Meet Our Teachers
S4 Study Skills Teacher Kam I.
“An inspiring teacher needs to have a contagious passion for the subject matter…and clearly demonstrate that they care…[with] empathy and compassion…if the student doesn’t think you care, it doesn’t matter how interesting your lesson is”.
S4 Study Skills Teacher Jessica L.
“..From those moments when students display new found confidence towards [their] work… and becoming extremely enthusiastic about the material [allowing] them the opportunity to succeed at a level that perhaps before they never imagined.”
S4 Study Skills Teacher Elyssa H.
“You can’t inspire kids you don’t know. The focus needs to stay on getting to know each individual student. Kids don’t care how much you have to teach them until they know you care about them as more than students. And so you really have to start with that foundation.”
S4 Study Skills Teacher Nina H.
“What it takes to be an inspiring teacher is to love learning yourself and to let your genuine interest and passion come through to your students…and [when they know that you] authentically care about them…they are much open to learning…Our jobs as [S4] teachers is to make ourselves not needed..so they can apply the skills [on their own].”
S4 Study Skills Teacher Louie V.
“I have a deep passion for the subject of mathematics. The most important thing about being an inspiring teacher is caring about what you do. ..Students clearly respond to teachers that care about their progress.”
What Our Teachers Had To Say
Why Families Should Use Successful Study Skills 4 Students
Why Are Study Skills So Important
S4 Study Skills & Online Teaching
How S4 Study Skills Improves Student Outcomes
Why Is S4 Study Skills Different From Other Tutoring Organizations
Educational Background: Bachelor of Arts Degree, cum laude, Williams College. Master of Fine Arts, School of Visual Arts. Master’s of Science in Teaching, Secondary English and Special Education, Pace University (projected December 2020).
Why I teach: My very first job was teaching as a camp counselor the summer before college. I discovered then the satisfaction that comes from sharing a passion with others. One of the most compelling aspects of teaching for me is helping students acquire new skills and understanding. Fortunately, as a teacher I remain a perpetual student continually learning as I develop new lessons and refine instruction. I appreciate bringing my personal style to class and rely on humor, curiosity, creativity, and empathy to guide my work.
What I like about the S4 curriculum: As a visual learner myself, I realize the importance of prioritizing and presenting information in a memorable and eye-catching format. S4 provides direct instruction on the visual display of ideas to foster deeper understanding and more thorough acquisition of concepts. Since organizing materials and structuring time is critical to student success, S4 supplies the necessary tools and skills instruction for maximizing academic potential. I am drawn to the practical nature of the S4 program as well as its accessibility to all students who learn how to adjust their habits and practices to meaningful effect. S4’s systematic approach empowers students to manage assignments and activities through strategies that are valuable both now and in the future.
Educational Background: Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics (minor) from Tufts University
Why I teach: The root of why I enjoy teaching I think comes from my parents. They met as teachers at a private school in NYC. In high school, I began by teaching tennis over the summers and worked my up to Camp Director. I also taught guitar lessons as well. After graduating college, I found a profound passion for writing where several years later, I lucked out and sold a TV show to FOX. Still, my passion for teaching persisted. Even while making a living as a writer, I work part-time as a teacher at Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE), a non-profit for underprivileged kids in the Yonkers school district. Here, I teach teach both Earth Science and Biology, as well as writing. I’ve been working there for 3 years now. I think in any profession, you often chase as certain “high.” In finance, it might be that big bonus. In comedy, it might be a laugh. In teaching, it’s that moment where something clicks for a student – that AHA moment. I can’t get enough of that.
What I like about the S4 Curriculum: The content of what you teach is certainly important. However, what I believe is just as important (if not more so) is HOW kids learn. To me, this is the most under-appreciated aspect of education. If the content is there, but the techniques to absorb that content is lacking, then the whole thing is a wash. I have a unique understanding of this, having had some learning issues when I was very young. My parents however (both having been teachers) recognized this early, and I was lucky enough to get the extra help I needed. A lot of that help involved learning how to learn, as opposed to just what to learn. Later, with this new knowledge, I was able to thrive in high school and eventually go to a great school. This is exactly what the S4 Curriculum strives for, and the techniques and methods used are some of the exact strategies that helped me. I feel very fortunate, and am excited to pass this on to the next generation.
Educational Background: Tufts University, Bachelor of Arts in Biological Anthropology. Masters of Education in Instructional Practice from Lipscomb University.
Why I Teach: Growing up, I was lucky enough to be placed in the care of incredible teachers who stretched my thinking and encouraged my love for learning. They did this, not by telling me what to think or be, but by showing me how much they thought I could accomplish. It is the curiosity and confidence instilled in me by them that I hope to pass on to each of my students. I have seen how easy it was for teachers and students alike to get swept up in storms of grades and testing, often forgetting that the most important aspects of education are not those that can be measured quantitatively. I teach to make sure my students receive both the academic and social-emotional education they need to become happy, unique, successful individuals.
