Melanie E

Melanie E

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Education has been my passion ever since I tutored my first student when I myself was in third grade.  I remember the first time I saw the light bulb turn on for her when she finally understood the difference between ‘flies’ and ‘flys’.  As an ESL student prior to having an ESL program or the ESL label in my school, I felt I would be able to help her as long as I could find out where her confusion lied.  After a couple weeks, I realized something I had always taken for granted- that the English language sounds one way but can mean many different ways.  It had never dawned on me.  My new friend had taught me just as much as I had taught her. That day I caught the teaching bug.

 Informally, I have tutored in and out of the classroom ever since.  In my senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to intern for a first grade classroom through the Aspire To Teach Program.  I learned that the pace of instruction and differentiation for each individual student is paramount to authentic foundational learning. Later in college, the Phoenix Zoo’s education department gave me my first informal teaching position as a Night Camp Instructor.  I learned that I loved teaching about the environment and how it connects to all aspects of our lives.  I found the spark I had seen in my first student back in third grade and was determined once again to get back in the classroom.

 Science and mathematics were always going to be my subjects of choice. For this reason, I had decided to go to school for a science degree having already excelled in mathematics in high school. Unlike most teachers on the west coast, I had chosen to prepare to teach STEM by getting as much real-world experience in the field before I stepped into a classroom.  My philosophy has maintained over time that those who teach should always stay connected with the subject they are teaching by getting out in the field as often as possible. By staying connected I have been honored to receive the Arizona Game and Fish Department Educator of the Year in 2016 and an ongoing placement in the East Valley Relay Shop with the Salt River Project.

 Today I am proud to say that I continue to grow lifelong learners in my students as I myself continue to be a lifelong learner.  I jump on any opportunity I can get to bring lessons to the real world. When teaching becomes more real, it inevitably becomes more personalized for each student.  I thrive on teaching one-on-one as a means to help differentiate learning based on the needs of individual learners.  Teaching students how to develop a work ethic, growth mindset, grit in their learning, and most importantly a confidence in their understanding and ability to apply their learning will always be most near and dear to me as an educator.  Let’s learn together.

 

 

Christie A

Christie A

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I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher. Both my grandmother and mother were teachers, and from an early age I knew that I loved learning and that I am gifted at working with young people. I have worked with kids of all ages, in about every capacity you can think of, since I was old enough to be considered responsible to care for children. I graduated from Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix and headed to New York City in 1999 to pursue a volleyball scholarship and an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education at Saint John’s University.  In 2005 I moved back home to the Valley and began teaching sixth grade in Scottsdale Unified. As a teacher leader I attended an array of professional development and educational conferences to become a trainer of teachers in Common Core math, writing, twenty-first century learning skills and differentiated instruction.  Realizing that leadership was a compatible role for me, I decided to pursue my master’s degree in Educational Administration and Supervision at Arizona State University.  I went on to become an assistant principal in Scottsdale Unified, overseeing kindergarten through eighth grade for four years. Through my administrative experience I gained a great depth of knowledge of pedagogy, content and academic and behavioral interventions. I have facilitated hundreds of plans for students and parents to address a wide variety of student needs, such as gifted learners, behavioral modifications, ADD and ADHD, specific learning disabilities and English language learners. I have a proven record of increasing student achievement and I am passionate about helping students reach their potential and feel successful at school.  I started my own family in 2014 and now have two young children that I stay home with so that I can be their first teacher. However, tutoring students in the evenings and on weekends has given me the opportunity to stay connected to young people and the profession I am passionate about. My tutoring services include the humanities, basic math and science, research, general homework support and study skills. I am particularly passionate and have had success with students needing executive functioning support; including organization, time management, prioritizing and persevering through assignments. 

Zac B

Zac B

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I became a teacher because I love to see students become excited about solving problems and puzzles using mathematical thinking. I believe that mathematics is a lens through which to view the world and as Neil DeGrasse Tyson says, “Mathematics is the language of Science.” I pursued my Bachelors of Science in Mathematics and Physics. I wanted to become an engineer, but my alma mater did not have an Engineering program. However, I loved engaging in the type of thinking required by upper level math and physics courses.

