned awards such as ExploreLearning Leadership Award, Outstanding American Teachers Award, Who’s Who America’s Teachers Award as well as being nominated as Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented by the principal and the coordinator of the Academy of Gifted & Talented.

My motto is “If Better is Possible, Then Good is Not Enough!”

Emre Ozturk

Mr. Ozturk is currently a Mathematics teacher at public school in Houston. He has been with the public schools for almost 8 years now, and has greatly enjoyed his journey as an educator thus far. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education from Gazi University, and master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Lamar University.

Mr. Ozturk has 10+ years of math teaching experience with advanced middle and high school students.  His remarkable success was being selected as a “Nationwide Math Hero” by Raytheon in 2013. Mr. Ozturk was one of the top 27 Math teachers in the USA for his innovative teaching methods. Mr. Ozturk’s students also achieved a 100% success at Algebra 1 EOC exam.

Mr. Ozturk enjoys playing soccer and reading book. Mr. Ozturk and his wife have a beautiful family of two daughters.

Aigul Turdugulova

Aigul is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Mathematics Department in Rice University. She graduated from Middle East Technical University with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics.

After graduation she worked in a university as a teaching assistant in the department of Applied Mathematics and Informatics. During those years, Aigul taught courses such as Calculus and Discrete Mathematics.

Aigul enjoys working with younger students to inspire them.

Nurbek Sakiev

Nurbek has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science with a minor in Business Administration from North American University (NAU). Starting from his sophomore year, Nurbek has taught the introductory computer science courses such as Python and Java programming at NAU.

A former Physics Olympian, Nurbek coached AP Physics and Competition Math courses at various Houston Public Schools. He enjoys engaging students in the classroom by posing questions and enabling lively discussions.

Dana Godfrey

Dana Godfrey began teaching English right out of college, and has been teaching for the past 12 years. She is certified in English Language Arts (6-12) and Speech by the Texas Education Agency.

Dana graduated from The University of Texas at Austin where she also received a scholarship to play basketball there. Before coming to Houston, Dana taught in the Mansfield ISD school system, where she also acted as the campus Academic Advisor. She revitalized the English department’s goals and assisted her school in becoming a recognized campus.

Dana also has extensive experience teaching SAT English as well as Middle and High School English reading and writing. She is a committed teacher whose goal is to help students succeed and to help prepare them for the future.

Victoria Profit

My name is Victoria Profit. I am a Mississippi native who recently relocated to the Houston area and am currently an English I teacher. I have attained three degrees in Education, with two of them (B.A. and M.A.T.) having English as the concentration and one (A.A.) having Elementary Education as the concentration. I am an avid reader with a continuing thirst for knowledge on new and innovative methods for the deliverance of instruction that meets the needs of all of my students. I am qualified to teach this subject, not because I am certified educator, but because I love what I do.

I have known since I was eight years old in the third grade that I would become a teacher, and I decided to focus on English as a middle school student because of my love for reading and the countless remarkable experiences provided by my English instructors. My past teachers of English created fantastic voyages as we read The Odyssey, dramatic scenes when we studied Romeo and Juliet, and extravagantly themed soirees when we delved into the mystery of Jay Gatsby while reading The Great Gatsby, and it is my life’s goal and my heart’s desire to provide each of my students with learning experiences of the same caliber and beyond.

I believe that education is or should be an integral part of every individual’s life, and I love that I am allowed the opportunity to share knowledge with the future leaders of our society. Though it may be a bit of a clichéd statement, the children really are our future.

Lavanya Venkatakrishnan

I have a Bachelor in Industrial electronics and Montessori certification (early childhood education) from MTEI (affiliated to AMS). I learned Art under Mr. Chandran focused on watercolor and oil.

I have been teaching art since 2011 working with different mediums such as oil pastel, watercolor, acrylics, glass, fabric, mixed media, etc.

Ilker Cevik

Ilker Cevik graduated from the Middle East Technical University in Turkey with a B.S. degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering. He was in love with programming during his university years, so he selected to work as a Software Engineer and now he has almost 20 years’ experience in software development.

During his career, he has been promoted to several mid-level management positions such as Team Leader, Product Manager and R&D Manager. He has trained tens of junior software engineers and transferred his know-how in niche and highly complicated areas such as RFID vehicle identification systems, multi-thread programming, real-time serial communication with electronic devices etc. and he also prepared curriculums for these trainings. He loves learning and sharing his knowledge with others.

His hardware and software solutions are installed in more than 7,000 gas stations and over 2 million vehicles in Turkey and other Middle East countries. These systems produce more than 2 billion transactions per year. Shell, BP, Total and Lukoil are some of the clients of his solutions.

He has been living in Houston since 2010. In Houston, he worked for Orpak USA and SIEMENS for 6 years. He has recently founded his own startup company, Outlier Software and Technology Solutions, which has RFID based hardware & software solutions and cloud based loyalty applications.

He is married with two children. Reading, swimming, playing basketball and soccer are his favorite activities for his spare times.

Dr. Sergey Sarkisov

Dr. Sergey holds a Ph.D. degree in math from University of Houston. Prior to that, he obtained his BS in Physics and Mathematics from University of Alabama. In high school, he was a USAMO qualifier and was on the US Physics Team (top 24 in the country).

Dr. Sergey has tutored math and physics for 19+ years, taught Calculus classes as a graduate student, and instructed/organized/managed MIST Olympiad math classes in Alabama under the counsel of Mathew Crawford.

He enjoys educating young minds and helping students succeed.  Every student is unique, with his/her specific strengths, talents, and goals. Dr. Sergey wants to help them realize these goals.

Mr. Serkan Demirel

Mr. Serkan is a talented STEM teacher passionate about making the high school experience a positive one for all students. He has worked to improve school climate so that all students can learn course materials, as well as the social skills they need to thrive in all aspects of their lives.

Mr. Serkan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics and Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction in Science Education. He has taught high school physics in Texas and Arkansas from 2008 to 2018.

James Lee

James Lee graduated from the University of the Pacific in Electrical Engineering and has been working as a software developer. He worked as a tutor while in university and continues to volunteer as a religious education teacher at his church.

He grew up in Houston, going to school in the Cy-Fair district. He enjoys tinkering with electronics, playing the piano, and flying power kites.