The Inspirica Test Prep Team

OUR STAFF

At Inspirica, we’ve established ourselves over nearly four decades as industry leaders for tutoring and test-preparation services. Our approach is founded on the principles of professionalism, adaptability, and positivity. We have worked with every type of student in every academic circumstance and on every type of test, so our entire team’s approach is grounded in the simple fact that each child and family is unique.

Our staff exists to support our families and our tutors. For the former, we have a team of Program Coordinators who provide each family with the information and support they need throughout process. For the latter, we have a team made up of an outstanding Tutor Coordinator and Head Mentor who ensure that each tutor has everything they need to make every program a success. And in between the two, we have a team of curriculum, test, and technology experts whose create the optimal curriculum for each type of program by combining exceptional proprietary tools with carefully curated third-party materials.

Our tutors are dynamic, engaging individuals who recognize that no two students are the same and who work to customize their approach accordingly. They understand that standardized testing can often be a difficult  experience for students, so they ground their approach in encouragement and positivity. They are, without a doubt, the best team in the business, and we’re excited to share them with you.

Founder and CEO

Lisa Jacobson

Head of Learning and Innovation

Alex Whalen

Program Coordinator

Jennifer Fink

Nina Abrams
Head of School Programs

Nina Abrams

Manager of Tutor Operations

Rachel Epstein

Inspirica's Master Tutor

Donald Viscardi

Testing & Tutoring Analytics Expert

Ryan Furiness

Head Mentor

Yuliya Aleksandrov

Jonah Fishel
Information Systems Specialist and Full-Time Tutor

Jonah Fishel

Founder and CEO

Lisa Jacobson

Lisa began tutoring math to her fellow students in the fifth grade. Her teacher noticed that she had a natural ability for making complicated concepts seem simple, so when the teacher went on maternity leave, she suggested that Lisa become an 11-year-old teaching assistant to the substitute. Thus began a lifelong career in education.

By the time she enrolled as a freshman at Stanford, Lisa had a thriving tutoring business. In those days, if you had problems with a school subject , you would ask your teacher for help. As word of Lisa’s skill as a tutor spread back, Lisa soon had a following among celebrities, politicians, designers, and athletes and was flown all over the world as the “tutor to the stars.” Inspirica was born.

Fast-forward 35 years later: Lisa’s own children have applied to colleges and taken the same tests your children are now preparing for. Experiencing the process as a parent has deepened her appreciation for the role of parents in the application process and of the opportunities and challenges that come with a child getting ready to leave the nest.

Inspirica now has dozens of world-class tutors. They are brilliant and caring, and they have the training and expertise to help their students reach their personal best on test day. Lisa still is actively involved in the company and with all of its employees. The reputation, expertise, and longevity of Inspirica are incomparable.

Head of Learning and Innovation

Alex Whalen

As the Head of Learning and Innovation, I am responsible for making sure that our teams of education professionals are equipped with the very best technologies and curriculum available. The essence of tutoring hasn’t changed over the many decades we’ve been working with families, but the tools available to both tutors and students undoubtedly have, and it is my mission to make certain that everyone who works for and with us is given everything they need to succeed. Having worked as a tutor here at Inspirica for nearly fifteen years before taking on my current role, I know first-hand just how important the work we do is to our families, and I promise to do everything I can to ensure that when your student sits down with one of our tutors, they will both have everything they need to make the most of their time together.

Dissertation:"Information, Communication, and Infrastructure: How Citizen Activists Use Information Technology to Transform American Party Politics"

Academic History:Boston University, PhD in Political Science (2009); Boston University, MA in Political Science (2009); University of Virginia, BA in Government (1993)

Program Coordinator

Jennifer Fink

As the Program Coordinator, I will help you create a customized tutoring plan that works best for your child and your family.  Whether it’s your first child going through this process or your fourth, I know how to get the information we need and translate it into the best possible plan for each individual student. I know from experience the importance of the tutor match, and I will ensure that you and your child are in good hands from the time you first talk to me until the program is complete.

Head of School Programs

Nina Abrams

As the Head of School Programs, I work with school counselors and administrators to develop programs for their students, from ACT/ SAT diagnostic testing to SSAT prep classes. As a former classroom teacher and tutor, I understand the needs of students, parents, and school staff. This allows me to create programs that are a great fit for everyone involved! I also personally review each set of test results and our recommendations with families, answer questions, and help guide them through the test-taking process. I have a deep love of learning and am passionate about education, so I handle my role in assisting with the academic journey with the utmost care.

Manager of Tutor Operations

Rachel Epstein

As the Manager of Tutor Operations here at Inspirica, I oversee the tutors in locations around the world. From initial hiring to payroll, I make sure I am the go-to person for anything they need. I enjoy working with our tutor corps because they are a dedicated group of individuals who care about having their students learn and succeed academically and in life. In the past 35 years the tutoring world has changed dramatically, but the quality of tutoring and tutors we have at Inspirica has stayed the best in the business. I love working here because our team truly values every family that comes through our doors and strives to help every student succeed.

Inspirica's Master Tutor

Donald Viscardi

Donald has been a part of Inspirica since its inception. As a struggling actor fresh out of college, where he graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, he sought fulfilling ways to earn money while maintaining a flexible schedule. Rather fortuitously, his friend Lisa Jacobson, an SAT tutor in the then fledgling test prep industry, invited Donald to work with some of her students as she was in the early stages of building an exciting new tutoring company. Within a few years, this side job turned into a bustling career. Lisa Jacobson went on to become the CEO of Inspirica, and Donald has been proud to serve with her, watching Inspirica continue to grow. He discovered the truly fulfilling nature of the one-on-one tutoring process and has been working with students of all ages for the last 34 years, establishing himself as the Master Tutor at Inspirica. He also serves to oversee the company’s other programs and offers advice and expertise when needed.

Donald has enjoyed working with students of all ages–from 3rd and 4th graders, through high school, college, and graduate school applicants, and even the occasional 40-year-old doctor seeking to attain an MBA. His expertise is derived from working with thousands of students with varying learning styles over the course of three decades. Donald takes great pride in his ability to immediately focus in on a student’s most pressing needs, finding the most efficient and fulfilling course of action and ultimately following through to a successful test day. In addition to tutoring several academic subjects, Donald has specialized in the usual alphabet soup of entrance exams: SSAT, ISEE, ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and several others. He also especially enjoys helping students with their college and grad school application essays.

Donald highly values so many accomplishments during his career, helping countless students realize their dreams of acceptance into a top school or attaining that seemingly unattainable score. But since he often establishes strong and successful relationships with children and their families, he takes great pride in watching many of his students return for their next milestone. For so many families, he has become the go-to tutor, mentoring a group of siblings from the early SSAT days through the SAT and college entrance process, and then later to grad school. Recently, his proudest achievement has been to tutor several students who are the children of his former tutees! 

Donald is a native of Brooklyn, NY, and he lives there currently with his wife of 25 years and his two teenage boys. For the last 15 years he has devoted much of his spare time to coaching baseball and flag football at a local community sports league. Donald is also an avid walker/hiker, and you can catch him daily on the loop in nearby Prospect Park. He loves photography and enjoys making videos and slide shows for his extended family, chronicling events, major and minor. He may also be spotted on many a late night watching classic horror movies!

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE, GMAT, LSAT

Subjects:Pre-Algebra, Algebra, College Application Essays, Academic Essay Writing,

Testing & Tutoring Analytics Expert

Ryan Furiness

Ryan got his start tutoring through his high school’s National Honor Society way back when MySpace was a thing; he continued to sharpen his skills during college, working with students primarily on math homework and essay-writing. After graduating with a double major in Political Science and Ancient History, Ryan decided to turn his passion for one-on-one instruction into his profession, and he’s been with Inspirica ever since.

