Director of Operations
Smith College 2003, double major in Latin American Studies and Luso-Brazilian Studies, 4.0 GPA, graduated Summa Cum Laude; member of Phi Beta Kappa; STRIDE Scholar, winner of Arthur Ellis Hamm Prize; Near-perfect score of 1590 on SAT I Exam (800 Verbal, 790 Math); score of 790 on Writing and 770 on Spanish SAT II Subject Tests; Score of 5 on AP Exams in Calculus, English Language, English Literature, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, and Biology.
Sharon spent her time in college between Massachusetts and Latin America, studying abroad with the Brown-in-Brazil program in Rio de Janeiro and working as the Project Director with Amigos de las Americas, a youth development non-profit. She graduated after just three years, and continued her work with AMIGOS as the Director of Training, combining her passions for education, language, and international development. Back in her Chicago hometown, Sharon tutored a wide range of students, from teaching Portuguese for the Workplace to employees in a nut import company, to tutoring inner-city second graders in literacy and numeracy, and lots of high school math in between.
Now based in Brooklyn, Sharon works for the New York City Department of Education as a School Business Manager, running the operational and logistical side of new, small, public school development. She is also the director of an intergenerational religious education program that brings together elementary aged kids and adults of all ages to delve deeply into textual analysis and interpretation.
When tutoring, Sharon’s approach is to help students build confidence through focusing on what they know, either by drawing a picture when a math problem feels confusing at first, or re-phrasing a difficult sentence in their own words. She encourages students to think logically about whether or not an answer makes sense. This avoids getting sidetracked by trick responses written using common errors. She also personalizes test prep by reminding students that the writers of tests are people, too, and the idea is to get inside of their heads to figure out what they tend to be looking for test-takers to demonstrate. Humor is essential in learning any subject, and studying isn’t boring when you find ways to laugh about it, so she finds ways to make work funny whenever possible.
If she’s not tutoring, working at a school, or reading, you are likely to find Sharon practicing Vinyasa Yoga, pretending that milk chocolate is healthy, listening to cheesy ‘90’s Latin pop music, or obsessively planning her family’s next travel adventure.
Teachers College Columbia University, 2016, M.A. with Initial Certification in Art and Art Education; Williams College, 2012, major in English Literature; Class of 1960 Scholar, 2011-2012; Gates Millennium Scholar, 2007-2016; perfect score on Essay section of the GRE; National Merit Scholar, 2007; National Honor Society, 2006-2008; perfect score on SAT Essay section and scores of 800 and 790 on the Writing and Critical Reading sections; Scholastic Writing Awards, 2004; Prep for Prep Valedictorian, Contingent XXIV; scores of 5 on AP exams in U.S. History, English Literature and Composition.
Raised in New York City, Paisley attended Hunter College High School and the Brearley School. At Brearley, she was a writer for the literary journal and school newspaper, and was the President of the Music Appreciation Club. On Saturdays, she attended the Parsons School of Design Precollege, later the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Jazz Division. At Williams, Paisley was a leader in the Student Government, serving as Neighborhood President. Always active and yearning for outdoor adventure, she was a member of the Equestrian and Cross-Country teams. Paisley’s curious nature led her to take Winter Term courses abroad in Argentina and Egypt for choral singing and art. In addition, she contributed to the Williams Record as the restaurant critic.
Paisley has been teaching and tutoring for over a decade, and she loves every second of it. After college, she taught in public and private schools in Massachusetts and New York City, during which time she gained valuable experience in lesson planning, curriculum design, classroom management, and how to foster the most effective student-teacher relationships. Two of the schools she worked in were Berkshire Arts and Technology and Coney Island Prep, where she taught grades 6-12 Visual Art and grades 6-7 English, respectively. Paisley tutors the SAT, ACT, AP, ISEE, SSAT, and SHSAT in addition to academic subjects including Social Studies, History, Algebra I/II, Geometry, and English. All of her students see clear improvements in their grades and test scores. She has also worked with students on college essays and applications for college and awards. Her students have won honors including the Scholastic Writing Awards.
