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All about us,
from our mission to our people.

An overview of the school.






All about us,
from our mission to our people.

An overview of the school.



Proof School offers a transformative liberal arts education to young people with an active curiosity and a passion for mathematics, equipping them to reason, communicate, and positively impact their world.

Our mission reflects how deeply we believe that every student needs to engage enthusiastically with a range of core subjects. Our goal is to help build a broad foundation for learning inside our classrooms and outside of our school. We've designed a curriculum that speaks to kids who love to think critically, learn socially, and solve problems. 


These six premises guide how we carry out the school's mission.

  1. Proof School is a full-fledged secondary school for kids who love math.
  2. Don't waste time and do travel light.
  3. Math is not only an intellectual pursuit but also a highly social endeavor.
  4. Learning requires deliberate, joyful effort and full engagement with the physical world.
  5. Intelligence is an attribute, not a virtue. Kindness and curiosity are virtues.
  6. Proof School is more than a school—it is a community that builds and nurtures a culture.

Community principles

Our core principles establish expectations of all Proof School students, faculty, staff, and families.

  1. Proofniks look out for each other.
  2. Proofniks think before they act—and after.
  3. Proofniks seek out new ideas and challenges.
  4. Proofniks do not jaywalk.
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Learning at Proof School

Learning at Proof School


We break up learning into challenging but attainable goals, punctuated by blocks, build weeks, and symposia. 


We divide the school year into five units, each lasting six weeks. This helps us define learning goals that are challenging yet attainable, and it shows students how to break down larger problems into manageable pieces.

For mathematical sciences, an entire semester of learning happens within a single block, giving students five semesters of math instruction each year. Our core morning courses span the entire year. With projects, writing prompts, and learning goals shifting every six weeks, our block system shapes these year-long courses as well.


Build Weeks
Build Weeks bridge one block to the next and help create a unique learning environment. These weeks transition us from studying subjects to making connections between disciplines. They open up our schedule and allow us to dive into activities that help us grow intellectually, socially, and ethically.

We have math bursts to work on open problems, engineering sessions to build hovercrafts and fog machines, and time to go on all-day field trips to places like the California Academy of Science. Each year, the entire school devotes one Build Week to kindness, community, and service.

During Build Weeks, we advise students to match them to suitable math courses during the next block, ask students to reflect on their own growth and goals, and work on all-school challenges and games to build a sense of community.


Proof School Symposia
At various points throughout the year, we invite our community to come together for presentations of student work. In December, our upper-class students begin showcasing their independent studies and projects. The entire school participates in a math symposium in the second half of the year that is equal parts research, problem solving, and multi-modal communication skills. We conclude the school year with an event featuring student work from our morning courses.


Weekly schedule

Weekly schedule


Our weekly schedule is flexible, with longer classes and more open learning opportunities.

The day at Proof School starts at 9:25am and ends at 3:40pm. Our day is timed to public transportation schedules to allow for commutes. Students are welcome in the building from 8:30am to 4:20pm. 

Morning courses
Students take four morning courses per block. They meet on alternate mornings (MTh or TF) in class meetings lasting 80 minutes. This allows students and teachers to explore, learn, and work in a substantive and sustained way, without the typical disruption of resettling into a new classroom every 45 minutes. Combined with Flex Fridays, Build Week projects, academic clubs, and our special speaker series, each morning course meets for an average of 220 minutes per week.

Math afternoons
Entire afternoons are devoted to math. With 10 hours of math per week, students have 60 contact hours in mathematics per block, covering an amount of material equivalent to half a year in a conventional classroom. Our math classes emphasize inquiry with active engagement, and stress conceptual understanding alongside skill mastery. Individual work occurs during class, in the presence of a teacher and peers who make it possible to successfully tackle challenging material.

Flex Time
We embrace time for curiosity, extended projects, and explorations that take us beyond our school walls. Half of each Wednesday is reserved for field trips, maker events, build days, one-on-one student conferences, and open work days. 