Since joining the company, Ryan has worked with students on everything from 5th grade math to graduate school entrance exams. All told, he has almost 15 years of experience teaching students of a wide range of ages and learning styles, from self-directed young professionals looking for guidance as they prep independently to 10-year-olds who need to take regular cartwheel breaks.

Ryan tutors a variety of academic subjects, with math and writing being his favorites, as well as most of the least popular acronyms: SSAT, ISEE, ACT, SAT, LSAT, GMAT, and GRE. The thing he enjoys most about the job is making connections and building rapport with students of all ages, and though he doesn’t have a ‘favorite’ test to tutor, he can occasionally be found doing LSAT logic games in his spare time. If Ryan had to pick a proudest tutoring moment, it would be when he helped a student improve her score from a 21 to a 30 on the ACT; watching her grow in confidence over the course of the program and then apply to colleges that she initially wasn’t even considering was the perfect microcosm of what he loves about tutoring.

When he’s not working, Ryan is usually doing crossword puzzles, gaming (either video games or board games – he’s not picky), or going on walks with his dog Clover, who represents the other half of the Durham, NC branch of Inspirica. Clover is often asleep in her bed next to Ryan’s desk while he works, and if you listen closely, you may even be able to hear the occasional puppy snore during a session…

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE, GMAT, LSAT

Subjects:Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, College Application Essays, History and English Essays, US History

Head Mentor

Yuliya Aleksandrov

Yuliya has 10 years of experience coaching rhythmic gymnastics at all levels (from preschool to Junior Olympic, ages 3-18), and it’s this love of connecting with students that made her pursue tutoring. She’s been with Inspirica for over four years; when she’s not tutoring, she’s training new hires and helping out with anything and everything else (from curriculum planning to admin work) in her role as Head Mentor. Outside of Inspirica, she has taught kindergarten math at an after-school program. Having the chance to work with such young kids and help them develop their love of math from an early age was a blast. Yuliya holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Communication and minor in writing and resides in Brighton, MA.

Yuliya tutors everyone’s favorite standardized tests – the SAT, ACT, SSAT, ISEE, TOEFL, and the Math 1, Math 2, and Literature SAT Subject Tests – as well as academic math and writing from elementary to high school levels. She has worked with a wide range of students (in terms of age, starting score, learning differences, and more) and enjoys adapting her teaching style to fit the needs of each one. Her favorite thing to teach is problem-solving, which she believes is the basis for math fluency and the key for every standardized test.

Though Yuliya has had many students score in the 99th percentile on the SSAT and ISEE or go from 30s to 35s on the ACT, her proudest tutoring achievement was having a student raise her ACT score from a 23 to a 28 in only 10.5 hours of tutoring. This student came in with an open mind and fully committed herself to the task at hand despite only having the chance to take the official test one time her senior year. Another proud moment was receiving the following note from the parent of an SSAT student (who achieved top scores her first time testing though originally planning to test again): “The most important thing you did for her was to point out that she should not apologize and that self-confidence is a good thing.”

When she’s not working, Yuliya is likely solving number or logic puzzles (kakuro and nonogram are her current favorites), playing board games, cross-stitching, taking personality or Harry Potter Buzzfeed quizzes, binging her favorite shows, reading, and longingly looking through pictures of cats that she’s not allowed to adopt. She also loves to travel, and even did a study abroad program in college where she lived in a 14th century medieval castle in the Netherlands.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE

Subjects:Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, History and English Essay Writing

Information Systems Specialist and Full-Time Tutor

Jonah Fishel

Jonah actually liked Latin class in high school, so tutoring his peers for $10/hr after school was a logical choice for him in 10th grade. He branched out into science and math in his senior year, and then added SAT/ACT tutoring to his offerings while he was pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Storytelling (and a minor in Religious Studies and Computer Science). After moving to Philadelphia in 2016, and having been tutoring on the side for eight years, Jonah decided to go pro with a full-time tutoring job. He’s been with Inspirica ever since.

Jonah now works full-time as Inspirica’s jack-of-all-trades, using his experience learning about and tutoring a wide variety of subjects to provide niche prep programs for unusual subjects. In his three years at Inspirica, Jonah has tutored every science subject, three different levels of calculus, an intro to business course, and literally every Latin program that has come through the door. Of course, Jonah also has eight years of experience tutoring the SAT and the ACT, and prep for those tests form the majority of his tutoring experience.

Jonah has experience working with many different types of learners with diverse needs, and prides himself on individualizing a student’s test prep program by tailoring his approach to their learning style, or by incorporating information from the student’s IEP. While Jonah’s favorite subject to tutor varies depending on what he’s tutoring at the moment you ask him, he consistently enjoys tutoring students in higher-level sciences. His proudest moment as a tutor was bringing a disinterested student’s ACT Science section score from a 13 to a 34—an outlier, sure, but a perfect example of what Jonah loves most about tutoring: teaching a student to get invested and care about what they are learning, not just the score on the test.

When he’s not tutoring, Jonah works as the IT and tech support branch of Inspirica, single-handedly reminding every tutor, staff member, student, and parent of what their passwords are and how to get into class. When he isn’t on the other end of the Inspirica.com chat support bot, Jonah is studying for his Master’s of Education graduate program, practicing his guitar skills, or sleeping on the couch with one or both of his dogs.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE, GMAT, LSAT

Subjects:Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Essay Writing, English Academic Essays, History Academic Essays, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Latin, US History, World History, Economics

OUR TUTORS

Click to see full bios

Aja Brady-Saalfeld
Full-Time Tutor

Aja Brady-Saalfeld

Beatriz Simonsohn
Expert Tutor

Beatriz Simonsohn

Caleb Kim
Expert Tutor

Caleb Kim

Cody O'Brien
Expert Tutor

Cody O’Brien

Chris Dibona
Full-Time Tutor / Program Coordinator

Chris DiBona

Chris Dlugozima
Expert Tutor

Chris Dlugozima

Emily Rudy
SSAT/ISEE Specialist

Emily Rudy

J Oneill
Expert Tutor

J O’Neill

Jeff MacCharles
Expert Tutor

Jeff MacCharles

Juliet Brownell Lee
Expert Tutor

Juliet Brownell-Lee

Louisa McIntyre
ACT/SAT/LSAT Specialist

Louisa McIntyre

Palig Mouradian
Expert Tutor

Palig Mouradian

Patty Zaradic
Expert Tutor

Patty Zaradic

Theresa Burns
Expert Tutor

Theresa Burns

AJ Ortiz
Expert Tutor

AJ Ortiz

Jim Giusti
Full-Time Tutor

Jim Giusti

Faithe Yates
Expert Tutor

Faithe Yates

Jacob Pankow
Expert Tutor

Jacob Pankow

Andres Sanin
Expert Tutor

Andres Sanin

Deidre Wilson
Expert Tutor

Deidre Wilson

Amanda Buckley
Expert Tutor

Amanda Buckley

True Haynes
Expert Tutor

True Haynes

Charles de la Cruz
Expert Tutor

Charles de la Cruz

Valerie Cunningham
ACT/SAT Specialist

Valerie Cunningham

Inspirica's Master Tutor

Donald Viscardi

Testing & Tutoring Analytics Expert

Ryan Furiness

Head Mentor

Yuliya Aleksandrov

Jonah Fishel
Information Systems Specialist and Full-Time Tutor

Jonah Fishel

Aja Brady-Saalfeld

Full-Time Tutor

Aja Brady-Saalfeld

Aja got her start tutoring in high school, working with younger students who needed help with STEM, music theory, and German. In college, she went on to graduate with a degree in German and a correlate in analytic philosophy, rounding out the humanities with a heavy emphasis on STEM via pre-med, particularly biology. Throughout college, Aja tutored German and worked as a drill instructor, running rapid-fire grammar exercises in a group setting.

