Our Team

Transforming Students into Scholars

”Our measure of success as tutors isn’t how much we teach our students, but rather, how much our students LEARN from us. The most important determinant in the success of a student is the quality of teaching they receive in their youth. Great teaching can transform lives!”


Our tutors at ABOVE-GRADE TUTORING of Chester County are the “sweet spot” in our program! They’re the ones who build very special relationships with our students and families. Meticulously screened and trained, our tutors are understanding, encouraging, highly-skilled, and dedicated to instilling the confidence your son or daughter needs to succeed.

Our tutors come to you with research-validated expertise and tools to inspire students to achieve skill mastery and future success. They are fully vetted, experienced professionals in their fields, state certified teachers, and/or cream-of-the-crop university students. All have impeccable credentials and reputations. Each tutor possesses a heartfelt enthusiasm for teaching and understands the needs of students. They’re passionate about helping, encouraging, and mentoring students at all levels of academic understanding.


  • All our tutors at ABOVE-GRADE TUTORING use brain-based, mastery learning methods, in addition to a $1.8 million proprietary curriculum, which is aligned to the PA Common Core standards and the College Board standards.
  • Together, we bring to your student the very best that education has to offer!

Karen Davis

  • Executive Director – ABOVE-GRADE TUTORING – Chester County
  • B.A.: Liberal Arts
  • Graduate: American Board Certification for Teacher Excellence in Education (ABCTE) – Secondary English Language Arts
  • PA Certified Teacher – Secondary English Language Arts
  • Former Math & ELA teacher; director–Graduation Research Project
  • Concentration in Curriculum Development
  • Advanced studies with Institute for Excellence in Writing
  • Advanced studies in brain-based learning methodology
  • Author (ghostwriter) and Editor: Grandparenting: Creating and Keeping a Lasting Legacy

Jonathan Ekeland

  • Director – Summit Guidance: Comprehensive College Planning Service
  • 25+ years as a popular high school guidance counselor: saving parents

Jonathan volunteers his time to lead our free community seminars, “Getting, Saving…and Losing Money for College!” With years of successful experience and a dynamic personality, Jonathan has helped literally thousands of students successfully navigate the complex college application process and enter the colleges of their choice. He gives parents golden tips for saving tens of thousands of dollars on college tuition! In addition to college planning seminars, Jonathan also provides 1-on-1 personal consultations for students and parents. He has a phenomenal & entertaining way of reaching students in their own “teen-speak language,” making an intimidating college application process both do-able and enjoyable for students and parents alike !

David B.

  • Master’s Degree in Education
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts
  • Pennsylvania Certified Teacher
  • 16+ years’ experience as an SAT-ACT Instructor with The Princeton Review – 2007-present

We couldn’t have been more excited when David joined our talented and dedicated staff! Certified educators don’t come more highly qualified than David! Trained and certified as an SAT-ACT tutor with The Princeton Review, he possesses an “insider’s knowledge” of test-taking strategies to ace the exams! As a certified teacher in the state of PA, Dave is also highly qualified to tutor students in Math, Critical Reading, Writing, and all subjects K-8. Currently retired from classroom teaching, Dave brings to our students a wealth of experience and the rare art of breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand steps for all types of learners! Speaking of art…looking for a conversation starter??? David is a multi-talented artist/painter!

Tara M.

  • Master’s degree: Master of Education, Curriculum & Design – GPA 4.0
  • Bachelor’s degrees: Psychology & Philosophy – GPA 4.0
  • Director of Learning: The Perkiomen School
  • Cabrini University: Adjunct Instructor; Co-Coordinator of Academic Counseling; Assistant to the Vice-Provost & Dean for Academic Affairs; Coordinator of Operations for Office of Graduate Studies; Coordinator of Adult Student Services; Professional Advisor (developed academic interventions for students)
  • Author and/or presenter of numerous professional publications
  • Specialist in neuroscience-based learning strategies, Reading Strategies, Wilson Multi-Sensory strategies, Dyslexia support, post-concussion learning, effective online teaching strategies, and more
  • Awards and professional affiliations too numerous to list!