Active lunches
Lunch is a key time for us to interact as a community, pursue our particular interests, have fun, and work one-on-one. During our long lunch periods, students participate in clubs once a week, activity period three times a week, and school meetings once a week.

Faculty, Staff + Boards

Faculty, Staff + Boards


Our school is about the people in it.

That includes students, faculty, and staff as well as the various boards steering our long-term trajectory.

School Leadership

Our school leadership oversees the daily learning environment at Proof School.

Sam Vandervelde

head of school
Dean of Mathematical ScienceS & LEAD MATHEMATICS TEACHER

Ph.D., University of Chicago
svandervelde [@] proofschool.org

Zachary Sifuentes

DEAN of humanities

M.F.A., University of Michigan
zsifuentes [@] proofschool.org

Kathy Lin


M.A.T., Tufts University
klin [@] proofschool.org


Our faculty are as unique as our students, and carry out the central mission of the school.

Kaushik Basu

Science Teacher

M.E., Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India
kbasu [@] proofschool.org

Sydney Cochran

Literature + Language arts Teacher, SEL Coordinator

Advanced Ph.D. coursework, UC Berkeley
scochran [@] proofschool.org


Susan Durst

Mathematics Teacher

Ph.D., Rutgers University
sdurst [@] proofschool.org

Emily Eames


Ph.D., Harvard University
eeames [@] proofschool.org


Zach Gaslowitz

Mathematics + CS Teacher

Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
zgaslowitz [@] proofschool.org

Ilyse Gordis

History + language arts Teacher

B.A., UC Santa Cruz
igordis [@] proofschool.org

Steve Gregg

Computer Science Teacher

M.A.T., UC Davis
sgregg [@] proofschool.org

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Aaron Hill

Mathematics Teacher

Ph.D., University of Illinois
ahill [@] proofschool.org

Jason Horowitz

Mathematics TeachER

Ph.D., UC Berkeley
jhorowitz [@] proofschool.org


Leo Lin

Biology Teacher

llin [@] proofschool.org


Shelly Manber

mathematics teacher

Ph.D., UC Berkeley
smanber [@] proofschool.org

Austin Shapiro

Mathematics Teacher

Ph.D., University of Michigan
ashapiro [@] proofschool.org

Eve Simister

History Teacher

B.A., Stanford University
esimister [@] proofschool.org

Mia Smith

Mathematics Teacher

B.A., Williams College
msmith [@] proofschool.org

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Joel Street

Latin + Literature Teacher

Ph.D., UC Berkeley
jstreet [@] proofschool.org


Our amazing staff makes sure the school runs, the kids are safe and fed, and the lights are on (sometimes literally).

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors ensures the long-term health of the school.

Paul Zeitz

Chair, Board of DIRECTORS

Mathematics Chair, University of San Francisco

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Dennis Leary


Managing Partner, Champlain Capital

Alon Amit


Co-Founder, Origami Logic


Ana Cristina Brubaker

Member of the board of directors


Diviya Magaro


Chair, Development Committee, Proof School

James Sotiros


Interim Director of Development, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI)


Perry Tam

Member of the Board of DIRECTORS

Co-founder and CEO, Storm8

Ravi Vakil

Member of the Board of DIRECTORS

Professor, Stanford University

Advisory Boards

Our Advisory Boards help us develop in a range of areas, from admissions and curriculum to strategic vision. Members include the President of Harvey Mudd College, the President of the Mathematical Association of America, the founder of the Art of Problem Solving, a professor of architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, and a founding board member of the International Big History Association.

For a full list of our advisory boards, please go here



Job openings

Job openings


Proof School is growing. We are looking for teachers who will grow with us.

If you know how to inspire talented kids to grow beyond everyone's expectations, get in touch with us.

Our searches this year are across the curriculum, and include math, biology, chemistry, studio art, literature, and history. Working at Proof School is meaningful and fulfilling, with terrific students and collaborative colleagues filling the school.

Proof School is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, national origin, age, mental or physical disability, military or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.