Brain Power is an after-school academic enrichment program founded and led by Dr. Karine Rashkovsky, Ph.D. Building upon an initial idea that her mathematician father, Dr. Reuven Rashkovsky, Ph.D., originally envisioned, Karine has expanded the academic scope and inspirational vision of Brain Power. Brain Power provides high-caliber, transformative enrichment learning experiences that just get better year after year.
Dr. Reuven Rashkovsky contributes to the field of mathematics through his research in the theory of stability of regular differential equations at several prestigious universities in Israel and France. He also coaches successful teams of high-school and undergraduate students in national and international math olympics.
Reuven moves to Canada with his young family and settles in Toronto. His children enjoy math puzzles and toys before they even enter daycare, and bedtime stories include characters named Leibniz, Archimedes, Pascal, and Pythagoras.
Reuven begins providing free after-school enrichment classes in the basement of his family home to neighbourhood students with a passion for mathematics and problem solving. As a mathematician with a penchant for puzzles, logic games, and making learning fun, Reuven is disheartened by the low-level approach and absence of curriculum in the Ontario math curriculum. He shares his critical thinking strategies and inspirational teaching talents with students who go on to spread the word of their math mentor.
Reuven becomes a sought-after math, logic, and problem solving expert in the GTA. He offers his classes at private elementary and junior-high schools in the Forest Hill neighbourhood, in addition to continuing his classes in his home.
Demand grows for Reuven’s math, logic, and problem solving classes. He teaches every evening and on weekends, while juggling full-time work as a Risk Manager at a leading Canadian financial institution. Reuven’s attention to detail leads him to accumulate years of research in the field of gifted education, problem-solving competitions, and puzzles. He co-authors workbooks with his daughter, Karine Rashkovsky, and they name these books “Brain Power Enrichment” because the focus is on critical-thinking skills above all else.
Reuven enlists Karine Rashkovsky to join him in teaching groups of students. The father-daughter team open a modest two-classroom location on the cusp of North York and Thornhill. Karine—a graduate of Reuven’s classes—brings a fresh perspective and energy to Math/Problem Solving at Brain Power.
As a bright student herself, Karine (now in university) recalls her own frustrations in a school system that did not provide sufficient enrichment opportunities and a lack of after-school opportunities to nurture her talents in English, the humanities, and the sciences. Karine decides to pursue research in education with the aim of revolutionizing and transforming education for bright, high-achieving students.
Word of Reuven’s excellent math program continues to spread, and gains the attention of the local media
Karine decides that, although studying full-time, she must begin to impact the education field. She develops curriculum and a model for high-quality gifted classes in English Language Arts for elementary and junior high students and continues to shape the pedagogy in Reuven’s Math/Problem Solving program. Her approach focuses on inspirational teaching methods: she vows to ensure each and every one of her students’ class experiences leave them breathless with excitement and a love of learning. Karine continues to teach Reuven’s math curriculum and officially launches her own Brain Power company with a host of English/Language Arts classes.
Reuven and Karine publish their first math and problem solving workbook: Brain Power Enrichment Level One, Book One (Student and Teacher Versions). Brain Power Enrichment workbooks are available worldwide from many online retailers: Authorhouse, Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, Barnes and Noble, etc.
Reuven and Karine publish Brain Power Enrichment Level One, Book Two (Student and Teacher Versions).
Karine – now Dr. Karine Rashkovsky, Ph.D. Education – moves Brain Power to a larger location and integrates complimentary courses in new areas: robotics and coding, public speaking, gifted test and entrance examination preparation. She also provides monthly field trips to build the cultural capital and mental flexibility of her students (theatre, opera, debates, and academic lectures). Karine begins hiring fellow Ph.D.’s to join in Brain Power’s mission to provide transformative education. She commits to ensuring all Brain Power teaching is exciting, rigorous, and provided by highly educated teachers with wonderful personalities.
Reuven and Karine publish Brain Power Enrichment Level Two, Book One (Student and Teacher Versions).
Karine receives her first nomination for the Royal Bank of Canada’s Women Entrepreneur Awards (presented by Women of Influence). RBC’s Women Entrepreneur Awards is the premier national awards program celebrating the achievements of the most successful female entrepreneurs across the country. The high-caliber awards programs encourages Canadians to be inspired by extraordinary women entrepreneurs driving our national economy.
Reuven and Karine publish Brain Power Enrichment Level Two, Book Two (Student and Teacher Versions).
Karine receives her second nomination for the Royal Bank of Canada’s Women Entrepreneur Awards (presented by Women of Influence) in the Micro-Business category. This award honours entrepreneurs who own and operate small businesses and demonstrate both a substantial impact on their community and a successful growth rate on the micro level.
Brain Power’s Free Social Justice Book Club begins. Students have monthly discussions on classic and modern literature with guest speakers joining in to deepen the dialogue on important social issues.
Karine wins two Stevie Awards bronze medals for women in business (national and international small business). The highly acclaimed international awards took place in Times Square, Manhattan and were broadcast on (US) national radio and television. Karine spoke to her audience about the value of innovative education, and said that it is her “highest wish to be a role model to young people and young entrepreneurs, especially young women.”
