Meet our team! Our tutors, music instructors, test prep instructors, specialists and writers come from diverse backgrounds, have a multitude of skills, and are experts in the areas they tutor or their instrument. All of our instructors are full-time professionals and many of them are current teachers and hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree. They are required to go through an intense screening process that involves a current background check. For the tutoring sessions, our instructors will either travel to your home or meet at a local library. All music lessons do take place in the comfort of your own home. Take a look at our amazing teachers…!
Ryan P.C. Trimble
Sarah KochanFounder and Lead Tutor, iAchieve Learning. Working one-on-one with students has been a passion of mine for many years. I hold a Masters degree in Mathematics, was a high school Math teacher for 10 years, and began private tutoring 8 years ago. I started iAchieve Learning in 2014 and have worked very hard to create a business that offers many different services so that we are able to help as many students and families as possible. I am also a member of the National Association of Professional Women. Music has been a large part of my life and I've been playing the piano for 26 years. Seeing the progress and results that students are able to achieve in a single learning session is amazing and inspired me to start iAchieve Learning. My ultimate goal for iAchieve Learning is to provide educational services for multiple subjects and grade levels in both academics and in music. I am passionate about teaching, helping others, and making sure every student is provided with an exceptional learning experience.
Jacob GoldACT/SAT prep, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, Algebra I and II, Geometry, Precalculus, Trigonometry, History, Geography, Social Science, English, College planning and essay writing, iAchieve Learning. Jacob's ACT test score was a 36/36 and his SAT test score was an 800 in Verbal and a 720 in Mathematics. Jacob Gold is a native of north suburban Chicago who comes to iAchieve learning with years of tutoring and teaching experience that began at his alma mater, Princeton University, where he graduated cum laude with a BA in Anthropology in 2006.Following graduation, Jacob was named a Princeton in Asia Fellow posted to Hanoi, Vietnam, where he served on the reporting and editorial staff of several publications, primarily the Viet Nam News. He was subsequently hired to the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia, where he covered national and business news. During his time in Cambodia from 2009-2010, Jacob also wrote for Cambodia’s first nationally televised sketch comedy show, Upside Down. While covering the numerous archaeological discoveries then emerging in post-conflict Cambodia, Jacob decided to “get on the other side of the story”: pursuing an academic career that would allow him to join in the interdisciplinary application of historical, archaeological, and ecological sciences to the study of the human past.Before returning to academia, Jacob tutored students in ACT/SAT prep and worked in the non-profit special needs education sector in Chicago. He then attended, and received an MA from, the University of Michigan’s Center for South East Asian Studies in Ann Arbor, where his overseas Master’s Thesis research was funded by the Amnuay and Samonsri Viravan Thai Studies Endowment, and which also enabled him to return to Hanoi in the course of translating a popular book of nonfiction essays from Vietnamese into English under the title The Wandering Motorbike (author Nguyen Truong Quy).In 2013, Jacob began his doctoral degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Department of Anthropology, the formal anthropological research and curation partner of the Field Museum of Natural History. Since that time, he has held graduate teaching positions in classroom- and laboratory-based anthropology courses, conducted five seasons of archaeological and anthropological fieldwork in Cambodia, and recently began a research partnership with Chicago’s Cambodian National Heritage Museum and Genocide Memorial, the only institution of its kind in the United States.Jacob is fluent in French, highly proficient in Vietnamese and Khmer, and Spanish-literate.
Matthew WischoefferMath, Chemistry, ACT, SAT, GRE Test Prep Tutor, iAchieve Learning. I am a lifelong, avid learner and graduated from DePaul University’s honors program with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics. I am currently in the process of completing an MFA degree in Music Composition. This diverse background gives me a strong handle on both mathematics and the humanities. I know from having spent time as a student and an instructor that one-on-one instruction is the ultimate asset in reaching one’s full potential in any discipline. I enjoy examining the goals and guidelines that drive standardized exam design to better understand how to achieve success in test taking. In addition to tutoring, I work as a freelance audio professional and composer. In my free time, I enjoy building computers and audio systems from components, learning about emerging technologies, and constantly challenging my own assumptions and conclusions.
Ken BradleyTheatre and Drama Coach, Public Speaking, Creative Writing and Presentation Tutor, iAchieve Learning. I am a Chicago Actor and 22 year member of SAG/AFTRA as well as the Directors Guild of America. I have achieved many credits on Chicago theatrical stages and on network television . After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of Georgia, I moved to Chicago to pursue acting. My career has taken me from a stage actor, in my early days, to film production, as an Assistant Director on a network television series, and back again. I enjoy the evolution of creativity whether it is on stage, screen, paper or public speaking. My background and experience has brought me to teach at iAchieve Learning. I would like to help others with the creative process, whether it is preparing for an audition, working through a monologue, writing a wedding toast or understanding a complex character or scene for an upcoming production. I believe it is never too late to achieve your artistic goals and would like to help others live their dream.