With Inspirica, Aja tutors a wide range of topics, from test preparation to academics. She often focuses on STEM for academics, with biology at the forefront. For test prep, Aja enjoys working with students on the major tests, from the ACT and SAT for high schoolers, to the LSAT and GRE for college students and beyond.

Her favorite aspect of tutoring with Inspirica is by far the opportunity to watch students progress and grow while working toward their goals, whether they be academic or test oriented. One of her proudest moments was receiving word that a student who had come in with a diagnostic ACT score of 20 had achieved a 29 on her first official exam.

Aja originally hails from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but has lived in Philadelphia for four years post-graduation, where she shares her home with her two parrots and two rabbits. Outside of work, she loves hitting the yoga or ballet studio—when it’s not a pandemic, of course—going to the opera, and playing around with computer programming.

Tests:ACT, SAT SSAT, ISEE, GRE, GMAT, LSAT

Subjects:Biology, Chemistry, Astronomy, Philosophy, Linguistics, HTML, CSS, Python, Grammar, German, US History, World History, European History, Music Theory, Essay Writing, Junior High and High School Math

Beatriz Simonsohn

Expert Tutor

Beatriz Simonsohn

Beatriz began teaching in Bogotá, Colombia, where she received her CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) shortly after earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics and Visual Arts. She then continued teaching English upon relocating to New York City, eventually expanding her skills to tutoring standardized tests as well as Spanish and French. She recently relocated to France.

Beatriz has continued to enjoy helping students of all ages and backgrounds — from elementary school kids in New Jersey to high school seniors in Switzerland, from straight-A students aiming for a perfect score to students looking to overcome learning differences such as ADD, dyslexia, and discalcula — earn their best scores on standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, SSAT, and ISEE, as well as the SAT Subject Tests and AP exams in Spanish and French. Beatriz particularly enjoys opportunities to teach students languages outside of standardized testing, as she loves finding creative ways to tailor her sessions to the student’s skills and interests so as to awaken in them the same passion for languages that she has!

What Beatriz loves best about working for Inspirica is supporting bright, motivated students who may come into the first session insecure about, and intimidated by, a given test or subject, but who then become increasingly more confident, showing up to sessions with a positive attitude and even a sense of humor! It is hard for her to choose a single moment that she feels most proud of, as she has seen so many students overcome their diverse, personal academic challenges, but a particularly remarkable moment was when one international student moved from a 24 to a 31 on the ACT over the course of eight weeks; he had spent months trying to move his score on his own without success, but it was the test-taking techniques that Beatriz introduced and reinforced which finally made the exam click for him!

When not tutoring, you’ll find Beatriz either doing yoga, drawing, or at a museum. Her favorite artists include Francis Alÿs, Pierre Huyghe, and pretty much any of the Impressionists… She could spend the entire day surrounded by Monet’s Water Lilies at the Musée de L’Orangerie in Paris! An avid traveler, she’d be more than happy to send you a custom, insider’s travel itinerary of some of her favorite cities across Latin America, the U.S., and Europe… Just ask!

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE

Subjects:Spanish, French, ESL, Art History, College Application Essays, English and History Essays

Caleb Kim

Expert Tutor

Caleb Kim

Caleb hails from the foothills of Southern California but now considers Boston as his home. He began as an informal tutor for many of his friends in high school, during which time his notoriety grew and turned him into a tutor for friends’ siblings and friends of friends. He successfully helped many pass the onerous trials of all kinds of AP math and science courses. He continued this track in college, where he majored in biology but also enjoyed many other subjects such as math, chemistry, religion, and philosophy. He has been an Inspirica tutor for the past 3 years, but really has been tutoring for the last 15 years.

Given his background, Caleb loves teaching the AP math and science. However, he is no slouch when it comes to writing, and he enjoys passing on the secrets of clear and concise written communication. But if he had to choose, Caleb most enjoys students helping students get the better of tests such as the SAT, ACT, ISEE, and SSAT.

No matter the starting point, Caleb believes in his students and has high expectations for them. He remembers one student in particular who worked with him for two tests: the SAT Chemistry Subject Test and the ACT. The student was able to improve from 540 to 710 for the Subject Test and from 27 to 32 for the ACT. Above all, what made Caleb proud was how this student became a confident test taker by the end of their program. Caleb is ready to support his students through all types of obstacles, from topical confusion to lack of confidence to poor test-taking habits. So, whether it be helping high school students answer questions about Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s discourse on education and women on the SAT, or helping elementary school students learn negative numbers (the most difficult tutoring he’s ever had to do), Caleb will go the distance with his students.

Outside of tutoring, Caleb enjoys playing basketball (not these days, unfortunately), tennis, board games, and video games. He likes the idea of reading and sometimes will actually finish a book. He dreams of one day being an expert in mushroom foraging and fishing to sustain himself in the wild but is not sure if and when that will happen, as he also enjoys his life at home with his wife and their yappy chihuahua Jerry.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE

Subjects:Biology, Chemistry, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, College Application Essays, Academic Essay Writing, History Academic Essay

Cody O'Brien

Expert Tutor

Cody O’Brien

Cody was born in Boston before eventually moving out to Wellesley for his pre-college days. He helped other classmates, mostly with math homework or English essays, but didn’t start tutoring more formally until college, where he studied math and physics. In college he worked with the educational resource center, tutoring both individuals and groups of up to 3 in math and physics; he also helped assist some TAs in his physics courses. For a while after college, he did some private tutoring before joining Inspirica in 2017.

Since joining Inspirica, Cody has had experience tutoring students in a large variety of subjects and styles, including elementary school math and English, middle school classrooms of 20 students, and the standard college admission tests. His background in math and physics has also allowed him to tutor some more niche high school classes like advanced calculus, statistics, and computer science.

Overall, Cody enjoys tutoring the mathematical and science based tests and sections the most. He especially enjoys working with students who share his love for these subjects and can have some fun talking about their interesting aspects. What he enjoys most about the job is building connections with students and helping foster a love of learning and a sense of curiosity and inquisitiveness. If he had to pick a particular proudest moment from tutoring, it would be helping a student raise his score from a 30 to a 34 on the ACT; he was proud to see his student’s confidence increase as he mastered the content he had trouble with.

In his free time, Cody likes to check out new places in Boston and Cambridge, an easy trip from his current location in Arlington. He also likes to bike and rock climb, going to the climbing gym multiple times per week and setting up outdoor climbing trips with his friends.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE

Subjects:Physics, Algebra, Pre-Calculus, Calculus

Chris Dibona

Full-Time Tutor / Program Coordinator

Chris DiBona

Chris is an Ivy League doctoral candidate, with nearly a decade of passionate experience in education.

He has taught a variety of humanities courses to high school and college students across New England and is proud to be going on his seventh year with Inspirica, where he has worked with students of all ages on a wide range of exams. His specialties are the SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, GRE, and GMAT.

Chris’s passion for education stems from the joy that comes from building rapport with his students and helping them to consistently meet and exceed their educational goals. Chris finds it hard to pick a proudest tutoring moment as he’s worked with so many memorable students. But if you made him choose, it would be when he helped a student improve his ACT score from a 22 to a 32, which played a key role in his admission to his top choice college.

When he isn’t tutoring or teaching, Chris is usually playing sports (skiing, tennis, and golf are his latest favorites) or doing outdoorsy stuff like fishing, hiking, or gardening, usually with his dog Jack.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE, GMAT, LSAT,

Subjects:Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Philosophy, College Essay Writing, English Academic Essays, History Academic Essays, English and Literature

Chris Dlugozima

Expert Tutor

Chris Dlugozima

Chris started his tutoring career in his freshman year of college, working with students in a Calculus class through his school’s Educational Opportunity Program. He graduated with a double major in Sociology and Economics and started at Inspirica so long ago that they hadn’t yet changed their name to Inspirica! In fact, he’s the second longest tenured tutor at the company. He tries not to think about the fact that many of his students from his early days probably have kids of their own at this point.