I tutored the group sessions for Calculus I and II in undergrad and began to realize my passion for helping students understand their thoughts, and helping students orient themselves when solving calculus problems. I was a teaching assistant for Honor’s Calculus I and II at Western Kentucky University while pursuing my Master’s of Science in Mathematics with a research emphasis in Knot Theory. I was hired as an Instructor of Mathematics at the same institution. I worked with at-risk students for two years teaching developmental mathematics. I volunteered as the Co-Coordinator of a NSF grant-funded Academic Makerspace to help engage students in mathematical “making” to help students develop productive scientific thinking via first-hand experiences. I am currently pursuing my PhD in Mathematics Education at Arizona State University. If you couldn’t tell, I work with students on all things math related. I am comfortable tutoring individuals in mathematical topics ranging from the development of number sense to Calculus concepts.


Kayla L

Kayla L

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I am currently a PhD student in Mathematics Education at Arizona State University where I study mathematics, student learning and teaching strategies. I came to ASU because my goal is to become the best math teacher I can be, and what better way to achieve that than studying how students learn math?

During my childhood in Central California I was passionate about school, sports and our local lake. My family loved to gather at the lake; it was a true community. When we weren’t at the lake, we were helping one other with school or playing sports together. It was then that I fell in love with helping others understand mathematics.

I have always taken my schooling and sports seriously. Throughout high school, I took seven Advanced Placement courses and was a scholar athlete with a 4.32 GPA. I started playing softball and soccer and running cross-country when I was in elementary school. I continued to play sports through high school and eventually got an athletic and academic scholarship to play softball in college. I went to Southern California to study mathematics and play Division 2 Softball at California State University, Dominguez Hills. It was there that I earned experience researching mathematics and tutoring, which lead me to my current program at ASU. As a Focus Tutor, I offer mathematical support for middle school and high school students, in algebra, geometry and pre-calculus.

Javier U

Javier U

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After I discovered my passion for math and the sciences, I made it my goal to continually help students achieve those same ‘aha’ moments that I once did. Throughout my years of tutoring, I’ve worked with students of many different ages on many different topics, from pre-algebra to calculus to upper division math courses, as well as biology, chemistry, physics, and other sciences. In my opinion, one of the most important aspects to tutoring is recognizing the ways that the student thinks. Having graduated from Arizona State University with bachelor of science degrees in applied mathematics and biology and now working in a mathematical biology research laboratory, I emphasize how certain concepts relate to student interests and real-world scenarios. As part of the Focus Tutors team, I look forward to working with students on mathematics, biology, and chemistry, as well as improving their study habits, test-taking skills, and overall organization, which are also vital to success.

Ted T

Ted T

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For the last eight years, I have worked as a teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools, the 10th largest school district in the nation, just outside of Washington, D.C.  I feel extremely fortunate to have served a variety of populations, such as: Self-Contained Gifted, English Language Learners, general education students, and those identified as twice-exceptional.  For this reason, I am a firm believer that one size does not fit all in education and I strive to promote equity in any position I am assigned.  I also believe that students learn best when they construct new knowledge for themselves.  Therefore, I see myself as “a guide on the side” rather than “a sage on the stage.”  As a Focus tutor, I can help your student set and meet their individual learning goals.  Whether I am teaching English composition, American Government, middle school science, or elementary phonics, I hope to promote 21st century skills, like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, tenacity, and problem solving. 

 

 

Mahlon C

Mahlon C

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I blew into Arizona by the winds of the Kansas plains. In college, I double-majored in my passions:  Literature & Writing and History & the Social Sciences. I went on to earn a master’s degree in English and do post-graduate work in both majors.

My career led me to teach in two award-winning high schools over the course of 20 years. I built the largest academic debates teams in Kansas, taught English, history, speech, and philosophy. In addition, I joined several effective teaching cadres and led local and national in-services on educational topics.

As the Midwest tornados blow, I arrived in Phoenix in the year 2000, and embarked on a different teaching adventure. I shifted from teaching in huge, award-winning, public schools to little, award-winning, private schools. I continue delivering in-services on educational topics in the Valley and nationally and have been a published writer my whole life.

In two states and in two entirely different types of schools, I have received Teacher of the Year awards (That is something surprises me, but also makes me proud).

I am all about learning and growing. I am every bit as keen a student now as I was growing up. I've had incredible people help me along the way and they instilled in me a strong desire to do the same— to be one of those people who helps. I've worked hard through my life to make learning real, important, fun, and memorable and I’ve mastered an array of techniques and insights to learning. Come learn with me; we will add success and fun to the learning process. I look forward to working with students in any of the following areas: Language Arts, writing, history, social sciences and general homework help.

