EducationB.A. English, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2001)
ExperienceAs a tutor in the wonderfully diverse San Francisco Bay Area, I have been privileged to work with students of all ages, nationalities and skill levels. I am proud of the reputation I have cultivated among many non-native English speakers who have turned to me to help them improve their English speaking and writing skills.
My clients span the academic spectrum -- from struggling middle and high school students in need of basic grammar and writing assistance, to graduate-level writers seeking to refine their skills. In the past, I have worked with homeschooled students, as well as those enrolled in independent study programs. As a veteran SAT/ACT tutor, I have worked for some of the most respected test prep companies in the state and helped literally hundreds of East Bay high school students improve their scores on the Verbal section of the exam, sometimes by 300 points or more. Other courses/tests with which I am familiar include:
- SAT Subject Test in Literature
-Advanced Placement (A.P.) English
-Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE)
-California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program test
-Calfornia High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE)
-BYU Independent Study Standard High School Program
- California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST)
-Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
General areas with which I can assist include:
-College application essays
-Persuasive & Analytical writing
-Award-winning journalist, Alameda Newspaper Group/Bay Area News Group (2001-2011)
-SAT (Verbal) classroom instructor, City of San Ramon (2006-2008)
-SAT/ACT tutor, Ivy West, Marin County (2005-2007)
-Writing instructor, Yang Fan Academy, Pleasanton
-Reading, writing, test prep tutor, Tri-Valley Academy, Pleasanton (December 2011-present)
-Principal at Jeanine Benca Tutoring, (Oct. 2011-present)
HobbiesGrowing up, I was a wisecracking overachiever with a gnarly overbite, an unstoppable 80s perm and a knack for telling stories.
It seemed no ironic . . . or absurd . . . or patently grotesque situation could go unobserved by yours truly. Nothing delighted me more than seeing that look of restrained laughter wash over the faces of my teachers following one of my copious visual descriptions.
Now I enjoy helping people of every age, nationality and skill level reach their fullest literary potential. I believe that insecurity and intimidation chill creativity, so I work hard to build confidence through a mix of high expectations, compassion and humor. Over time, even my most adamant 'left-brainers' come to love expressing themselves through language, as I debunk myths about what makes good writing and encourage them to foster their OWN ingenious narrative voices ... It truly is never too late to become a better writer and thinker!
When I am not working with students, I am often out chasing stories for Bay Area newspapers. I draw frequently on my more than 10 years of journalism experience to help my students become both more objective and daring in their writing.
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