Throughout his career at Inspirica, he meets his students where they’re at—whether they’re a fun-loving 4th grader with a penchant for climbing on furniture or a working professional with a budding music career. Some of his students are very independently motivated; others have various learning disabilities. In all cases, he gets the best out of his students and fosters an environment that increases their confidence.

High school math—including Algebra, Calculus AB, and Geometry—is Chris’s specialty, along with the math that shows up in all your favorite standardized tests: the SAT, ACT, SAT Math Subject Test (Levels 1 and 2), ISEE, and SSAT. He’s not a one trick pony, though. He has plenty of experience with all the topics showing up on the ACT, SAT, ISEE and SSAT. One of his favorite moments was working with a student who was originally struggling mightily on the SAT essay but wound up unlocking her writing talent. He also recalls a recent student who overcame a significant learning disability to boost his ACT score from 24 to 31. Chris loves sharing in the joy of a student and parent reveling in an acceptance to a school they previously thought was out of reach.

When he’s not tutoring, Chris is busy designing learning experiences centered on financial health for a national nonprofit. He’s also a longtime volunteer wish granter with the Make a Wish Foundation. He enjoys tennis, yoga, cooking healthy (yet delicious) treats, and exploring the road less travelled—ask him about the time he let a virtual stranger take him on a day trip to Bosnia. He lives in Nyack, NY with his wife and dog Apple. The three of them have a shared passion for cheese.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE

Subjects:Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Pre-Calculus, Geometry, Calculus AB

Emily Rudy

SSAT/ISEE Specialist

Emily Rudy

Emily has been working with students since she was a student herself. She tutored her fellow classmates as a member of the National Honor Society during high school. From there, she attended college and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology while minoring in health, science, society, and policy (more often referred to as HSSP at her much-loved alma mater). It was during college that her love of education led her to a career path that would allow her to work with students and their families. She earned her master’s degree in school counseling, and now she works at a middle school and absolutely loves it!

It was during graduate school that Emily began working at Inspirica after a fellow classmate told her about the company. Over the last several years, Emily has tutored a wide range of tests and subject areas including the ISEE, SSAT, and math and language arts for students across grades four through eight.

One of her favorite things about her job is working with so many wonderfully talented and motivated students. It is a true honor to see the excitement on her students’ faces when they see their stanine scores on the ISEE jump from a two to a seven, thus putting them where they need to be for their number one school choice.

When Emily is not at work, she enjoys taking walks around her hometown of Canton, Massachusetts, visiting her best friend of twenty-two years who lives out-of-state, watching some of her favorite television shows on Hulu, and cooking dinner for her family. She also deeply enjoys spending time with her black and white cat Felix, despite the fact that he usually prefers to nap and ignore her most of the day. But he is very handsome and fluffy, so she forgives him!

Tests:SSAT, ISEE

Subjects:History, Biology, Psychology

J Oneill

Expert Tutor

J O’Neill

J.’s interest in teaching goes back to his childhood in Rochester, New York, where he taught his younger sister how to read before she started first grade. A National Merit Finalist, J. took the SAT during his junior year of high school, scoring a perfect 1600 and making the cover of People magazine. In college, he worked as a peer writing tutor for his school’s Writing Center. Although he always had a deep love for math, J. graduated with a major in English and then earned his Master’s in Education, becoming a middle school and high school English teacher as well as a professional writer. He has been tutoring students preparing for the ACT, SAT, and other tests since 2003.

J. currently works with students preparing for the ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and Math 2 Subject Test. J. has over thirty years of teaching experience, including extensive work with students with special needs. His students have ranged in age from high-energy middle schoolers to professionals in their 40s making career changes.

J. greatly enjoys working with students, and he has been proud over the years of how his students have improved as he boosts both their testing skills and their confidence. One mother even emailed him, “thank you for opening up a whole new range of schools for my son to apply to.” (In this case, her son had started with a score of 1000 on a practice SAT, and he went on to score a 1260.)

Now based in Philadelphia, J. works as a freelance writer and performer, recently creating the one-man show *THE FREN BANKLIN EXPERIENCE* – a hit at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival – where he becomes the imaginary long-lost cousin of the legendary Ben Franklin. J. also enjoys reading a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, working out, volunteering for two local nonprofits which provide free mental health support, and making the best snickerdoodles in town.

Tests:ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT

Subjects:Literature, Pre-Calculus

Jeff MacCharles

Expert Tutor

Jeff MacCharles

Jeff began his tutoring career with Inspirica in 2016, but he has been teaching courses at the collegiate level since 2012. Since that time, he has taught hundreds of students in both undergraduate and graduate level courses in sport management, business, psychology, and sociology. His first foray into teaching and tutoring actually occurred in 2005-06, when he participated in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program as an Assistant Language Teacher in Japanese public Elementary and Junior High schools. Jeff will be wrapping up his PhD in Management (Sport Management concentration) during the summer of 2020, after which time he will be taking up an Assistant Professor position in Sport Administration in Michigan. In addition to his PhD, Jeff has an MA in Sport Management, a BS in Biology, and a BA in Psychology. Originally hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Jeff has lived in Boston, MA and Orlando, FL since he moved to the United States in 2012.

During his time with Inspirica, Jeff has tutored students on several standardized tests and entrance exams, such as the SSAT, ISEE, ACT, and SAT. He has also worked with junior high and high school students on academic programs, assisting them with classes such as English, history, math, biology, and chemistry. He has been lucky to have been matched with several families who he has developed a strong relationship with, and it has been exciting for him to be asked to tutor multiple students from the same family.

As someone who has spent much of his time teaching at the front of a classroom or lecture hall, Jeff enjoys tutoring as it provides him with the opportunity to mentor and teach in a 1-on-1 environment. This allows Jeff to craft and customize his teaching to a student’s specific needs and learning style, which as an educator he feels is extremely important. He has had a number of memorable tutoring moments during his time with Inspirica, but his proudest moment would have been helping a student add 200 points to her SAT score, despite being a nervous test taker who was also petrified of math! But of course, there is nothing more satisfying for a tutor than when you hear that they got into their school of choice – it makes it all worth it!

Jeff has a passion for traveling and exploring new cultures, so if he’s not out traveling and collecting new stamps in his passport, he’s planning his next trip. Jeff also has a love of sports that has been brewing ever since he waddled onto the ice in his first pair of hockey skates in the frozen tundra of Canada at the age of 4! Today he plays tennis and golf – two hobbies he’s gotten a little better at since living in Florida – and he has also become a (slow) runner, which conveniently helps counteract his other hobby of baking.

Tests:ACT, SAT

Subjects:English, History, Biology, Psychology, and Management

Juliet Brownell Lee

Expert Tutor

Juliet Brownell-Lee

Juliet has over 10 years of experience tutoring students from 5th grade all the way up to grad school. She holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in English Literature, with a minor concentration in music. Though it is probably true that you can’t really take the New York out of the girl, Juliet has been happily based in the Boston area for the past 8 years.

A lifelong learner with a particular interest in the different ways in which others learn, Juliet specializes in ACT, SAT, GRE, LSAT, English Literature, and French, though her real specialty lies in skills such as building a math-shy student’s confidence or providing out-of-the-box strategies for conquering test-taking anxiety. For example, Juliet was especially gratified and proud to help a discouraged student’s ACT score go up from a 19 on an in-school practice exam to a 29 on Test Day—it turned out that all the student needed was a consistent and supportive environment and a few good tricks.

Juliet loves seeing her students’ sense of achievement and agency in their lives grow as their scores go up. She is also grateful for what she has learned from each of her students, whether it’s the intricacies of a hobby, the source of a cool pair of shoes, or a snappy comeback in a foreign language.