People like Tara come along once in a career. With a list of recognitions, honors, awards, and qualifications 7 pages long, she is the BEST of the best! Tara is what one would call “a teacher’s teacher”—she teaches other teachers how to teach! With students, Tara has a remarkable way of not only teaching them—but also reaching them. Her forte is guiding students in the essential skills for learning and working success. In addition to her many leadership roles, Tara is highly qualified to teach Math through AP Calculus, AP Biology, SAT prep, English Language Arts skills, Writing, basic Chemistry, and Executive Function and study skills. She’s vivacious, empathetic, relational, and most of all, passionate about students’ success!

Dr. Richard Best

  • Director of Academics for Vision Academy Charter Schools
  • Former Executive Director of Teaching and Learning for 6 Chester Community Charter Schools
  • Former Superintendent of Schools, Principal, and Executive Director: Chicago area schools
  • Former Professor of Educational Leadership: National Louis University
  • Bachelor of Science degree: Amherst College
  • Master’s degree: Harvard University
  • Doctorate: University of Illinois

Dr. Best has served as a consultant for effective study skills and brain-based learning. He has extensive experience training teachers in professional development and collaborates with our tutoring staff on the most up-to-date, effective, teaching strategies. Dr. Best is a passionate and compelling teacher, with a long track record of inspiring students and transforming lives—both students’ and teachers’—wherever he goes.

Ananya M.

  • B.S. degree – Computer Science – Penn State University (in progress)
  • Successfully completed AP level coursework in Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, History, Literature, Government, and Spanish
  • Volunteer teacher for primary grade students

The first things you notice about Ananya are her genuine love for learning and her enthusiasm for instilling that love in students. The next thing you’ll discover is her passionate desire to support students along their educational journeys. She truly enjoys using her giftedness to help others. Adjectives that best describe Ananya are energetic, patient, multi-talented, and fun-loving with students.

As an exceptionally gifted individual herself, Ananya is well-equipped to challenge students at the highest level of achievement. With her effervescent personality and dynamic “sparkle,” she relates equally well to students of all ages! Ananya brings to students our challenging $1.8 million academic curriculum that is unequaled in education, impeccable teaching skills, and remarkable maturity. She has a special way of making learning meaningful, relevant, and FUN! Like all our tutors, she has been trained in brain-based learning methods that are a rarity to find in any academic setting.

Ananya is highly qualified to tutor our students in Math through AP Calculus, AP level Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Writing, English Language Arts, and Spanish.

Connie P.

  • Master of Science: Chemical Oceanography – Texas A&M University
  • Bachelor of Science: Chemistry
  • Professional experience: Currently working as a Supervisor of Manufacturing for diagnostic test kits, Connie has also been employed as a Laboratory Technician, Field Assistant, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Developmental Chemist, undergraduate Researcher, and Intern in Pharmaceutical Analysis

Connie is one of our gifted tutors who brings to the tutoring “party” tremendous academic capability, as well as professional experience in a STEM career. Don’t let her youthfulness surprise you! Connie’s broad experience makes her an exceptional tutor. Though busy working full-time in her accredited field, Connie makes time to share her expertise with our students. With all her credentials, teaching is what Connie loves most! She offers our students tutoring from Kindergarten through Senior High levels, including AP Chemistry, AP Physics, AP Calculus, AP Environmental Science, Biology, SAT-ACT-AP exam prep, Reading Comprehension, and yes, Elementary Education, too!

Diane T.

  • Bachelor of Science: Pure Mathematics (senior year), West Chester University
  • Bachelor of Arts: Liberal Studies, Penn State University
  • University of Illinois: Mathematics and Computer Science program
  • Director of Regina Luminis Academy: Founder of the Academy’s high school; developed entire K-12 curriculum
  • Teaching and tutoring: Math and Latin; substitute teacher for all subjects, elementary through high school; years of experience in the Classical model of education; experienced in teaching teachers how to teach more effectively!
  • 10-year member of MENSA (the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world)
  • Black belt in the martial art of Tang Soo Do
  • Conversation starters: Diane has 6 children and enjoys skiing, karate, reading, traveling…and raising sheep and chickens!