Kallie HaasMath and ACT/SAT Test Prep Tutor, iAchieve Learning. Kallie Haas is a certified K-12 special education teacher. Kallie graduated from Ball State University (IN) with dual certification in Deaf Education and Mild Disabilities Special Education. During her sophomore year at Ball State, she lived at the Indiana School for the Deaf (Indianapolis), where she gained valuable practicum teaching and coaching experience. She holds a Master's Degree from The Johns Hopkins University (MD) in Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Differentiated Instruction and Curriculum Design. Kallie has taught a variety of subjects for high school inclusion and self-contained classes in Maryland and Illinois, including pre-algebra, algebra, pre-geometry, geometry, U.S history, government, and English. She specialized in teaching executive functioning and self-advocacy skills within her resource program. Besides her teaching experience, Kallie worked as a flight attendant for two and a half years! She is actively involved in her community, volunteering her time with the Des Plaines Friends of the Parks. Kallie loves to travel, try new restaurants, read, practice yoga and meditation, dance, and the Washington Capitals!
Emily ArensElementary School Tutor and Math Tutor, iAchieve Learning. I am able to tutor any child in the areas of math, reading and language arts. My specialty is middle school math, gifted math, pre-algebra and algebra. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Education, a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction as well as multiple endorsements and certifications. For the past 19 years, I have been a math and reading teacher. Teaching and learning have always been a passion of mine. I believe in life long learning, and I hope to instill that in my students. Outside of education, I love to spend time with my family playing board games and reading books together.
Amla SinghMath, Biology, English, Social Science, Language Arts, and ELL Tutor, iAchieve Learning. I believe that growth, development, and learning are ongoing processes for individuals and that people learn at their own comfort level. Research shows that the key is in early detection which includes timely and appropriate intervention. I believe that my role is a significant one in the lives of the students I provide services for. In order to positively influence students I provide a nurturing environment that is conducive to learning. It is the simultaneous teaching, the molding and the shaping of the character of the students that transforms lives. My intention is to influence students through positive learning experiences. I attended Roosevelt University and earned a Master of Arts in Clinical Professional Psychology. I am also a Licensed Professional Counselor and hold a Substitute Teaching License (K-12). I have been providing tutoring for students of all ages from diverse cultural backgrounds. Over the years, some of the subjects I have provided services in include: Algebra, Honor's Biology, English, History, Math, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Hindi. Speaking English as a Second Language helps me understand the barriers and difficulties of students attempting to learn the English language. Although I speak the Hindi and Urdu languages with fluency, I can read and write in Hindi at an intermediate level. I greatly enjoy teaching, tutoring, music, and spending time with family and friends!
Lauren MarsikElementary School Tutor, Reading, Writing, Math, Chemistry and Academic Coach, iAchieve Learning. I am currently a stay-at-home mom to a 5-year-old daughter. I hold a Master's Degree in School Counseling from Concordia University Chicago (2009) and a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from Loras College (2002). Not only have I worked as a sales assistant for Clearchannel, but also as an academic counselor for grades 1-8 and a Title I counselor for grades 1-3, in which I taught small group classes for both Reading/Writing and Math. I enjoy working with children to help them achieve both educational and personal goals. I also like to make learning fun and exciting, and have a very hands-on approach to how students learn, whether it be inside or outside the classroom. I like to see kids excel at school and beyond. I enjoy many things outside of work and being a mom. I love to run, hike, and work out to feel good, go to the movies, eat out with good friends and family, experience all nature has to offer, and, of course, relax on a beautiful beach.
Colette HarrisAcademic Coach, iAchieve Learning. I have a Master's of Science Degree in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from DePaul University. I am a certified professional coach through iPEC, the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching and have a health coaching certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I grew up figure skating in the area and began coaching children of all ages while in college. I taught skating for nearly a decade before embarking on a journalism career and loved the time I spent interacting with my students. My favorite part of teaching was watching the kids grow as people and as athletes every week. I loved watching them master new skills on and off the ice! In addition to teaching technical skating skills, I work as a mental skills coach, helping young athletes manage competition anxiety, set training goals, and gain and build self-esteem. I truly enjoy helping children develop the life skills necessary to build a happy and successful future. I am currently a professional writer and love what I do. I write for a variety of outlets including Outside Magazine (Outside Online), the Daily Herald, ChicagoStyle Weddings Magazine, and SKATING Magazine. I run my own digital publication, GOLD Athlete Mag, for high school and collegiate female athletes that covers nutrition, sports psychology, conditioning, and inspiring stories of female athletes from around the globe. In my free time I enjoy cooking, yoga, reading, and being active.
Carolina Cormack-OrellanaElementary School Tutor, English, Spanish, ACT/SAT Test Prep Tutor and Academic Coach, iAchieve Learning. I am originally from the Los Angeles area and graduated from Bucknell University in Central Pennyslvania with a BA in Creative Writing and Classical Studies. After college, I moved to the Chicago area to work as a Scholar Coach for the Schuler Scholar Program, a nonprofit dedicated to helping first generation, low income, students of color gain access to and succeed at highly selective liberal arts colleges. As a Scholar Coach I worked one-on-one with my caseload of students to develop and implement personalized reading programs. In 2017 I was promoted to the role of Program Associate, in which I work on big picture curriculum building and support Scholar Coaches in their work with students. I also work with socioemotional health provider, Youth Services of Glenview, to co-facilitate their prideSOCIAL program- a space for LGBTQ+ young people to socialize and build community. I love the personal and academic relationships I am able to build with young people when teaching, and strongly believe that putting students in the driver's seat is the best way to help them learn. In my free time I read, write, exercise, and take improv courses at the iO Theater in Chicago.