When Juliet is not coming up with three different methods for solving the same math problem or an interesting way to present a dense reading passage about bees, she enjoys singing and recording music, DJing, gardening, playing complex boardgames, teaching herself German, and trying to be a good student as her husband teaches her Cantonese. She is also a devoted practitioner of martial arts, just in case her SAT prowess doesn’t scare off would-be assailants on its own. Her 2-year-old son Corbin and cat Ben have probably overheard more standardized test strategy than has the average college freshman.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE, LSAT

Subjects:English Literature, French

Louisa McIntyre

ACT/SAT/LSAT Specialist

Louisa McIntyre

Louisa began her teaching career as a college student, teaching karate for four years. After graduating with a B.A. in Philosophy, she decided to turn from teaching punching and kicking to teaching math and grammar. Before coming to Inspirica, she tutored the LSAT as an independent contractor.

Since joining the company, Louisa has worked with students ranging from early high school students to young aspiring lawyers. Louisa primarily tutors the ACT, SAT, and the LSAT. Although she doesn’t have a “favorite” test to tutor, she does appreciate the beauty (and frustration) that only an LSAT logic game can provide.

What Louisa enjoys most about tutoring is the opportunity to build both competence and confidence and watch her students grow. If Louisa had to pick a proudest tutoring moment, it would be when she helped an LSAT student improve her score from the low 160s to the mid 170s (about the same as what Elle Woods got in Legally Blonde!). Watching that student start out feeling uneasy and anxious about what the LSAT could do for her future and end up feeling relaxed confidence is exactly what Louisa loves about tutoring.

When she’s not working, Louisa can be found studying hard for her law school classes (she’s currently working on earning her J.D.), hand-sewing stuffed animals (always with pun names; she recently finished Hippo-Critical), or watching movies. Louisa currently tutors from Somerville, MA.

Tests:ACT, SAT, LSAT

Subjects:American Literature, British Literature, US History, European History, Philosophy, Law, American Civics, Physics

Palig Mouradian

Expert Tutor

Palig Mouradian

Palig started tutoring once she graduated college. She focused on standardized testing as well as math and science subjects. Palig graduated with a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Philosophy which helped her understand how to better teach and explain content that can sometimes stump students. She worked with students in learning centers, private one-on-one session, and even was an e-Tutor prior to Inspirica.

At Inspirica Palig was able to widen her experience to students as young as 3rd grade and has helped with a multitude of soft and hard skills when it comes to academic ownership and success. Altogether, Palig has tutored the ISEE, SSAT, ACT, and SAT in addition to math, reading, and science from elementary level through early college. Her proudest moment was seeing a student who didn’t initially believe in her own success jump up from a 550 to a 700 on the SAT math section.

Outside of tutoring, Palig can be found on a set of roller skates out on the Minuteman or Bruce Freeman rail trail. She’d love her pug to accompany her, but Proton is threatened by her love for speed.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SST, ISEE

Subjects:Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus

Patty Zaradic

Expert Tutor

Patty Zaradic

Patty started tutoring in elementary school, selected by a teacher to help a younger student struggling with dyslexia and learning to read. Through her academic career, she continued to help peers and received many student referrals. Graduating Magna Cum Laude with an undergraduate degree in Biology, Patty was drawn to pursue graduate work. As a graduate student, Patty taught several Biology courses and after graduating with a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution, Patty continued to balance teaching and tutoring. She currently teaches high school and middle school science classes at a Quaker private school in the Philly area. Patty also regularly teaches college-level courses in Anatomy and Physiology.

Patty’s wealth of teaching and tutoring background allows her to work with students from elementary school to graduate school. She has over 20 years of experience in professional tutoring with a particular strength in biological sciences. She also works with students in the college application process, helping to craft excellent essays and navigating the supplementary responses required for successful applications to top tier schools.

Patty’s favorite tutoring moments are when she can demystify math or science for students. Helping a student transform from math-fearful to math-fun can not only increase an ACT score from 23 to 30 but also offer a life-changing perspective that opens new opportunities. One of Patty’s favorite transformational tutoring moments was a student that had all but given up on the SAT and was considering community colleges. In a few months of tutoring his score increased from 1000 to a 1330; with renewed confidence he applied and was accepted to the college of his choice!

When she is not working, Patty is usually walking her two red Labrador Retrievers or doing SAT math problems to relax (just kidding… only kind of). She loves hiking, backpacking, and canoeing and spends her summer unplugged in the backwoods of the Adirondacks.

Tests:ACt, SAT, SSAT, ISEE

Subjects:Biology, Ecology and Evolution, Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, College Essay Writing

Theresa Burns

Expert Tutor

Theresa Burns

Theresa is a native New Yorker; she was born and raised in Brooklyn and now lives in Manhattan. Theresa started tutoring her fellow theatre kids and competitive dancers in math and science while she was in high school. She continued to tutor through college, where she earned her BFA in Drama. She now works professionally both as a tutor and as a performer, director, and choreographer in theatre, film, and TV. Theresa has been tutoring with Inspirica since 2012.

Since joining Inspirica, Theresa has expanded her tutoring toolbox and works with students on the ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, LSAT, GMAT, GRE, and the Biology, US History, and English Lit APs and Subject Tests. She also works with students on their general academics to support their success at school. Theresa has worked with students as young as 9 and as old as 22. Her students come to her with all different learning styles, accommodations, and learning differences. Her favorite thing about tutoring is getting to work with students and their siblings on multiple tests—Theresa has worked with students on their SSATs, and then worked with them again 3 years later on their ACT/SAT, and then gotten to know their younger siblings as they go through the same process. She really appreciates getting to see her students grow into incredible adults, and she values establishing long relationships with the families she works with.

If she had to pick her proudest tutoring moment, it would be helping one of her students go from a 21 on the ACT to a 35. She’s proud of her student’s score jump, but is even more proud that she helped this student go from “I’m just not a math and science person—I’m not good at those subjects” to “I CAN do math and science really well, I just needed to change the story I was telling myself about those subjects.”

When Theresa is not tutoring, she is performing in or directing and choreographing musicals, plays, film, or TV shows in NYC and all over the world. She is also very active in multiple social justice movements. If Theresa isn’t working, she is probably frolicking around Fort Tryon Park, binging Parks and Rec for the 10th time, or hanging out with her cat Chowder and flooding everyone’s social media feeds with pictures of him (you’re welcome, internet). Chowder does like to make appearances during virtual tutoring sessions to cheer students on—he is a very vocal and supportive cat.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, LSAT, GMAT, GRE

Subjects:Biology, US History, and English Literature

AJ Ortiz

Expert Tutor

AJ Ortiz

AJ started tutoring as a freshman in college volunteering at local after school programs. Graduating with a degree in Social Work, he went on to work with youth in educational settings as a therapeutic support and life skills educator, often helping youth with academic support as well. AJ recently graduated with a master’s degree in Social Policy and knows how grueling college entrance exams can be. He joined Inspirica to help make the whole testing process more accessible, fun, and engaging for kids.

Some of AJ’s proudest tutoring achievements include helping one student score a 29 on his ACT exam (partly due to a 5 point increase in math) after overcoming self-esteem issues that caused him to cancel his first scheduled test. AJ also recently received an exciting email from a former student who was admitted to one of his top schools after raising his ACT score to a 31. AJ tutors for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT, and he also works with students on academic support in writing and math. He has worked with children of all ages, and his favorite part of being a tutor is finding new ways to connect and relate to his students. Building a strong rapport allows him to communicate effectively with his students and motivate them to do their best work.

With a background in Social Work, AJ specializes in meeting the needs of kids who might struggle with test anxiety or low confidence, or those who have trouble focusing for long periods of time. He believes that these challenges can be overcome with the help of a supportive and empathetic tutor. AJ also loves working with high achieving and gifted students who need an extra challenge in their tutoring work to take their performance to the next level.

