MEET OUR TEAM
Chief Educational Officer (CEO)
Denise Peoples was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She attended California State University, Fullerton where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with an emphasis in Marketing. She was awarded a scholarship to UCLA’s Anderson School of Business where she obtained her certification in “Management Development of Entrepreneurs’.
Prior to opening STEMulate Learning, I owned an Executive Search firm for many years placing Nuclear Engineers and Technology professionals in STEM careers all over the country. I could not understand why it was such a struggle to find talent in the United States. In many cases, I hired professionals from China and India because we could not find subject matter expertise in in our own country. This discovery led me to take a deeper dive into the “Why” which revealed a knowledge and achievement gap in STEM subjects such as Math and Science which needed to be addressed. At that moment, my passion and purpose was revealed. I closed my brick and mortar and opened STEMulate Learning and have never looked back!
Seeking to understand, my travels took me all over the United States speaking to esteemed educators who shared their perspectives, acknowledging that teachers have content knowledge, but struggle to make a connection with children in Math and Science. They do not know how to make Math and Science fun, engaging and rigorous. My business partner and mentor said, “Teachers teach how they were taught, good and bad”. “In turn, they teach their students the same”. As instructional coaches, we conducted discovery-based orientations with each teacher we worked with that proved his conclusion. As we walked classroom to classroom it became apparent that the missing ingredients is cultural relevance, social emotional learning, and growth mindsets in 95% of the districts we served.
Intentionally leveraging my background as a Master Recruiter, I began to hire Math and Science instructional coaches that look like many of the children present in 90% of the districts we serve. Our instructional scholars joined forces with STEMulate Learning on a quest to make learning culturally relevant, social emotional, rigorous and most of all FUN!
In doing just that, we continue to bridge the learning gaps and students scores began to soar!
Ultimately, our goal is to help 1 million children find their love of Math and Science by supporting both teachers and students. WE WON’T STOP UNTIL OUR KIDS REACH THE TOP!
#21stCenturySTEMCareers/ #EducationalGameChangers/ #EducationalFuturist
AMARE EL JAMII
Hometown: Waterbury, Conn
Associate Degree: Mathematics & Computer Information Systems - Graphic Design
Bachelor Degree: Statistics & Applied Mathematics
After working for a number of years in multiple industries, Amare El Jamii enrolled in community college with the intent on pursuing a more fulfilling career. He obtained his associate degrees in both Mathematics and Computer Information Systems and his bachelor degrees in Statistics and Applied Mathematics from Norco College and UCLA respectfully.
Since graduating in 2013 he has worked in education, specifically with students from underrepresented communities. His work experience includes Non-profit organizations, Norco Community College, CSULB and UCLA. He is currently a partner in an educational consulting company named Cultivating Hope and also holds a position at Bridges Academic Center of Excellence as a Program Director where he oversees a number of college-bound based programs for local students in the Carson, Long Beach, South LA, Compton and the Watts communities.
Barak has over 20 years of experience in public and private education. He has served as a tutor, teacher, vice principal and principal for grades 6 through 12 with a 100% four-year college acceptance rate for his graduating classes of black and brown students. Barak consults in education with school districts throughout California in Oakland, Compton, Los Angeles, Long Beach and Riverside to improve educational outcomes for students of color. Numerous organizations have invited him to speak including the internationally acclaimed House of Blues Foundation. Barak was awarded a commendation by the Mayor of Inglewood for his service to the city’s youth and also recognized with proclamations by California Senator Don Perata and former Mayor Jerry Brown for his educational leadership in his hometown East Oakland.
Barak co-founded Unearth and Empower Communities, a 501 c3 non profit organization dedicated to mentoring and teaching literacy, entrepreneurship and arts education to K-12 students in Compton. He is the visionary behind Cultivating Hope, an educational consulting company that coaches educators to build the whole village through Math Proficiency, Equity, Diversity & Race and Social Emotional Learning. Barak earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from Dartmouth College and his Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University, where he graduated with highest honors. Barak is currently working on his Doctorate in Ministry to provide affordable resources to communities interested in building the whole person through education. Barak is married and is the father of two sons.
Carol has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and is K-12 Math,
K-8 Science certified. She as four years middle school and high school teaching experience, and over 30 years process engineering, quality engineering expertise in Project Management/Team Leadership. Carol’s passion has always been to teach, and whether she’s working, supporting her family or involved in community service, her mantra has been “to help students see math and explain the basics involved and that will build the foundation for them to succeed!!!
