Jeff Rucker, the former meteorologist for WAGT 26 in Augusta, has joined his wife, Christine, in their plans to open a Mathnasium math tutoring center in Aiken in September – their third franchise in the CSRA after opening facilities in Evans, Georgia, and Augusta.


Rucker earned a master's degree in meteorology and also graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy as a physics major. But he never anticipated his involvement in the world of math.


“I got my varsity letter on the math team (in high school),” Rucker said. “I never would tell anybody that, because it's so dorky.”


The tutoring center, which will offer services for students in grades second through twelfth, will be located in the South Park shopping center on Whiskey Road. The Ruckers plan to open on the new facility on Sept. 2.


The name Mathnasium is based off gymnasium “as an analogy,” Jeff said. “You can get a math workout as often as you want and drop your kid off as many weeks as you want – like going to the gym.”


Larry Martinek of Los Angeles created the Mathnasium approach more than 30 years ago.


“We got started in 2011 with our Evans location, and it's been above all expectations,” Rucker said.


The couple has more than one center. They opened the Augusta facility and soon realized that Aiken parents were bringing their children across the river. That prompted the decision to open another franchise location in Aiken.


The concept, Jeff said, is to assess students to meet their needs. They learn new skills with the goal of increasing their confidence to help them move forward, he said. With parents' permission, his staffers will make contact with a student's teacher and explain their strategies.


Rucker plans to bring instructors with him to the new site.


“We'll also do hiring,” he said. “The biggest qualification is to be a math superstar at all levels of math from grades second through twelfth. We typically have fairly young people … who are out of (college) for five to 10 years.”


Rucker manages the three locations and plans to turn over management of the Aiken site. His goal is to start assessments of students in mid-August before opening the facility on Sept. 2. He will recommend that parents bring their children at least two or three times a week.


Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard's education reporter.


Mathnasium information


• Company: Mathnasium math learning center


• Location - New Aiken site will be located at South Park shopping center on Whiskey Road behind Applebee's restaurant.


• Hours - Monday through Thursday from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


• Fees - Parents will be asked to pay on a monthly basis. The fees start at $219 per month, and students may attend as many days as they choose


• Contact information - Call the Evans office at (706) 868-9393. The Aiken center email is aiken@mathnasium.com.