Outside of work, AJ is an avid musician who has played guitar since he was big enough to hold one. He enjoys writing music, performing, and practicing his craft. On weekends, you can usually find him in front of the TV watching a soccer match or basketball game, or even out on the court himself. A resident of Philadelphia, AJ loves talking and reading about American History, Law, and Political Philosophy. He devours all the podcasts he can get his hands on, so don’t be surprised if you see his name pop up in your feed one day!

Tests:ACT, SAT

Subjects:History and English Essays, College Application Essays, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry

Jim Giusti

Full-Time Tutor

Jim Giusti

Jim lives and grew up in Norwood, MA. You could say that Jim’s first teaching job was helping his two younger brothers with their homework, and he’s been going ever since. He loves sports and further developed his mentoring skills by coaching baseball for 10 years. He graduated with a major in European History and is currently working on a master’s degree. After earning his undergraduate degree, he subsequently earned his Massachusetts History Teaching License.

During his time at Inspirica, Jim has worked with a broad range of students, from 6th grade math and vocabulary to undergraduate Financial Accounting. Jim tutors both academic subjects and many of the popular tests: ISEE, SSAT, SAT, ACT, and TOEFL. Jim has worked with many types of learners, from diligent perfectionists to students that need some confidence and positive reinforcement. Jim believes in building up through building confidence. His students range from just out of elementary school to college adults.

His proudest tutoring moment might be when he helped a student improve their math score for the SSAT and then was told that it helped the student do better in school. This student gained confidence that helped them get into their preferred school and do better in math class.

Jim lives with his wife Leah and tiny cat Lucy, who sometimes tries to make an appearance during sessions. Outside of tutoring they love traveling, and Jim usually plays video games to relax. He also volunteers by tutoring ESOL and preparing students for the US Citizenship Test.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE, GMAT, LSAT

Subjects:History, Social Studies, Accounting, English, Economics, College Application Essays, English and History Essays, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Baseball

Faithe Yates

Expert Tutor

Faithe Yates

Faithe has tutored the SAT and ACT in both 1-on-1 and classroom settings for the last 5 years. She has an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. She regularly teaches high level math and writing to both middle school and high school students. In her free time, she even coaches a MathCounts team in NYC. New York City is her current home base and she’s super excited to work with the talented students in the area and beyond.

Faithe mainly tutors standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, SSAT, and ISEE, but also tutors Language Arts, Reading, and various math subjects up to Calculus. Her favorite part about tutoring is getting students to see that they can accomplish absolutely anything given hard work and the right mindset. One of her proudest moments tutoring was getting one of her ACT students to raise her average score by 4 points within the first 4 weeks. It was an “aha!” moment for her because once she started to see the patterns that show up over and over again, she started to understand how to manipulate the test to her advantage. That’s what Faithe loves seeing the most; as her students start to improve, she can really see their confidence shoot up as well.

Faithe prides herself on being an awesome and enthusiastic tutor, so outside of tutoring she uses that same enthusiasm to entertain herself and others. She loves doing public poetry and book readings as well as the occasional TikTok music video. She likes to believe all these things make her a well-rounded individual.

Tests:SAT, ACT, SSAT, ISEE

Subjects:College Application Essays, English Essays, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus

Jacob Pankow

Expert Tutor

Jacob Pankow

Jacob likes to tell people he was born for this. His parents are teachers. His grandparents are teachers. Education runs in the family. So after double majoring in History and Theology, Jacob went ahead and taught high school social studies for six years, picking up a Master’s in Teaching along the way. He has a bit of an addiction to learning though, so last year he left the classroom to pursue another Master’s, this time in Politics. That degree meant relocating to New York City, but thanks to Inspirica, Jacob never had to say goodbye to the family business.

As a teacher and tutor Jacob has helped his students prepare for everything from 6th grade entrance exams to college application essays. He’s prepped kids for ACTs and taught study-skills classes for students with learning difficulties. And he has definitely dedicated more hours of his life to SAT math problems than he ever anticipated.

But he loves every minute of it. Standardized tests like the SAT, ACT, and ISEE are his wheelhouse, and years of teaching AP classes made him a pretty adept writing tutor to boot. His formula is simple. He makes sure his pupils define success in terms of effort, not simply results. Then he gives them all the tools they need to succeed and tops things off with some relentless encouragement. His absolute favorite part of education is the joy on kids’ faces when they realize how satisfying hard work can be. Once they’re hooked on that intrinsic motivation, positive results are never far behind. His proudest tutoring moment might be the time one of his students went from frustrated and unable to finish a single ACT section to earning a 33 on his last exam. There is no greater validation of a student’s hard work than when it opens a door to schools at the top of their list, and Jacob feels privileged to be a (small) part of that process.

When he’s not working or studying, you’ll often find Jacob halfway up a wall at his local rock-climbing gym. Although sometimes he prefers slightly less dangerous activities like “reading nonfiction on the couch” or “pretending to know how to cook.”

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE, GMAT, LSAT

Subjects:US History, World History, Ancient History, Civics, Literature

Andres Sanin

Expert Tutor

Andres Sanin

Growing up in Brockton, MA, Andres has been passionate about tutoring, and teaching in general, from an early age. In high school, he started teaching lower level science classes during his study periods. After high school, Andres went on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. During his studies he was hired to be a TA for an intro to physiology course where he tutored multiple students on a weekly basis and helped run the daily operations of the course. After completing undergrad, Andres completed his master’s in medical sciences, simultaneously interning in a cell biology laboratory.

After completing his thesis and graduating, Andres was hired at an immunology laboratory as well as at Inspirica where he has been tutoring students in the SSAT, ACT, ISEE, and SAT. Andres recently took the MCAT, is currently applying to medical school, and has loads of experience with teaching science-based courses. His favorite part of tutoring has to be watching students’ progress through the course. He loves seeing how students pick up the given strategies and how they improve their test taking skills on a session to session basis. One of the proudest moments he has had as an Inspirica tutor was when one of his students received a 35 on his ACT. It was incredible to see his student score this high and be able to apply to schools he didn’t have on his radar. As a tutor, Andres makes sure that students are well prepared to reach their educational goals, which for him includes giving out college advice and ensuring students aren’t selling themselves short. Furthermore, Andres has worked with a wide range of students, from 3rd grade up to seniors in high school. He likes to employ different teaching strategies and ensures that his lessons plans meet the best possible learning style of a given student.

When not working, Andres can be found on the soccer field or hoopin’ on the basketball court. He enjoys reading a light novela and is a sucker for all you can eat sushi. Andres is currently residing in his old college town of Brighton, MA.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE

Subjects:Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, College Application Essays

Deidre Wilson

Expert Tutor

Deidre Wilson

Deidre began her tutoring career as an undergrad in college. While working towards obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, she worked part time as a math tutor, helping fellow students in math courses ranging from Pre- Algebra and Trigonometry to Calculus III. She continued to sharpen her skills after earning her bachelor’s degree and up until obtaining her first full-time job. Still, she continued providing her younger siblings, family, and friends with homework help and itched to return to tutoring, and after joining Inspirica has been able to fulfill her passion for one-on-one instruction once again.

Since joining the company, Deidre has worked mostly with high school students on a variety of math courses. Although her tutoring experience began with solely college students, she appreciates that as a tutor for Inspirica she gets an opportunity to work with students of all ages. She enjoys the challenge of trying to cater to the needs and abilities of each student and is fascinated with the different ways in which we all learn. She just enjoys watching students’ confidence increase as they get a better understanding of the subject in question.

Deidre’s favorite subject is math, but she is always happy to tutor whatever subject she can. She is great with homework help and with SAT and ACT test prep. She has also been able to help with subjects she didn’t even know existed, such as Economic Calculus. What she enjoys most is building a relationship with the students and increasing their confidence in their learning abilities. If Deidre had a proudest moment, it would be when the parents of one student showed her a report card in which the teacher praised how much the student improved in his Algebra 2 course. His understanding of the principles of Algebra increased tremendously and will help him as he begins to prep for the SAT. Moments such as this are what fuels her passion for tutoring.

