Kalen Lister

Test Prep & Executive Functioning Pro specializing in Early Childhood Ed through High School Admissions

13 Years Tutoring
Brooklyn, NY


Kalen Lister is a highly sought after academic and test prep tutor based in Brooklyn, NY. In her 15+ years of experience working with students from pre-K through early high school, she has helped students gain access to the country’s most prestigious schools while deepening their love of learning. She is warm and compassionate even while setting high standards. Kalen focuses on the psychological needs of each student, stimulates their innate curiosity, and increases their confidence and ability through a focus on executive functioning. She loves helping young children form a positive relationship with learning while increasing their abilities and test scores.

Kalen’s passion for education began with her own varied educational experiences including Montessori school, public school, home-schooling, prep school, and university. Upon graduating from The University of Pennsylvania, she was accepted to Phillips Exeter Academy’s summer teaching internship program. The internship solidified her early passion for teaching that she first experienced in high school. Upon moving to NYC, she pursued a career in education while simultaneously pursuing a career in music. In 2010 Kalen joined a test prep company at its inception, working primarily with Pre-K and K children on school entry exams. She then launched a private tutoring practice (Out of The Box Tutoring) working with a wider range of ages before being recruited by Noodle – now Inspirica – Pros.

In addition to helping students prepare for achievement and entry exams, Kalen teaches executive functioning skills and provides extensive academic support, attending both to remediation and or the need for custom enrichment curricula. She has developed a unique approach to helping students with personal narratives, applications and internship essays that combine songwriting and acting techniques so as to help students write personally and with specificity. Kalen continues to study the best emerging practices for aiding neurodiverse learners and folds both mindfulness and elements of CBT into her sessions when relevant. Regardless of the context, Kalen has a reputation for getting excellent results while making the process as enjoyable as possible for both tutee and parent. Her clients are as loyal to her as she is to them.

When not working in the world of education…

Kalen writes and performs music. She is a composer, singer, keyboard player, lyricist and performer. In addition to her solo projects, she leads the electronic audio visual band Death By Piano, and is part of the ambient poetry band Late Sea. She has been known to take on unique projects that merge music and education. Click HERE to see the anthem she wrote and produced with NYC youth for the non-for-profit Girls Inc. NYC.

The rest of the time Kalen enjoys traveling and exploring the great outdoors with her three-year-old daughter and her husband.


Kalen has been working with our son Max since September 2015. We initially sought tutoring because we did not think our Florida school’s curriculum was challenging enough. We also wanted Max to enrich his vocabulary and ensure his English is flawless, as we speak Russian at home. Our goals have changed over the years, often from month to month, but Kalen is still a vital part of Max’s education. Whether preparing for standardized tests, reading and discussing books to counter ‘summer slide’, or working on executive skills, Kalen has always been able to keep Max engaged and find materials that would interest and challenge him. Kalen is a truly talented educator. She has been our son’s mentor and cheerleader. We cannot recommend her highly enough.

Irina (St Petersburg, FL.)

When we started working with Kalen to support our son through the private school kindergarten admissions process, she formed such a positive connection with him that we decided to continue with weekly sessions indefinitely, and boy are we glad we did! Kalen has a unique ability to zero in on what kind of learner your child is and find ways to build on areas of strength and gently challenge them in areas of weakness. She was a lifesaver during the pandemic when our son soured on reading lessons over zoom. Kalen helped get his reading skills up to and beyond grade level and today he is a fluent, confident reader who reads for both learning and pleasure. She’s also exposed him to new math and problem solving concepts in a way that complements what he’s learning in school without confusing him. And when he’s had moments of waning enthusiasm, she’s done a wonderful job of re-engaging him through warmth, humor, and her own infectious love of learning.
Michelle (Brooklyn, NY)

Kalen has made a significant impact on my daughter’s academic confidence. She not only has worked with her on shoring up her test-taking skills but has given her new ways to think about approaching all her schoolwork. She took the time to tailor her lessons to how my daughter learns and helped her take charge of her academic life. We could not be happier with the newfound outlook for her school life and beyond!