My passion for physics and math has allowed me to complete a B.S. in Physics at UC Santa Cruz and a M.S. in Physics at UC San Diego. My educational background therefore was highly math intensive and has given me wide knowledge and experience with advanced math subjects including Statistics, Calculus, Algebra, Complex Analysis, and many others.
During my four years at UC San Diego, I served as a teaching assistant, running the physics lab and giving lectures. That experience developed my ability to communicate complicated subject matter to students who felt uncomfortable with physics and math.
I also worked at the Cambridge Learning Center, JEI Learning Center and Sylvan Learning Center, helping K-12 students with all subjects. In these positions I helped students understand and conceptualize SAT/ACT/ISEE math, AP Statistics, AP Calculus, AP Physics, and all other standard math curricula including the Integrated Math 1, 2, and 3.
Giao Bui (Selena)
Selena Bui was born in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam and moved to Los Angeles,
California when she was 17. She graduated from California State Polytechnic
University, Pomona (CPP) with a M.S. in Mathematics. Selena was the co-author of
the book An Application of the Weighted Discrete Hardy Inequality, and she also
participated in the projects of Twin Totatives and Bijective Reflection of Polygons.
Previously, she taught different Math classes such as Business Calculus,
Trigonometry, and more at CPP. Selena earned more than 10 scholarships and gave
presentations about her projects during her college years. At Tilden, she teaches one-
to-one Math classes so she could tailor a unique lesson plan for each student and learn
with them in their own way.
Selena first “tutored” her brother in her third grade and later in high school, she
helped her friends with Math, Chemistry, Biology, and English with basic concepts,
formulas, and important techniques in general. She enjoyed helping people and loved
sharing her knowledge with others. She has been officially tutoring for 9 years now
and her tutoring experiences vary from K-12 to college level. Selena also prepared
students for SAT/ACT/ISEE, AMC and Olympiad contest, and AP Calculus.
Selena used to have problems understanding Math when she was young and she had
to struggle a lot with it to figure out the way to "absorb" Math. Thus, she wants to
help as many students as possible to learn Math and have fun with it too because we
all deserve a chance to get the best education we could achieve.
Ken “Coach” Collins
Ken Collins was born in the Kenilworth Projects of Washington, DC, raised in Louisiana, and attended high school in New York City. He moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics/Sociology, and later a Masters of Education from the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information, where my undergraduate and graduate course work included courses in Mathematics, Sociology, Naval Science, Russian Literature and Language, Finance, Accounting, Economics, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, and Secondary Education. Prior to his teaching career, Mr. Collins served as a Naval Cryptologist (CTI), working throughout North Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. His classroom teaching career includes 30 years of service with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), Green Dot Charter Schools, and the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese where he served as Department Chair, Director of Curriculum, and Instructional Coach.
Mr. Collins’ respect and passion for mathematics, including the beauty and power imbedded in it, led him to create a tutorial company, Intense Algebra, LLC, which provides math, language, science and life-skills to underserved students and their families. Since its inception in 2013, his vision resulted in over 500 students being mentored and led to acceptances at colleges and universities to include: Columbia, Georgetown, George Washington University, Harvard, Indiana, John Hopkins, Loyola (Chicago), MIT, Notre Dame, Stanford, Tulane, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Los Angeles, University of Pennsylvania, US Naval Academy, USC, Yale, and a host of others. At the middle school level, Mr. Collins, personally, implemented and monitored common core curriculum for public, parochial, and private school systems and prepared students for the Mathematics portion of the Los Angeles Archdiocese's annual Academic Decathlon (ACADECA) competition. My students almost always received their first choices for high school to include: Archer, Bishop Montgomery, CAMS, Chadwick, Crossroads, Harvard-Westlake, Immaculate Heart, Loyola, Mayfield, Notre Dame, Orange Lutheran, Providence, Ribet, Rolling Hills Prep, Saint John Bosco, and countless more. In all the above, I set high standards for my students with a casual but focused (intense) attitude, regardless of their starting point!
Taquan S. Stewart, Ed.D.
Dr. Stewart obtained his undergraduate degree in Physics from the University of
Delaware. Upon completion, he joined the Interior Ballistics with the United States Army
(and two groundbreaking ballistics reports later) he turned his attention to teaching. He
began teaching secondary school science in the Christina School District (Delaware). He
then brought his passion to Los Angeles, where he taught physics, math, and other
academic subjects. While teaching, Dr. Stewart earned a Master’s in Education and
Administrative Policy Studies as well as a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from
For over 5 years Dr. Stewart served as a Secondary Principal in South Los
Angeles. At present, he currently serves as Faculty Advisor for the CalStateTEACH and
Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency (LAUTR) programs, housed at California State
University, Fresno and California State University, Los Angeles, respectively. In
addition, he serves as Program Director for Project Youth California which is a non-profit
organization designed to provide additional educational services to underserved youth of
the Los Angeles Metropolitan area. At present he coaches budding administrators,
provides educational consulting services while consistently mentoring youth.