When she is not working, Deidre keeps busy with work and grad school. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Science in Civil Engineering and Project Management. She says tutoring helps her with her own studies and it keeps her mind fresh. When she has free time, Deidre is playing soccer in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, DJing, or spending time with family. She is also a very dedicated cat mom to her Tabby, Tigg, and her Calico, Maui. One perk she loves about tutoring is that she had made several pet friends, from parrots to a Persian cat.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE

Subjects:Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus

Amanda Buckley

Expert Tutor

Amanda Buckley

Amanda’s been teaching in one capacity or another for the past ten years. She got her start leading performing arts workshops for teenagers while studying theatre, music, and literature in college—aka “majoring in Stephen Sondheim.” After graduating, she began working with the Chicago Writers Conference and assisted with the planning and execution of talks, readings, and classes sponsored by the non-profit. She transitioned from arts education to test prep while working on her MFA in Writing. She loved cracking the code of the ACT and SAT and found she could employ humor to keep her students engaged. In recent years, she has continued to hone her tutoring skills at Inspirica while also teaching first-year English courses at Philadelphia area colleges.

Since becoming a tutor, Amanda has worked with students from a wide variety of backgrounds and prides herself in making genuine connections with every one of them. Amanda is trained to tutor the ISEE, SSAT, ACT, SAT, and GRE and has additional experience helping students from sixth grade to college with essay writing, homework management, and college/graduate school applications. Although one might suspect that Amanda is exclusively a book worm and grammar nerd—not that she isn’t both of those things!—she secretly adores teaching math and has been known to solve word problems for fun.

What Amanda loves most about tutoring is asking her students: “What do we do when we don’t know what to do?” Most students tend to freeze up when facing difficult questions: equations with odd markings, seemingly impenetrable texts, and essays with an unprovable thesis. Amanda is committed to helping her students develop a toolbox of strategies for these moments. She loves watching their confidence rise as her students start to find creative solutions to problems that once appeared impossible. One of the proudest moments in her tutoring career was taking a student from 1150 to 1510 in the SAT using this strategy.

When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys indulging in a number of different hobbies. She can be found listening to podcasts while hiking, reading essay collections in a hammock by the Schuylkill River, performing carefully choreographed musical numbers in her bedroom, and trouncing her mother during their weekly chess game. She’s also a contributing editor to the literary journal Pigeon Pages and is currently working on a number of short stories and Ph.D. applications. She currently resides in West Philadelphia with her best friend, a saucy black cat named Yahz.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE

Subjects:English and Literature, College Application Essays, English and History Essays, Pre-Algebra and Algebra

True Haynes

Expert Tutor

True Haynes

True got his start tutoring when a couple of his high-school classmates needed help passing AP Calculus. He quickly realized that he had both a knack for teaching and a passion for mathematical concepts. True continued to offer help to classmates throughout high-school and university, and after graduating from university with a physics degree, he decided to turn his passion into a career and teach high school physics and math. After working in both classroom and one-on-one settings, he soon realized that his real passion was one-on-one instruction.

At Inspirica, True mainly works with students on the SSAT, ISEE, SAT, and ACT tests, and also tutors high school math and physics. Outside of Inspirica, he works with students studying for their HISET exams. His favorite subjects to tutor are AP Calculus and AP Physics. He prides himself on being able to tailor his instruction to each student’s unique learning style.

True’s favorite aspect of tutoring is helping to build up his students’ confidence in their abilities. To him there is no better feeling in the world than to see a kid’s eyes light up as they accomplish something that they previously thought was impossible. His proudest tutoring moment was when he helped one of his 6th grade ISEE students improve her scores from the 40th-50th percentile range to the 80th-90th percentile range. The look of joy and gratification on her face will stay with him forever.

When he is not tutoring, True is typically spending time outdoors with his fiancé and his dog, Samson. He grew up in Washington DC and moved to Albany, NY a few months ago, where he has been taking advantage of the incredible hiking and camping Upstate NY has to offer. True and his fiancé are currently attempting to hike all 46 of the high peaks in the Adirondacks, though this will likely take years. He also enjoys gaming, playing sports, and watching good TV.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE

Subjects:Physics, Chemistry, Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus

Charles de la Cruz

Expert Tutor

Charles de la Cruz

Charles received his Ph.D. in Politics and has two years of experience teaching at the college level. He began tutoring part-time while writing his dissertation and greatly enjoys the more personal one-on-one approach to teaching. He is a California native currently based in New York City.

Charles tutors a wide range of students from junior high-schoolers to college grads preparing for the SAT, ACT, SSAT, and GRE tests, as well as more subject specific preparation for the SAT Math and Physics subject tests. His favorite part of the job is helping students develop a growth mindset when they see how quickly they can improve if they put their mind to it. His proudest moments have been helping multiple younger students rapidly advance in math, moving from the 50th to the 90th percentiles in the math portion of the SSAT.

In his free time Charles enjoys cooking exotic foods from around the world, playing guitar on his Brooklyn rooftop, and reading novels. Although he loves New York, the beach is his natural habitat and he looks forward to one day returning to the sunny west coast.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE

Subjects:Physics, Social Studies, Literature

Valerie Cunningham

ACT/SAT Specialist

Valerie Cunningham

Valerie began her tutoring career in college, where she worked as a private biology tutor under the recommendation of her professor for three years. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in sociology. At her college graduation, Valerie was awarded the Honors-Science Medallion for having the highest science GPA in her University’s Honors Program. She was also honored with the Award for Service in Biology, specifically for her role in mentoring other students in the program. Through her tutoring and mentoring work, Valerie recognized her strong passion for teaching, so she went on to obtain a Master of Arts in Education with a secondary teaching certification in biology.

In 2016, while in graduate school, Valerie joined the Inspirica Team, where she derived great joy from her one-on-one interactions with students. Tutoring for Inspirica reaffirmed her choice to pursue a career in education. After receiving a full-time science position at the nationally recognized Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, Valerie had to take a short break from the company to focus on the responsibilities of a first-year teacher. Now that she has three years of teaching experience under her belt, she is back at Inspirica part-time, and she could not be happier! She truly missed the reward of helping students achieve their testing goals and subsequently shaping their futures. Valerie tutors test prep for the SAT, ACT, and SAT Biology Subject tests. She has worked successfully with students of varying ages and educational backgrounds. Valerie has many proud moments at Inspirica, but one that sticks out is when she helped a student get into her reach school, Georgetown University, by bumping her SAT score up a few hundred points. Valerie still has the personal thank you email saved from the student because it meant so much to her.

Valerie lives in Media, Pennsylvania with her husband and her bearded dragon, Puff. Her husband is a zookeeper at the Brandywine Zoo in Delaware, so together, they are known among friends as the animal-loving, nerdy, science couple. In her free time, Valerie likes to hike through wildlife areas, ride her bike, and listen to podcasts. She is also involved in many extracurriculars at the high school where she works; she serves as the faculty sponsor for the Gender and Sexuality Club, the Bee Aware Club, the Improv Club, and the Science Olympiad team. In addition, she is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in Multicultural Education to enhance her ability to engage in educational equity work.

Tests:ACT, SAT

Subjects:Biology, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry

Inspirica's Master Tutor

Donald Viscardi

Donald has been a part of Inspirica since its inception. As a struggling actor fresh out of college, where he graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, he sought fulfilling ways to earn money while maintaining a flexible schedule. Rather fortuitously, his friend Lisa Jacobson, an SAT tutor in the then fledgling test prep industry, invited Donald to work with some of her students as she was in the early stages of building an exciting new tutoring company. Within a few years, this side job turned into a bustling career. Lisa Jacobson went on to become the CEO of Inspirica, and Donald has been proud to serve with her, watching Inspirica continue to grow. He discovered the truly fulfilling nature of the one-on-one tutoring process and has been working with students of all ages for the last 34 years, establishing himself as the Master Tutor at Inspirica. He also serves to oversee the company’s other programs and offers advice and expertise when needed.

