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.
Senior Standardized Test Preparation Specialist
Duke University, 2010, double major in Classical Civilizations and Theater Studies, graduated Magna Cum Laude; recipient of the Edward H. Benenson Grant in the Arts, 2010; Jessie Chambers Scholarship, 2006; U.S. Air Force Commendation in Mathematics and Science, 2006; National Merit Scholarship, 2005; Wayne Duff Excelsior Award for Excellence in Latin, 2005; 52 academic awards at the National Junior Classical League competitions, 2003–2006; Four-time Gold Medalist on the National Latin Exam, 2003–2006; perfect score on SAT Math II Subject Test.
From the 2012 to the 2015 school years, Michael served as Competitive Edge’s Director of Standardized Test Preparation. During this time, Michael undertook research to create guides and practice materials for the SAT, ACT, SSAT, and ISEE totaling over 500 pages in length. These materials focus on critical thinking skills and thorough understanding of content as a foundation, which is then bolstered by test-specific strategy and timed practice. Using these materials as a template, Michael has designed curricula and taught test prep courses for some of New York’s most prestigious schools, and the results have been universally positive. Michael has also acted as a test prep consultant for these schools, helping students craft preparation plans, advising college counselors on the best resources for their students, and even helping school officials modify class curricula to better prepare students for SAT Subject Tests.
In the summer of 2015, Michael shifted his focus back to helping students one-on-one. Michael has helped dozens of students dramatically raise their scores to impressive levels on the SAT, ACT, SSAT, and ISEE. Part of his success is the result of doing exhaustive research on these tests, analyzing literally tens of thousands of questions to determine the most common question types, trick questions, and topics covered. Additionally, Michael is an expert at identifying habits which limit students’ scores and coaches students to overcome them with confidence and consistency. Michael uses a curriculum combining original standardized test material, test-taking strategies, and critical thinking skills which pushes students to achieve their highest possible scores. This unique methodology has been spectacularly successful.
Outside of tutoring, Michael is a writer and comedian as well as an avid sports fan and card player.
University of Pennsylvania, currently matriculated, post-baccalaureate pre-medical studies; Dartmouth College, 2014, 3.5 GPA, major in Neuroscience and minor in Linguistics, graduated with honors in Neuroscience; Selected as 1 of 55 students from a national applicant pool of 600+ collegiate science majors to participate in Research in Science and Engineering (RiSE); Score of 5 on Advanced Placement exams in Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, French Language, French Literature, Psychology, European History, English, and Biology; Certified as a national emergency medical technician (EMT), 2012.
Olivia was salutatorian of Charlottesville (VA) High School, where she was president of the Spanish Club for three years, a leader in the French Club, and a member of her high school soccer team; and, as a consequence, the difficulties of balancing scholastic demands and extracurricular activities are very familiar to her. After exhausting the thirteen Advanced Placement courses offered at her high school, she began supplementing her high school curriculum with courses in Italian and Russian at the University of Virginia.
While at Dartmouth, Olivia was employed as a teaching assistant for three years. She began as a Spanish TA with her own class of students, teaching grammar and grading exams. After two and a half years in the Spanish department, she was promoted to TA in Linguistics, holding office hours, giving lectures, and tutoring Dartmouth undergraduates. She participated in RiSE during the summer of 2012, and researched how Arc protein distribution in the hippocampus correlates with different types of learning. During her senior year, Olivia wrote her honors thesis, conducting her own neuroscience experiment, which examined the effects of empathy on facial mimicry. In the same year, she also worked as a private tutor in the Hanover community, teaching pre-algebra, algebra, and writing to 5th graders.
At Competitive Edge, Olivia tutors the SAT, ACT, Writing, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Spanish, and French. She is a passionate teacher, striving to help her students not only to manage but also enjoy academic challenges by teaching them how to make memorable and creative connections.
In her spare time, Olivia enjoys playing with her pet hedgehog, reading, and cross-country skiing.
University of Virginia, 2010, M.A. in Spanish Literature; Princeton University, 2007, major in English in Comparative Contexts with Certificates in Spanish and Latin American Studies, graduated Magna Cum Laude, member of Phi Beta Kappa, co-recipient of the Class of 1870 Prize awarded to the best junior scholar in English Literature, 2007.
