Peter earned a B.A. in French language and literature, an M.A. in comparative literature, an M.F.A in theater directing and is currently pursuing his Ph.D! He’s passionate about teaching and learning and loves finding creative ways to explain concepts and motivate his students. Outside of tutoring, Peter brings that same creativity to his internationally acclaimed work as a theater director.
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 grow in confidence and reach their potential. She fosters the precision and organization they need to conquer 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 who sets students up for success with a personalized test plan.
Corinne graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in music education and music composition. She has over 10 years of experience teaching academics and fine arts. She teaches her students to be process-oriented and strives to alleviate test-taking anxieties. Corinne enjoys taking standardized tests and wishes that she could do so more often!
Evan graduated with a B.S. in applied physics with concentrations in astronomy and astrophysics and a minor in applied mathematics. He is currently enrolled in a master’s program in physics. 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.
Liza graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in theater and linguistics. She has an empathetic and positive tutoring style and is committed to making difficult concepts more approachable for her students. Outside of tutoring, Liza can usually be found acting, directing, singing in the shower, or working on a crossword puzzle.
Adam graduated with honors with a B.A. in European social and political studies and worked at the Estonian permanent mission to the UN. He is currently pursuing an M.A. program in philosophy and education. Adam is a highly empathetic tutor who inspires passion and curiosity in each of his students. When he’s not tutoring, he is drumming with his post-punk band Mable by night.
Emily holds a B.A. with a double major in anthropology and biology and wrote her undergraduate thesis on tropical songbirds. She is currently enrolled in an M.D. program. Her expertise in the sciences, thorough explanations, and patient manner help students succeed! When she’s not tutoring, Emily enjoys hiking, yoga, and finding good books to read.
Emily holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and music and is pursuing a master’s in education. She currently tutors economics and teaches music. Her patient, knowledgeable, and friendly approach helps her students meet and exceed their goals. When she’s not tutoring or teaching, Emily enjoys outdoor adventures with her dog.
Forrest graduated with a B.A. and an M.A. in cinema studies and currently works as a freelance film critic and photo archivist. Forrest 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 earned a B.S. with honors, majoring in cell and molecular biology with a focus on the genetics of neurodegenerative disease, and is currently pursuing an M.P.H. program. When he’s not nerding out over science, he’s probably nerding out over film or music. Zach likes to keep up the positive energy at his sessions, 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 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 creates art, reads, and plays guitar. As one of our first session managers, Lynsey meets with students and families to answer questions and craft a test plan.
Sean earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with a minor in mathematics and is currently enrolled in an M.D./Ph.D. program. He is empathetic and passionate about teaching, and tries different approaches to help students understand difficult material and exceed their goals. Outside of tutoring, Sean loves listening and creating music, as well as spending time with his cats.
Gabi earned a B.A. in psychology and literary arts and an M.S. in education focused on 7-12 Special Education. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in counseling. Gabi taught ELA for several years in public schools and enjoys working one-on-one with her current students. 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. As a first session manager, Gabi helps set students and families up with a plan that helps them reach their goals.
Blake graduated with a B.F.A. in musical theatre and 8 semesters on the dean’s list with honors. Shortly after, he moved to New York City to pursue theatre as an actor/producer. His strength in tutoring comes from his enthusiastic energy and his ability to make learning fun for every one of his students. When not tutoring or acting, Blake enjoys dogs and camping.
Jenny graduated with a B.A. in theater arts and performance studies. She works very hard to connect with students and understand everyone’s individual learning process. Jenny is very passionate about making learning fun and exciting for all. Outside of tutoring, she enjoys acting, writing, and playing with her dogs.
Shawn graduated summa cum laude with a B.F.A. in dance, 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.
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.
Tyler graduated with a B.S. in drama with a focus on directing and music history and is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in creative writing. In addition to tutoring, he has worked on and off-Broadway as a theatre director and producer. Tyler’s positive and thoughtful energy inspire students to do their best work, and his breadth of experience allows him to tailor sessions to his students’ interests. Tyler is also one of our first session managers who introduces students to our approach and test plan recommendations.
Willa earned her M.A. and B.A. in philosophy with an emphasis in logic and feminist philosophy. Through her patient and thorough approach, she empowers students to balance the rigor of problem solving with mindfulness when met with new challenges. Outside of tutoring, you can find Willa enjoying improv comedy and textile art.
Alex is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in art history and graduated summa cum laude in his undergraduate program, where he focused on 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 who meets with new students and families to make sure they’re off to a great start.
Kristen graduated cum laude with a B.A. in history and international studies and a minor in French. Through her compassionate and positive approach, Kristen helps students gain confidence in their test-taking abilities and achieve their goals. When she isn’t tutoring, Kristen enjoys writing, perusing bookstores, and bingeing podcasts about New York City history.
Cici graduated cum laude with a B.S. in mathematics and earned a full scholarship because of her status as a National Merit Scholar. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work. Cici loves to work with students to access their full potential. One of her greatest joys is when her students achieve their goals, and she prides herself on fostering close relationships with each student she teaches. When not tutoring, Cici can usually be found baking, hanging out with her cat, or at a rock concert!
