Optimum Educational Solutions
I have been a dedicated 1-1 Accelerated Learning Specialist / Educational Consultant in private practice for 27 years, and have worked with over 8000 clients. Most of my clients come to me for SAT and ACT prep, college essay coaching, and broader academic coaching around time management and overcoming test anxiety. I have an extensive academic background, having studied the humanities, sciences, education, business, and counseling at Harvard, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, and University of Michigan across four degrees over 15 years. I teach all core subjects including:
Math through AP Calculus
Science though AP Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and AP Environmental Science
Literature through AP Language and Literature
History and Social Science through all the related APs --US History, World History, Economics, and Psychology.
A lot of kids come to me needing help just pulling it all together and figuring out how to "do school." Every kid is unique, and I help them tap into their unique geniuses and skills. I help the kids I work with to get motivated, organized, and empowered to learn and perform at their highest potential. While I have systems in the way I approach things, academically I don't generally prescribe additional curriculum beyond what kids are learning in school. With the SAT/ACT I definitely do, and am very particular about making sure that students are prepping on real published exams and are studying the right material, since they can easily be led astray or waste their limited time on prep materials that don't get the results they are seeking-- and often amount to just going through the motions.
Over the years my students have gained admission to all of the Ivy League schools, Stanford, and all of the University of California Schools--many with partial or full scholarships.
I love helping kids crack the code to become self-sufficient and successful--not depending on me, another tutor, their parents, or even their teachers. Most kids discover in working with me that their academic problems often trace back to something about how they are managing themselves in addition to just comprehending the material. For this reason, most of my students develop a level of compentance, autonomy, and even leadership in school by just showing up more prepared and ready to engage in the learning process. I know that ultimately I am teaching kids to be able to manage themselves successfully when they make the transition to college, and they will have to rely on whatever skills they have learned to make the right decisions day to day.
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Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
I meet with families for a complimentary 1 hr consultation to fully understand the student and the family's needs and expectations. I provide an estimate for services at the end of this meeting. I don't believe in coookie cutter solutions in tutoring.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
BS General Science, minors in Chemistry and Biology
BS Literature, minors in Spanish and Film
MSW Social Work, concentrations in Education and Counseling
PHD(c) Education (Focus on Accelerated Learning)
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
I custom quote pricing for every family I work with. I don't believe in open ended tutoring relationships, and go project to project with families. Most kids complete a stage with me within 3-6 weeks so they become able to learn the material they initially struggled with without additional tutoring from me or other tutors. This is unlike 99% of tutors who teach in such a way they students become dependent and stay with them for years. I teach kids how to learn and become independent learners.
How did you get started teaching?
I have been teaching since I was 7 (so 43 years now!), and taught in elementary school, middle school, high school, adult ed, community college, and university. 90% of my career has been dedicated to 1-1 instruction. I taught my way through all my education and graduated with zero debt.
What types of students have you worked with?
All kinds, mainly grades 7-12. I have worked with over 8000 families over 25 years, and extensively with a wide range of learning disabilities. Many of the kids I work with need help with time management and study skills, which I teach them.
Describe a recent event you are fond of.
Over the past few years I travelled to England, France, Mexico, Thailand, and the Philippines. I love travel, seeing beautiful places, exploring new cultures, and learning foriegn languages.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
Be sure you are hiring someone who is teaching you how to manage yourself and how to learn, in addition to learning infrmation for any given particular subject. All too often students memorize their way through tough classes, without ever really feeling they understand it. Memorizing rarely consistently works out in the short run and the long run, and tends to lead to lower grades and test anxiety.
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
I meet with students where they are in their understanding and learning process, and take them to the next level, so this is someting I normally discuss directly with students.