Originally from North Carolina, Cabell attended high school in Massachusetts. At Princeton, she studied both English and Hispanic Literature. In her free time, she taught ESL classes at a community center in Trenton, NJ and worked as a private tutor in the Humanities, helping middle and high school students improve their writing and organizational skills.
During a summer spent teaching English in Peru, she fell hopelessly in love with Latin America and decided to study Spanish Language Literature in graduate school. At UVA, Cabell taught Accelerated Elementary Spanish and Advanced Intermediate Spanish to college students, while immersing herself in prose, poetry and drama, from Don Quijote to Cien años de soledad.
Cabell recently moved to New York after an eight month stint in Buenos Aires, where she worked at a boutique travel company, explored Argentina from Patagonia to Paraguay, and ate as much dulce de leche ice cream as humanly possible.
CUNY Graduate Center, currently matriculated, Ph.D. in Comparative Literature; The New School, M.F.A. in Fiction, 2007; University of California, Berkeley, 2002, major in German Language and Literature with a specialization in Philosophy, recipient of High Honors (graduated in top 4 percent of the class of 2002); Humbolt Universität, Berlin, Germany, 2001 and Georg August Universität, Göttingen, Germany, 2000, studies in Philosophy and Literature; enrolled in California State University, Dominquez Hills and Stanford University for a total of 33 credits before graduating high school.
While an undergraduate at Berkeley, Jesse began tutoring in a program called Break the Cycle and, as a junior consultant, taught seminars for the University’s microcomputer facilities. Shortly after graduating, he moved to Germany and taught English at several German corporations including BMW, Siemans and Schindler. In 2005, he returned to the United States to pursue an advanced degree in Fiction at the New School in New York City and later that year moved back to California, where he tutored autistic and emotionally disturbed children in mainstream and specifically dedicated public school classrooms. During that time, he taught himself Spanish, honing his skills by spending several months in Spain and Mexico and later tutored Test Prep for both the SAT and the ACT, specializing in English and Spanish.
In 2008, Jesse was back in New York City, working at the Bronx Preparatory Charter School in the South Bronx, where he taught high school English and assisted over 100 seniors in the messaging and execution of their college essays in the school’s College Prep program. Currently he teaches courses in Rhetoric and Composition, as well as German language, at Brooklyn College and the New York City College of Technology. He has also written professionally in the field of advertising for organizations including Charter Asset Management and the Asian American Music Festival.
Jesse’s years of work with a broad range of students, from the severely autistic to the highest achievers, has trained him in individualizing the learning experience according to each student’s personal style. If given the proper tools and framework, all students, he believes, can disassemble and conquer the barriers that hinder their scholastic achievement.
When Jesse is not tutoring or teaching, he is reading or writing about interpretation, perception and aesthetic psychology, as well as Post-War American literature. Aside from his academic interests, he practices yoga and loves to cook, working hard at maintaining the skills he acquired during a stint as chef in a Berlin café.
Harvard, 2015, major in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality; recipient of language citation in Chinese, 2015; recipient of Rockefeller International Experience Grant, 2012; 790 on Chemistry SAT Subject Test; 750 on Math II SAT Subject Test; Score of 5 on AP exams in Chemistry, BC Calculus, Environmental Science, Government and Politics, US History, Biology, and Latin.
At Chapel Hill High School in North Carolina, Karl was dedicated to rigorously studying science and mathematics. After he took every science and math class available, he enrolled part-time at UNC Chapel Hill to take more advanced college-level courses. In the summers of 2009 and 2010, he worked at the EPA building computational models to study how pesticides and other chemicals affect the liver.
At Harvard, however, after taking his first gender studies course, Karl was quickly drawn to the humanities as well. He took courses in Sociology and Literature, but also continued to study the sciences in courses like Endocrinology and Evolutionary Biology. One of Karl’s favorite classes—in part because it informed his passion for social justice--was “Women and Science,” which explored how scientific research and popular science shaped the way we understand gender. Karl’s goal at CET is to inspire his students with a similar intellectual curiosity and empower them to see science and humanities as disciplines that are in constant conversation to create meaning in our everyday environment.
