Our Founders

Nineteen years ago, the Russian School of Mathematics (RSM) emerged from a partnership between a passionate parent and a gifted teacher. As a mother, Inessa Rifkin believed that it was her responsibility to provide her children with the tools to succeed. As a teacher, Irina Khavinson believed that the combination of a good teacher and great curriculum can unlock the potential in every child. As immigrants, they both were convinced that the road to a great education begins with a strong foundation in mathematics.

The school we have built is based on a simple observation: a math curriculum should be focused on understanding, not memorization. In Russia, every mathematical formula and rule had to be proven. Students were taught to ask "why?,"  which develops logic, reasoning, and problem-solving skills instead of "how?," which only develops short-term memory.

We decided to open a school to raise a generation of learners able to reason logically and abstractly to solve problems. We have spent over a decade developing a unique curriculum to achieve this goal. In today's competitive world, we take great pride in knowing that our program has demonstrated measurable results for thousands of our graduates.

We hope we can be a resource for your family.

-Inessa Rifkin and Irina Khavinson


Inessa Rifkin

RSM Co-founder and CEO

Inessa Rifkin immigrated to the US in 1988. As she and many of her immigrant friends quickly thrived in demanding technical careers, Inessa came to understand the unique value of the rigorous mathematics education that they had received in Russia.

When she realized the gap between her education and the education of her children, she made a life-changing choice to focus on finding a way to close this gap. RSM was founded in 1997 when she partnered with friend and educator Irina Khavinson in an attempt to translate their own experiences with specialized Russian math programs into a school that offered the same opportunity to American children.

The converted educator found great satisfaction in her new role teaching children. She wants all her students to know that they are her priority: “They are the reason I opened the school.”


Irina Khavinson

RSM Co-founder and Chief Education Officer

Irina Khavinson is an expert educator with extensive experience working with all levels of students in all grades from elementary school to high school. She is dedicated to teaching and adamantly believes that every child can learn to master and love math. After 15 years of impressive results, Irina continues to head RSM's dynamic curriculum department, where she focuses on extending RSM's innovative approach to every child in every grade and at every level.

As she explains: “RSM unites parents, students, and teachers around the goal of an excellent mathematical education. Russian math education is known for developing strong critical, creative, and logical thinking – factors that are imperative for any discipline or future career.”

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