Top Test-takers with Dynamic Personalities
Pinnacle Prep tutors have impressive academic backgrounds. Applicants, who all must have at least a college degree, must score in the top percentiles of the tests they will tutor. But it takes more than simply being a great test-taker to be a great tutor – personality is equally important. Pinnacle Prep looks for tutors with dynamic and engaging personalities, so that they can communicate efficiently and make connections with students. One-on-one tutoring requires the trust and inspiration that comes with a great rapport.
We are very selective when it comes to hiring tutors. It is quite difficult to find tutors who are both great at taking tests and have the ability to inspire students. In a recent application cycle with over 150 applicants, 50 were invited to take a diagnostic exam, 12 were invited to training, 6 made it through the first day, and 3 completed initial training successfully!
Once tutors are hired, they receive rigorous initial training, followed by continuing training and support from the office for as long as they continue with Pinnacle Prep. We put a great deal of energy into periodic reviews, frequent continuing training seminars, and limitless professional development as needed.
Pinnacle Prep’s standards for tutors are unrelenting – we expect the utmost from our tutors, because we want our students to achieve incomparable results. And they do – Pinnacle Prep students’ average improvement is over 260 points, and nearly 90% of our students improve by 100 points or more in at least one section.
Because our tutors have such impressive academic track records, standardized test tutoring often leads to academic tutoring. Please call our office to inquire about academic subject support.
Pinnacle Prep - The Jingle
While you peruse our tutors’ descriptions, you can also listen to our jingle! It was written and performed by former tutor Andrew Gregory, who is also a member of the world-famous autotuners The Gregory Brothers.
Lindsay has an M.A. in teaching with a focus on foreign language learning. She lived in Latin America for several years and is so wonderfully fluent in both English and Spanish that native Spanish speakers often turn to her for grammar tips! Lindsay considers teaching her greatest passion and her greatest gift. She is extremely engaging and makes her students feel comfortable and confident in both English and Spanish.
Gabrielle earned a B.A. in psychology and literary arts from Brown University and an M.S. in Education from Long Island University, where she focused on 7-12 Special Education. She currently works as an ELA teacher in Harlem. As an undergraduate, she began to tutor local refugee families, which sparked a lifelong passion for teaching. She is an enthusiastic and warm tutor with a knack for tailoring lessons to best fit her students. When she is not tutoring or teaching, she cuddles her kittens, rock climbs, and enjoys ice cream in the park.
Maggie graduated with a B.F.A. in acting and considers herself a life-long learner. In her spare time, she writes plays and fiction and is a skilled copy editor. Her extensive theatrical background influences her creative and interactive approach to tutoring. When she’s not tutoring, she enjoys reading and exploring hidden corners of New York City.
Peter earned master’s degrees from both Columbia University and University College London. He’s passionate about tutoring and loves helping students reach their potential. He has a tremendous ability to find creative ways to explain concepts and motivate his students. Outside of tutoring, he also brings that same creativity to his internationally acclaimed work as a theater director.
Geoff graduated with a B.S. in astrophysics from Brown University, where he studied black holes for his undergraduate thesis. He enjoys making his tutoring sessions as fun and interesting as possible, and is always looking for ways to cater to each student’s unique learning style. When not tutoring, Geoff can be found running in the park, watching soccer, or relaxing with a good book.
Rebecca has tutored hundreds of students since graduating as valedictorian of her college class. She taught English in Hong Kong and has toured the United States as a leadership coach (although she’s still trying to reach her personal goal of spending time in every state!). Rebecca is an encouraging and positive tutor who loves to help her students overcome the challenges of the test. In between tutoring and working as a freelance writer, Rebecca can usually be found cooking with friends, wandering the aisles of used bookstores, or strolling along the edge of the East River.
In his youth, Maddox attended Phillips Exeter Academy, where he was a big-time classics nerd, winning school and statewide awards for Latin. At the University of Chicago, he shifted his focus and graduated with honors with a B.A. in visual arts. Now Maddox is an actor, writer and comedian, and lately has been performing lots of improv around the city with his team. He loves finding ways to infuse humor and creativity into the tutoring session. He thinks standardized tests are hilarious!