A methodical tutor, Paisley subscribes to zeroing in right away on any weaknesses and constantly drilling difficult concepts (grammar, math, science, reading comprehension, or vocabulary) until they are internalized. However, Paisley’s goal is not only to teach her students the strategies and content knowledge they need to succeed on their tests and courses, but also to be a mentor and motivator. Lightening up the tutoring experience by injecting humor and laughs, she aims to have her students look forward to their sessions.
When she is not tutoring or planning lessons, Paisley spends her time cooking, exploring new restaurants, swimming, going to museums and jazz concerts, and listening to music.
Stanford University, 2008, double-major in Human Biology (concentration: International Women’s and Children’s Health and Rights) and Drama; California Scholarship Federation member; National Merit Finalist; AP Scholar with Distinction; Score of 1520 (99th percentile) on the SAT, 780 on the US History SAT II.
At Stanford, Jill was active in the drama department (producing and acting in “How I Learned to Drive” for her senior project) while studying public health, eventually teaching about HIV and reproductive health in Tanzania as well as studying abroad at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.
Jill is now in her seventh year of preparing students for the SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, SHSAT, and the HCHS entrance exam. She enjoys working with a wide range of students, including those with learning disabilities. She’s seen some students score 2400’s and 36’s, and others raise their scores enough to move their “Reach” schools into the “Match” category. Since moving to New York, she estimates that she’s worked with well over two hundred students.
Jill is familiar with how stressful test prep can be, and strongly believes that levity is an important tool in conquering the test prep and school admission process. She also encourages her students to teach her concepts they’re mastering, as teaching is often the best way to learn. Every student is unique, so Jill doesn’t agree with one-size-fits-all approaches; instead, she likes to figure out the best strategies for each individual student.
When not tutoring, Jill is probably acting, seeing plays, or auditioning. She spends her spare time hiking, rooting for the Stanford football team, seeing theatre, and reading every book she can find.
Stanford University, 2015, B.S. in Symbolic Systems with a concentration in Decision Making & Rationality, minors in Mathematics and Creative Writing; 3.65 GPA; 800 on SAT Math, 780 on SAT US History Subject Test; 99th percentile score of 35 on the ACT.
From preschool through the 8th grade, Stu attended the Avery Coonley School, a private institution for gifted students in Chicago. He then went to Downers Grove North High School, one of the top public schools in Illinois, where he served as vice president of the National Honors Society, logging the most tutoring and volunteering service hours out of all the 200 plus members. As a high school student, he worked one-on-one with other high school and middle school students, tutoring coursework in math, physics, biology, and chemistry.
At Stanford, Stu majored in Symbolic Systems, a cognitive science major that covers a wide range of subjects including Computer Science, Psychology, Philosophy, and Linguistics. More specifically, he concentrated in Decision Making and Rationality, which included courses in Philosophical Logic, Prospect Theory, Game Theory, and Behavioral Economics. In his role as an advising fellow for the Symbolic Systems program, he had office hours every week where students could come in and ask for advice or help on schoolwork. In his free time, he worked as an undergraduate research intern in both the Psychology and Linguistics departments. He also founded and ran a student group for stand up comedians on campus and wrote jokes for several humor groups.
Stu tutors ACT and SAT English, Math, Reading, and Science with Competitive Edge in addition to the SSAT and ISEE. He combines Competitive Edge’s approach with students’ particular needs by attacking problems from their point of view, finding custom solutions that will be most meaningful and productive for each individual. Through his studies in decision making, he has realized there are many different strategies for problem solving. Finding the one that is best suited for each of his students is rewarding and fun.
In his free time, Stu performs stand up comedy at bars and clubs around the city. And if he’s not doing that, he’s probably working on his blog or some other writing project.
Columbia University, 2013, major in History with a Specialization in American History of the 20th Century; Dean’s List 2012–2013; Hunter College High School, 2009; 99th percentile composite score of 2280 on the SAT I; score of 5 on Spanish AP exam.