Melissa SerioElementary School Tutor specializing in English, Reading, Writing, Math and Academic Coaching, iAchieve Learning. I graduated from Northeastern Illinois University Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. I have a minor and endorsement in teaching English as a Second Language and a Middle School endorsement. Throughout my college career, I gravitated towards teaching reading and writing. This is mostly because I am passionate about these two subjects, and thoroughly enjoy reading and writing in my personal life. I am currently a Middle School English Teacher, and I love what I do! I go above and beyond for my students on a daily basis. I treat each student as an individual, unique learner. What I love about tutoring is the one-on-one individualized instruction. This allows me to cater specifically to each student's needs and work with their strengths. My ultimate goal as a tutor is to see my students grow and experience success in and out of the classroom. I achieve this by incorporating student interests into my lessons through real-world application. My interests include exercising, reading, watching my favorite shows, and spending time with family and friends!
Dennis PavlikMath, Computer Programming, Electronics, and Anthropology Tutor, iAchieve Learning. I have obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a Master’s of Science in both Computer Science and Anthropology from Northern Illinois University. My love of teaching springs from my deep love, enjoyment and fulfillment in learning. Through learning an individual accumulates not only more knowledge of a particular subject matter but also develops more understanding and openness to other people and ideas. Through knowledge one becomes more productive. Through understanding one becomes more wise, content and mature as they fulfill their higher level needs. It is these aspects of learning that I want to impart in my students. The ultimate measure of my teaching ideas and methods is when my student have come back and said “I got a job in …”, “I have been doing some extra reading in …”, “I’m continuing going on to school in …”, and many other statements that indicate that I have assisted in their attainment in bettering themselves and valuing education. I enjoy sharing my wide range of interests, enthusiasm and knowledge with my students. I draw upon my work experience and accumulated knowledge base to enhance classroom presentations, tutoring sessions, substantiate theory and spark enthusiasm. During my off-hours, you can find me pursuing one of my wide range of personal interests in art, anthropology, electronics, music and trains, visiting a museum, or reading.
Rebecca HarroMath Tutor, iAchieve Learning. I love math. Math is the language of life, describing everything in the world around us from physics to French fries. Sadly, many math students find the subject a puzzling headache, fraught with unknowns and mysterious processes. Through years of tutoring, one of my greatest joys has been to help students uncover the problems and make sense of the world of mathematics!For the last four years, I have taught math in a private American school in Jerusalem, covering subjects from elementary math to Geometry, Algebra 2, and Precalculus. I've tutored while teaching, and even for a few years before, helping students move from frustration to satisfaction and even enjoyment of this complex subject. I've worked with students with a variety of learning challenges, from dyslexia to ADD. I'd love to help you learn to love math!I approach math in a way designed to make the subject applicable and fun while bringing a deeper understanding than formula memorization can achieve. I've helped students, especially in Algebra 2 and Trig, go from failing or poor grades to average and excellent marks, building confidence along the way. I bring a hands-on, visually and kinesthetically appealing perspective to Geometry, especially in the subject of proofs. For Precalculus, I have the analytical skills necessary to help a student understand where he/she is struggling in a problem that often draws on 3+ unique skill sets.
Oleg ChanyshevMath and Russian Tutor, iAchieve Learning. I specialize in mathematics, economics and statistics, including all high school math as well as some university mathematics, such as Linear Algebra or Analysis. Additionally, I offer tutoring in ACT/SAT preparation and I am equally comfortable working on all sections of those exams. I am also fluent in Russian (native speaker) and provide tutoring and translation services in this language. I have been involved in some form of tutoring since high school where I tutored fellow students in math. Later at the University of Chicago I became one of the Harper Tutors who were able to assist numerous students per day and offer help in several subjects, which in my case was mainly Calculus and Probability Theory. Over the years my love of teaching has grown and matured. I realized that I enjoy teaching not only because I love helping students and seeing them achieve their goals and excel in life, but also because it involves constant human interaction and problem solving, which makes the process always exciting and never mundane. I am a trader during the market hours, employed by one of the proprietary trading firms in downtown Chicago. Outside of the market hours, I am a tutor. I earned my BA in Economics with General Honors from the University of Chicago. I am also in the process of becoming a CFA (currently Level II Candidate). My interests include travel, mathematics, trading, music, skiing and water sports.
