Hello, my name is Frank Wang.
My passion is for teaching and for helping students learn more mathematics than they ever thought possible.
The reason I am so driven to help students succeed in learning mathematics is that I was once pegged by the "experts" as a child with no academic potential but was able to prove the "experts" wrong by learning and mastering higher mathematics.
For most of my elementary school years, I was stigmatized as a child who, in the words of a doctor, showed "minimal neurological signs." (Click here to see a copy of the doctor's report. Click here to see the school's letter to my parents asking for a conference discussing the implications of the report.) I was a very marginal student and was largely ignored by my teachers. In an effort to prove the "experts" wrong, in seventh grade, I began on an intensive and secret course of self-study of math that culminated with my getting a Ph.D. in pure mathematics from MIT.
While in high school, my family moved from upstate New York, where my father taught at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, to Oklahoma, where he took a position as a professor of civil engineering at the University of Oklahoma. By that time, I was a junior in high school and taking calculus at the University of Oklahoma. One day, shortly after I had turned 16 years old, a fellow stuck his head in the door to announce that a retired military man was looking for some student help on a book he was writing.
I responded to the call and discovered that the man that needed the help was John Saxon, a crusty, iconoclastic, retired air force test pilot who had started a second career teaching at a local junior college. Because no one would publish his first manuscript, John Saxon struck out on his own, founding Saxon Publishers, Inc. I started working with him at the fabled dining room table never imagining that the company would later become a major publisher, with textbooks used by more than seven million students nationwide.
I supported my way through my undergraduate studies at Princeton University by proofreading the galley and page proofs of the high school books that were sent via express mail from Singapore, where the books were being typeset, to my dorm room on campus.
During summers, I worked for the newly-founded company and, one year before I was awarded a Ph.D. in pure math from MIT, John Saxon called and asked whether I would be interested in running his company. I told him he had "gotten the wrong man" and explained that I had never even run a lemonade stand. Saxon, ever the maverick, responded "That's ok. Just fake it and act like you know what you are doing! That's what everyone else does" And so, after getting my PhD in June 1991, I returned to Norman to begin to train to run the company.
John Saxon appointed me president in 1994 and I remained in that position after Saxon's death in October 1996 until August 2001. Finally, in January 2003, I left my position as chairman of the board of the company to pursue my passion for teaching full-time. I went to teach at the University of Oklahoma and at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, where I am still teaching. (You can read some of the student reviews, here.)
Though I am no longer employed by Saxon Publishers, Inc., I remain a fervent advocate for the Saxon pedagogy and highly recommend its mathematics textbooks as the best textbooks for providing students with a solid and firm foundation for further study in mathematics.
My plan is to continue to participate in the debate and discussion about education, to continue to speak to educators on how they can make their teaching more effective, and to develop new and original content that will make the learning of higher mathematics accessible to more students. I welcome any ideas and suggestions you may have. Please participate in the public forum on this site or email me at email@example.com.
Just for fun, this is an audio clip of the time I appeared on NPR's The Motley Fool Show, playing the game "What did the Fed Chief Say?"