As a Venezuelan-American and native Spanish speaker, Manual is passionate about supporting his students as they navigate the challenging and rewarding process of learning Spanish as a second language. He holds a B.A. in mass communications and digital media. Manuel is a visual artist, content creator, and fitness coach who enjoys helping students reach their maximum potential!
Owen graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in theater and education. As a tutor, he is empathetic and friendly as he helps students work systematically to improve their knowledge and performance. Outside of tutoring, Owen works as an actor and as a researcher for nonfiction media. He loves music, storytelling in all forms, and playing board games with friends.
Myles is working towards his Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics at Yale University. He received his B.A. from Kenyon College, where he studied biology and anthropology. Myles is a positive tutor who tailors his subject material to each student’s interests to make every topic accessible and fun. When not studying or tutoring, Myles can be found flying around New England or reading a book.
Myles is a calm, reassuring and very versatile tutor. He earned his B.A. in math but loves tutoring students in the verbal sections of tests as well. An avid bass player, Myles brings a creative, positive 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 successfully on their tutoring journeys.
Darrin, Senior Manager
Darrin graduated magna cum laude 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. When Darrin is not tutoring, he might be found searching for the best donut in New York City. As senior manager, Darrin talks to new families and meets with new students to introduce them to our techniques and equip them with a personalized plan.
Megan, Senior Manager
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. Megan is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Sigma Iota, and Mensa. She brings terrific enthusiasm and patience — a rare combination! — to her work with students. In addition, as senior manager, Megan meets with new students to craft a plan that will help them reach their goals.
Ashwin, Regional Director
Ashwin earned a J.D. and an M.A. in history, 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 (a Brazilian martial art) 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.
Lizz, Academic Advisor
Lizz received a B.A. in English and journalism and began her career in magazine and book publishing. In addition to her Academic Advising role at Pinnacle Prep, where she helps craft individual test plans and make sure our students are on track to succeed, Lizz is the author of three books, a freelance editor and writer, and currently the compiler of Workman Publishing’s bestselling 365 Cats calendar series. She loves all things cat related, reality TV, and exploring her Greenwood Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, where she lives with her husband and daughter.
Maggie L., Academic Advisor
Maggie received a B.M. with honors in Vocal Performance and went on to perform in operas and musical theater while working in high school admissions. Her admissions experience informs her role as Academic Advisor, where she helps set families up with test plans and checks in to make sure they are having a great experience. Outside of Pinnacle Prep, Maggie continues performing music and enjoys cooking, crafting, and spending time with her animals.
Dennis, Tutor/Academic Advisor
Dennis graduated with a B.F.A. in theater and a B.A. in media arts and technology on a full-ride merit scholarship. He is a member of Mensa and works as a theatre director in New York City, where he has won awards for his boundary-pushing work. He loves helping students gain a calm yet focused confidence and providing them encouragement to reach their potential. As a first session manager and one of our academic advisors, Dennis helps ensure that students and parents are set up with personalized plans to help them progress toward their goals.
Dhaya Ramarajan, COO
Dhaya graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English and a minor in education and an Ed.M. in education policy. She worked as an English teacher in public and private schools for several years. 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 COO, Dhaya helps hire, train and communicate with tutors and oversees daily operations.
Jen Keiser Gordon, Esq., CFO
Jen graduated magna cum laude from college and earned academic honors in her J.D. program. She clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Stephen C. Robinson in the Southern District of New York and worked as a litigator in Manhattan. Jen co-founded At the Table, a nonprofit that provides tutoring and mentorship to students currently or formerly in foster care. As the General Counsel and CFO of Pinnacle Prep, Jen oversees finances, compliance, human resources and family engagement. She enjoys speaking with parents and helping them select the right program for their families.
David Gordon, Founder and CEO
David founded Pinnacle Prep in 2002 with one goal: to apply a systematic methodology to boost student scores on standardized tests. Combining his extensive tutoring experience with rigorous analysis of published tests, he developed methods and techniques that have helped students reach and exceed their goals. 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.
Prior to starting Pinnacle Prep, David served on the faculty at both New York University, where he earned an M.A. in composition, and Hofstra University. He also founded the Look & Listen Festival, a non-profit organization that presents new music concerts in art galleries and recently celebrated its 18th anniversary, and served as president of another non-profit, the League of Composers/ISCM, the oldest new music organization in the U.S. 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 by over 300%.
Throughout his life, David has also explored other artistic media, including writing a novel entitled The Canvas and directing and editing the documentary film Mitia, which aired on local television and was used by the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago. David also has a lifelong passion for games and has won significant tournaments in billiards, poker, and chess. Recently, he’s found joy in board game design. He created his first board game when he was a teenager and after a long hiatus, has made over a dozen games in the last two years. In his spare time, David and his wife Jen (the CFO of Pinnacle Prep) can often be found cheering on their children at baseball games or karate exhibitions, or taking their beagle Gordon K. Gordon (the official Pinnacle Prep office dog) for walks.