An educator for nearly 30 years, Dr. Stewart is passionate about identifying the
opportunity gaps in science, urban education, culturally sustaining pedagogy, and the
preschool to prison pipeline. In 2017 Dr. Stewart released Thoughts of a Ghetto
Scatterbrain: The EP – a text using the intersection of science fiction and critical race to
jump start the minds of educators (teachers, administrators, parents, family, and
community members) to dream of possibilities not always considered. In the same year
he released a book of poetry, Penumbra: Me, My Shadow, and the Artificial Light
As a teacher educator, Dr. Stewart stresses a humanizing pedagogy.
Raquel Martinez is an experienced educator of 9 years. She is a proud native of South-Central Los Angeles and spent many of her years working with kids there.
Raquel’s motivation and drive to work with youth started in Santa Cruz California. While there she pursued her BA in Mathematics with a minor in Physics. It is there that she realized the disparities and the educational disadvantages minorities faced as well as 1st generation college students. After returning to Los Angeles, Raquel joined the nonprofit City Year in the community of Watts. In this role she was challenged to help decrease dropout rates by targeting 3 key areas: class attendance, behavior, and grades. Ms. Martinez understood that the learning disparities mirrored deeper-rooted issues that affected the community. She worked tirelessly with her teacher and partner to create individual tutoring plans for “At-risk” students. In just 8 months Ms. Martinez raised retention rates in her class by 45% and increased her class's passing rate from 40% to 75% passing.
Her work didn’t stop there! While working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Carson, she established John Muir’s first All-Girls STEM Program called I-Chica’s. In addition, she volunteered with Get Magic which was a women led initiative from Google to provide opportunities to young girls in STEM. Ms. Martinez’s work with both initiatives gave her a once in a lifetime opportunity to bridge both worlds and create an environment which focused on the (4) C’s of Education: Creativity, Collaboration, Critical thinking, and Communication. Ms. Martinez efforts with her Middle School team (I-Chica’s) entered and competed at the 1st Annual “Girls Build” Competition and won 1st Place! As winners, each participant was provided a scholarship to their college of choice.
Ms. Martinez's work didn’t only target the classroom, it manifested into Sports. Raquel’s passion was always greater than self and she continuously advocates for those in marginalized communities targeting youth who love sports and then leverage those relationships to increase their GPA’S as many of them were struggling academically but excelled in sports. This led her to open her own training camp, Watts Academy with a goal to provide the youth of Watts training opportunities while also delving deeper into academics and personal branding.
Ms. Martinez is a life-long learner who is dedicated to children and will always find creative ways to engage them towards success in academics. Ultimately, engaging youth in what they love to do, then help them find their love of learning.
Jacqlyn Machelle Moses is a distinguished educator of 15 years. She is a native of rural Blakely, Early County, Georgia. Jacqlyn obtained her bachelor’s degree from Albany State University in Business Management. After two years in Corporate America, Ms. Moses decided to pursue a career in education; specifically, secondary math because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of children.
Jacqlyn joins our team with an extensive background in instructional mathematics with a credential in secondary math. Her enthusiasm for math and overall academic achievement motivates and drives district results. By collaborating with students, administrators, teachers, community stakeholders, state agencies and consultants, she has been able to demonstrate her passion and commitment to designing top-quality math instructional curriculum that ignites learning in young scholars.
Building relationships and culturally relevant math pedagogy was the catalyst to her success in increasing state accountability scores. As a classroom teacher in a predominantly minority, low performing school, Jacqlyn increased math scores on state mandated assessments by 47%. Jacqlyn’s curriculum insight helped to restructure teaching and learning practices which led her team to a 40% growth in state mandated assessments, increased graduation rates and enabled 50 overaged, at-risk students to receive high school diplomas.
Leading with integrity, ingenuity, and forward thinking, she now serves as a School Improvement Specialist, where she monitors the instructional system and leads professional learning communities for minority students in high poverty areas.
Jacqlyn knows that her success comes from encouraging others. She believes that “When you make decisions based on what is best for children in all capacities of education, there is no other direction but up.” STEMulate Learning is honored to partner with Ms. Moses.
