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.
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.
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.
Kristina graduated cum laude from Holy Names University in 2012, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development. Upon graduation, Kristina taught early childhood education. In 2015, Kristina earned a Master of Education degree in Special Education, an endorsement in Structured English Immersion and teaching certification in both Elementary Education and Cross-Categorical Special Education from Arizona State University. She graduated with memberships in Kappa Delta Pi, the National Education Association and the Nation Association of Science Teachers. After graduation, Kristina taught in a fourth-grade general education classroom where she taught using Singapore Math. Now, she runs the special education department as the Special Education Coordinator at a 7th-12th-grade college prep arts school in Phoenix. She offers support for elementary and middle school students in the following areas: general homework and organization support, basic math, reading, and writing. She also offers support for high school English and organizational skills.
For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a teacher (it even said so in my 2nd grade yearbook!). At the same time I had a creative itch to work in the advertising industry. So I had to try both! I earned my Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communications and Spanish from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. I worked as project manager at a healthcare advertising agency for a short time. Everyday there was a part of me that felt unfulfilled. I knew that void would change when I became a teacher. In the fall of 2013, I began my career as an educator at Alphonsus Academy in Chicago, IL. It was there I fell in love with teaching primary grades. During my time at Alphonsus I tutored students in grades K-4, and led after school enrichment programs. While working, I also pursued my Masters of Education degree in Elementary Education from DePaul University graduating with distinction in 2015. Changing careers is without a doubt the best decision I’ve ever made.
When an opportunity fell into my lap to call Arizona “home”, I had to take it! I teach 2nd grade at a local Title 1 school. I focus on building meaningful relationships, differentiating instruction, and providing my students with choices when demonstrating understanding or mastery of a concept. A lifelong learner myself, I have attended a variety of professional development opportunities to enrich my teaching experience and practices. I am certified in Orton Gillingham (a reading intervention program), Handwriting Without Tears, On Cloud Nine (a math program focused on visualization and building number sense), Positive Discipline, and Responsive Classroom. I am eager to share my love for learning and myriad of experiences with more students through Focus Tutors.
I did not grow up knowing I was going to be a teacher, though it has always been the core of my personality. Since becoming a teacher I have come to understand that teaching is a responsibility as much as it is a joy. Education transformed the lives of my parents and subsequently, the lives of my siblings and me. A good education is the most viable pathway to a good life, one where an individual cannot only support themselves and those they love, but one where an individual can seek answers to those questions that bring happiness and fulfillment. For this reason and many more, I have pursued an education that satisfies my interests and curiosities. After completing Bachelor of Arts in History and Philosophy (with a minor in Biology) at The University of Arizona, I moved to Phoenix and began working as a science and math teacher for Great Heart Academies. Teaching mathematics became my passion and ambition and the following year I began teaching mathematics full-time. Since then I have worked hard to hone my craft through my work in the classroom, tutoring one-on-one and by pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Arizona State University. My goal is to bring a passion for mathematics to every student I encounter. I aim to encourage their love of mathematics if it is already there and more importantly, to convince and inspire a student that they are capable of achieving what they think they cannot. I offer tutoring services to middle and high school students in mathematics and science, as well as test preparation.