The S4 team is dedicated and passionate about helping students in grades 6 through college freshmen develop winning study skills to achieve their full potential. Our teachers are highly-experienced and know how to engage and motivate their students.
Michelle was inspired to create Successful Study Skills for Students (S4) by observing the challenges of her two sons as they transitioned into pivotal grades: ninth and sixth, one in public school, and the other in an independent school, and each a distinctly different learner. In talking with educators and other parents, she realized how common these problems are among students across all school environments. Discussions with a diverse group of highly experienced educators led Michelle to spearhead and develop the S4 evidence-based study skills system that promotes time management, organization and other executive-functioning techniques to successfully teach students how to learn more and better. The highly interactive S4 program, has been attended by close to 7,100 students in their efforts to achieve greater educational potential. S4’s suite of programs now includes two study skills workshops: Essential Study Skills and High School and Beyond, a new writing workshop, 12 Ways to Start a Sentence, private tutoring and coaching services, professional development, and parent workshops.
The success of the S4 program has made Michelle a sought-after speaker who presents the S4 principles and concepts to school faculty and administrators, parent and community groups and associations all over Fairfield, Westchester, and New Haven Counties, and into New York City.
Prior to founding S4, Michelle worked in various capacities in media including The Associated Press, USA Today, People magazine and Showtime Networks. She has long participated as a volunteer at her two sons’ schools. Michelle received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College.
With over 30 years of experience in marketing, strategic planning, and business development across multiple disciplines, including education, Virginia is a successful entrepreneur with a sincere interest in student development and academic achievement. Her involvement in the field of education includes her long-term association with a number of educational and non-profit institutions. Specifically, Virginia has served on the board and as board chair of the Pequot Library in Southport, CT; as a board member of Pomfret School, Pomfret, CT; as a current board member and former board chair of the Fairfield Country Day School in Fairfield, CT; and as a current board member at Eagle Hill School, also in Southport. Most recently, Virginia has joined the advisory board of Edumetrics, a company based in Natick, MA, that’s dedicated to providing schools with custom-tailored research, nuanced data collection, and comprehensive data analysis so they can make the best choices for their students. Virginia earned her BA from Wellesley College and her MBA from Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.
Professional Advisory Board
With an MSW specialization of management in youth-serving organizations, Marissa currently manages an extended day program in a brand new middle school in Laurelton, Queens. In this position, Marissa designed and implemented a robust extended-day school program from scratch, while supervising fifteen staff and improving the odds of minority sixth and seventh graders in this Title 1 New York City public School. Marissa’s area of expertise interest are quality control, capacity-building within the youth development field, program development, program evaluation, and effective leadership.
Marissa earned her BA from Franklin & Marshall College, and a Master’s of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.
Mr. Carty has been principal of Stepinac since 2001. He joined the Stepinac faculty in 1994 as a religion teacher and campus minister, responsibilities he has continued since assuming the position of principal. Born and raised in the Bronx, Carty obtained a B.A. Degree in Psychology from the College of New Rochelle, M.A. Degree in Religious Education and M.S. Degree in School Administration from Fordham University. In 2010, he was the first high school principal to receive the prestigious Sapienta et Doctrina Award from Fordham University. The award honors individuals for their work in religious education, pastoral counseling, youth ministry, social justice, young adult ministry, parish ministry and spiritual direction.
Ms. Capozzi is a Guidance Counselor at Staples High School, in Westport, CT.
Currently president of Rocket21, a social-learning platform for middle school students, Mark formerly was president and CEO of All Kinds of Minds, the world-renowned organization dedicated to understanding learning differences. Mark, who resides with his family in Fairfield, CT, also held executive positions at Rabbit Ears Productions and Triad Artists. He earned a BA from Harvard University, and an MBA from the Columbia Business School.
Mr Pavia retired as principal of Trinity Catholic High School in the Spring of 2014, but serves as the school’s President, Tony started as a teacher and went on to be principal of New Canaan High School and then principal of Stamford High School. Before becoming principal at Stamford High School, where he’d also had been chair of the history department, he served at Darien High School as a teacher, assistant principal, and dean of students.
Among other accolades, Tony has received the Connecticut Celebration of Excellence Award; the Theodore White Educational Partner Award, given by Junior Achievement; the Stamford Historical Society Award for contribution to local history; the Chief Community Asset Builder Award, given by New Canaan Social Services, the YMCA, and Youth Bureau; and the President’s Award for Contribution to the Performing Arts, given by the Connecticut High School Musical Theater Association. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Education, given by Stamford’s Yerwood Center in 2011, and is the author of an oral history about America during World War II titled An American Town Goes to War.
A born-and-bred resident of Stamford, Tony stays involved with veterans and continues to host the Annual Veterans Symposium, which brings area veterans into the high school. He is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, where he also earned his Master’s and Sixth-Year degrees.
A passionate educator focused on creating a student-centered environment that is deeply informed by knowledge about how adolescents learn, Marnie is the Head of Upper School at King in Stamford, where she formerly taught English to students in grades 6–12 and was dean of ninth- and tenth-grade students. She has been very involved in King’s development of an individualized approach to teaching, which includes a detailed learning profile for each student. Marnie graduated from St. Olaf College and also holds a Master’s in Religion (literature and church history) from Yale University’s Divinity School. She lives in Stamford with her husband, Mark Lingle.
Dr. Frank Safran
A licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Westport, CT, Frank Safran, PhD, also is a co-founder of the Attention Deficit Disorders Institute. He works with children in individual and group therapy, and speaks nationally and internationally on his work. He and his wife, Diane Safran, MS, ATR-BC, LMFT, work together in social skills and couples’ therapy groups. Both also work collaboratively with schools, student patients, and families to help improve the quality of their educational experience.
Currently principal of Cloonan Middle School in Stamford, CT, Mr. Tate has 29 years of experience in education, spanning the elementary, middle and high school levels. He has worked throughout Connecticut—specifically New Haven, Stratford and Stamford—and served in multiple leadership positions at the district level, including the Strategic Leadership Council of the Stamford Public Schools. He currently serves on the board of the Connecticut Association of School Administrators and the Peter Cernansky Memorial Fund.
Noah Pederson is a 12th-grade student at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Mount Hermon, MA. He’s been an invaluable resource to S4, helping the team best understand students’ perspective of the transition from elementary to middle school, and from middle to high school.