Willis grew up in New York City, where he received a rigorous education at Hunter College High School. But it was beyond the classroom, in the city’s museums and theaters, that his curiosity was continually piqued. Also, on weekends and during the summers, he had the opportunity to study music in programs offered by the Manhattan School of Music and Harlem’s Jazzmobile.
Over the course of his time as an undergraduate, Willis conducted research throughout the city’s archives and libraries and wrote a Senior Honors Thesis on New Deal-era photography projects sponsored by the Farm Security Administration. His accomplished and dedicated professors and demanding but fulfilling classroom curriculum inspired him to teach others. It is with great enthusiasm that he attempts to equip his students with the same set of tools and insights that he has learned.
Since 2013 Willis has tutored students for the ACT, SAT, World History and U.S. History SAT Subject Tests, SHSAT, ISEE, and numerous AP tests, including US History, World History, Spanish Language and US Government and Politics. In order to provide the most effective instruction possible, he employs a strategic approach to identify patterns in students’ weaknesses and focus on the material that would be most helpful. This involves a combination of insights culled from years of experience with test preparation, and careful attention to students’ unique abilities and struggles. This sometimes requires connecting the material—which can begin to seem irrelevant beyond a single examination or standardized test—to themes and patterns in the world at large.
In recent years, Willis has also worked as a Spanish translator for the Huffington Post, and he has performed as an actor and musician at venues throughout New York City, including the Guggenheim Museum, Pianos, and Bowery Electric.
Columbia University, 2014, major in Sociocultural Anthropology, minor in Jazz Studies, 3.73 GPA, Dean’s List 2010-2014; composite score of 2240 on SAT I; 760 on SAT US History subject test; score of 5 on AP exams in Calculus, US History, European History, Comparative Government, English Language, and English Literature; Bronfman Youth Fellow 2009; Stuyvesant High School.
Jacob grew up in New York City where he was lucky enough to learn in several diverse educational and experiential settings. He started off at the Bank Street School for Children, a progressive elementary and middle school and then attended Stuyvesant High School, which in contrast to Bank Street, is a rigorous and test-driven environment. During his time at Stuyvesant, Jacob had a number of inspiring and dedicated teachers, particularly in the humanities, who stimulated an interest in social justice and American politics.
During his time at Columbia, Jacob pored over ethnographic texts and social theory treatises, closely studied trance and possession rituals in Haiti and Bali, and transcribed the solos of John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk. The breadth of Jacob’s college education required keeping his quantitative and critical thinking sharp, particularly useful while delving deeply into the humanities. Throughout his time as an student, he also focused on music, playing guitar in a variety of jazz and rock ensembles and taking a number of music theory and ethnomusicology classes.
When tutoring for standardized tests, Jacob seeks to help students identify their greatest points of weakness, whether in the material or simply as test-takers, and provide them with methods for tackling those problems from a variety of angles. While he is devoted to providing students with the material and strategies to get the best test results, Jacob also emphasizes the importance of academic curiosity, experimentation, and problem solving skills. He wants his students not only to ace their tests but also to become enthusiastic lifelong learners.
When Jacob isn’t tutoring, he is pursuing a career as a guitarist, performing at various venues throughout New York City. He also volunteers at the Community Action School (MS 54), conducting weekly literacy foundations sessions with middle school kids.
University of Iowa, 2016, MFA in Nonfiction Writing; American University of Cairo, 2012, Masters in Arabic Language; Dartmouth College, 2011, major in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Arabic), Phi Beta Kappa (2011)
At Dartmouth, Spenser wrote for the school newspaper, was the social chair for his fraternity, and dove for the varsity swim team. The day after he graduated, he flew to Cairo where he studied Arabic in a one-year Masters program and joined an Egyptian parkour team. After completing his studies in Cairo, Spenser moved to New York City and tutored the SHSAT, SAT, and ACT for A-List Tutoring until he left to attend Iowa's Creative Writing MFA program where he studied nonfiction and translation.