Sadi graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University with a B.A. in dance and sustainable development. Her positive and energetic tutoring style brings out the best in her students. Alongside tutoring, Sadi works as a freelance dancer and choreographer. In her free time, she likes to ski, hike, bike, read, travel, and shop in thrift stores.
Evan C. graduated with a B.S in applied physics with concentrations in astronomy and astrophysics and a minor in applied mathematics. His calm, patient and systematic approach to the test helps students conquer their anxieties. Outside of tutoring, Evan enjoys hiking and experimenting with new recipes.
Marisa graduated magna cum laude from Yale, where she took classes in subjects ranging from Eastern European history to biology, chemistry and statistics. As a tutor, she brings intellectual rigor and positivity to her sessions so her students can achieve their best. Outside of tutoring, she works as a professional opera singer and can be found performing in concerts all over the city.
Cyprian has a long background in teaching, from volunteering to tutoring extensively for his college’s Math Study Center. He is currently enrolled in a Masters in Data Science at Berkeley. As a tutor, he is committed to breaking down complex ideas into manageable steps and conveying information in a style that his students can easily understand. In his spare time, Cyprian enjoys singing in choir, playing video games, and trying to beat his girlfriend at Scrabble.
Forrest hails from San Diego and Seattle but moved to New York to attend NYU, where he graduated with a B.A. and is currently pursuing an M.A. in cinema studies. He works hard to foster trust and tailors his methods to students’ sensibilities and preferences. When he isn’t tutoring, you can probably find him wandering through museums, at the movies, or taking in a baseball game.
Zach graduated with honors from Brown University, where he majored in cell and molecular biology with a focus on the genetics of neurodegenerative disease. When he’s not nerding out over science, he’s probably nerding out over film or music. Zach likes to keep his sessions positive and high-energy, clearly explaining concepts and skills to put students on the path to success. When he’s not tutoring, you can find him petting other people’s dogs at the park, indulging in reality TV, or cooking up a storm in his kitchen.
Lynsey graduated cum laude from Columbia University with a B.A. in English and visual art. She loves to teach, and works as an educator at many NYC-area institutions like the Museum of the City of New York and Rikers Island. As a tutor, she approaches her students with warmth and enthusiasm and uses humor to make students feel relaxed and confident. In her free time, she makes artwork, reads, and plays guitar.
Sara earned her B.A. with honors in physics and began her career in education while still in college. She has enjoyed tutoring for over a decade. Sara engages students with a lively attitude towards the material and makes abstract concepts accessible on a practical level. Outside of tutoring, Sara enjoys varied activities from weight-lifting to sewing. She can almost always be found biking around outdoors.
Jo received her B.A from Columbia University and worked as an English teacher in France, where she planned fun and interactive games to teach grammar. As a tutor, she brings warmth, positivity and calm to a stressful process. When she’s not tutoring, Jo enjoys traveling and playing the piano.
Kevin earned his bachelors degree in biochemistry and is currently pursuing an M.D. at New York Medical College. A veteran tutor, he has taught students from ages ten to thirty in a wide range of subjects. Kevin takes a thorough approach to tutoring, emphasizing strong fundamental skills and their application to help students tackle difficult concepts. He holds students to high expectations and works hard alongside them to ensure they are met. When not working (or buried in medical text books), Kevin enjoys rock climbing, hiking, playing guitar, and cooking.
Doreen graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in biology and economics and a minor in chemistry. She currently works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helping community health centers in medically underserved areas improve chronic disease care and increase cancer screening rates. Doreen loves to share her enthusiasm for the sciences with students. In her free time she likes to travel spontaneously and embark on ambitious cooking experiments.
Geoff majored in Latin and classical history and earned membership in the Eta Sigma Phi honor society. When not tutoring, he works in the movies and has been a staff member on several major studio films. Geoff devotes his spare time to his lifelong passion: analyzing football strategy.
Tyler graduated with a B.S. in drama with a focus on directing and music history. In addition to tutoring, he has worked on and off-broadway as a theatre director and producer. His experience in both business and art allow him to make connections across subjects while inspiring his students to do their best work.