As Diane’s 10-year membership in the International high-I.Q. society, MENSA, demonstrates, she is an ordinary person with extraordinary intelligence and giftedness! It doesn’t take more than five minutes in conversation with Diane to discover that! Nor does it take more than a minute to discover her love of children and passion for teaching! Her enthusiasm lights up a room. Diane’s personal expertise is only exceeded by her ability to impart that knowledge effectively to students. She can tutor virtually any subject, including math through AP Calculus level. Anyone who has worked with her says the same thing: To know Diane is to love her!

Eric S.

It would be hard to find a tutor who is more passionate about education and helping students succeed than Eric! From having to work extremely hard in school himself, to achieving his impressive accomplishments in math and science, Eric knows what it’s like to work hard and persevere through challenges to become who he is today. As a result, he has a very special way of both reaching struggling learners and inspiring gifted learners. Not only is Eric’s enthusiasm for tutoring contagious, but you will quickly discover that his brain-based teaching skills exceed those of most classroom teachers. Eric is highly qualified to tutor our students in Math thru AP Calculus, AP Biology, ELA subjects, Writing, SAT prep, Latin, and study/organizational skills.

While our niche is in-person learning, there are times when virtual sessions provide convenience and continuity for students. Eric is an experienced whiz with online tools and interactive whiteboards, making virtual learning as effective as in-person!

Looking for a conversation-starter? Lest you think Eric is all brains and no brawn, he’s also a cross country runner and wrestler, and is on the West Chester University track and field team!

Fred F.

  • Master’s degree: English – 4.0 GPA
  • Senior Medical Editor: Alpha Group Medical Communications
  • Copy editor and proofreader (fact-checking/research) and member of Editorial team for award-winning, peer-reviewed journal published by West Chester University in partnership with Johns Hopkins University
  • Copyeditor: Johns Hopkins University Press Journals
  • Writer: Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian magazine
  • Freelance copywriting and editing
  • Independent film screenwriter
  • West Chester University’s Excellence in Teaching with Technology Award
  • Winner: West Chester University’s Graduate Student Association Award for Excellence in Scholarship
  • Developed graduate-level curricular material for West Chester University
  • 10+ years teaching and tutoring a variety of subjects to students at every level; experienced in developing course curricula

Fred is a seasoned veteran with Above-Grade Tutoring. He’s been a favorite among students and parents alike, achieving phenomenal results with his students. Warm, personable, and brilliant, Fred has a special way of relating to students and has exceptional expertise to offer. He tutors Writing, ELA subjects, and SAT-ACT prep, and assists students with writing those all-important college application essays.

Isabella J.

  • Bachelor of Science in Education, 3.9 GPA, Summa cum Laude, Dual Major: Early Grades PreK-4
  • Bachelor of Science in Education, Summa cum Laude, Dual Major: Special Education PreK-8
  • PA Instructional I Certification
  • Substitute Teacher, Downingtown Area School District: multiple grade levels and subjects
  • Extended School Year teacher, Special Education
  • Autistic Support
  • Member – National Honor Fraternity for Scholarship/Leadership, Phi Sigma Pi
  • Member – National Honor Society, Pi Lamda Theta

Getting to know Isabella is a lot like discovering a treasure! It doesn’t take more than five minutes in conversation with her to discover that! Nor does it take long to discover her genuine love for students and her dedication to teaching! Isabella’s enthusiasm literally lights up a room! Her wisdom, insightfulness, and maturity are a rarity to find in one so young. She brings a gift for exceptional teaching methodology and technology integration to our students. Beyond classroom teaching, Isabella has extensive experience working with young people in numerous volunteer capacities, such as Girl Scouts, an inner-city day camp, Vacation Bible School, and a program for underprivileged students. Looking for a conversation-starter? Ask Isabella to tell you how she “survived” the heart-stopping roads in the Andes Mountains as a Vacation Bible School volunteer in Bolivia!