Melissa OckermanReading, Writing, and English Tutor and Academic Coach, iAchieve Learning. “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”—Dr. Maya Angelou This bold and optimistic statement, enunciated by renowned poet and author, Dr. Angelou, is an ideal that can be found interwoven into all of my work (teaching, scholarship, and service) and has served as a guidepost on my personal and professional journey. I whole-heartedly believe in the power of education to transform lives and thus change the world for the better. Education, at its best, is the catalyst for new ways of thinking about ourselves and those around us. I can not think of anything better than helping students make new connections (except for perhaps warm chocolate chip cookies ;) and become their fullest selves. Currently I am an Associate Professor of School Counseling at DePaul University, College of Education. A proud Buckeye, I earned by Ph.D. in Counselor Education and M.A. in School Counseling from The Ohio State University. Prior to earning my degree, I was the Director of Counseling at two counseling and wellness centers in inner-city Columbus Public Schools. At iAchieve Learning, I hope to help students gain skills in executive functioning, reading, writing, editing, psychology, and social sciences. I practice yoga, enjoy traveling, and I love spending time with my family and friends. I also happen to think that my five nieces and nephews are the best people on earth (but I might be a little biased. ;)
Ben FisherEnglish, Writing, History, Verbal ACT/SAT, College Essays and Drama Tutor, iAchieve Learning. I taught English literature and creative writing for five years at the Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough, California. During this time, I also worked closely with the school's college counseling office to assist students with their undergraduate admissions essays. I still return to Crystal seasonally and during the summer to teach writing workshops. I recently completed my masters at UC San Diego, and have relocated to Chicago for a playwriting residency. I specialize in all areas of the humanities, college admissions essays, verbal ACT/SAT prep, and creative writing. I’m passionate about literature, the arts, and I enjoy sharing that passion with young people. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, walking the dog, going to the theater, and watching football.
Brandon FalkElementary School Tutor, ACT/SAT Test Prep Proctor, iAchieve Learning. My career working with children began as a summer camp counselor for the Mattoon YMCA. I continued to work at the Y in Mattoon while I received my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from nearby Eastern Illinois University. I continued my service through a different Y in California for two years before realizing that teaching children was the career path I needed to pursue. I returned to Illinois and to school at Northeastern Illinois University to obtain my teaching certification in early childhood education. Most of my clinical teaching experiences during school were in the kindergarten classroom, and that is where I’ve been ever since. This is my fourth year teaching kindergarten in Chicago Public Schools, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else! What I love most about teaching kindergarten is watching how quickly my students learn and how excited they get when they first realize they can read! In his free time, he loves to explore Chicago and travel with his girlfriend Samantha.
Cathy SearsElementary School Tutor, Academic Coach and Young Learners Tutor, iAchieve Learning. My education is a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Specialized tutoring subjects include Language Arts, Literacy, Reading/Writing, Social Studies, Elementary Math, General Science, History, World History, Government, Geography. As a teacher, everyone assumes that I do all the instructing and students do all the learning; however, education is the process of learning and teaching. I am a role model for my students to be life-long learners. One of the best perks about being an educator is learning from my students. I look forward to working with you and/or your child. I have been teaching for over 25 years. I have taught preschool through college level courses. For the past 16 years, I have been at the middle school teaching language arts and literacy (writing and reading) and social studies to seven and eighth graders, switching to grades sixth through eighth as a reading resource teacher just three years ago. I love to teach, no matter what the student’s age. When I am not teaching, I relish the time I spend with family and friends. Reading, especially fiction, is another way I spend my time, which I developed a passion for when I started reading to my first born…almost 30 years ago. I love to drive both short excursions or long ones. My youngest son has indulged my love for driving by moving to Tennessee, almost a ten-hour drive. He is such a wonderful young man. In addition, I enjoy hiking and kayaking.
Carolyn HanusElementary School Tutor and Young Learners Tutor, iAchieve Learning. I am 29 years old and graduated DePaul University in 2008, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies. Then, I made the decision to further my education and I received a certificate in Early Childhood Education. Currently, I teach at an after-school program at the Jane Stenson School (District #68), located within Skokie, Illinois. I work with students kindergarten through eighth grade and assist them in reading, writing, math, social studies, and science. In addition, I am very artistic and implement creative activities into my program. I utilize visual, auditory, and kinesthetic strategies while helping students in a positive environment achieve their goals. My personal hobbies and interests include the following: art, reading, history, learning about child development, montessori methods and learning, running, biking, yoga, poetry, music, and film.
Nicole MuszynskyElementary School Tutor, Academic Coaching, iAchieve Learning. My area of speciality is Special Education and I am a special education teacher for the partial hospitalization program at a behavioral hospital. I have a B.S. in Education with a specialization in Special Education. I also work with kids to develop executive functioning skills to help them be successful in school. I enjoy teaching because I love helping children learn what is difficult for them and making it easier. I love teaching children how to read! My hobbies include reading, spending time with my daughter, family and friends. I enjoy watching movies, too! I adore cuddling with my two cats.