 

Michelle B

Michelle B

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I grew up in Western Massachusetts and in my twenties moved to the Valley of the Sun. I enjoyed ten years in Arizona. Most of them were in the Valley, but the last year was in Marble Canyon, near Lake Page and the Navajo Reservation. I am thrilled to be moving back after raising a beautiful child and a completing a successful teaching career. I earned an associate’s degree in Computer Science, followed by a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education from Elms College. I trained at Northeastern University in Boston in the Interactive Mathematics Program, a very specific mathematics curriculum where I learned to teach in a student-centered way.

I believe that each student can be successful when they are given the opportunity to learn and explore mathematics. I enjoy teaching mathematics to young people, sharing a love of learning and helping students realize their full potential as individuals. I approach each student from a very personal and individual place. I know, and try to help them understand, that learning mathematics is based on effort, practice and overcoming the challenges that the work might present to them. I also love swimming, hiking and biking and am thrilled to be back in the Valley and working with Focus Tutors as a way to continue my involvement with teaching mathematics.

Summer B

Summer B

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My mission as an educator is to be an agent for fostering the growth of compassionate, conscious and empowered scholars who are grounded with a sense of purpose about their presence in the world. This stems from my core belief that these traits are essential to effectively participate in a society built on democratic ideals and values. I believe these traits are supported and substantiated by the fundamental and parallel skills of listening and reading, speaking and writing, as well as understanding through the creative process of learning. Through the content of Language Arts it is my goal that my scholars expand their intellectual capacity through rigorous and invigorating practice of reading and writing the world through the word.

I began my educational career in New Mexico where I obtained experience as an educator in a variety of settings and in all content areas from Pre-K-High School. I have achieved a Masters of Education from Eastern New Mexico University, with focus in Curriculum and Instruction, Reading and Literacy and Educational Pedagogy. Additionally I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Education with a double focus in Language Arts, Special Education as well as an additional endorsement in Secondary Education and English and Composition.

Abby R

Abby R

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Yes, I am one of those crazy people that loves math! I grew in a small town in Iowa, but moved to Arizona to pursue my Ph.D. in Mathematics Education at Arizona State University, where I also teach conceptually-oriented pre-calculus. Prior to coming to ASU, I played Division 1 soccer at Western Illinois University and earned my bachelor’s degree in mathematics education.

I am a certified secondary mathematics teacher and have extensive tutoring experience that has allowed me to refine my ability to demonstrate mathematical concepts effectively, at a high level. I seek to share my passion for mathematics with students and I hope to help students develop a conceptual understanding of the mathematical topics they are learning. I firmly believe a strong conceptual basis provides students with the confidence and ability to solve a wide variety of mathematical problems. I offer tutoring services to middle and high school students in all areas of mathematics.

Genelle B

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Genelle B

I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in elementary school. My fourth grade teacher changed my life, and I was on a mission to do the same for other students as soon as I was able to. I graduated with an Elementary Education degree from the University of Arizona, with an endorsement in English Language Learners. I am currently in my seventh year of teaching elementary school, and I am absolutely in love with my career. My first home and my heart will always be in San Francisco, which is where I grew up. I have learned to call Arizona home after living here for the last nine years. Throughout my seven years of teaching experience, I can confidently say that I have shaped many young minds and helped other students find their love for learning. I am excited to teach more students through Focus Tutors and watch their little genius light bulbs go off!


Alix B

Alix B

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What I have to offer students of all ages are the fruits of a lifetime spent cultivating conversations among writers, thinkers, creative artists, and researchers on significant matters that affect our daily lives. As a constant seeker of knowledge myself, I endeavor to be the most supportive facilitator and guide possible for students in their academic searches for important questions that generate writing, reading, and critical thinking fluency. I am passionate, not only about the possibilities of creating personal meaning through the artful and persuasive use of language, but about the fact that spending extensive time and effort to acquire the power to use language critically enables students to be fully enfranchised members of their communities and cultures. 