Karl works with students to help them discover how they learn and study best. Besides mastery of content, his tutoring work ultimately helps students improve their organizational skills, study skills, and attitude toward studying. His theatrical experience in plays, comedy and musicals at Harvard has made him a better tutor by developing spontaneity and listening skills in his approach to teaching. He believes that standardized tests can be easily tackled once students acquire the confidence that comes from knowing the test inside out as well as knowing the strategies that work best for them.
When he’s not tutoring, Karl can be found rehearsing for his next play, binge-watching Netflix series, or catching Pokémon in Central Park.
Yale University, 2016, MFA in Playwriting; Brown University, 2008, BA in Literary Arts, with honors; Weston Award in Playwriting, 2008; 2007 Lisa Beth Feldman Prize for Excellence in Fiction, 2007; 2007 Barbara Banks Brodsky Prize for Excellence in Expository Writing, 2007; Irving Lysander Foster Prize for Excellence in French Studies, 2005.
Brendan grew up in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he attended Waring School. He participated in an exchange program during the fall of his freshman year, when he lived with a family in the Loire Valley city of Angers, and the summer following his junior year, which he spent surrounding by barley fields in Porvoo, Finland.
At Brown, he interned for a stint at the public relations office of the Comédie-Française in Paris and worked as an assistant dramaturg at the Théâtre National Populaire in Lyon. He was also the interpreter on a public health study in Bamako, Mali. After graduating, he worked as a French-English translator for clients including the McGill Law Journal in Montreal, ESSEC Business School in Paris, and the Belgian National Lottery. He was also a teacher and tutor, spending the winters of 2011, 2012, and 2013 running 12th grade Shakespeare seminars at the Taktse International School in Sikkim, India, and working with private clients in French, expository writing, and the SAT and ACT exams.
As a dramatist and librettist, his work has been staged at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Humana Festival of New American Plays, and the Yale School of Drama. He has taught playwriting as a teaching fellow at Yale College and as a visiting instructor at Wesleyan University. He is also a regular contributor to Ed., the magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Shortly after completing his graduate work in playwriting in May of this year, he moved to New York City.
Brendan believes the key to successful tutoring is personalization. He takes time to get to know his students’ habits and patterns, and then works to develop approaches to problem solving that will allow them to keep learning independently long after the session is over.
When not tutoring or writing, Brendan is most likely cooking, outdoors, or both. He is especially enthusiastic about biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing.
Princeton University, 2011, major in Electrical Engineering with certificates in Materials Science & Engineering and Chinese Language & Culture; Sigma Xi Book Award for oral presentation at Spring 2011 Materials Research Society conference; National Merit Scholarship Winner; 800 on GRE Quantitative Reasoning; 800 on GRE Verbal Reasoning; 800 on SAT Writing section; 800 on SAT Mathematics Level 2 Subject Test; 800 on SAT Physics Subject Test; 5 on AP Physics B; 5 on AP Biology; 5 on AP Chemistry; 5 on AP Latin - Vergil; 5 on AP Calculus BC; 5 on AP Statistics.
Alfred grew up on Staten Island, New York, and attended Brooklyn’s Poly Prep Country Day School throughout middle school and high school. There, he developed a love for asking tough questions and sharing the answers he found with others. This, combined with his love for taking things apart, led him to pursue the path of engineer by day and journalist by night.
Alfred majored in Electrical Engineering at Princeton and spent much of his free time either interning at WABC radio’s John Batchelor Show or working for the news division of Princeton’s own student-run radio station, WPRB. He also taught math for Princeton's Freshman Scholar's Institute, where he welcomed incoming freshmen to campus and helped them gain the confidence they needed to tackle freshman year math coursework.
Upon graduation, he moved to Lexington, Kentucky, to work as an engineer for the printer maker Lexmark International. There, too, he maintained an interest in sharing his knowledge with others. On nights and weekends, he coached the University of Kentucky’s elite college athletes not in basketball—Coach John Calipari has that under control—but in math, physics and economics.
Alfred returned to New York in 2013 to attend Columbia Journalism School and to pursue his dream of asking questions for a living. When he’s not tutoring or pursuing a story, Alfred can usually be found rocking out to country music, hitting rails on the squash court, or cheering on his beloved Yankees.