About Mathster

About Mathster Vakkas Productions

Mathster Vakkas is a math specialist that has been teaching elementary school mathematics since 1998.  He creates research-based, student-centered, “real-life”, math video-clips, tutorials, interactive video read alouds, and lessons that promote constructivism, cognitive development, and 21st Century Skills.

His lessons are differentiated for all learners and will help children become better problem solvers.

Mathster also takes and creates math curriculum so that it is interactive (Smart board docs etc), and incorporates hands-on learning.
He is also a consultant to the Florida State Education Department, which highly values his lesson tutorials.


Major Achievements

Mathster Vakkas was the winner of the 2011 PBS National Teachers® Innovation Award.http://www.pbs.org/teachers/innovators/gallery/2011/entries/742/. The contest entries were judged by the following criteria:

  • innovation/ originality/creativity
  • application of 21st century learning skills
  • student engagement
  • student learning

The Press Release http://www.wcny.org/news/press-releases/10136


 Other Achievements

  • Mathster was recognized and honored in the Oswego Alumni, Spring 2012 Magazine for his math excellence.
  • Mathster Vakkas presented at the AMTNYS.ORG (Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State (AMTNYS) on October 28th, 2011. 
  • State University of New York at Cortland PDS (Professional Development Schools) Coordinator, Karen Hempson interviewed Mathster Vakkas and presented the interview at the NAPDS (National Association of Professional Development Schools) Conference in March of 2010.
  • Mathster Vakkas presented his innovative math strategies, and ideas at the State University of New York, at Cortland, to the Education Club, on November 9th, 2011.
  • Mathster Vakkas conducted district and county-wide workshops to elementary school teachers to share math strategies, innovative ideas, and how to effectively use technology in the classroom.
  • Mathster Vakkas won a CPEF (Cortland Public Education Foundation) grant to expand his “Mathster Vakkas Productions” initiatives.
  • Mathster’s math initiatives were recognized with a standing ovation and an Excellence in Achievement Certificate during his October, 2010, District Board Office Presentation.
  • Mathster Vakkas’s elementary school where he teaches, won the 2010 Blue Ribbon Award for Academic Achievement.
  • Mathster taught two undergraduate math methods classes and one graduate math methods class (to pre-service teachers) at State University of New York at Cortland on March 24th, 2011.
  • Mathster Vakkas conducted a “Be Aware!  Math is Everywhere!” event at Borders book store in the Ithaca New York mall in November of 2010.
  • Mathster  is a member of the PDS (Professional Development Schools) Math Partnership with State University of New York at Cortland.
  • Mathster Vakkas Productions uses 21st Century Skills for developing critical thinking and problem solving skills, analyzing information, and for curiosity and imagination.

what people are saying.

  • We are impressed with the work you have done and would like to include some of your work in our tutorials.
    We hope you would be interested in partnering with the Florida Dept. of Education.

    - Teresa D. Sweet, Florida Dept. of Education

  • I recently observed Tom Vakkas’s lessons and they were spectacular to say the least. Tom Vakkas is a perfect example of why we teach.

    - Retired Teacher and Cortland Union Representative

  • Thank You for the outstanding presentation last night. I was simply in awe of the passion and pride of your teaching methods.

    - Board of Education Member (Paul Klinger)

  • Tom, congratulations on being chosen a winner in the PBS Teacher Innovation Award contest.

    - WCNY Director of Interactive Education

  • My son loves your videos and is learning many different ways to solve math problems. He is becoming more confident in math now! Thank you Mathster.

    - Stacy Hoyt, Parent Member

  • So many of our students, I myself included, are inspired by your innovative teaching.

    - Dr. Shufang Shi (Technology Methods Professor, SUNY Cortland)

  • Not only did the lessons help my students make connections to real-life situations, but they also inspired them to engage in higher-level thinking!

    - Miss Spencer, (Teacher Member)

  • The videos bring math into students' digital world and bring a new approach into the classroom!

    - Babbett Lehmer, Former Student Teacher

  • I have lots of academic professionals that find this amazing. My students love your math videos and have learned so much. They walk around saying "Be Aware, Math is Everywhere!"

    - Mrs. Sue Murphy, Teacher Member

  • Your videos provide multiple methods and representations for solving problems!

    - Dr. Susana Davidenko, Math Methods Professor, SUNY Cortland

  • Congratulations for being an inspiring educator and being a 2011 PBS Teachers Innovator.

    - The PBS Teachers Team, Arlington Virginia

  • Mathster has created a way to engage, inspire, and teach our young children to become experts in Math in such a creative way.

    - Mr. Patrick Ladd, Teacher

  • Mathster has done a terrific job presenting in my two sections of EDU 373 and MST students. My students got so motivated to see that "math is everywhere".

    - Dr. Susana Davidenko, Early Childhood Math Methods Professor, SUNY Cortland

  • After Mathster taught my college class, my peers said they are going to incorporate these types of lessons when they have a classroom of their own.

    - Lauren Hagen, Former practicum student

  • Thank you for letting me see how you teach math in such innovative ways. Could you give me permission to show your videos to my EDU 315 class?

    - Dr. Shufang Shi (Technology Methods Professor, SUNY Cortland)

  • I am super excited that I had the opportunity to work and learn from someone so talented!

    - Miss Amandarae Mailman, Former Practicum Student

  • The Board of Education would like to recognize you for developing “real-life” math activities using video and technology.

    - Board of Education

  • What an excellent way for children to transfer what they have learned to new situations in the "real world."

    - Dionne Depuy, 3rd Grade Teacher

  • I use your videos, great idea! What lucky students to have a teacher like you!

    - Mrs. Heather Cannella, Teacher

  • The Mathster Vakkas video lessons could be a math curriculum of their own.

    - Mrs. JeanAnn Sclafani, 3rd Grade Teacher

  • My son and I watched every one of your videos and loved them! He looks at math differently now and loves it! Thank you so much!

    - Mrs. Stephanie Sternberg (Parent Member)

  • Engaging kids in thoughtful and meaningful lessons is the key to successful schools and Tom knows how!

    - Mrs. Sarah Vakkas (Director of Instruction at Trumansburg Central School District)

  • My students have never been so motivated to do math. They get so excited to watch and solve new video problems.

    - (Mathster Vakkas)

  • This is the best part of awarding a grant - making a difference by helping kids learn in a fun way!

    - Kellyann O'Mara (HSBC Branch Vice President )

  • You have soared with this innovative way of turning kids on to math and I am so happy for you!

    - Karen Hempson (Coordinator of Professional School Development for Childhood Education at SUNY Cortland)

  • You have worked hard at developing a program that will entice your students to learn! Congrats!

    - Sharon McNeil (Elementary School Tutor)

  • I just watched all of the videos you have in your geometry folder. I am using them this week. I love them!

    - Shana Snyder (Fourth Grade Teacher)