What I Like About the S4 Curriculum: S4 is the first program I’ve found that truly focuses not on what students are learning but on how they are learning it. This curriculum enables students to more efficiently use their time and more effectively achieve their goals. It focuses on creating long-term habits that students can continue to use in high school, college, and beyond. By focusing on skills such as time management, planning, organization, summarizing, and questioning, S4 helps students take ownership over their education and more confidently approach challenges they meet throughout their life. As students begin to implement this program, I see the clear shift from anxiety to motivation and engagement, showing me just how effective S4 can be.
Elyssa has been wonderful! We are very grateful to have found her and very much appreciate her help. We would definitely like to renew for another series. — Rachel Cohen, Westport, CT
Director of Curriculum
Educational Background: Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy from Boston College. Master’s Degree in Secondary English Education from Fairfield University.
Why I Teach: My interest in teaching started as a child because my father is a music professor. During my undergraduate years at Boston College, I developed a love for writing essays and discussing literature. Several professors suggested that I consider teaching, so after I graduated, I decided to substitute teach in Ridgefield, CT, to figure out whether teaching was for me. I loved it. I applied to be an Americorps teaching fellow in New Haven, CT, teaching English at Saint Martin de Porres Academy (SMPA). After volunteering for two years, I continued teaching at SMPA for three years while I earned my master’s degree at Fairfield University. My experiences at SMPA and Fairfield confirmed my passion for education and motivated me to become a lifelong teaching professional.
What I Like About the S4 Curriculum: I discovered S4 when the president of Saint Martin de Porres Academy (SMPA) brought the organization to my attention. I like the S4 curriculum’s emphasis on developing better habits. Studying is not an isolated action that happens before a test, but a system of good habits that students should practice routinely. S4 supports students in a systematic, user-friendly way, teaching students how to take notes while reading and during class, how to use a planner and pace long-term assignments, and how to engage in the learning process by asking questions, using visuals, and summarizing. If students practice these habits consistently, studying becomes a steady process of learning every day rather than an urgent task of memorizing the night before an exam. I love that students leave the S4 workshops feeling more confident and less stressed about school.
“Kam has had a very positive impact on our son’s approach to his school work as well as his writing. One of the strongest benefits has been how Kam has taught our son how to apply himself to multiple projects, and how to break tasks down. He really respects Kam and doesn’t like to disappoint him, which results in his working hard independently in between their tutoring sessions. Further, Kam has impacted our son as a life mentor, more than I think Kam realizes. Their general chit chats have encouraged our son to think more broadly about topics, and be more thoughtful about his own opinions and critical thought. Our son is not well read, but Kam is, so their current events/cultural discussions have really been educational beyond the academic work. Kam’s involvement has also allowed my wife and I to maintain a positive and cheerful dynamic with our son, since we no longer check to see if homework has been completed. Kam is a pleasure to see every week, is very polite, flexible and responds to our texts promptly.” — David B., Darien, CT
Educational Background: Graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Sociology. Earned Masters of Arts in English Education from Columbia University, Teachers College.
Why I Teach: Teaching is an ongoing process of construction and transformation where the infinite power of knowledge allows for perpetual future growth. As a life-long learner, I sincerely enjoy the journey of working with today’s youth and tomorrow’s leaders. This personal passion of mine truly emerged when I majored in English at Georgetown University. While working towards my Bachelor of Arts degree, I was afforded a wonderful opportunity to teach in several underprivileged Washington, D.C. classrooms with quite moving leaders and keen students. With an innate yearning to help further their learning and mission, I instantly knew education was my personal calling. Following my undergraduate experience, I started teaching around the clock in New York City as I completed my Masters degree at Columbia University, Teachers College. Since then, I have taught reading, writing, literature, executive functioning, and much more to a wide range of students in a multitude of different contexts over the last fifteen years.
Above all – I teach to inspire; I teach to instill the vast value of development into my students’ lives and make their educational experiences both moving and meaningful. And as a passionate and dedicated teacher, I continually explore the dual power of practice and pedagogy to grow as an enlightened educator as time evolves.
What I Like About the S4 Curriculum: A successful final product is the result of a steady, efficient, and productive process. The S4 curriculum effectively prepares students for achievement because it focuses on the entire system rather than just the end goal. When studying for an exam or preparing for a project, S4 students utilize key organizational strategies and structures to map out their plan down to the most integral details. The S4 system values time management and helps students navigate their workload around extra-curricular activities, sports, jobs, and more. Further, S4 offers students multiple tactics and techniques to aid in personal note taking, summarization, and even memorization. S4 recognizes each student as a unique learner and supports individualized learning through appropriate differentiation and one-on-one tutoring. Students are continually given the tools to succeed and offered an incredible support system to sustain personal growth and development.
