Introducing new faculty at A Step Ahead!

We admit it.  We’re very, very choosy.  We believe what makes us different at A Step Ahead is that we provide private tutoring with a personal touch.  Not only are our faculty outstanding and experienced educators, but they are also interesting, curious, vibrant people you and your children will enjoy.

So let’s get started.  Here are three exceptional tutors who have joined our community.  Welcome!

Maria Elliott

Maria’s passion is working with students who have learning differences. She has specialized training in multi-sensory education therapy and deep experience working with children with autism, auditory processing disorders, ADHD, dyscalculia (difficulty with math facts), dysgraphia (difficulties with handwriting), and dyslexia.

Maria’s face lights up when we ask about her very favorite part of teaching. “I love to see the smiles of success on my students’ faces as we find the keys to unlock the treasure of reading!”, she responds with energy and enthusiasm.

And what does Maria like to read? “A meaningful and personal favorite book of mine is the allegory Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. For parents of my students, I really like the Life Success parent guide from the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation.”

Here are links to both:’_Feet_on_High_Places

Click to access Life_Success.pdf

On a personal note, Maria’s favorite song is a true classic, and shows her playful side: “My favorite song is ‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?’ from The Sound of Music. Two of my brothers and their friends did a rendition of it at my wedding reception! It is a memory I will always cherish.”

When she’s not working with students at A Step Ahead, you can find Maria hanging out with her three pets: Kessi, a ten-year old lab and border collie mix dog; Georgia, a coonhound; and Benjamin Bunny, a t-rex bunny named after Beatrix Potter’s beloved character.

Frank James

Like Bill and Cynthia Tessien, executive directors, Frank changed careers to embrace education. Frank is a Chartered Financial Analyst who worked as a financial portfolio manager for 15 years. Frank left the world of finance and obtained his teaching license for math for middle school students (grades 6-9). He has over ten years’ experience teaching math, and also has coached youth soccer through the Optimist Club and Twin City Youth Soccer Association for a decade.

When asked about his favorite books, Frank’s words bubble with enthusiasm. “My favorite reading moments are all tied to my children.  Both of my children had great attention spans from a very young age.  My wife and I read to them daily beginning with board books and graduating to multiple nightly readings of Curious George Goes to the Hospital, my eldest’s favorite.  My daughters were fortunate enough to grow up with Harry Potter, and our family attended many midnight releases for new books in the series.  I was able to read the first couple of books to my girls. By the third book, however, two hours of reading aloud was no longer enough to satisfy them and they began to read on their own.  When the seventh book came out, we went to the release and purchased four copies (one for each member of the family) and two cases of Diet Coke.  The Diet Coke facilitated the twenty-four consecutive hours of reading that was about to ensue.”

Katie Price

Katie has been involved in education since 1980, focusing her time and skills on students in kindergarten through second grade. Katie’s love for children and learning shows in her steadfast conviction that all children can learn. She invests focused attention to understand her students and exactly where they are in their learning. She develops strategies to build on what they know and to help them learn how to solve problems with increasing confidence and independence.

Why did Katie choose to invest her entire working life in educating and nurturing students? Because as a student, Katie always felt that school, for her, could be an environment where students were seen and not heard. She wanted to change that for her students. For Katie, it is critically important for students to have a sense of a being in a place of safety with their personal tutor, who surrounds them with an environment of encouragement.

You may have seen on our Facebook post that Katie’s favorite book in middle school was Little Women because she only had one sister and always wished she had more!

Want to know more?

If you want to chat about our talented educators at A Step Ahead and how we can help your students build confidence and skills, contact Bill Tessien at 336.766.7124 or by using the form below.  And follow us on Facebook!

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