Dr. Gilula: A Dedicated Instructor


Gilula Family

Dr. Gilula and child.

As an advanced math teacher, Dr. Maxim Gilula sees math as its own world – one that is abstract, separate from real life. 

“You don’t have to argue about politics,” Gilula said. “Real life really biases your thoughts. Like physics, based on what you see, you can have different theories and can be really biased and not true. Math can’t prove everything, but what it can prove is always true.”

On August 21, 2019, Gilula started a new chapter in his life by becoming a math instructor at the OHS. Gilula initially chose the OHS because of proximity. His parents live in the area and Gilula thought it was a good way to get back to them as well as doing what he likes. However, he has grown to love OHS because of the students. 

“I really enjoy student participation,” Gilula said. “Maybe students don’t always wanna come on the microphone, but at least they are typing something in the chat. It’s fun to see what they are thinking at the time, how the problem is going through their head.”

In the classroom, Gilula refrains from assuming the rule of lecturer and instead takes a student-centered approach by engaging in discussions and conversations with the students. More often than not, he learns even more from the discussions, since the questions asked are very deep into the materials and sometimes even about things that he has never thought about before.

Mr. Brege, the Division Head of Mathematics at OHS, says that Dr. Gilula is “very interested in establishing personal relationships, whether it’s with students or with teachers,” especially connecting with students to “really help them learn the math.” Dr. Gilula is really good at bringing the academic rigor to the table.

Ms. Burson-Ryan, one of OHS’s Assistant Directors of College Counseling, said that he is “really good at balancing his time” between spending time with his baby as well as continuing teaching.

While Gilula isn’t in the classroom, he likes to play video games, such as Final Fantasy 14, and play with Rubik’s cubes. Gilula also has a sporty side – he likes to play tennis. Fun fact: he can serve tennis balls up to 125 miles per hour! Dr. Gilula has also recently started a family of his own.

Throughout his life, Gilula appreciates what he has, especially his knowledge.

“If there is an apocalypse, and all diplomas are lost, at least you still have your knowledge,” Gilula said. “I really value things that you still have, even if somehow everything else gets lost.” He emphasizes that education is not just about getting the degree or the grades. Education is about learning; it’s about amassing knowledge about fascinating topics. He encourages students to have this healthy mindset of pursuing knowledge.