Brain Power makes the news in Eastern Canada. Brain Power students participate in an essay-writing competition for a chance to win a subsidized, week-long experiential learning retreat to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Through this trip, students develop an understanding of differing Canadian cultures and lifestyles, as well as honing their writing and communication skills each day. Karine’s aim is to integrate exceptional experiential learning into the Brain Power experience.
Karine moves Brain Power to the new and gorgeous Lebovic Campus and undertakes a serious challenge: becoming a change-maker in education-space construction. She vows to have Brain Power’s values echoed in the space Brain Power occupies. Karine hires a team of environmental construction experts and ensures that they use nearly 100% sustainable, recycled materials, many of which are locally made, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly. Students are invited to contribute floor artwork and build an upcycle sculpture of a giant 8’x8′ brain (they name it ‘Rethink’) from the leftover debris. The artwork goes on to win an award in the Envirosculpt Competition! There is an inaugural ribbon-cutting party officiated by the CEO and Chair of York Region, along with the mayor and local MPs.
Royal Bank of Canada’s Women Entrepreneur Awards (presented by Women of Influence) places Karine (and Brain Power) in the top 10 nominees from across Canada.
Karine is nominated for Notable’s Social Entrepreneur of Ontario award and wins the most public votes. Notable picks the most successful, well-rounded, driven Canadian millennials in various industries, including education. The awards highlight young leaders who are currently shaping our country through their work, personalities, and community involvement.
Reuven publishes Brain Power Enrichment Level Three (Student and Teacher Versions).
Brain Power’s Public Speaking class makes the news. CBC’s Terry O’Reilly comes to Brain Power to engage students and their families with insights into the arts of rhetoric and public speaking.
Brain Power is recognized as an exemplary business in the City of Vaughan: Brain Power’s Director Karine was selected as one of four honoured entrepreneurial panelists for Canada’s Small Business Launch Event @ Vaughan City Hall. The panel was moderated by the Business Development Bank of Canada and opening remarks were given by the Hon. Maurizio Bevilacqua, Mayor of Vaughan, and Brian Shifman, President and CEO Vaughan Chamber of Commerce.
Brain Power is featured in Dolce magazine, a “lifestyle publication featuring stories of success, philanthropy, fashion and culture.” Read about it here: “Knowledge is Brain Power.”
Dr. Karine Rashkovsky is selected as one of the top three entrepreneurs under 40 for the city of Vaughan’s Business Achievement Awards. Read about it here.
Brain Power wins the ClimateWise Passion Into Practice Award for a business that has demonstrated a holistic, integrated approach to embedding sustainability principles throughout their own operations, as well as the products or services they provide to customers and/or partners. Read about it here.
Brain Power was deemed a top business in Vaughan for 2019 at the Chamber of Commerce Awards. Read about it here.
Dr. Karine Rashkovsky for winning the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year at the CSPN Leadership Awards Gala! She was recognized for the customer-centric culture fostered at Brain Power and the incredible line-up of enrichment programming we provide to bright and talented youth from across the GTA. Read about it here.
Brain Power welcomed students from around the world, and Dr. Karine Rashkovsky was honoured to be a judge for NASA’s Toronto branch of NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge 2020! Space Apps is the world’s largest and perhaps the most prestigious hackathon, and it is coordinated each year by NASA through a network of worldwide, regional partners.
Dr. Karine Rashkovsky continues her academic research with a winning SSHRC grant, gives master classes at OISE, and provides keynote addresses at McMaster Health Sciences, Future Lawyers, and other events.
In February, Vanessa Iarocci assumes the role of Chief Executive Officer of Brain Power, working closely with second-generation educator Dr. Karine Rashkovsky to expand Brain Power’s impact and reach beyond the GTA to students across North America. “I can’t think of a more important challenge to devote myself to than supporting students in achieving their full potential in life,” says Iarocci. “In Brain Power, I see a true disruptor of enrichment education for high-achieving students and an opportunity to make a lasting impact. Glen Silvestri, managing partner of Sage Capital, says, “We are proud to be backing Vanessa, Karine and their team. Brain Power brings a truly unique education experience to families across North America who otherwise would not know how to help their children harness their full potential. I am also proud to back two female entrepreneurs in our inaugural fund. Less than 5% of search fund investments are in companies led by women, and almost none of those are in Canada, so we hope to support more women entrepreneurs through this important acquisition.”
In April, Vanessa Iarocci was honoured to present an award at the Vaughan Business Achievement Awards. As a former nominee, Brain Power was acknowledged as an employer of choice and leader of the community.
In June, Brain Power sets up a community sponsorship pillar and supports the JCC community through active sponsorships of children’s events and charities spanning from Kids Triathaons to Dash for Kids.
In September, Dr. Joel Benabu, longtime Brain Power faculty member, spearheads Brain Power’s North Toronto campus through an exclusive partnership with the Prossesrman JCC. Within the first four weeks of registration, enrolment exceeds expectations. At the same time, Brain Power’s virtual school becomes a permanent campus with double digital year-over-year growth and students joining from all over Canada and North America.