The Achieve Team

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Adam: English, Writing, Study Skills and ACT English, Reading and Essay

Adam Koehler has a B.A. from Marquette University and his teaching license from Hamline University. His Masters in Teaching is also from Hamline. Adam is currently a licensed Language Arts teacher at Great River School, which is regularly awarded as one of the best high schools in Minnesota. He brings a diverse history of working with all of kinds of students and has a background including a special education paraprofessional, college access tutor, ropes course facilitator, and wilderness guide. Adam specializes in English, grammar, writing skills, study habits and supporting students with disabilities. At Achieve Academics. Adam works with students who needs English and reading assistance, study skills and ACT English, reading and essay work.

Allison: Journalism, Spanish

Allison Mann received her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and Spanish studies from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. With her journalism degree, Allison has exceptional skills in writing and grammar. She has a passion for the Spanish language and has studied and interned in Spain. Allison is very patient in her tutoring approach and has a strong desire to help students succeed, gain confidence and love learning. At Achieve Academics, she is eager to tutor writing and Spanish to students of all ages, levels and abilities. 

Antonia: English, Writing, French and Spanish, Study Skills and ACT English, Reading and Essay

Antonia Angress was born in Los Angeles and raised in San José, Costa Rica, where she attended a French K-12 school. She holds a BA in comparative literature and literary arts from Brown University, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Fiction at the University of Minnesota, where she is a College of Liberal Arts Fellow. Previously, Antonia taught Spanish at a private school in New Orleans. She has also worked as a reading teacher, a private tutor, and residential counselor for college freshmen. Antonia's short stories and essays have appeared in 45th Parallel, Arts & Letters, National Anthology of the Best Undergraduate Writing, and several other publications. She is currently working on a novel, excerpts of which have been finalists for the Disquiet Fiction Prize and the Faulkner-Wisdom Prize. Antonia lives in Minneapolis with her husband. She enjoys reading, writing, and cooking.  Antonia will be assisting students with ACT English, reading and the essay plus French and Spanish. study skills and college essays at Achieve Academics.

Dave: Chemistry, Math, Physics and ACT Math/Science

Dave Carlson received his doctorate in chemistry from Seton Hall University in 1991. He coauthored 3 publications in peer-reviewed journal on the synthesis, purification and characterization of ruthenium and rhenium complexes and their application in the field of alternative energy research and as potential DNA metallobinders. 

Early in his career, Dave held various positions as both a product development scientist and as a physical/analytical chemist at several companies in New Jersey, including Bristol-Myers Squibb and Warner - Lambert. Dave worked on a number of consumer health care products in the antiperspirant/deodorant, skin care and oral care categories. 

Prior to relocation in Minnesota in 2011, Dave was on the instructional faculty at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey for ten years where he co-coordinated the General Chemistry Labs. He was also responsible for teaching General Chemistry I and II, Physical Chemistry Labs, Introduction to Chemistry and Chemical Bonding. 

When Dave is not at Achieve Academics, you can find him spending time with his two children either volunteering with Boy Scout Troop 283 or watching soccer games. He is also a lifelong musician. 

Eric: Director of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment, Chemistry and ALL Test Prep

Eric Smolensky received his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2012. He authored eight scientific publications in peer-reviewed, national and international journals. A teaching enthusiast, he reveled in the instruction of laboratory undergraduate sessions for five years while pursuing his Ph.D. After a brief stint performing cancer and MRI-based research at the University of Texas – Southwestern, he left research work to pursue a career in personalized education and instruction. Eric regularly scores in the 99th percentile on the ACT, and uses his extensive knowledge of the exam to provide the highest-level of tutoring possible to his students. At Achieve Academics, Eric has reviewed and written curriculum, tutored the complete ACT and SAT preparation courses, chemistry and math, and advises our families and students on a course of action that will best suit a student’s test preparation plans.

As Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Eric helped students in the Plymouth area not only to develop their ACT and SAT skills but also to enhance their independent learning processes which will translate into learning at the college level. Eric is no longer with Achieve Academics, but we wanted you to know the background of our curriculum developer.

Glazell: Math and ACT Math/Science

Glazell Toledo has a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of CA, Santa Barbara with a high school emphasis and minor in Asian American Studies. She also has a Masters in Mathematics Education from the University of MN. Glazell has spent time teaching in a variety of schools, both traditional and online. She has also taught in the community and university college setting. At Achieve Academics for 5 years, Glazell spends her tutoring time with middle and high school math students and ACT math and science.

