Math Department

Math Department Header

As a math department, we are continuously working to ensure that all students will make sense of and have access to rigorous mathematics collaborative, interactive, and relevant. We believe that all students can be successful in math and are dedicated to providing appropriate supports to do so. There is mathematics tutoring for all courses through the extended day program on Mondays and Tuesdays after school. There is Spanish language support available on Tuesdays. 

Ms. Elena Allen, Department Head

Ms. Elena Allen

Ms. Allen grew up in the Bay Area and then attended UC Santa Barbara for a degree in Mathematics. She earned a Master's degree in Teaching from the University of San Francisco. She enjoys watching baseball (Go A’s) and being anywhere outdoors with her dog, Copa. She learned Spanish while living and studying at the University of Chile in Santiago. 

  • Classes (2020-21): Newcomer Algebra 2 & Spanish 1
  • Previous courses taught: NX/GE Algebra 1, NX/GE Geometry, Math Support
  • Languages spoken: English and Spanish
  • Years teaching: 6 years

Email Ms. Allen:

Jerry Wu

Jerry Wu

Mr. J was born in China and lived in San Francisco for 12 years.  He went to schools in San Francisco as an English language learner and learned to navigate in the American education system.  He then decided to become a math teacher for English language learners and bring his school experiences to help his students to succeed.  He is also involved in playing and coaching badminton. 

  • Classes(2020-2021): Newcomer Geometry & Newcomer Algebra 1
  • Previous courses taught: NC Geometry, Algebra 2, Math Support, Introduction to Computer Applications
  • Languages spoken: English and Chinese
  • Years teaching: 4 years

Email Mr. J:

Lilian Somarriba

  • Courses: Geometry this year but in the past I taught Algebra 1, Algebra 2,  PreCalculus, and Statistics.
  • Language Spoken:  English and Spanish
  • 1982-1985: Student Aid (I was a students helping students in a classroom with a  Professor)) at National  Autonomous University of Nicaragua.
  • 1985-1987  I taught  Math to freshmen students at National  Autonomous University of Nicaragua.
  • 1991-1992  I was teaching Math at Mission Language and Vocational School, San Francisco, CA
  • 1993-1994  Paraprofessional at Alvarado Elementary School.  San Francisco, CA
  • 1994-2001 Math teacher at Luther Burbank Middle School, now that building is  June Jordan High School.
  • 2001  -present Thurgood Marshall  High School.

Rachel Peterson

Ms. Peterson grew up in Stoneham, MA and then studied at UMass Boston. (So she’s obliged to root for the Red Sox… sorry). She earned a Master’s degree in Education and her teaching credential from Stanford University. I love music, both listening and playing piano (just for fun). She has “surrogate” cats that belong to her roommates--who both make her day and drive her crazy. 


  • Classes (2020-21): Algebra I & Geometry
  • Languages spoken: English and French
  • Years teaching: 1 year

Email Ms. Peterson:

Eric Brenner

Eric Brenner

Mr. Brenner grew up and went to college in  Minnesota. He was a gymnast all through elementary, middle and high school and switched to the sport of diving in college. He decided to get into teaching after enjoying his experiences as a summer camp counselor and diving coach.

  • Classes (2020-21): Algebra 2 and Precalculus
  • Languages: English
  • Years teaching: 3 years

Math Courses and College & Career Info

TMAHS Course Offerings

  • CCSS Algebra 1 / Newcomer Algebra 1
    • Description: In Algebra I, we focus on two main things: (1) exploring mathematical patterns & relationships; (2) manipulating and understanding expressions and equations that contain variables.  Students deepen and extend their understanding of linear and exponential relationships--including how they compare and contrast.  The laws of exponents are extended to include square and cube roots.  Students also engage in methods of analyzing, solving, and using quadratic functions. 
  • CCSS Geometry / Newcomer Geometry
    • Description: In Newcomer Geometry, students establish criteria for congruence of triangles based on rigid motions, establish criteria for similarity of triangles based on dilations and proportional reasoning, informally develop explanations of circumference, area, and volume formulas, apply the Pythagorean Theorem to the coordinate plane, and prove basic geometric theorems.  In addition, students develop English proficiency as they explore and explain the above contents. 
  • CCSS Algebra 2 / Newcomer Algebra 2
    • Description: In Algebra 2, we focus on three critical areas: (1) expand understandings and transformations of functions; (2) extend understanding of trigonometric functions using the unit circle and model periodic phenomena with trigonometric functions; and (3) relate data display and summary statistics to probability and explore a variety of data collection methods. We focus on patterns that we see in math and how to generalize and extend those patterns to real world situations. 
  • Pre-Calculus:
    • Description: Building on their work with linear, quadratic, and exponential functions, students extend their repertoire of functions to include logarithmic, polynomial, rational, and radical functions in the Algebra 2 + Precalculus course. This course includes standards from the conceptual categories of Number and Quantity, Algebra, Functions and Geometry. In this course, instructional time should focus on three critical areas: (1) expand understandings of functions and synthesize and generalize function properties to transform a variety of functions; (2) extend the domain of trigonometric functions using the unit circle and model periodic phenomena with trigonometric functions; and (3) covering essential topics from Precalculus to prepare students for AP Calculus.

College majors associated with the Math department

Math, data science, computer science, physics (and other physical sciences), Economics, engineering

Careers associated with the Math department

  • Teachers, Engineers,
  • Actuary,
  • Baseball (or any sport) Statisticians,
  • Architects,
  • Meteorologists (weather forecast people),
  • Data scientists (which can be about many fields),
  • Computer programmers, 
  • IT professionals