Our Team

Transforming Students into Scholars



ABOVE-GRADE TUTORING of Chester County’s tutors 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 with research-validated expertise and tools to inspire students to achieve great success. They are fully vetted, experienced, degreed professionals in their fields, state certified teachers, and/or the 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 exceptional 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 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
  • American Board Certification in Education (ABCTE)
  • PA Certified Teacher – Secondary ELA
  • Advanced studies with Institute for Excellence in Writing

Jonathan Ekeland:

  • Director – Summit Guidance: Comprehensive College Planning Service
  • 25+ years as a popular, high school guidance counselor, helping literally thousands of students successfully enter the colleges of their choice.

Tara M.:

  • Master’s degree: Master of Education, Curriculum & Design – GPA 4.0
  • Bachelor’s degree: 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 lifetime. 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.

A recent addition to our team, Dr. Best serves 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, brain-based teaching strategies. Dr. Best is a passionate and compelling teacher, with a long track record for inspiring and transforming lives—both students’ and teachers’—wherever he goes!

Ashley A.:

  • Senior Math Education major (in progress): West Chester University

There’s only one word to describe both Ashley’s math skills and people skills: amazing! She possesses a unique ability to bring out the best in students, relate to them, inspire them, break down complex procedures into simple steps, and make math meaningful and relevant. As both a mathematician and an Education major, Ashley is highly qualified to teach math through Calculus 3 and SAT prep.

Ashley L.:

  • Master’s degree: Education (in progress)
  • Bachelor’s degree: Theatre
  • Bachelor’s degree: Music Business
  • Instructional Assistant, Therapeutic Support Staff, Classroom experience K-6, tutoring

Ashley brings to our tutoring service a dynamic personality, a genuine love for students, and an infectious passion for teaching! She is the first to show up at professional development seminars and takes advantage of every opportunity to polish & perfect her teaching skills. Put it all together, and you have a fantastic tutor who gets amazing results with her students, while making learning fun in the process. Ashley is an experienced Instructional Support staff member in the Radnor School District, with exceptional gifting in reading support, IEP implementation, and K-6 math.

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!

Connor K.:

  • Master’s degree in English: West Chester University (in progress)
  • Bachelor of Arts in English: University of Delaware
  • Graduate Assistant in Creative Writing; Assistant to Creative Writing Program Coordinator at West Chester University
  • TIME “Person of the Year – 2006” (Ask Connor to tell you about it!)

Connor joins our staff as a colorful, personable, multi-talented tutor! He brings significant experience as a writer, editor, researcher, and tutor. Connor has a very special way of inspiring and motivating students and aspires to write for children’s television.

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!

David K.:

  • Bachelor of Science degree: Middle Grades Math Education (2021)
  • Associates degree: Middle Grades Math Education

As a relative newcomer to our tutoring team, David brings a high degree of wisdom, maturity, and enthusiasm for teaching! His job performance is impeccable, and he has an uncanny ability to work equally effectively with all children, identifying those who need extra help and patiently giving them the support they need to achieve success. David tutors Elementary and Middle School Math. Looking for a conversation-starter? David loves donating his time to a community 5th/6th grade basketball league and is a veteran basketball instructor for students ages 4-14! Anyone want to challenge him to a game of “Horse?!?”

Emily T.:

  • Master’s degree: Occupational Therapy – Thomas Jefferson University (2020 – 2022)
  • Bachelor’s degree: Applied Health Science – Honors Program
  • 80+ hours professional development in Occupational Therapy: CURE International Children’s Hospital, Kenya
  • 200+ hours professional development in Occupational Therapy: Quest Therapeutics
  • Numerous Leadership & Volunteer roles, including Young Life leader and Messiah College Leadership Council

Don’t let Emily’s sweet demeanor fool you—she’s a dynamo on the ice hockey rink! Having been a 2017 Flyers Cup Champion and Assistant Captain of the Delaware County Phantom’s Women’s U18 ice hockey team, Emily is a dynamic go-getter! However, her physical accomplishments haven’t overshadowed her exceptional academic gifting. Emily’s degree field of Occupational Therapy uniquely equips her with a holistic approach to students’ academic success. Most of all, she loves helping young people and bringing out the best in them! Emily tutors AP Chemistry, AP Biology, Math, Reading, and Study and Executive Function skills.

Fred F: 

  • Master’s degree: English – 4.0 GPA
  • Film screenwriter
  • 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
  • Co-winner of West Chester University’s Excellence in Teaching with Technology Award
  • Winner of West Chester University’s Graduate Student Association Award for Excellence in Scholarship
  • Developed graduate-level educational material for West Chester University
  • 9 years teaching and tutoring experience with students at every grade level, various subjects; experienced in creating and developing course curricula

Fred is a young-but-seasoned veteran with Above-Grade Tutoring. He’s a favorite among students and parents alike! He achieves 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, and SAT-ACT prep, and assists students with writing those all-important college application essays.