Robin graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in psychology and math. After graduation, she taught English in Japan for two years through the JET Program. Her tutoring is enhanced by her yoga teacher training, which means that she brings a centered and calm demeanor to her sessions. When she isn’t tutoring, you can find Robin reading, eating interesting food, and going to the beach.
Sara won several 4-year academic scholarships and graduated summa cum laude with a major in dance and a minor focus in economics from George Mason University. She is very warm and encouraging and helps students use techniques to create connections across subjects. When she’s not tutoring, Sara might be found biking, knitting while listening to podcasts at 1.5x, or hanging out upside down while practicing yoga.
Josh graduated with a B.A. from Yale University, where he studied subjects ranging from theater and English to psychology and law. After performing in some of the most acclaimed regional theaters in the country – and after receiving a Governor’s medallion as a “California Arts Scholar” in his hometown of Berkeley – Josh is now pursuing his twin loves: acting and tutoring. Josh’s positive energy, warmth, and command of test-taking techniques make him an ideal instructor.
Francisco graduated with a B.S. in physics and a B.E. in aeronautical engineering and went on to complete a Graduate Diploma of Education in mathematics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He has been teaching and tutoring for the past 8 years, working with students at both the high school and college levels. In addition to education, Francisco is also passionate about music, and he is currently furthering his education at The Collective School of Music. He is friendly and outgoing and loves helping students achieve their dreams and goals through education.
Padmini received a B.A. in journalism and politics with minors in mathematics and philosophy from New York University. She is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The Times of India, Huffington Post, and various other publications. As an undergraduate, she produced a successful weekly video segment for the student-run publication NYU News. Padmini takes the time to understand how her students tick and works hard to instill in them a sense of confidence in their abilities. In her off time, she is probably practicing her yoga headstand.
Shawn graduated from college summa cum laude, excelling in all academic areas. He is a patient, encouraging tutor, whose positive energy makes sessions both enjoyable and motivating for students. Outside of tutoring, Shawn enjoys hiking, cooking, and choreographing.
Angel graduated from Hamilton College with a B.S. in biology and is pursuing an M.P.H in epidemiology and global health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. His positive and patient approach to tutoring encourages students to try different approaches to see what style best suits them. When he’s not tutoring, Angel can be found visiting museums and looking for the best dumplings in NYC..
Camila graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in communications and minor in business. Her extroverted personality helps her bond quickly with students and keeps them engaged. A native of Miami, of Colombian descent, she is comfortable in both Spanish and English. When she’s not tutoring, she’s a freelance audio producer and constantly in search of a good story.
Myles is working towards his Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics at Yale University. He received his BA from Kenyon College where he studied biology and anthropology. When not studying or tutoring, Myles can be found flying around New England or reading a book. Myles is a positive tutor who tailors his subject material to each student’s interests to make every topic accessible and fun.
Laura graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in public policy and minors in sociology and Spanish. After college, she worked in recruitment for several years before deciding to pursue a career in medicine. Laura brings empathy and encouragement to each session with her students. While she’s not studying or tutoring, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and going on long runs.
Gabe received his B.A. in mathematical economics, history, and Russian studies from Wesleyan University, where he wrote his senior essay about the political machinations behind the scenes of Soviet literature. He’s spent the past three summers teaching economics to gifted middle- and high-school students, and really enjoys getting students excited about and engaged with their subjects. He also played club sports like they were an additional major while at university, and continues to hold his own on the NYC Ultimate Frisbee circuit.
Evan taught acting and public speaking at UC San Diego while completing his M.F.A. in acting. His calm yet engaging style of teaching brings out the best in his students. Evan truly enjoys watching his students’ confidence grow as they master our approaches.
Kyle, Tutor / First Session Manager
Kyle is an artist, scientist, and advocate based in New York City. He holds a B.A. in cognitive science from Yale University, where he completed his thesis research on the psychology and neuroscience of performance and creativity. He brings laughter, kindness, and expertise to his tutoring, helping students to understand and realize their full potential. As one of our managers, Kyle does the first session with many of our students and introduces them to our techniques.
