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Our Staff

Coach Mark - Chess Coach, Math Tutor, and Teacher

Hi, my name is Mark Menees and I am the owner and founder of Chess and Math Coaching.  I am so excited about the possibility of working with you to help you achieve your goals!  My mission statement is simple:  I want to make a difference in the lives of students.  I am a professional chess coach and certified math teacher.  I have an additional gifted certification, and I am qualified to teach middle and high school.  I have been coaching chess and teaching math for 13 years, and have helped thousands of students of all ages.  I have 2 years of math teaching experience in middle school and 8 years of math teaching experience in high school in conjunction with tutoring students individually on the side.      

My Bio and Philosophy

Let’s see, where do I begin?  Even though I have always loved teaching, coaching, and working with young people, I have not always been a teacher.  I have always enjoyed chess, math, and science and by the time I was a sophomore in high school, I had decided I was going to pursue a career in engineering.  I graduated from Clemson University in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a minor in chemistry.  I began working at a chemical plant in Augusta, Ga as a chemical engineer for 8 years.  During that time, I received a promotion to Sr. Engineer, and eventually another promotion to manager.  

My career in the corporate world began to take its toll on me.  I finally realized and decided that no amount of money is worth sacrificing your family, friends, and the things outside of work that bring you happiness.  Long story short, I decided on a career change.  So I started thinking, how cool would it be to become a math teacher and to be able to show my students exactly when and how they can use the concepts they learn in class in the real world?  I feel that I have an enormous amount of experience in industry that allows me to bring that real world application to my students and show them why they are learning what they are learning, which is just as important as actually learning the material.  One of the first assignments I had as a new engineer right out of college was to manually estimate how much product was on the floor of the warehouse, which happened to be in the shape of a cone.  I had to know and be able to use the formula for the volume of a cone from Geometry to calculate how much product was there! On the chess side, I became the chess club sponsor at my high school, and began 1-on-1 lessons on the side.  I organized the first ever inter-high school chess tournament in Augusta, Ga.  

When students and parents wonder how chess can help their child, my response is that it teaches them many real world skills such as how to be patient, how to problem-solve on the fly, how to plan and think ahead, and how to deal with success and failure.  It also stimulates the mind, not to mention it is incredibly fun!  Don’t kids need a break from all the technology?  I have worked with clients all the way up to 90 years old simply to help keep their mind sharp.  When math students ask the question, “Why do I have to learn this?”, I feel I have two really good responses to that valid question.  Number one, I have personal experience with using most of the material taught in 6th – 11th grade math and can give countless examples of exactly where I used certain formulas and concepts.  Secondly, if students feel they are destined for a profession that is not math intensive, I can emphasize just how important it is to make good grades in all subjects so the student will have an awesome resume and be a good candidate for college admission and/or the workforce.  Not only are you building those critical thinking and problem-solving skills in math, but I have been on both sides of that interview table and when I look at that resume and see a great GPA, that tells me just about all I need to know about a candidate and whether or not I want to hire him or her.  That good GPA tells me you are a hard worker, you are well-rounded, you have high standards, you are intelligent, but more important than all of those things, it tells me you are a willing and capable learner.  In short, saddle up, I want you working for my company!

My Definition of an Education

Therefore, I have formulated my own definition of an education:  The process you go through to obtain knowledge, build critical thinking skills, and develop problem-solving skills while proving to the world that you are a CAPABLE and WILLING LEARNER!  

You see, I have realized over the past 20 years that this thing called “school” is one big job interview to prepare you to be successful in the workforce.  Yes, companies want to make sure you have mastered standards, but more importantly, they are interested in work ethic, effort, and performance based on knowledge of those standards.  So I pride myself on not only helping my students with the technical aspects of how to solve math problems, but the life lessons that go along with them.  I do not just consider myself a math teacher or tutor, but rather a math coach and life coach.  I want to coach students on how to be successful on their own with the tips and secrets that I show them that will not only apply to the test they are about to take, but math in general.  Teaching and tutoring has been such a gratifying and rewarding experience. There is nothing better than seeing that “light bulb” go off in the mind of a child, or seeing that smile after making an A on a test after working and studying hard to prepare for it.  I have also been the head tennis coach for a high school, and it is awesome to work with kids to help them achieve their goals with their grades, their competition, as well as becoming a better person.  

My Hobbies and Interests

  • Sports – I love sports in general and grew up playing every sport under the sun 
  • Tennis/Pickleball/Ping Pong – I coached boys and girls tennis at my previous high school and also play regularly
  • Music – I used to be in a local band and play guitar, piano, drums, and a little violin.  I sponsored the music club at a previous high school
  • Chess – I’m rated around 2250 online and was the Chess Club sponsor at my high school.  I also teach chess in addition to math, so if you are interested in improving your game, I can definitely help.
  • Friends and family of course!

I can't wait to work with you!