“Jessica was absolutely fabulous. She worked so well with our son. Thank you so much for matching us up with such an amazing teacher. We could not be happier.” — Deborah Sallaberry, Ridgefield, CT
Educational Background: Bachelor of Arts in History and Secondary Education from the University of Illinois. Professional Educator License received from state Board of Education in 2019, with endorsements in History and Political Science.
Why I Teach: I teach because I love to help adolescents learn about the world around them and provide the knowledge, skills, and tools to navigate their lives in high school, college, and beyond! Since my earliest student teaching experiences, I have been amazed at how education can create a positive change in not only a student’s life, but in the world. As a licensed high school teacher in the suburbs of Chicago, and more recently, as a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, I have worked tirelessly to implement lessons and strategies to help students not only prepare for their next test, but for a life of learning. I always bring an empathetic and exciting disposition to my interactions with students, and I know that I can help students excel in their academic and social-emotional lives.
What I Like About S4: The S4 Curriculum provides a phenomenal set of strategies, tools, and skills to navigate the ever-complex workloads that students are given. Time management is one of the top indicators of academic and professional success at the post-secondary level and beyond, and the S4 Curriculum directly addresses ways to improve time-management, organization, confidence, and more! The S4 team actively improves how a given individual learns by implementing strategies that give students the structure to succeed, the tools to pivot and adjust, and the perspective to evaluate and assess how they can improve their own learning in the future.
Educational Background: Bachelor of Arts in English and minor in Spanish from Fairfield University, Masters in Secondary English Education from Fairfield University, Sixth Year Certificate in TESOL at Fairfield University. Lauren is certified to teach grades 7-12, and has experience teaching the ACT/SAT.
Why I Teach: I love how wonderfully unique each classroom environment is. I’ve had the privilege of working in different school districts with students of all grade levels and English Language proficiencies. I truly enjoy getting to know my students. I believe the student/teacher relationship should be based on trust and respect because it is difficult to learn something new. I try to make my students feel valued and I enjoy facilitating experiences to give my students a voice to express themselves. I am grateful for their belief in themselves and me. I enjoy learning from them just as much as teaching them. It’s a team effort!
What I like about the S4 Curriculum: I believe the S4 curriculum’s emphasis on breaking down planning and study skills into manageable chunks is essential for success in school and life beyond . At first, studying for a test and getting organized may seem overwhelming, but with practice, you can use these skills to manage your workload in any subject area. I also think being able to apply these skills on a regular basis will enable you to become a more independent and responsible student. It’s a great feeling to be accountable for your work, and have the results as well!
Educational Background: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies from Davidson College. Master of Science in Secondary Education from Johns Hopkins University.
Why I Teach: I joined Teach for America out of college and was inspired by my students’ determination to learn and grow. I admired their work ethic and commitment, and worked each day for the benefit of my students. In the 2019-2020 school year, I received a Fulbright Fellowship to Madrid, Spain, where I learned to apply my teaching knowledge in a different cultural context. My goal is to help students build their curiosity, resourcefulness, and initiative so they can be agents and advocates of their own learning. I have worked with students with a wide range of intellectual and emotional needs and work to sharpen their academic skills and therefore their confidence as well.
What I Like About the S4 Curriculum: I like the S4 curriculum because it emphasizes the skills necessary to be a lifelong learner. The S4 curriculum provides students the tools and resources to become active participants in their own learning through opportunities to explicitly learn and practice the skills needed to be successful in the immediate and long-term future.
Educational Background: Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from University of Bridgeport, Master’s Degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from University of Bridgeport
Why I Teach Mathematics: To start with, I find working on math to be very fun. Math problems are like puzzles, and when you look at them as such it becomes very cathartic. A big goal of mine is to show others how fun working on math can be. Math has an awful stigma in the United States as being boring and scary and that is simply not true. Math is highly elegant. And I want to share and spread enthusiasm for the subject. Not only do I find the subject to be so fun, but I also take a lot of pride in what I do. I believe students each require their own differentiated instruction, and I believe I excel in that. When students do not understand something it is important to provide a variety of methods or ways of teaching material. I think I am really good at what I do and I am fortunate enough to do what I love.
What I Like About the S4 Curriculum: What I like most about the S4 curriculum how it provides students with an exclusive service in helping them succeed in school. Individualized tutoring sessions are proven to improve a student’s academic performance, as well as confidence in the subject area. Students are much more likely to miss out on material in large classrooms. By giving students additional time in a one on one setting, all the distractions a classroom can bring a stripped away. This gives students a highly focused, individualized lesson, in which much can be accomplished.