Hannah A.:

  • Bachelor of Science: Marine Biology
  • Minor: Environmental Sciences
  • NCAA Student Athlete Academic Award – 4 years in a row
  • Varsity and All-Conference swim team

As an accomplished collegiate athlete, Hannah knows the meaning of hard work to achieve her goals. She loves kids and is passionate about “passing the baton” to the next generation! Extensive experience teaching swimming lessons to children has given her a love for students and the patience of a saint! Hanna tutors Biology through AP level, Chemistry, Physics, Math, Elementary and Middle School education.

Jessica K.:

  • Master’s degree: English – 4.0 GPA
  • Film screenwriter
  • 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
  • Co-winner of West Chester University’s Excellence in Teaching with Technology Award
  • Winner of West Chester University’s Graduate Student Association Award for Excellence in Scholarship
  • Developed graduate-level educational material for West Chester University
  • 9 years teaching and tutoring experience with students at every grade level, various subjects; experienced in creating and developing course curricula

Jessica’s list of awards and accomplishments is both long and impressive! She is 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.

Julie T.: 

  • Master of Science degree: Biomedical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science degree: Mechanical Engineering
  • Instructor – Naval Nuclear Power Training Command
  • Taught both officer and enlisted Naval classes accelerated, college-level courses in engineering principles fundamental to naval nuclear submarine propulsion plants
  • Effectively and efficiently trained and supervised incoming Naval instructors

We’re beyond excited to have Julie on our team! In addition to her brilliant academic capability, Julie brings to our students a dedication to reaching young people, exceptional insight, and a love for helping others that are a rarity in today’s world of professionals. Equally rare is her ability to break down complex concepts into easy-to-understand processes for students. Best of all, Julie’s real-life experience in STEM careers makes her an inspirational role model and living example of the relevance of a top-notch education! She is highly qualified to tutor our students in AP Physics, AP Calculus, high-level Math, Honors Chemistry, Biology, and SAT/ACT/AP exam prep.

Katie U.:

  • Graduate Education: Library Media Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science Degree: Early Grades Education
  • Teaching Certification: Early Grades Education
  • Certified Librarian
  • Library Media Specialist
  • Master’s level coursework in Internet safely for students
  • Young Life high school leader and mentor

Any teacher knows that the school librarian is the one who knows “everything about everything”—and Katie is no exception! An experienced librarian and classroom teacher, she’s proficient with integrating technology into learning; reaching struggling learners; and challenging advanced learners. Katie is qualified to teach specialized reading strategies, writing, complete ELA curriculum, math, study skills/ executive function strategies, and more. She has a special interest in teaching students how to navigate the Internet safely. Katie’s passion for helping students is evident in many ways, and her engaging personality endears her to all who have the joy of getting to know 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.

Leah B.: 

  • Many years of experience as a Senior IT Auditor (including a term with the State of Delaware Auditor’s Office); Project Leader/Supervisor; Systems Analyst; Certified Information Systems Auditor
  • Graduated Summa cum Laude with 4.0 GPA; class Valedictorian
  • National Merit Commended Scholar
  • Member of the National Honor Society
  • Member of MENSA [the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world]
  • Recipient of numerous academic awards in Math, English, Science, Music, and French

Leah comes to us with 12 years of experience as an exceptionally effective tutor. Her students and parents overwhelmingly give her 5-star reviews!  

Mary Jean “MJ”:

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

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 GRA+DE TUTORING strong knowledge of effective teaching methods for many different types of student learners, and years of experience training other teachers.

Matthew M.:

  • Master’s degree & Teaching Certification: Secondary Education
  • Teaching Certification: Secondary English Arts (in progress)
  • Bachelor of Science cum laude: History
  • Minor in Education
  • Minor in Journalism

Matthew brings to our staff an unusual passion for teaching and ability to reach students of all levels. Parents and students alike are drawn to his enthusiastic energy and ability to inspire students and bring out the best in them. Matt is an avid athlete, a huge history buff, an outstanding writer, an excellent math & study skills tutor, and an all-around, high-achiever and academic whiz. He’s highly qualified to tutor most subjects, any level.

Mick B.: 

  • Master’s degree: Applied and Computational Mathematics
  • Bioengineering and Computer Science studies; Undergraduate Research Assistant in Neural Tissue Engineering Lab
  • Expert in Programming and Coding

Tutors don’t come much more gifted or dedicated than Mick! He brings to our students a brilliant mind, a contagious passion for learning, and infinite patience. Mick is highly qualified to tutor Math through AP Calculus, AP Physics, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, Computer Science, SAT prep, and ELA/Reading, in addition to those invaluable “soft skills” of executive functioning, study strategies, organization, and prioritization.