Ryan P.C. TrimbleFrench/Spanish/English Tutor, iAchieve learning. The Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini is quoted as saying, “A different language is a different vision of life.” A new language opens up a student’s world to music, television, books, films, cultural ideas, and meetings they would never otherwise have the opportunity to find, and I love helping others discover them. Throughout my life, I've been able to apply that quote to my own life. I've always loved everything to do with languages. I read and wrote voraciously, in any language I knew (or thought I knew). I used to copy the "Evolution of the Alphabet" sections out of my grandparents' World Book Encyclopedias, teaching myself little bits of a lot of languages as I grew up. In high school, I properly learned to speak French and Spanish. At the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, I graduated with a double major in Film Studies & French Language, and as a member of Pi Delta Phi, the National French Honor Society. I also worked on the French television program "Le Grand Journal" in fall 2012, a show whose ratings tanked shortly after I left. Back in North Carolina, I kept my language skills sharp by tutoring at UNC-W's Learning Center as a Spanish, English, and French tutor. I also taught high school-level French at Huntington Learning Center. Besides teaching at iAchieve, I work as a social media manager for an international company, which keeps me connected to people around the world. I also perform improv and sketch comedy around Chicago (mostly in English, for now), and am working on my second novel (my first, "Fragments from 5th Ave," was published in summer 2014).
Colleen KaveReading/Writing Tutor, iAchieve Learning. During college, I tutored through a neighborhood after-school program, and through that experience, I learned that working one-on-one with students is enlightening and enriching for both parties. I have a genuine enthusiasm for literature, grammar, and writing, and I believe that well-developed communication skills are essential, not only for academic success, but in every aspect of our daily lives. I love to help students discover the keys to effective self-expression and build confidence in their ability to articulate their thoughts and ideas. I have a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Notre Dame, a JD from DePaul College of Law, and 18 years of professional experience as a writer and editor for a legal publishing company. In my free time, I enjoy attending my children’s sporting events, cooking, and singing at a cabaret and with an acoustic combo.
Anna SeidmanSpanish, Math, Science, and ACT Tutor, iAchieve Learning. I enjoy teaching because I love to explore and learn about many different subject areas, as well as to help students succeed and achieve their goals. One of my specialties is Spanish, because I majored in Spanish language and literature and have studied abroad in Mexico and Madrid. I also work a lot with math, reading, writing, and ACT prep. I'm a special education teaching assistant at Highland Park High School. I have a BA from Brandeis University, near Boston, and MA degrees in Spanish and special education. Outside of work, some of my interests are strategy games and writing, and I'm currently working on a novel.
Emmy BrownArt Teacher, iAchieve Learning. I am a graduate of Carthage College of Kenosha, Wisconsin, with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication and a minor in Japanese language. A Chicago native, I moved back to the city after graduation and was employed as an in-house graphic designer for three years. During that time I attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago to focus on children's book illustration and will be completing my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree this fall at Columbia College Chicago. I have taken a variety of extracurricular art classes including wheel pottery, screen printing, watercolor, and Japanese shodō. Currently, I am working as a freelance designer for character design and brand identity. I have taught children's arts and crafts classes at both Camp Echo and the Racine Art Museum. I love teaching art classes because I get the chance to inspire others to express themselves and create something beautiful. In my spare time I roam bookstores, go on long walks around Chicago's lovely architecture, and nap with my cat.
Michael BoyleGuitar Instructor, iAchieve Learning. My name is Michael Boyle and I have been teaching music professionally for 13 years in the Chicagoland area. For most of that time, my speciality has been in teaching guitar, although I have also taught ukulele, piano, choir and music theory. I have enjoyed teaching students of all skill levels, including students in the disability and ESL communities, as well as those who want to pursue music as a career. Specifically in regards to guitar, I have enjoyed showing students the connections between learning “rock band” skills and the fundamentals of music literacy; which includes reading both tablature and standard notation, as well as music theory concepts and aural skills. I received my Masters in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in 2005, where I served as the bass section leader of our choirs, the musical director for our Phi Mu Alpha chapter, and was the student director of a community partnership program for the musical "Carousel." In 2003, I received my Bachelors in Music from The University of Illinois at Chicago, where I served as the student Manager for The UIC Choirs, musical director for the theater production of The Mysteries: Creation, was a student assistant for the The World Youth Choir’s American Tour, and was also a member of the student advisory committee. Prior to that, I taught private and group lessons in guitar and piano for all age levels, as well as organized student recitals for The Chicago Park District, which also included a children’s choir. I started playing the guitar when I was 13 years old, and since high school, I have played in many rock bands that have performed throughout the Chicagoland area. My favorite styles are Blues, Folk and Classic Rock, but I also enjoy playing Jazz, Classical, Country and Modern Pop and Rock. There are three things about teaching music that I enjoy the most. First, is sharing my love of music with my students. An enthusiastic teacher is such an important part of getting students to want to learn, and helps encourage lifelong learning of any subject. Second, is helping students build confidence and a sense of achievement through learning how to sing or play an instrument. Finally, it is the sense of community and positive relationships that people build when they make music together. Whether playing in a rock band, singing in a choir, or leading a group of friends in song with a guitar or around a piano, strong bonds are built, or made stronger, through music. My favorite thing to do is spend time with my family. My wife and I have three sons; ages 6, 4 and 8 months old. We like to go to parks, museums and the zoo. My boys are a lot of fun, a little bit of trouble, and I love them more than anything! They love music too, and it is so much fun singing our favorite songs together.
