# Math Challenge Teachers

## Thomas Griffiths

**Biography:**Thomas Griffiths Tom earned his BSc/ARCS from Royal College of Science London University in 1961 and Dip Ed at Newcastle University in 1962. He taught math at Crawley West Sussex from 1962-66 and then was math department head at Forest, Ontario from 1966-76. While at Forest, Tom undertook graduate courses at the University of Waterloo and obtained an MSc in Mathematics in 1975. He taught at Lucas High School in London Ontario from 1976-95. After retirement from public school education, Tom set up the Math Challenge program in 1997 and has continued to teach in the program to the present. Tom has been involved in Ontario math curriculum development, high school math textbook writing, OAME council, CMS National Math Camps, and several math competitions as a writer, marker, and validator. His awards have included a Descartes Medal (1986), OAME life membership (1994), and Western University Deans’ Special Award of Merit (2003).

## Hamed Hessam

**Biography:**Hamed Hessam earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Western Ontario in 2022, where he also served in various teaching and research roles. Hamed has achieved numerous accolades in mathematics, including winning a Silver Medal at the International Mathematics Competition (IMC) in both 2008 and 2009. His honors also include a top rank in Iran’s national university entrance exam for his M.Sc. degree in 2011. In addition to his academic and teaching roles, Hamed continues to contribute to mathematics education through various initiatives, helping young minds excel in mathematics contests and courses.

## Donna MacDonald

## Anna Ng

**Biography:**Anna earned her BSc from Western University and was awarded the Gordon, Miriam and Peter Magee Gold Medal and Scroll. She is currently pursuing a BEd at Western, specializing in Intermediate/Senior Mathematics and Chemistry. She is also involved in Western’s Mathematics Exposition Competition. Her experience working with young people includes tutoring high school math for 4 years and coaching elementary basketball for 3 years.

## Peter O'Hara

**Biography:**Peter O’Hara was a high school math teacher for 32 years. During that time, he was awarded the Descartes medal from the University of Waterloo for outstanding service to mathematics education in Ontario. He was part of the team that created and ran the Esso Summer Math Camp held at Western for nearly 25 years. He has been involved with the Math Challenge @ Western programme for more than 20 years. Through the University of Waterloo, he has been involved with the teams responsible for the creation of Pascal, Fryer, Galois, and Hypatia Canadian Mathematics Contests for 25 years and has marked many of the Canadian Math Competition papers. In retirement, he keeps active with golf and spending time with family and friends. During the past 12 years, he has helped review all of the Canadian Math Contests from Waterloo and the admission forms for students applying to math programs at Waterloo along with tutoring a variety of students in mathematics from grades 6 through 12.

## Allen O'Hara

**Biography:**Allen is a faculty member of the department mathematics and has been helping at the Math Challenge for almost as long. He can be found bouncing between the different sessions, covering for others when they have other commitments. Having been a former attendee when he was younger, Allen is always excited to get involved in the Math Challenge Western. He teaches many of the first year math courses offered at Western passing along his passion and personal perspective with mathematics to his students.

## Zahra Shafiei

**Biography:**Zahra Shafiei, an educator and researcher currently pursuing her PhD in mathematical biology at Western University. She earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics and applications at Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST), where she was selected to represent the university in the National Student Scientific Olympiad for two consecutive years. Zahra brings invaluable experience, having taught math at both the secondary and high school levels. She has also served as a teaching assistant for a diverse range of math courses at Western University. Adding to her impressive teaching credentials, Zahra's involvement as a national badminton player and coach provides her with a unique perspective on engaging with students from various backgrounds. She is deeply passionate about fostering a positive and supportive learning environment, and she is thrilled to be part of the Math Challenge Program, where she aspires to teach and guide students on their mathematical journeys.

## David McMillan

Retired Program Teacher**Biography:**David McMillan is a retired elementary school teacher from London. Dave taught for more than 30 years with the TVDSB, concentrating on grades 3 to 8. He also substitute-taught for many years after retirement. Dave graduated with a degree in Mathematics from Western in 1972. His wife, son and daughter are also Western graduates. He learned about the Math Challenge at Western while teaching full time and has volunteered there for over 20 years and retired from the program in 2024.

## Erica Morrill

Retired Program Teacher**Biography:**Eric Morrill is a teacher with the Thames Valley School Division. She has been with the Math Challenge program for approximately 15 years and retired from the program in 2024.