In addition to being a student at Iowa, Spenser also taught undergraduates courses. His Introduction to Nonfiction course examined six aspects of the genre: personal writing, science writing, travelogue, writing about language, profiles, and political writing. Students also learned how to workshop, revise, and then revise again. For his Writing for Grants and Awards course, he required his students to design their own semester-long project. He then worked with them to draft personal statements, grant proposals, Fulbright applications, resumes, and cover letters. Spenser currently lives in Brooklyn, and his writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and Sports Illustrated.
Spenser tutors Constructing America, social studies, and all things ELA and writing related. He believes in hard work and discipline but also thinks that tutoring can be casual and, if not exactly fun, then pleasant. In terms of style, he focuses on practicality. If a student wants to learn the difference between a coordinating and subordinating conjunction, he's happy to teach him/her, but otherwise, Spenser eliminates jargon and pretension in order to make the subject matter as accessible as possible. Students who come to him for help with writing can expect to learn specific, concrete techniques to improve their organization, structure, and flow. They should also prepare to revise, revise, revise.
In 2015, Spenser competed on “American Ninja Warrior,” which he wrote about for Rolling Stone.
Dartmouth College, 2014, majors in Linguistics and English; Graduated with honors; Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth Fellow, 2013; recipient of Stanley Prize, 2013; Recipient of Kaminsky Family Fund Award, 2013; near-perfect score of 2340 on SAT; perfect scores of 800 on English, Math, and Chemistry SAT Subject Tests; near-perfect scores of 780 on US History and Biology SAT Subject Tests; score of 5 on AP exams in Biology, Chemistry, Calculus BC, US History, and European History; Gold Medalist on National Latin Exam.
At Dartmouth, Anna’s class choices were widely varied, ranging from Social Neuroscience to The Black Radical Tradition to Design Thinking. Anna's favorite courses usually had more to do with the pedagogy of her professors than with the content of the courses, grounding her belief that the right teacher can enliven any subject material. She particularly enjoyed, for example, a course on Puritan Poetry with the professor who later became her Honors Thesis Advisor. In this class Dartmouth students worked on equal footing with students from an alternative high school in West Lebanon, each group learning from the life experiences and understandings of the other. In her senior seminar, Dialectology, the advanced linguistics students conducted field research in Boston and co-wrote an academic paper which we submitted to conferences. Her activities outside of the classroom included founding The Dartmouth Radical newspaper—for which she edited articles and wrote press releases, serving as president of Soul Scribes slam poetry group, sitting on the Women's and Gender Studies Student Steering Committee, and teaching newly initiated fraternity brothers the basics of consent as a Mentor Against Violence.
Anna's teaching career began at her high school in the heart of Silicon Valley, Castilleja, as she participated in a peer tutoring program for middle and high school students, a volunteer tutoring program at a nearby school, and mathematics and English instruction for elementary school students in her neighborhood. In college, she ran writing workshops and taught performance poetry.
Since graduating from Dartmouth, Anna worked as a teacher in somewhat unorthodox settings. At Everytown for Gun Safety in Las Vegas and NYG Strategic Marketing Consultants, her jobs were to train new hires and direct team-building. She focused on teaching, training, and establishing rapport with her team and clients.
Since Anna has taught a diverse group of people in a variety of settings, she learned how to teach to different learning styles and backgrounds. Finding mutual interests and building rapport allows her to build excitement in the material she is teaching. Her fervent belief in excellence is reflected in students being motivated to their top performance, even those students who are already performing at a high level. Anna's appreciation for both breadth and depth allows her to forge unlikely connections between subjects, learn and teach in a deep and highly contextual manner, as well as to find points of interest for almost any student in almost any subject.
When she isn't waxing poetic about the way multiple-choice questions reveal their own answers, you might find Anna editing her friends' first novels, or gazing fondly at falling leaves.
Northwestern University, 2017, major in Theatre, minor in Sociological Studies, certificate in Creative Writing for the Media, graduated Summa Cum Laude, GPA of 3.96, Dean’s List from Fall 2013-Spring 2017, Lambda Pi Eta (Communication Studies Honor Society), Honoree at Northwestern Honors Ceremony and School of Communication Honors Convocation.