Ryan SeguraGuitar and Bass Instructor, iAchieve Learning. I specialize in teaching guitar, bass and music theory. I've learned and taught just about every style of guitar playing, which includes but isn't limited to; rock, folk, metal, prog metal/rock, flamenco, punk, grunge etc. Everything is linked to theory and because I'm always trying to improve my own playing I'm always looking to learn something new. I went to art school at the American Academy of Art and graduated with a degree in fine art specializing in 3d animation. During my time there I mastered all the basics in the visual arts, and taught myself music production, recording, and most importantly my music theory education. I'm self taught when it comes to music theory and have performed professionally in my band around Chicago. I started playing guitar at 13 and over the years I have mastered every technique on guitar with very few exceptions. I consider myself a professional in all aspects of music and so I have developed a very powerful practice regimine for every state of musical development. I have taught in homes and at my personal studio for years and record bands as a side job when I'm not gigging or writing my own music. Teaching, for me, was always something that seemed interesting especially once I got to college and the teachers were so well versed in so many areas. They all told me what I now know to be true, in that teaching others forces you to really have to understand what it is you are passing on. It is a challenge with amazing rewards. Everytime one of my students masters something that they once thought was impossible I feel as though in a small way I've changed the world and made things a bit more musical. I hope to give all my students the skills to be able to express themselves fluently and uniquely in music. Other than music teaching or performing I enjoy reading sci-fi or fantasy, cooking, drawing, expanding my studio and of course video games. I've been learning languages such as German, Spanish, and soon Italian and french as well as began to improve my chess game.
Yvette ZalewskiPiano Instructor, iAchieve Learning. I am a student at Maine West High School and have been playing piano for 12 years now. Over the course of these 12 years I have participated in over 24 concerts and 15 competitions. For the past 4 years straight I've won 1st place in my competitions. These competitions are olympic competitions where I go against university students that major in piano. At school I'm also in the choir and I help the choirs out by accompanying them. I also play the piano for different ceremonies in school. Recently, I've been inducted into Tri-M which is a national music honor society. I love playing piano, and I know that in the future I will definitely be in some sort of piano profession. I want to make others love piano the way I do. Teaching students piano completes me as a person and I love watching people progress in piano and enjoy playing and practicing. My favorite composer is Schubert, and my favorite classical piece would be Schubert's Impromptu Op. 90 No. 3. Aside from classical music I really enjoy the oldies. My favorite singers are Elvis Presley, Jerry lee Lewis, and Dion. In all, my objective is to become a better pianist while teaching the piano to others.
John VogelFlute Instructor, iAchieve Learning I teach flute lessons, specializing in basic technique, note reading, composition, early classical studies, improvisation and extended technique. I graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA in performance studies. I can’t begin to tell you what fluting has done for me. It is a tool for integrating the body and the mind, conceptual thought and emotions, and materializing the imagination. Although I believe in the importance of structure and technique, flute playing is a creative practice. Therefore, at an early stage I to teach composition and improvising of basic melodies and rhythms. Additionally, I try to teach students about alternate possibilities to the narrow conception of the Western flute. Sure, learning a musical instrument is not easy. It takes rigor and patience. Yet there are break throughs in learning as well as experiments that can lead to fun and fruitful discovery. I integrate fun projects into lessons and keep an ear open to students’ particular interests. More than anything, I steer away from containing or restricting a student’s enthusiasm about a particular subject or direction. Currently, I am completing an Artist Residency at No Nation art space and tangential laboratory in Wicker Park, Chicago. Recently, I went on a performance tour in Bogota, Columbia, where I performed alongside other artists in an interdisciplinary setting. Music is rewarding in that it can touch peoples’ hearts. I enjoy teaching because I love to see how different people approach the flute. Although there is such a thing as good technique, it is always interesting to hear a naive musician. Moreover, it is a great feeling to enable student’s to discover things for themselves. Ultimately, a student will become their own best critique, as well as the primary source of motivation. People have different reasons for learning a musical instrument. I am a flexible in my envisioning of what music means, yet my hope is that it becomes a way to nurture the Self, to create connections, and to be happy. Other than playing the flute, I am passionate about visual art, fashion design and skateboarding. To me, everything is musical. There is rhythm, color, and personal temperament in all forms of expression. Through music, I want to continue experiencing beauty and transform myself as a spiritual, emotional and thoughtful being. As a teacher, I want to guide and inspire students through their own journey. I hope we can use music to foster connections and make this world a more harmonious and accepting place.
Igor StojanovicDrum and Percussion Instructor, iAchieve Learning. My name is Igor, and I am a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University’s School of Music, where I received my Master’s Degree in Music (Jazz Studies, Drumset) and was working as a Graduate Assistant. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Music from Benedict College in South Carolina. I have been a member of the Percussive Art Society, where I was featured in one of their articles as an international percussionist who received a Full Ride Scholarship at Benedict College and as one of the section leaders of the only drumline on the Balkan peninsula – SPE (Stankovic Percussion Ensemble). I won two national prizes in 2007 and 2009 at the National Percussion Competition of Serbia. I performed in various group settings which include jazz, funk, rock, Classical Orchestra, and Big Band. I played in high caliber orchestras such as Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Serbia, and National Opera. I also played for 3 years in Columbia, South Carolina with outstanding jazz and funk musicians and performed at the Chicago Jazz festival with the NIU Big Band. In addition, I performed abroad at some outstanding festivals in countries like Serbia, Montenegro, Switzerland, and South Korea. As one of my idols Steve Gadd says, '' adjustments never stop". So according to that, I have been trying to stay adjustable for various styles in performing and teaching and keep my “around percussion player” approach. I believe that the best learning occurs when a student reaches the level in which he/she starts finding new things in music that are also new for us educators. At this moment in music creativity, both students and educators start teaching each other while they are also enjoying the beauty of music. I am glad that I can afford this luxury to be called a “Musician” and to do it for a living!
