Donna is a certified LDTC and a graduate-level professor with over 25 years of experience in General and Special Education with preschool to high school students. She’s also an educational diagnostician, a certified Level 1 Wilson Language Teacher, and our in-house evaluator. Before creating a tutoring or coaching plan for any of our students, we strongly encourage all parents to consider an Educational Evaluation. Donna’s comprehensive evaluations include standardized tests, as well as dynamic assessments and functional activities. They test a student’s academic competencies, as well as their executive function abilities, and may cover any of the following areas: oral language, rapid automatic naming, phonological processing skills, decoding, reading comprehension, reading fluency, written expression, mathematics and spelling. Based upon test results and Donna’s recommendations, we can develop a comprehensive, actionable plan for in-school and at-home intervention. We believe in informed, data-driven decision making. All of our individualized plans are tailored to each student’s unique learning profile.
Lisa is a certified LDTC, a school principal, supervisor and a graduate-level professor with over 30 years of experience in General and Special Education with students from preschool to college. In addition to a Masters of Education in Special Ed, she holds a Masters in Educational Leadership and continues her education with post-graduate coursework at Harvard University. As a certified educational diagnostician, she has worked to train and supervise school leaders, teachers, therapists, study teams and other educational service providers. She comes to us with many years of experience guiding students and their families in the college selection and application process. Lisa will help students map out the best path to reach their goals following their high school education and to successfully transition into college. She also functions as an experienced liaison with universities to assist in the application for accommodations within the college setting. Lisa’s comprehensive evaluations provide college admission offices with all the necessary paperwork for accommodations and support services for standardized admission testing. Lisa is Focused Learners’ SSD Coordinator. She will submit required specialized admission packets to outside testing agencies for standardized measures to be provided with modifications.
Dr. Jeanine has a PhD in developmental language and literacy education. She is also a professor and teacher educator at Hunter College. She has trained at Columbia’s Teacher’s College and Fordham University and has assessed thousands of students over her 20+ year career. She is our resident expert on reading and writing levels. If your child is falling behind in their elementary school reading or writing class, Dr. Jeanine can offer an informal evaluation of their reading and writing skills. These evaluations of students’ reading and writing performance are then used to create highly individualized, prescriptive instruction, including recommendations for improvement and skill development. Dr. Jeanine works with students as young as ages 4 and 5. In addition, she works with 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students who are preparing for standardized tests in English Language Arts. She is also a general reading and ELA tutor and our in-house teacher supervisor.
Kelly is one of our language arts tutors. She taught at the American School in London and went on to be the director of ISEE/SSAT programs in London. There she conducted research developing the ISEE/SSAT market within the company. Since then she has specialized in teaching language arts in various schools all over the world. She has fifteen plus years of teaching experience in various academic settings: international schools, independent schools, and urban charter schools.
Ben is a math learning, SAT, SSAT, and ISEE specialist who received his masters degree in Math Education from Columbia University. Ben also has over ten years of teaching experience. He began his teaching career in 2006 as a Peace Corps volunteer, leading courses in small-business ownership at a local vocational school in Vanuatu. After returning to the United States, he earned a Master’s Degree from Fordham University in International Political and Economic Development. Ben loves four things in this world; his wife, his cat, his bike, and teaching.
Learning Disability Specialist
ara grew up in NYC and is a graduate of Sacred Heart! Kara has received her Masters of Science Education and has her N.Y Initial Certification in Special Education grades 7-12. She is experienced in the Wilson Reading System and Just Words Programs. She is currently teaching at a school in Manhattan where she is the special education teacher and literacy interventionist. Kara also has four years of experience in ballet at the Ballet Academy in Manhattan!
ill is a dyslexia, learning, and Orton-Gillingham specialist. She is currently a special education teacher and has been for the past 16 years! She is highly skilled in working with students, including perceiving and dealing with their functions. She has extensive mentoring and tutoring experience. She is an accomplished professional in organizing teacher curricula, assisting with lessons, and collaborating with other professionals to provide the highest level of education for each student.