James C.

  • Master’s Degree: Science Education
  • Bachelor’s Degree: Science Education
  • Middle School Science Teacher: Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School
  • Experienced ELA teacher and Math tutor
  • Outstanding Writing instructor
  • Virtual learning genius!

James is one-of-a-kind! Beneath his placid exterior lies a heart of gold, a passion for helping students, and impeccable teaching skills! James teaches in a virtual charter school and is an absolute whiz with virtual teaching tools, virtual interactive learning activities, and visual simulations for math and sciences. These teaching tools help to make topics come to life for students!

As a patient, engaging, and entertaining teacher, James relates equally well to students of all ages and adapts his instruction to match the individual learning styles of each student. He is highly qualified to tutor Math, AP Physics, AP Chemistry, ELA, advanced Writing, and study skills. Looking for an ice-breaker? Try challenging James to a game of chess!!! (He’ll probably win—sorry!!!)

Jessica K.

  • PhD: Education Leadership (in progress)
  • Master’s Degree: Education
  • Bachelor of Science: Elementary Education
  • Bachelor of Science: Special Education (K-12)
  • Reading Specialist Certification
  • Instructional I & II Pennsylvania Teaching Licenses

Jessica’s list of awards and accomplishments is both long and impressive! She’s one of those rare educators who comes to us with Reading Specialist Certification and Instructional II teaching certification. As an experienced teacher in English Language Arts, Math, and Science, Jessica is not only uniquely skilled, but also has a very special way of bonding with her students. Currently working toward her PhD in education leadership, Jess remains with us in an advisory capacity. She has earned the highest respect and recommendations from all who have had the privilege of working with her!

Laura R.

  • Bachelor of Science, Summa cum Laude: Elementary Education and Pre-K – 8th Special Education
  • Minor in Spanish
  • Advanced studies in Special Education, specialized teaching methods for Reading & Writing, and Education Technology

A little-known trivia fact about Laura: she has been a competitive baton twirler since 2003, including 4 years as the featured twirler with Geneva College Marching Band from 2013-2016.

Mary Jean “MJ”

  • Master’s degree: Education – Curriculum & Instruction
  • Distinguished Honors – Graduate program, Penn State
  • Certified School Principal
  • Certified Teacher K-6

While serving as the principal of the second largest school in the Coatesville School District, MJ demonstrated her capability as an effective educator and leader, her focus on strong academic achievement, and her dedication to making meaningful connections with her students. She brings to ABOVE-GRADE TUTORING strong knowledge of effective teaching methods for many different types of learners and years of experience training other teachers, as well.

Phoebe S.

  • Bachelor of Science degree in Biology: Temple University
    Dean’s List, College of Science and Technology

Phoebe has been a wonderful asset to our students while awaiting acceptance into medical school. Students and parents alike love her!  Not only is she a whiz in math and sciences, but she has a very special, encouraging way of breaking down complex skills into easy-to-understand steps. Phoebe goes above and beyond our high standards to ensure her students achieve maximum success in their studies. She is highly qualified and exceptionally effective in tutoring Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus (AP level), Chemistry, Biology (AP level), Physics, French, English, and SAT/ACT exam prep.

Rodger C.

  • Master’s degree: Education – Villanova University
  • Bachelor of Science degree: Physics Education
  • Adjunct Professor of Physics: Rowan University
  • Adjunct Professor of Physics: Delaware County Community College
  • Adjunct Professor of Physics: Penn State University 2007-2011
  • Classroom Physics teacher: Marple Newtown High School
  • Experienced SAT-ACT-AP exam teacher

Ryan A.

  • Bachelor of Science in Biology – Magna cum Laude
  • Minor in Psychology
  • Research Assistant – Villanova University
  • Scientist – BioPharmaSpec
  • Emergency EMT certified

We were thrilled when Ryan joined our tutoring team! While his professional focus is in the field of science, he is one of those rare, versatile individuals who can do it all! Ryan is highly qualified to tutor our students in Math through AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, Writing, and ACT-AP-SAT exam prep. He has an innate gift for explaining complex concepts to students in easy-to-understand ways. In addition, he brings to students an outstanding curriculum and our research-validated methods for brain-based learning. Ryan has a wonderfully patient, empathetic, and caring way of relating to students. Looking for a conversation starter? Ask Ryan why he switched from his pursuit of a medical profession to that of a laboratory scientist!

