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Ex-Wall Street Analyst Opens Mathnasium Learning Center in Tam Junction

New Yorker Scott Rubin is determined to change the way kids think about math. His Mathnasium learning center in Mill Valley opened August 1.

New York native Scott Rubin has always had a passion for math, and in 1999 it led him to a career on Wall Street. In New York, Scott gave back to the community by tutoring math voluntarily at a high school in Manhattan. He found the process to be so fulfilling that he looked into changing careers. The result is Mathnasium, which opened in Tam Junction earlier this month.

Mill Valley Patch: Where are you from originally?
Scott Rubin: Born in Brooklyn, grew up in Staten Island, and I've lived in New York City for the past 8 years

MVP: What brought you to the Bay Area?
SR: My wife and I visited her cousin in Tiburon last year and we liked it so much we decided to move here.

MVP: What were you doing before Mathnasium, and why did you decide to make a change?
SR: I was a financial analyst on Wall Street. I was stressed out and always wanted to open my own business and Mathnasium seemed perfect for me.

MVP: Why did you decide on Mill Valley as the location for Mathnasium?
SR: People in Mill Valley (and all over Marin) want their kids to be educated and successful. Mill Valley is also a warm and friendly community.

MVP: Do you think a person can naturally be a "numbers person," or is it all about practice?
SR: Some people are naturally good at things and some people need more practice. Math is just like anything else. If you are exposed to something at an early age, you are going to be better at that when you get older but anyone can learn at any age.

MVP: Do you have any expectations for the community of Mill Valley?
SR: I have gotten a lot of great positive feedback from potential parents and people walking by my store. I expected the community to appreciate what I'm doing and so far that is the case.

MVP: Did you think math as a subject in general, gets a bad rap?
SR: I do. Children learn to speak as if by magic and with little or no apparent effort on anyone’s part. This happens because they are immersed in a sea of oral language from the very first day. The key to all development (language, mathematics, science, etc.) is to talk to children and they will learn to talk back. Math can be learned in very much the same way. Parents read to their children but not many parents math to their children. Probably the first time you heard the word "math" used as a verb.

MVP: How does Mathnasium differ from other tutoring centers?
SR: We teach math to kids in a way that make sense to them. We design a learning plan that is unique to each child. First the child takes an assessment and based off the incorrect problems, we assign prescriptives to explain those topics. We have 12,000 pages of material in our database and it is proprietary. It's a culmination of 35 years of math experts.

MVP: What will you be up to when you're not running the business?
SR: Spending time with my wife (and dog) and enjoying Marin County and San Francisco.

MVP: Do you think you'll use your Wall St. background in the Mathnasium setting? Will kids be learning how to analyze trends in the stock market?
SR: I may do a stock market class. For a few weeks, we will pick a stock (and I will buy a share) and we will calculate the percent increase and decrease and the standard deviation, the mean, et cetera. Then, after the class is over, I'll sell the stock and we can have a pizza party with the amount of the sale price.

As a pre-school special, Mathnasium Mill Valley is offering a free assessment and a free hour or tutoring before 9/10.

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