Donald has enjoyed working with students of all ages–from 3rd and 4th graders, through high school, college, and graduate school applicants, and even the occasional 40-year-old doctor seeking to attain an MBA. His expertise is derived from working with thousands of students with varying learning styles over the course of three decades. Donald takes great pride in his ability to immediately focus in on a student’s most pressing needs, finding the most efficient and fulfilling course of action and ultimately following through to a successful test day. In addition to tutoring several academic subjects, Donald has specialized in the usual alphabet soup of entrance exams: SSAT, ISEE, ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and several others. He also especially enjoys helping students with their college and grad school application essays.

Donald highly values so many accomplishments during his career, helping countless students realize their dreams of acceptance into a top school or attaining that seemingly unattainable score. But since he often establishes strong and successful relationships with children and their families, he takes great pride in watching many of his students return for their next milestone. For so many families, he has become the go-to tutor, mentoring a group of siblings from the early SSAT days through the SAT and college entrance process, and then later to grad school. Recently, his proudest achievement has been to tutor several students who are the children of his former tutees! 

Donald is a native of Brooklyn, NY, and he lives there currently with his wife of 25 years and his two teenage boys. For the last 15 years he has devoted much of his spare time to coaching baseball and flag football at a local community sports league. Donald is also an avid walker/hiker, and you can catch him daily on the loop in nearby Prospect Park. He loves photography and enjoys making videos and slide shows for his extended family, chronicling events, major and minor. He may also be spotted on many a late night watching classic horror movies!

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE, GMAT, LSAT

Subjects:Pre-Algebra, Algebra, College Application Essays, Academic Essay Writing,

Testing & Tutoring Analytics Expert

Ryan Furiness

Ryan got his start tutoring through his high school’s National Honor Society way back when MySpace was a thing; he continued to sharpen his skills during college, working with students primarily on math homework and essay-writing. After graduating with a double major in Political Science and Ancient History, Ryan decided to turn his passion for one-on-one instruction into his profession, and he’s been with Inspirica ever since.

Since joining the company, Ryan has worked with students on everything from 5th grade math to graduate school entrance exams. All told, he has almost 15 years of experience teaching students of a wide range of ages and learning styles, from self-directed young professionals looking for guidance as they prep independently to 10-year-olds who need to take regular cartwheel breaks.

Ryan tutors a variety of academic subjects, with math and writing being his favorites, as well as most of the least popular acronyms: SSAT, ISEE, ACT, SAT, LSAT, GMAT, and GRE. The thing he enjoys most about the job is making connections and building rapport with students of all ages, and though he doesn’t have a ‘favorite’ test to tutor, he can occasionally be found doing LSAT logic games in his spare time. If Ryan had to pick a proudest tutoring moment, it would be when he helped a student improve her score from a 21 to a 30 on the ACT; watching her grow in confidence over the course of the program and then apply to colleges that she initially wasn’t even considering was the perfect microcosm of what he loves about tutoring.

When he’s not working, Ryan is usually doing crossword puzzles, gaming (either video games or board games – he’s not picky), or going on walks with his dog Clover, who represents the other half of the Durham, NC branch of Inspirica. Clover is often asleep in her bed next to Ryan’s desk while he works, and if you listen closely, you may even be able to hear the occasional puppy snore during a session…

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE, GMAT, LSAT

Subjects:Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, College Application Essays, History and English Essays, US History

Head Mentor

Yuliya Aleksandrov

Yuliya has 10 years of experience coaching rhythmic gymnastics at all levels (from preschool to Junior Olympic, ages 3-18), and it’s this love of connecting with students that made her pursue tutoring. She’s been with Inspirica for over four years; when she’s not tutoring, she’s training new hires and helping out with anything and everything else (from curriculum planning to admin work) in her role as Head Mentor. Outside of Inspirica, she has taught kindergarten math at an after-school program. Having the chance to work with such young kids and help them develop their love of math from an early age was a blast. Yuliya holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Communication and minor in writing and resides in Brighton, MA.

Yuliya tutors everyone’s favorite standardized tests – the SAT, ACT, SSAT, ISEE, TOEFL, and the Math 1, Math 2, and Literature SAT Subject Tests – as well as academic math and writing from elementary to high school levels. She has worked with a wide range of students (in terms of age, starting score, learning differences, and more) and enjoys adapting her teaching style to fit the needs of each one. Her favorite thing to teach is problem-solving, which she believes is the basis for math fluency and the key for every standardized test.

Though Yuliya has had many students score in the 99th percentile on the SSAT and ISEE or go from 30s to 35s on the ACT, her proudest tutoring achievement was having a student raise her ACT score from a 23 to a 28 in only 10.5 hours of tutoring. This student came in with an open mind and fully committed herself to the task at hand despite only having the chance to take the official test one time her senior year. Another proud moment was receiving the following note from the parent of an SSAT student (who achieved top scores her first time testing though originally planning to test again): “The most important thing you did for her was to point out that she should not apologize and that self-confidence is a good thing.”

When she’s not working, Yuliya is likely solving number or logic puzzles (kakuro and nonogram are her current favorites), playing board games, cross-stitching, taking personality or Harry Potter Buzzfeed quizzes, binging her favorite shows, reading, and longingly looking through pictures of cats that she’s not allowed to adopt. She also loves to travel, and even did a study abroad program in college where she lived in a 14th century medieval castle in the Netherlands.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE

Subjects:Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, History and English Essay Writing

Jonah Fishel

Information Systems Specialist and Full-Time Tutor

Jonah Fishel

Jonah actually liked Latin class in high school, so tutoring his peers for $10/hr after school was a logical choice for him in 10th grade. He branched out into science and math in his senior year, and then added SAT/ACT tutoring to his offerings while he was pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Storytelling (and a minor in Religious Studies and Computer Science). After moving to Philadelphia in 2016, and having been tutoring on the side for eight years, Jonah decided to go pro with a full-time tutoring job. He’s been with Inspirica ever since.

Jonah now works full-time as Inspirica’s jack-of-all-trades, using his experience learning about and tutoring a wide variety of subjects to provide niche prep programs for unusual subjects. In his three years at Inspirica, Jonah has tutored every science subject, three different levels of calculus, an intro to business course, and literally every Latin program that has come through the door. Of course, Jonah also has eight years of experience tutoring the SAT and the ACT, and prep for those tests form the majority of his tutoring experience.

Jonah has experience working with many different types of learners with diverse needs, and prides himself on individualizing a student’s test prep program by tailoring his approach to their learning style, or by incorporating information from the student’s IEP. While Jonah’s favorite subject to tutor varies depending on what he’s tutoring at the moment you ask him, he consistently enjoys tutoring students in higher-level sciences. His proudest moment as a tutor was bringing a disinterested student’s ACT Science section score from a 13 to a 34—an outlier, sure, but a perfect example of what Jonah loves most about tutoring: teaching a student to get invested and care about what they are learning, not just the score on the test.

When he’s not tutoring, Jonah works as the IT and tech support branch of Inspirica, single-handedly reminding every tutor, staff member, student, and parent of what their passwords are and how to get into class. When he isn’t on the other end of the Inspirica.com chat support bot, Jonah is studying for his Master’s of Education graduate program, practicing his guitar skills, or sleeping on the couch with one or both of his dogs.

Tests:ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE, GMAT, LSAT

Subjects:Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Essay Writing, English Academic Essays, History Academic Essays, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Latin, US History, World History, Economics