Grace: English, Reading, Study Skills, ACT English, Reading and Essay/PSAT Reading, Writing and Language/SAT Reading, Writing and Language Test Prep

Grace Fremont has been tutoring since she was an 8th grader, when two of her teachers asked her to be a peer mentor. That first experience tutoring soon turned into a pattern: she worked at the Writing Center while earning her BA in English at Carleton College and served as a Study Skills Supervisor when she went to England to achieve her Master's in Renaissance Literature from the University of Cambridge. She's put her love of teaching to the test as both a private tutor and a classroom teacher. Grace is excited to bring her expertise in English, study skills, and test prep to new students at Achieve Academics. 

Jean: Math Tutor and ACT Math/Science

Jean Severson has a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Baylor University. Her B.A. in Mathematics is from Southwest Minnesota State University and has over fifteen years in education. In addition to service as project director at a Science and Technology focused middle school, her career includes teaching junior high and high school mathematics. She has taught for the Science Museum of MN and has work published in the Mathematics Teacher Magazine. Jean tutors for math and ACT math and science at Achieve Academics.

Jennifer: Director  

After spending 20 years in the leasing finance business; leasing car washes to service stations around the country and kitchen equipment to one the largest quick service restaurant franchises in the world, McDonald’s, Jennifer Paidosh entered the world of academics. Embarking on a new journey in the academic world and working with the families in the community has been a very rewarding experience. The students that walk into Achieve Academics have amazing dedication and the ability to multi-task in a very competitive school and athletic environment. She is very proud and thankful to be a part their journey to adulthood.

When she’s not at Achieve, you can find her at 3 different hockey rinks year round and baseball fields in the summer!

Julie: Center Coordinator

Julie Haxton does not leave the office until everything is complete: calls returned, emails answered,  sessions scheduled and bills paid – and that includes leaving the office organized! Plus she does the accounting for her son’s landscaping business and assists another small business with their outbound customer correspondence. Julie loves life and loves to laugh. She does it all with unending dedication, focus and determination. In Julie’s spare time, she water skis with her family and jumps out of perfectly good airplanes! Safe landing!

Lindsey: English, Reading, Writing, Study Skills, ACT English/Reading/Essay

Lindsey Schiffler received her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas in 2016. She has a Masters in Education and a BA in print journalism, both degrees from St. Thomas. Lindsey has been in education for 13 years, teaching high school English in the Robbinsdale school District. Prior to teaching, Lindsey worked as a journalist at the Associated Press in Minneapolis. As a former journalist, Lindsey is knowledgeable in grammar. Lindsey applied that knowledge as a teacher of International Baccalaureate. In the summer of 2017, Lindsey spent six weeks in Thailand volunteering in various schools. Lindsey now lives in Hawaii, teaching on Ouha and still serves at Achieve Academics as a curriculum developer, tutor trainer and video tutor in English, reading, writing and the ACT English, reading and the essay. 

Lizz: Cognitive Specialist and Study Skills 

Lizz Kahnke holds an M.A in Speech-Language Pathology from the U of MN - Twin Cities. Her undergraduate degree is a B.A. from St. Olaf College. While practicing as a speech pathologist in medical sessions, Ms. Kahnke worked extensively in the areas of cognitive-linguistic remediation with both pediatric and adult clients, as well as focusing on language disorders and voice disorders. Ms. Kahnke has a acute interest in the brain and how academics and cognitive skills relate. She strives to help students at Achieve Academics improve their academic performance by best utilizing their brain's unique attributes and potential. 

Margaret: College and Career Counselor

Margaret McKibbin has her M.A.Ed. in Counseling from Wake Forest University and a B.A. in Political Science from Davidson College. She has worked for colleges and universities for over 20 years in a wide variety of roles. She really enjoys working with students to help them be more self-aware and prepared to succeed. To borrow a phrase from her son, she "geeks out" over college brochures, websites and tours. Former student have said that Margaret was a great advocate, was resourceful and helpful and that she was an important part of their journey. One of her strengths is taking a complicated, (probably) overwhelming project and breaking it down into manageable steps. She likes doing that when researching and applying to colleges and when conducting an internship/job search. 

Megan:  Elementary School Math and Reading, Intermediate School Reading and Study Skills, High School Study Skills, ACT English/Reading/Essay 

Megan Ferris’ passion is teaching and she has been serving students and their families for 18 years! Currently, she works in the Edina school district. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota. She is licensed  in grades K-6 Elementary Ed and is a K-12 reading specialist. Her graduate work in reading was at the University of Minnesota, where she participated in research and led a pilot project to improve reading for students for 3 years. She has worked with students of all ages and abilities who need academics support; using best practices and data driven instruction. She likes to spend her free time with her family and dog. While at Achieve Academics, Megan tutors students of ALL ages in reading and study skills. She tutors ACT English, reading and the essay. Megan Ferris has also produced a reading program for Achieve Academics to assist students in furthering their reading ability and score higher on the reading and science sections of the ACT test.