Alison has her Masters of Science in Special Education and Social Studies. Alison is certified in Wilson reading System Level 1, New York State Professional Certificate Students with Disabilities Grades 7-12. She is also a New York State professional school district leader. She received an Advanced Certificate post master’s of School Building Leadership and District Leadership. Alison is a wonderful example in female leadership and even has a scholar athlete award in lacrosse!
Math / Science / Tech
ichael has been a middle school math and science teacher in New York City for over 10 years. He is a master teacher at Math for America where he runs the Socratic Circle and Bike Math workshops. He is also a member of a mathematics inquiry team led by Professor Betina Zolkower of Brooklyn College, which promotes the engagement of students in framing and solving non-routine problems. In 2014, Michael received a grant from Fund for Teachers to explore urban farming and aquaponics. This year he gave a TEDx talk
on his class’s highly publicized aquaponics project that was also featured in the Wall Street Journal
. Most recently, he was selected as one of America’s great educator’s to attend the National Teacher of the Year dinner at the White House on May 3rd, 2016. Michael is our middle and upper school math tutor. He also offers quantitative test prep.
Ying is an accomplished scholar and tutor in a versatile range of subjects including computer programming, math, reading and writing, SAT test prep and Mandarin Chinese. Ying comes to us with a law degree from Yale and a background as a private tutor and homeschool educator. She also led university writing clinics for undergraduate and graduate students. Ying is available for academic tutoring, as well as study skills and organizational coaching.
Avery is a science teacher and learning specialist at a school for students with language based learning disabilities. She is in her fourth year as the eleventh grade chemistry teach there, and is now the Chair of the Science Department. While not in school, Avery spends as much time as possible outdoors and seeking adventure with her sweet dog Dasher.
Dr. Spina is our AP Biology/AP Chemistry specialist, and has many years of experience in teaching at independent schools as well as private tutoring. Currently, she is teaching one section of AP Biology as well as developing a FOCUS course in Scientific research and inquiry. She received a doctoral degree in Neurobiology from Mount Sinai. She also has done private tutoring in both Biology and Chemistry. Mary Beth has four publications in different journals of neurology, neurochemistry, and the annals of the New York Academy of Sciences!
Language / Reading / Writing
Mishal is a reading linguist who received her Masters of Arts in Secondary English Education from Columbia University. Mishal has taught for many years in different schools around Manhattan. She has also been a district attorney for the Saturday Night Lights Initiative where she worked with at risk youth throughout 15 locations in Manhattan. She works specifically with IEP goals and writers curriculums to empower IEP/at risk scholars to maintain engagements and learning in integrated classrooms.
Sarah is a prolific linguist and historian. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Italian Studies and a master’s degree in Italian Renaissance Literature. An active learner, Sarah has continued her education with Post Baccalaureate Studies in Latin; she is also in the process of completing a master’s in English from Middlebury College and Oxford University. Sarah has 13 years of experience teaching all ages, from elementary school to adults. She has taught AP Italian, Honors-level Latin, English and Renaissance History. This year Sarah is teaching middle and elementary school at a prestigious independent school. Sarah is available for tutoring in Italian, Latin, reading comprehension and writing, as well as organizational coaching.
Maria is our Spanish tutor. She has a bachelor’s degree in translation earned in her native country of Mexico, with specializations in English, French and Portuguese. Maria started her career working as a translator in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and then in the Senate of the Republic. Throughout her career, she has tutored students (from ages 4 – 40 years old) learning Spanish as a second language, as well as students who want to improve their reading and writing skills in English and French. She also has a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Guelph, Ontario, where she taught several courses on politics, trade and governance.
Professor Mark is our Latin, Greek, Classics, English literature and writing expert and a true polymath. Mark has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Classical Studies from Cambridge University, as well as master’s in Comparative Literature and a PhD in Classical Studies from the University of Michigan. He previously taught Classics and Literature at Princeton and Columbia University. Mark knows how to instill a love of language in even the most hesitant students and will help develop truly proficient writers and linguists. Mark can also help with test prep.