Aaron Galaif is a native of Southern California. He grew up loving sports, in particular basketball and played on teams all over Los Angeles. While playing basketball he was able to connect with a variety of cultures, which he credits for helping him connect to children in culturally diverse communities, in culturally responsive ways. To this day, Aaron utilizes and leverages things he learned on the court to develop human, heartfelt connections with the students he serves.
Mr. Galaif is a graduate from the University of Washington and obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a Minor in Applied Mathematics.
Upon the completion of college, he began his career working for Mathnasium, a math tutoring company focused on STEM subjects and quickly exceled from Instructor to Lead Math Instructor in less than three months. It was at Mathnasium that he found his love for teaching. Being able to present math concepts in fun and engaging ways that empowered student growth, provided him with the fuel and energy to make teaching a fulltime career. His experience in math both inside and outside of the classroom, enabled him to persevere to expertise in Mathematics.
After leaving Mathnasium, Aaron started his own company as a private math tutor where he provided expert in-home and on-line tutoring for children and youth ranging from elementary school students to college students. Mr. Galaif taught all levels of Math as well as helping to prepare students for the standardized tests to include ISEE, CAHSEE, SAT, and ACT.
Mr. Galiaf is most proud of the work he did to help raise math grades for all the students he tutored who were below average, raising them up by a whole letter grade. Additionally, he had great success in that 95% of the students he tutored, showed an increase of 20+ percent after working with him in Math.
While running his tutoring company, he successfully passed the Probability and Fanatical Mathematic Actuarial exams. He passed the Probability exam in September of 2019 and the Fanatical Mathematic Actuarial exam in 2020.
Ambar Alim will be completing her B.S. in Mathematics and Applied Life Sciences from (UCLA) University of Los Angeles, California in the Spring of 2022. Although her specific field of study is mathematics, her educational background is diverse. Ms. Alim worked tirelessly to gain expertise in many STEM subjects that include honors abstract linear algebra, engineering, physics, human biology, C++ coding, biochemistry just to name a few.
Finding that her passion lies in helping others, Ambar obtained a Supplemental Instructor for General Chemistry role at Mount San Antonio College. During her time there, she had the privilege of conducting lectures for 25-30 students. Additionally, she was able to tutor students one on one while assisting the professor during lectures. Working at Mount San Antonio enabled her to work with students from various backgrounds. Some students were older, some with children, some from other cities, states, and countries. This diversity required her to adjust her pedagogical practice to appeal to each demographic in culturally relevant ways. In addition, she was able to create safe spaces and fun learning environments that fit the diverse needs of every student. Today Ms. Alim continues to explore her passion to ensure that every student regardless of their background or socio-economic status, has an opportunity to learn and thrive during their educational journey.
From there, her perseverance led her to engage with local schools, working alongside many of her former teachers, mentored struggling elementary students and organizing specific tutoring sessions that ensured each student would be able to learn comfortably. Her services with elementary school learners allowed her to network with more students and their parents resulting in increased clientele based on the positive outcomes she was able to achieve with her learners. Ms. Alim went on to tutor students ranging from ages 9 to 20 for 5 years.
Now having a strong foundation in mathematics and other STEM subjects, her next goal is to make sure that every learner’s education is tailormade specifically for them.
She is hopeful that her help, support and encouraging students to excel in STEM will lead them to 21st Century STEM/STEAM careers.
Charlene Parrales is a native of Southern California and was born in North Hollywood. She has been an educator for 6 years.
Ms. Parrales found her love of math early in life and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Minor in Family Studies from California State University, Northridge.
Charlene has always excelled in math and started tutoring in college where she was an Honor Student and made the Dean’s List many semesters. In addition, she was a Supplemental Math Instructor at Moorpark College while obtaining her Associates Degree in Mathematics. Ms. Parrales taught and tutored courses ranging from pre-algebra up to linear algebra and differential equations. During her time at John Muir, she realized that she wanted to help make an impact with students in STEM. Her goal is to help students obtain the mathematical skills and confidence needed to be successful in math, while also leading them to STEM careers.
While obtaining her bachelors, Ms. Parrales worked as an Instructional Assistant with special education students at John Muir Middle School in Burbank CA. Additionally while working at John Muir, she was a Consultant for a private company where she provided instructional coaching in math and physics.
Ms. Parrales is currently pursuing her graduate degree at California State University, Northridge where she is working towards her Master’s in Mathematics with an emphasis in Statistics. Since her first semester in grad school, she has been a Teaching Associate for the math department.