Ian MeyerGuitar Instructor, iAchieve Learning. My specialties are guitar, bass and ukulele. I love all styles of music. You will not find a musical genre I don’t, or won’t, appreciate- from the simple to the avante garde- classical, country, blues, rock, metal and more. If you want to go down a musical path, I will not hesitate to help guide you. Although I have done quite well in school and college, the majority of my musical knowledge comes from a lively musical upbringing and many years of intensive personal study, practice and real-life experience. My musical knowledge is vast because it has been my passion since childhood and my whole adult life has been dedicated to furthering my abilities- whether it has been by creating/performing with bands, interning at recording studios or trading knowledge with other artists and students. In short, as a musician, I am mainly self-taught. There is nothing quite as rewarding to me as helping the world become more knowledgeable and creative. I feel that art and music are the best tools to express and communicate emotions that cannot be simply put into words. I also feel as though teaching helps me learn- so it is mutually beneficial between myself and my students. When I see my students learning and progressing, it makes me happy to know I am helping them achieve their goals. I have taught professionally throughout the Chicagoland area in schools, music stores and homes since 2000. In that time I have taught literally hundreds of students. I also created and ran a music venue/recording studio that was open from 2006-2015. Currently, other than teaching full-time, I run a booking and sound company for bands and venues in Chicago. Other than music and art, some of my other interests include cooking, reading, philosophy and learning German (I hope to travel there one day).
Jordan TynerFrench Horn Instructor, iAchieve Learning. I am a French Horn player from Chicago, IL. I have such a passion for music and enjoy teaching because I want to help someone find that same passion. I specialize in classical music, but love to go outside of the box! I am also well versed in Music Theory and Aural Skills. I work as a leasing agent during the day and teach lessons on my days off. I also play gigs whenever possible. I especially love playing in the pits of musicals. I have been playing French Horn since 2004, and played trumpet before that. I recieved my degree in French Horn performance from North Park University in 2014. Outside of music I also enjoy creative writing and art.
Jeff SchweitzerPiano and Trumpet Instructor, iAchieve Learning. I come from a musical family, all four of my siblings started on piano (as did I). I switched to trumpet when I started high school and never looked back! The instrument's ability to command attention as well as its contrasting delicate-yet-full sound at low dynamics are what make me love it. As a trumpeter, I've been called on to play in a variety of settings, from liturgical and ceremonial services to jazz, rock, blues, salsa/merengue, and commercial music. My undergraduate degree in music is from UIC, while my master's is in Composition and Jazz Studies from DePaul University. I also enjoy composing, arranging, and music engraving. Music has no limit to the amount of personal growth one can achieve, and part of the reason I enjoy teaching it is seeing students find that same satisfaction with their own playing. In addition to performing on trumpet, I also sing, and teach choir, piano, and brass methods at the high school level.
Jessica TobacmanVoice, Piano, Guitar, Viola & Violin Instructor, iAchieve Learning. I love helping students to build on their natural musical abilities. Everyone has a story worth telling, and music offers a beautiful, meaningful way to share it with the world. I’m an educator first, a musician and service-leader second, and a writer third. As a music educator, I offer private lessons at Naperville’s Tobacman Music studios and founded and direct the Congregation Beth Shalom Youth Chorus in Naperville. As a professional musician and cantorial soloist, I lead Jewish High Holiday services each year on the North Shore, have performed vocal solos with groups like the Elmhurst Choral Union and the Michael Teolis Singers, and have presented the viola parts for two world premieres by student composers at Elmhurst College in 2016. I’ve played piano and viola for 25 years, and accompanied my voice on guitar for five years. I hold a music degree from Elmhurst College (’16), an M.A. in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago (’07), and B.A.’s in European Culture and Comparative Literature from Brandeis University (’02). I studied the Jewish cantorial field with Cantor Deborah Bard, formerly of KAMI Isaiah Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation west of Ohio.
Dr. Kati Guada
Peter HermanCollege and Career Specialist, iAchieve Learning. Since 1996, Peter has been assisting families with their college planning needs and is the founding member of Collegian Group, LLC. Prior to that he was in the Financial services business. It is Collegian Group’s goal to be your single source for all your college planning needs. As the “Quarterback” for Collegian, Peter has brought together a team of college planning experts. Collegian, provides Admissions assistance, tutoring, through our partner, iAchieve Learning as well as cash flow planning for college. We help students find the Right School, for the Right Reasons and for the Right Price. As a Certified College Funding Specialist (CCFS) as well as a member of The National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC), Peter is uniquely qualified to guide our students through the college planning maze. Additionally, Collegian Group, LLC has developed two sub-specialties: 1) working with Student-Athletes and 2) assisting single parents.