Samantha A.

  • Dual Bachelor’s degrees: International Studies and Spanish
    • Minor in Political Science
  • International TEFL/TESOL Certificate: 120-hour Master Certificate in Teaching
    English as a Foreign Language
  • Distinguished Alden Scholar
  • Substitute Teacher – Owen J. Roberts
  • Accomplished math tutor

The first thing our students notice about Sam is her infectious love of students and teaching! The second thing they notice is her academic excellence. The third thing they notice is her sparkling personality! Beyond that, Sam’s teaching skills are impeccable, and her experience with children is extraordinarily diverse. She volunteered as an English teacher in Thailand while helping to repair buildings at an orphanage there. She volunteered with Global Leadership in Costa Rica. Until the Covid pandemic ground travel to a halt, Sam was slated to teach English in Cambodia with the Peace Corps. She speaks English, Spanish…and Chinese! Sam is highly qualified to tutor SAT-ACT prep, high-level Math, ELA and Writing, and Spanish. Looking for a conversation-starter? Ask Sam to tell you about her experience caring for ELEPHANTS in Thailand!!!

Sherry P.

  • Master’s degree: English
  • Bachelor’s degree: English
  • Independent writer and published author
  • College Writing professor

Sherry is another one of our phenomenally gifted teachers with a passion to instill in students of all ages a love for reading and writing. In addition to teaching the formal mechanics of academic writing, Sherry brings to the tutoring “party” a penchant for creative writing, critical & analytical thinking, and enhanced reading comprehension.

Zachary M.

    • Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics
    • Minor in Economics
    • Professional experience in Accounting, Actuarial, and Financial Analyses
    • Plan Benefit Specialist responsible for calculating complex pension benefits
    • Calculus Peer Learning Mentor – assisting college students with mastery of Calculus I, Calculus II, and Calculus III

Zach is a rare combination of both brains and heart! By day, he works in the complex fields of accounting, actuarial, and financial analysis; by night, he invests his talents in our students. Zach is as gentle, patient, and amiable as he is capable. One of his greatest strengths is an unusual ability to break down complex processes into easy-to-understand steps. Zach’s ability to relate to all different levels of learners makes him a very special and effective tutor! Having earned the highest scores of “5” on his own AP exams in Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, History, Language-Composition, and Geography, and a “4” in AP Literature & Composition, Zach is highly qualified to tutor our students in Math through AP Calculus; Physics through AP level; Chemistry through AP level; Honors Biology; Writing; and SAT-ACT-AP exam prep. Looking for a conversation-starter? Zach rises to leadership roles wherever he goes—ask him to tell you about his time as President of an Ultimate Frisbee Club!

Zachary Z.

    • Dual Bachelor of Science in Education degrees: Secondary Mathematics and Secondary ELA
    • Minor: Civic and Professional Leadership
    • Honors College – West Chester University
    • Student Leader – Honors Student Association, West Chester University
    • Leadership roles and performing member: West Chester University’s A Cappella choir, Jazz ensemble, and Golden Rams Marching Band

At his young age, Zack’s list of awards, honors, scholarships, and community service is already too long to list! As an academically gifted student himself, Zack is uniquely qualified to tutor our advanced students. We’re proud of him for choosing to invest his talents in a teaching career. It won’t take long for students to see that teaching is one of Zack’s strongest gifts. He tutors math through AP Calculus level, SAT prep, Writing and ELA skills. Looking for a conversation starter? Zack is an accomplished pianist, trombone player, and vocalist. He just might sing to you…if you ask!

* This is not a complete nor up-to-date list of tutors. We are continually hiring new talent…and saying tearful good-bye’s to favorites as they move on.

“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teachers for living well.” 

– Alexander the Great