Anne (Brooklyn, NY)

Kalen has been helping our 2 daughters for almost 5 years. At first she was prepping them for their ERB and ISEE and now tutors them weekly. Kalen is very pragmatic and knows how to adapt to a child’s personality, difficulties and challenges. She gives us a helpful summary for every session she has with the girls which gives us an insight of what they’re learning and what they’re struggling with. According to our daughters, she can clarify things that were not so clear at school and that gives them confidence in their abilities to succeed. Our overall experience with Kalen has been very positive and I would recommend her to anyone who wants to prepare their child for an exam, make sure they are on track and thriving in school, or give them an advantage by going deeper into their curriculum.

Fred (Manhattan, NY)

My 5 year old son has been doing virtual sessions with Miss Kalen for the last year and a half and he absolutely adores her. Aside from being reliable, on-time and consistent, she has really gained his trust. She can feed off of his energy if he’s tired at the end of a long day or if he has a lot of excitement about something he wants to share. She is very engaging and works with a fun and interactive tool on the iPad to teach concepts. She talks to him much like a grown up and has the ability to explain things so he understands relevant and real world topics, or just to have a conversation about the day. She teaches math and reading in dynamic ways to keep him interested. They typically end the session learning about an animal of his choosing. My son looks forward to his weekly sessions with Miss Kalen and I would highly recommend her.

Heather (Manhattan, NY)

Kalen Lister has been my teacher for the last 4 years. She has helped me improve my math skills and my reading comprehension. I have learned so many new techniques with Kalen that I will use every day in my life. I highly recommend her because she is very patient and pushes you a lot.

Elle (Manhattan, NY; 5th grader)

Working with Kalen has been nothing but an awesome experience. Not only have I grown as a student academically in my time with her, but I’ve also grown emotionally and mentally. Regardless of her mood or what is going on in her life outside of our sessions, Kalen always brings her joy, creativity, and passion to tutoring and educating students like myself. She is also very organized, and she has never bailed on a session or put me and my family behind the other priorities she deals with on a day-to-day basis. In short, it’s no coincidence that Kalen and I have been working together for just under seven years. Kalen has been nothing but wonderful in our time together, and I look forward to maintaining our relationship past tutoring in the future.

Max (St. Petersburg, FL; 9th grader)

Kalen is the perfect balance between patient and firm. Firm enough for my son to sit up and listen, yet patient enough to find new ways of engaging him each week. She brings a creative approach to her lessons, by challenging the children to approach things differently while always encouraging and instilling confidence in their own abilities.

Melinda (Manhattan, NY)

Kalen Lister is highly intelligent–which is obvious from the onset–but it is her unique combination of attributes that make her stand out. She is grounded, articulate, patient and warm and it’s this blending of traits that makes her teaching style so effective. The kids trust her, understand her and like her. She gave my daughter the tools and confidence to break down complex test questions and really taught her how to simplify the approach. The anxiety that used to accompany homework and testing diminished to practically nothing! I highly and whole-heartedly recommend her!

Alisa (Brooklyn, NY)

Our family has known Kalen for more than 5 years. Kalen has tutored my 2 older children in everything from the G&T tests, ERBs and general academic subjects (math, reading, and writing). Each of my children have very different interests and learning styles (one is a strong writer but finds math and analytical thinking boring and tedious the other loves math, thrives on challenging work and finds reading tedious). Kalen was able to easily adapt to both styles seamlessly….so much so that both kids absolutely adore her. My kids are both enrolled in highly regarded private schools – I owe so much to Kalen!

Michele P. (Brooklyn, NY)

Kalen is an amazing tutor. She is able to connect with my child from the beginning. She is very intuitive and confident in her work and instills confidence in the child. Her sessions are rich and pleasant and she keeps a well organized curriculum at every moment of the session. She always comes with a work plan for the next week and will follow up with the parents after each session to discuss the progress, strength and weakness of the child and ways to improve them. Communication between her and the parents is very strong. Kalen is professional and knowledgeable and I would recommend her strongly to any parent and child.