Kimmy, Tutor / First Session Manager
Kimmy graduated cum laude from Boston College with a B.A. in sociology and theatre. Prior to attending BC, Kimmy spent her freshman year in the prestigious B.F.A. acting program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and she continues to act and write in New York. She also runs a film production company; her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Marie Claire, Buzzfeed, and on MTV. A veteran babysitter and improv instructor, Kimmy employs her upbeat energy and sense of humor to make studying enjoyable. Kimmy attended a French immersion elementary school and loves to indulge her inner Francophile when she isn’t making movies or writing! She is also one of our first session managers.
Ellen, Tutor / First Session Manager
Ellen earned a bachelor’s degree in music and German and a master’s degree in voice performance. She loves to teach both academics and music and works hard to ensure that her students build confidence and reach their potential. She fosters in her students the precision and organization necessary to conquer the patterns of standardized tests. When she isn’t tutoring, she performs both nationally and internationally and loves to take long runs in the park. Ellen is also one of our first session managers.
Erin, Tutor / First Session Manager
Erin graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in English and theater studies. Although she has always loved literature and theater, while in college she enjoyed studying a wide range of subjects, including biological anthropology and Egyptian hieroglyphics. She is an actress and Shakespeare enthusiast who also enjoys making less-than-healthy baked goods and is famous in certain circles for her chocolate chip cookies. As a manager, Erin meets with new students who are beginning the tutoring process.
Alex C., Tutor / First Session Manager
Alex C. is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at Yale University and graduated summa cum laude from New York University, where he focused on the fields of philosophy, literature, and art history. An artist, musician, and filmmaker, Alex is able to be creative in his sessions when explaining difficult concepts and has a long track record of success. His sense of humor, versatility, and rigor keep his students engaged and focused as they master and hone their approach. Alex is also one of our First Session Managers.
Michael A., Tutor / First Session Manager
Michael A. is a PhD student studying philosophy at Fordham University. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in philosophy, writing his senior thesis on the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard’s theory of education and the virtue of hope. He is a supportive and encouraging tutor who is passionate about helping his students unlock new levels of understanding. When he isn’t tutoring he can be found cooking, biking, or reading aloud to himself in Van Cortlandt Park.
Darrin, Tutor / First Session Manager
Darrin graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University with a B.A. in theatre and minors in history and dance. Darrin’s passion for education stems from his own curiosity and creativity, and his background in teaching occasionally extends beyond academic tutoring and into the dance studio. He brings his warm and light-hearted nature to each tutoring session in order to provide the best atmosphere for successful studying. Darrin also does first sessions with new students. When Darrin is not tutoring, he might be found searching for the best donut in New York City.
Leo, Tutor / First Session Manager
Leo received his B.A. in English from Vassar College and his M.A. in cinema studies from New York University. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in cinema studies at NYU. Leo also writes film criticism for a variety of national and international publications. One of the most senior Pinnacle Prep tutors, Leo engages students with his dynamic personality, inspires them with stories from movies, and builds their confidence through his reassuring manner. He is also one of the managers that do first sessions with students.
Myles H., Tutor / First Session Manager
Tutor by day, musician by night, Myles graduated cum laude from the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a B.S. in mathematics. Outside of tutoring, Myles enjoys exercising, cooking, and playing the bass. He employs his positive attitude and creative energy to engage students and take them to the next level. As a First Session Manager, Myles meets with new students to get them started on the tutoring journey.
Rachel, Tutor / First Session Manager
Rachel earned an M.A. in English literature from the University of Chicago and is currently a Ph.D. student at Teachers College, Columbia University. Beyond her love of literature, she has a passion for the study of philosophy, which has informed her academic work on the novelistic portrayal of the structure of consciousness. Having been raised by a lawyer and a librarian, grammar and logic are her bread and butter, and she enjoys teaching as much as she does learning. Rachel’s enthusiasm is contagious and her expertise engaging. As a manager, Rachel also does first sessions with students.
Patricia, Tutor / First Session Manager
Patricia graduated from Boston College as the valedictorian of her class with a dual degree in English and theater arts. While at Boston College, Patricia was a member of the Presidential Scholars Program and, as a playwright, saw two of her award-winning plays produced and directed by university faculty. She is an established actress who can be seen performing in and around New York City. Patricia is a patient and engaging tutor who developed a creative teaching style while teaching within Boston’s prison system. She is also one of our First Session Managers.