Noreen Haque-ColombeProfessional Development Instructor, iAchieve Learning. I came to education through corporate America. I have a Bachelor's degree in Aviation Administration and a Master's Degree in Education and participated in community outreach where I taught a kindergarten class. The experience served as an impetus for me to change careers and pursue education. I have been in involved in education for over 10 years and have worked as a classroom teacher, Program Manager, and curriculum design and professional development instructor. I feel incredibly fortunate to have worked in professional development as it offers the opportunity to work with a variety of school communities and learn about their needs. Working in professional development, I have worked help schools maximize instruction and implementation. Meeting a variety of school staff and students is always a pleasure. Each school has its story and it is always an honor to take time to understand what their successes and areas of improvement are. Outside of work, I enjoy travelling, reading, and biking and my two daughters.
David McKennaProfessional Development Instructor, iAchieve Learning. David McKenna attended Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. After graduating with a degree in English and History, he joined the Teach for America program and spent seven years teaching in a middle school in Las Vegas, Nevada. During this time, he also earned a Masters in Curriculum and Development from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Then, feeling the need to travel, he decided to take a position teaching English at an international high school in Erzurum, Turkey. These experiences allowed David to develop deep knowledge of ESL teaching, as well as ELA curriculum and instruction, the main areas in which he presents. He also has a deep interest in writing across the curriculum, including in vocabulary development, using authentic literature to teach common core state standards, and technology in the classroom. David enjoys presenting because he loves having participants walk out with something they can use to change their classroom and instructional techniques right away. Originally from Chicago, David is excited to be working to better students and teachers where he grew up. When he is not teaching, David enjoys exploring Chicago on his bike, trying new restaurants, checking out museums (he is a regular volunteer in the education department of the Field Museum), and cheering on the local teams, especially the Bears and the Cubs.
Dr. Kati GuadaPsychologist, iAchieve Learning. My name is Kati Guada, and I am a doctor of clinical psychology. I realized early in my collegiate studies at Indiana University that practicing psychology was my calling. After graduating in 2006, I knew that I would eventually enroll in graduate school, but I wanted to see more of the world first and accepted a job in Beijing, China. Not long after signing a contract, I found myself living in a Chinese district without the comfort of ex-patriots from the Western world. During this point in my life, I was forced to learn how to get around and live in a place where the language and customs were completely different from my own. After completing my contract in Beijing, I moved back to Chicago and felt a sense of responsibility towards the multicultural difficulties faced by the Latino community in the US. I decided to learn Spanish and began to immerse myself in Latino culture. I also also traveled across Mexico for one month in an effort towards total language immersion. When I returned home from Mexico in 2009, I knew it was time to start applying the skills I learned in China, Chicago, and Mexico to the practice of psychology, and I started graduate school at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. While in school, I trained in both psychotherapy and psychological testing, including diagnosing learning difficulties. As I have always had strong passion for the power of education, I knew that I would want to incorporate educational testing into my future work. In July of 2015, after 6 long years, I graduated with my doctoral degree and in November of 2016, I opened my own business. I am excited for this huge step in my career and to be able to serve the local community as owner of Guada Psychological Services PC and partner with iAchieve Learning. Learn more about what we do at www.guadapsych.com.
Phil LaneWriter/Blogger, iAchieve Learning. I have been working as an English/Writing tutor since 2006. I am also a full-time instructor for most standardized tests and English school subject work. I hold a Bachelor's Degree in English with a concentration in Writing, and have also done post-grad work in Secondary Education and Adolescent Psychology. When I'm not teaching, l am an avid reader, writer of fiction and poetry, and Bob Dylan and Boston Terrier enthusiast.
Ryan CrawleyWriter/Blogger, iAchieve Learning. Ryan Crawley was born the middle child of eleven. While his parents were often overwhelmed by such a huge family, it allowed Ryan to sneak away into the woods behind their house. He would often bring books with him and writing material. He started writing stories at a very young age.After college, he was a newspaper reporter/editor for a decade. Then he decided to go into the wonderful world of Education. He quickly received his Masters in Reading and Literacy with a Reading Specialist certificate. Always up for a challenge, he constantly changed grade levels and the content he was teaching. He has been a Reading Specialist for a couple districts, a Technology teacher for a couple years, and have taught students from first grade through college. Ryan enjoys using humor in his writing and can usually see the bright side of things. His LinkedIn account is www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-crawley-b854bb146.
Marlee ChizhevskyWriter/blogger for iAchieve learning. By day I am a full-time special education teacher, and by night I am a writer/blogger. I have been working in the writing field since 2008 and education field since 2013; however, I have been writing fiction and poetry for pleasure since I was a kid (I used to even illustrate my own stories)! I have my bachelor’s degree in English and my Master’s degree in education, and I am a licensed special education and secondary English Language Arts teacher. When I am not teaching or writing, I enjoy reading, painting, spending time with my husband and cat, and playing trivia games.