Ben grew up in New York and is a product of the private school system. He attended the Browning School for grades K-8, and he spent his high school years at Riverdale Country School, graduating with a 3.9 GPA and with honors. His experiences taking Constructing America and Integrated Liberal Studies are among his fondest memories during his time at Riverdale. Ben has always enjoyed finding different approaches to break down complex material, a skill that contributed to winning two Riverdale Science Awards and excellent performance in math.
At Northwestern, Ben served as the Artistic Director of Lipstick Theatre, a student organization dedicated to providing opportunities for female artists, where he mentored more than ten directors in the staging of various productions. In addition to studying theatre, Ben took numerous courses in Art History and Spanish, and he developed a passion for academic and creative writing. In his sociology courses, he examined and analyzed research pertaining to the effects of race, gender, sexual orientation, education, and urbanization on individuals in American society. In his senior year, Ben completed Northwestern’s screenwriting certificate program, in which he penned multiple episodes of an original sitcom as well as a full length feature. His experience in this program gave him the proper communication and organization skills for workshopping, revising, and analyzing writing topics with his fellow students.
Following his graduation, Ben moved back to New York both to pursue a career in acting and to continue engaging in academia through tutoring. His mother currently teaches History at The Spence School. Teaching and a commitment to helping others mature as students and thinkers are important qualities to Ben as well. Ben is able to understand the pressures and responsibilities of New York-based high school students in particular, as he successfully went through the same process not too long ago. His experience working with student writers and directors has also helped him become a stronger tutor.
Ben believes in establishing a strong rapport with students, fostering a collaborative approach to learning, and catering all lessons to the specific needs and learning styles of the individual. The ultimate goal is to help students build confidence, find their own voices as critical thinkers, and feel in control of their academic material.
Ben holds an encyclopedic knowledge of theatre, film, and all things popular culture. He can name you the winner of every major Academy Award dating back to 1960.
Barnard College, 2015; major in American Studies and Human Rights; graduated with departmental honors; summa cum laude; member of Phi Beta Kappa; 3.95/4.0 GPA; Tow Foundation Public Service Program; Dean’s List 2011-2015; 5 AP scores in AP English Language and Comprehension, AP Calculus AB, and AP Psychology.
In college, Mollie’s passion culminated in her year-long departmental thesis, “Dave Duerson, Affirmative Action and Racial Justice Under Neoliberalism,” which received high distinction. Prior to that, Mollie completed a semester-long independent research project as part of her study abroad program with the International Honors Program in Human Rights on the tension between an international human rights framework and the unique female experience. Throughout college, Mollie consistently worked to develop her writing, research, and interrogation skills. When not running between internships, the library, and outdoor concerts, Mollie was auditioning for plays and writing fiction.
Mollie’s role at Barnard as a Speaking Fellow, where she encouraged fellows to speak amongst themselves, furthered her experience in cultivating dynamic conversation. Working as a peer to peer tutor and helping her peers overcome their fears of public speech taught her that the best way to teach is to encourage and support. She takes this same approach to standardized test prep and homework help. Focusing on the basics and ignoring the traps laid by tricky tests takes confidence and Mollie focuses on building that up in students. Mollie works with students to break down the material and solidify their building blocks. Students will not only nail their tests, improve their grades but develop better learning habits. By approaching these tasks as opportunities to flex students’ muscles, they become stronger with each practice session. Using these same tools, Mollie also tutored Washington Heights middle schoolers in math while at Barnard.
Since graduating from college, Mollie has worked with nonprofits and in government service, at the New York Attorney General’s Office. She continued cultivating her passion for social justice and love of learning. She’s helped protect the rights of New Yorkers and promote nonviolence amongst youth.
When not tutoring or working, Mollie can be found lounging in Prospect Park, watching 30 for 30 documentaries, or boxing. And if not, most likely she’s lost in a game of fetch with a Pit Bull.