Ashwin, Tutor / Regional Director
Ashwin earned his J.D. from New York Law School and his M.A. in history from Villanova University, where he lectured on CIA-backed coups and deconstructed colonial histories. He hasn’t lost his fondness for deconstructive theory, though! Today, he uses it to help high school students overcome the “intellectual hegemony” of standardized tests. In his free time, Ashwin tortures himself by taking capoeira (Brazilian martial arts) lessons and by making all the wrong fantasy football decisions. As Regional Director, Ashwin helps hire and communicate with tutors. He also does first sessions with students and helps match them with great tutors.
Dhaya, Tutor / Tutor Manager
Dhaya graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Columbia University and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Education School. She’s been an English teacher in public and private schools, and worked for several international organizations in Asia. When she’s not teaching, Dhaya enjoys salsa dancing and experimenting with recipes. Her encouraging and interactive approach helps students master even the toughest problems. In her role as Tutor Manager, Dhaya helps hire, train and communicate with tutors.
Dennis, Tutor / Academic Advisor
Dennis graduated from Michigan State University, which he attended on a full-ride merit scholarship, with a B.F.A. in theatre and a B.A. in media arts & technology. He is a theatre director in New York City, where he has won several awards for his boundary-pushing work. He loves helping students gain a calm yet focused confidence and providing them encouragement to grow and reach their potential. As Academic Advisor, Dennis is in regular contact with families to help ensure that students are progressing toward their goals.
Lizz, Academic Advisor
As Academic Advisor, Lizz monitors the progress of each student, relays feedback to parents, and makes sure that all students are on track to reach their goals. Lizz began her career in book publishing and is also proud to have published three books, all three of which prominently feature cats and dogs! In her spare time Lizz enjoys writing, reality television, and spending time with her husband, friends, and cat.
Megan, Chief of Operations
Megan graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English and Spanish and went on to earn an M.A. in Latin American studies from Tulane University. Megan is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Sigma Iota, and Mensa. She brings terrific enthusiasm and patience – a rare combination! – to her role as Chief of Operations. Megan oversees daily operations, including supporting all our tutors and students to help them reach their goals.
Jen Keiser Gordon, CFO
After graduating magna cum laude from Barnard College and earning academic honors at Columbia Law School, Jen clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Stephen C. Robinson in the Southern District of New York and worked as a litigator in Manhattan. Prior to law school, Jen served as Executive Director of a nonprofit and then as Deputy Finance Director in a New York City mayoral campaign. Now the CFO of Pinnacle Prep, Jen utilizes her legal background to oversee finances and compliance. She is also involved in strategic planning, day-to-day operations, and management. Jen enjoys speaking to parents and helping them select the right program for their families. Her delightful and ever-positive persona brings a bright light into the office on a daily basis.
David Gordon, Founder and CEO
David founded Pinnacle Prep in 2002 with one goal: to offer students a systematic methodology designed to maximize their scores on standardized tests. Combining his extensive tutoring experience with rigorous analysis of published tests, he developed methods and techniques that have proven to help students achieve higher scores. Knowing that motivation and engagement are key, David stresses handpicking tutors not only for their impeccable academic records, but also for their excellent communication skills and dynamic personalities. He is active in the training of every tutor and personally involved with all of Pinnacle Prep’s students by tutoring, assigning tutors, and evaluating progress reports throughout the test preparation process.
Prior to starting Pinnacle Prep, David served on the faculty at New York University, where he earned an M.A. in composition, and at Hofstra University. He also founded the Look & Listen Festival, a non-profit organization that presents new music concerts in art galleries, and served as President of the League of Composers/ISCM, the oldest new music organization in the U.S. The Look & Listen Festival recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary. During his tenure as President of the League/ISCM, David launched the Orchestra of the League of Composers, started Residency, Membership, and Commissioning Programs, and increased the organizational budget over 300%. Included in David’s artistic background are a novel he wrote entitled The Canvas, a documentary he directed and edited called Mitia, which is shown by the Spertis Museum in Chicago to Holocaust survivors, and numerous works of music he composed over a 10-year period. David is also an avid fantasy baseball competitor and holds championships in some of the nation’s most competitive leagues.
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