Nicole K.:

  • Bachelor’s degree: Early Grades Preparation (in progress)
  • Dual Minor: Math Education
  • Dual Minor: Autism Education
  • GPA: 3.98 – Dean’s list, Member Kappa Delta Pi Education Honors Society

Nicole is an exceptionally gifted tutor with a remarkable ability to relate to students, inspire them, and bring out the best in them! Her delightful, upbeat personality quickly endears her to those who know her! Nicole is well-versed in effective teaching strategies and possesses a wealth of tools for reaching diverse learners. As an all-round high achiever herself, Nicole is highly qualified to tutor students of diverse ages, Math through Trigonometry & Calculus, Reading, Writing, SAT prep, Latin, soft Executive Function skills & Study skills, and Critical Reading Comprehension.

Patrick G.:

  • Bachelor of Science degree: Mathematics
  • Associate of Science degree: Mathematics – 3.98 GPA

While it was tough to choose between a career in mathematics and a career in chemistry, Patrick is currently working toward a doctorate in math. He’s leaning toward a career as a college math professor. Patrick’s love for math is truly contagious! As he puts it, he “loves the beauty and intrigue of math,” and he loves to make it “come alive” for students. Patrick is highly qualified to tutor Math through AP Calculus level, SAT prep, Chemistry, Physics, Grammar, Writing, and Critical Reading Comprehension skills. 

Little-known facts about Patrick: As a competitive, Level 9 gymnast, he qualified for Nationals, was the State champion on parallel bars, and placed 3rd in the State in All-Around gymnastics competition. Patrick is also an accomplished drummer!

Looking for a conversation-starter? Patrick has memorized Pi to the first 150 places!

Anyone want to challenge him?!

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.

Renee B.: 

  • Bachelor of Science degree: Neuroscience (in progress)
  • Minor in Psychology
  • Expert in Executive Function skills
  • Expert in brain-based memory & learning strategies

To know Renee is to love her! She is another one of our remarkable, multi-talented tutors. As a Neuroscience/Psychology major, she is highly skilled in brain-based teaching methods and high-level critical thinking strategies.  Renee is highly qualified to tutor our students in Chemistry, Biology, Statistics, Reading Comprehension (including specialized reading strategies for dyslexia), advanced Writing skills, Math, and basic Spanish. With her knowledge of study-skill techniques & organization skills, her impeccable teaching methods, and her ability to relate to all age groups, Renee is a perfect match for both gifted and struggling learners. 

Looking for a conversation-starter?  Renee’s amazing story was highlighted in a segment on FOX News! https://www.fox29.com/news/chester-county-teen-who-had-brain-surgery-as-child-studying-neuroscience-to-help-others#/

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

Sally M.: 

  • Bachelor’s degree: Communications
  • Minor in English
  • Graduate coursework in English and Literature
  • Substitute teacher – all subjects, Elementary through High School
  • Supervisor: West Chester University Math Tutoring Lab
  • Graduate Coordinator: Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project
  • West Chester University Young Writers/Young Readers program
  • Administrative Assistant: West Chester University Department of Mathematics
  • Administrative Assistant: West Chester University Pre-med and Pharmaceutical Program

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.

Theresa E.:

  • Bachelor of Science in Secondary Mathematics Education (in progress)
  • 2nd Year Member of the elite Honors College of West Chester University

On a scale of 1-10, Theresa is an “11!” There are few things she can’t do! An enthusiastic education major and experienced tutor, Theresa is most notably a dynamic people-person. She has a special way of relating to all students, all ages, from struggling students to gifted students. The subjects Theresa tutors include: Math through AP Calculus level; Physics; Statistics; SAT-ACT prep; Reading; Writing; and Spanish. In addition, she coaches our students in executive function skills, study skills, and IEP support.

Tyler P.:

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (2022); recent transition from Math Education major; GPA 3.96
  • West Chester University Honors College
  • West Chester University Learning Assistance & Resource Center: Supervisor & Tutor for Physics, Pre-Calculus, and Study Skills
  • Trains other tutors using the College Reading and Learning Association standards
  • Certified Master Tutor, Level III
  • Boy Scouts of America: Assistant Scoutmaster and Eagle Scout

It was impossible not to be thrilled when Tyler joined our staff. Tutors don’t come much more proficient, experienced, or effective than Tyler! Not only can he tutor math through AP Calculus AB, Physics through AP level, ELA subjects, Writing, Computer Science & Coding, SAT-ACT prep, and study skills…but he possesses super-patience and a love for students to match his extraordinary academic skills! Top it off with Tyler’s years of leadership experience with Boy Scouts, and you have a phenomenal tutor and role model for students! For those who prefer virtual learning, Tyler is a wiz with Zoom annotation tools—he makes online learning as personal and effective as being in the same room with students!

Zachary Z.:

  • Bachelor of Science in Education degree: Secondary Mathematics (2023) –     GPA 3.89
  • Minor: Civic and Professional Leadership
  • Student Leader – Honors Student Association, West Chester University

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!