Gabriella A. (Manhattan, NY)

Thank you for teaching me a lot of new stuff that I had never learned before. You are the best tutor ever.

Josh (Manhattan, NY; 3rd grader)

Kalen did great work with my 9 year old daughter. She had excellent tips and strategies to help my daughter manage her work load and reframe her homework into manageable bites. These strategies were also practical for her other responsibilities, not just homework. I happily recommend Kalen as a tutor for any person’s needs.

Susan H. (Manhattan, NY)

Kalen has been tutoring my middle schooler for the better part of a year. She is focused on the areas in need — math — but can fluidly support my daughter in other content areas and writing, as needed. Moreover, my daughter struggles with organization and planning and Kalen is able to support her with these “exec functioning” skills. Kalen herself is focused, planful and organized so the tutoring time is productively spent. She is also responsive to me and my daughter and responds to requests for updates or sharing of concerns or things to celebrate around progress. Finally, my daughter really likes her and looks forward to their time together. She knows she’s going to get the help that she needs.

Patrice N. (Manhattan, NY)

Kalen spent time with my twin 8th graders helping them prepare for public HS applications, specifically with the essays and helping them prepare for the interview process. My two kids could not be more different and she quickly understood each child and masterfully adapted her feedback and lesson plans to their unique profile. The kids looked forward to seeing her and felt she completely got them. The essays reflected who my kids were yet she brought out the best in them. She was very professional throughout, I had a clear understanding of what she worked on with each child and they had an understanding of what she expected of them. I could not imagine a better resource for my kids and heartily recommend her.

Nathalie (Manhattan, NY)

Kalen L was a superb and kind tutor for my 4 year old daughter’s NYC G&T test prep. My little one could hardly wait to “play games” with Kalen each week! She was fun, engaging, prompt, warm, intelligent, and extremely thorough. Her attention to detail and ability to explain the necessary concepts and how to navigate the scary world of NYC testing was so appreciated by both my daughter and me. I can’t imagine a better tutor, and I eagerly recommend her to any parent looking for a warm and wonderful educational expert to help their child grow and learn with confidence.

Sara W. (Manhattan, NY)

We were truly lucky to find Kalen as my 4 yo son’s tutor to help him prepare for the NYC G&T test. My son and Kalen hit it off from the very first session (he didn’t blink when I walked away). She is truly charismatic with children; understands and adapts to different personalities and makes it look so easy to keep a 4 yo engaged and focused for a whole hour (on brain games!). She is organized; has a plan for each session; and uses so many different methods to accomplish the goal of the session. My son can’t wait for his weekly session with Kalen. Now, nine months have passed and we look forward to continuing our journey and enrichment with Kalen regardless of the G&T prep.

Amela (Queens, NY)

Thank you so much for everything. I’ve improved so much in math. You are super awesome. You are the opposite of the cliche math tutor.

Ruby (Queens, NY; 4th grade)

I want to teach you something. Everyday you teach me something new. Thank you.

Ranveer (Bogota, Colombia; 7th grader)

How do I explain the amazing Kalen Lister to you? Kalen is a great tutor. Not only providing me with help with subjects I did not excel at, she made the sessions fun and exciting. She explained new concepts clearly so I would understand what I am learning. I think Kalen is a great tutor among all the tutors out there. If you are looking for an amazing tutor, Kalen is the one for you!

Hritika (Tokyo, Japan; 6th grader)

Kalen did an amazing job preparing me for the SHSAT, high school interviews, and high school essays. She was so supportive and understood my needs as a learner. She also helped me so much in writing essays for high schools because she listened to my ideas and didn’t just tell me what to write and she helped me write in a more sophisticated way. When preparing for interviews we would do practice interviews, which was extremely helpful because I got a sense of what was going to happen in the real interview. Kalen helped me get into my top choice and I am so so happy! I got into High School of American Studies at Lehman College, which is a specialized high school.

Jennifer N. (Manhattan, NY; 8th grader)


The University of Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Visual Arts, Minor in Anthropology

Phillips Exeter Academy


Age Groups

Special Needs Skills