This teaching philosophy developed out of my own intellectual journey through an Honors B.A. in Sociology/Women's Studies/Political Economy at Manhattanville College; the M.F.A. in Writing/Teaching of Writing at Sarah Lawrence College; and a year of PhD studies in the Sociology of Education and Medicine. I began my career in education teaching first graders how to read, and have taught on the elementary through graduate school levels for the past 35 years. My professional background includes dual former careers as a Social Worker and Librarian, and I have worked with American, British, and diverse international students in the U.S. and the U.K.  My teaching and tutoring subjects include: composition, creative writing, reading, literature and poetry, sociology, political economy and economics, women's & gender studies, academic success skills, Common App prep, PSAT/SAT/ACT test prep, library and research literacy, French, and a variety of humanities courses. 

I am the author of On the Verge, a chapbook of poems (Plinth Books, 1997), and my full-length poetry manuscript is under publication consideration. My awards include a Pushcart Prize nomination, a CT Commission on the Arts Artist Fellowship in Poetry, and a Commendation in the U.K.'s Poets of the Year Competition. While resident on the East Coast, I served as Writing/Humanities Division Chair at The Learning Annex/CT, an adult education institute formerly in Hartford, CT, and worked as an adjunct professor of composition and creative writing at colleges and universities in CT, MA, and NY.  In addition to tutoring for Focus Tutors AZ, I serve as an Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing & Composition at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Chandler, work privately as an editor of creative and scholarly manuscripts, and continue to write and edit an alternative textbook for college-level writing entitled The Question Tree.

 
 

Gina S

Gina S

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I am so excited to be a part of the Focus Tutors team. I graduated from ASU in 1999 and have been teaching ever since. I have taught 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade.

Throughout my 20 years in education, I have built and maintained many positive relationships with students, parents, and colleagues and consider myself a team player. I love to read and strive to instill a life-long love of reading in kids. I enjoy challenging my students and watching them grow. My basic philosophy is all children are capable of learning and being successful when given the right tools to feel confident. I look forward to supporting students with homework/projects, math, reading, writing and organizational skills through a variety of strategies and techniques.

Kiki T

Kiki T

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 I thought I was destined to be a writer. It was my passion throughout my entire childhood and young adult life. I wanted to write for major magazines and travel the world interviewing the biggest names in entertainment. I spent the majority of my college years doing just that- editing my college magazine and majoring in Communication with a focus in media.

 I spent the years following college, working at a technology company where I trained (and retrained) clients on how to effectively use my company's software. Simultaneously, I was teaching Greek at my local church. It was the combination of these two jobs that prompted me to pursue a career in education. I loved helping people and loved making a difference in the lives of my students.

 A move to Northern Virginia opened the door to education. It was there that I had the opportunity to teach at a bilingual preschool while pursuing my Master's in Curriculum and Instruction concentrating in teaching English Learners. My graduate program led me to finding a teaching position at the largest middle school in Virginia. For three years, I worked with students who had recently arrived to the country and struggled to learn English. 

 While my experience is primarily with middle school students, I have spent many years tutoring and working with younger learners. Specifically, with students in dual-language elementary programs. I am so grateful for the opportunity to join the Focus family and work with students from grades K-8. I am passionate about helping students who are learning a new language (French, Spanish, Greek), helping primary grade students in all subject areas, supporting reading and writing, and helping with general homework help and organizational skills.

 

 

 

Paige W

Paige W

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I teach to empower.  Studying International Development at Tulane University, I learned that education is the cornerstone of all progress—healthcare, civil rights, environmentalism, and the like advance hand-in-hand with knowledgeability of the populace.  For that reason, I decided to go into education.  Well, that and the fact that kids are hilarious; high impact plus good company makes for an easy career choice!  In addition to International Development, I studied Spanish and Psychology at Tulane.  Upon earning my Bachelor of the Arts degree in 2012, I moved right out to Arizona.  Two years later, I graduated from Arizona State University with a Master of Education degree.  Since that time, I’ve enjoyed teaching special education in the valley with students in grades K-8.  I’m thrilled to be part of the Focus Tutors team, and I look forward to sharing my passion and expertise in: organization and time management, study strategies, ADD/ADHD coaching, executive functioning support, test-taking skills, Spanish, and elementary & middle school mathematics, reading, writing, spelling, and grammar.

 

 

 
 

Jared W

Jared W

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I have been teaching math and physics for eight years, after having received a Bachelor of the Arts in Education-Natural Sciences degree from Arizona State University. I earned my Master's degree in Natural Sciences in 2018. I am a fifth generation Arizona native and love this state. Tutoring math and science is really rewarding for me; the feeling when a student finally understands something they have been struggling with is awesome. I offer support in all levels of math, as well as physics.