Pittsburgh Prep

TRANSFORMS

STUDENTS

into Academic Leaders

Our MISSION

WE TRANSFORM STUDENTS INTO ACADEMIC LEADERS

All our decisions at Pittsburgh Prep are focused on the following areas:
  • Build expert content knowledge in core subject areas of Math, Reading, English and Sciences

  • Think critically to make powerful deductions and inferences from given information and complex data

  • Overcome testing anxiety through stronger mindset and overall academic confidence

Our STRENGTHS

01. Unconventional Approach

The conventional approach by conventional high school systems and the official testing companies such as the College Board and the ACT is to simply provide practice problems and some attempt at explanation. The official study guides published by the College Board and the ACT, though useful, are hardly adequate for any serious student looking to improve their scores.

Our approach, therefore, is unconventional. Pittsburgh Prep’s core belief is to teach mastery of content (not recite corporate lesson plans), to produce powerful critical reasoning, build competitive test scores, and encourage lifelong learning. We never “teach to the test,” and never engage in shortcuts in lieu of concrete skill sets that provide solid grounding for our students to succeed on all standardized exams.

02. Tailored Curriculum

There are three ways we tailor our curriculum for all of our students:

  • Our entire program is based on an open-plan design, where our adept instructors are encouraged to plan, innovate and implement from our core curriculum. This means that our instructors are able to move laterally to best fit student needs in both large group classrooms and 1-on-1 tutoring sessions.

  • Developed in-house by our expert instructors, Pittsburgh Prep's core curriculum utilizes a powerful set of analytics to identify and resolve weaknesses in testing. From our diagnostics to our practice exams, every piece of data that we obtain results in strong adaptive changes that benefit our students.

  • We also are able to help students with special needs, having built a strong network of testing psychologists since 2006. Much more than obtaining extra time, we are then able to help our students take the exam strategically and confidently, to reach their highest potential.

03. Data-Driven Impact

There are two basic but important measurable items in education: Formative Assessment and Cumulative Assessment. We do both.

Formative assessment is a measure that provides specific guidance to our instructors to adapt and adjust their teachings so that their students will perform better in the very next session. We do this through our specific internally developed in-class constructive quizzes, end-of-class peer assessments, and via weekly staff meetings where master instructors lead and recommend changes to be made immediately. Having already graduated over 1,000 students from our program, we feel that we have demonstrated our impact in guiding students to their highest potential.

Cumulative assessment is a measure that shows the overall progress of the student. These are the previously administered, actual full-length practice exams our students take on a weekly basis. Our goal here is two-fold:

  1. To create a history of success so our students can confidently take the actual test.
  2. And to identify any ongoing issues in our skill set, so that our instructors can help our students break through these problem areas.

Lastly, as a results-based organization, we also boast a strong consistent average increase of 170 points for our students across the board. With over 2000 student graduates from every Pittsburgh county to countries as far away as Australia since our inception in 2006, we are confident in our abilities to guide our students to their highest potential.

04. Passion for Teaching

Simply stated, we love what we do. We’re a small company of dedicated teachers, utilizing research-based pedagogical methods, and we plan to remain this way, without compromise.

Our passion for teaching goes far beyond our curriculum. We take into account student context – sports, extra-curriculars, family obligations, jobs – all factors that can be stressful hindrances to student study. We meet with the parents prior to the start of every individualized program, and create a “goldilocks” scenario of preparation and access.

For group classes, our maximum teacher-to-student ratio is 12:1 during the summer, and 8:1 during the academic year. We maintain smaller classes to better conduct individual assessments throughout our sessions.

We maintain constant contact with our students and parents, communicating progress and challenges in a clear manner, focusing on resolution and score improvement. Teaching students to better comprehend normative exams such as the SAT and ACT, translates into better focus, deeper understanding of the nature of these tests and higher outcomes.

Finally, our instructors engage in professional development throughout the academic year, working both in research and classroom settings, from curriculum development to daily mindfulness. 

05. Experience and Credentials

All of our instructors possess the following:
  • A 99th percentile score in their areas of expertise

  • Individually, over 5 years (5,000 hours) of actual Classroom and tutoring experience

  • A Masters or PhD graduate degree in education

  • A proven track record of guiding students to their highest potential

06. Local Connection

Pittsburgh Prep is a locally focused small business, not another chain in a franchise. Our instructors and staff live in Pittsburgh, work in Pittsburgh, and maintain strong ties with the community and its schools.

We are the first independent test prep organization in the city of Pittsburgh and have become stronger and better every year.

We maintain and build strong relationships with local non-profits and community organizations, including the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Big Brothers Big Sisters Pittsburgh ChapterBloomfield-Garfield Corporation.

To date, we have provided over $150,000 in scholarship in the form of tuition assistance to students and families in need. We never turn down students based solely on finances.

Our STAFF

Sunghoon Kim

Hoon, Pittsburgh Prep’s founder, has been teaching since 1997. Having transferred from NYC, Hoon wanted to provide a highly effective place of learning for students of all backgrounds in our fair city of Pittsburgh. He has devoted himself and Pittsburgh Prep to instilling within every student powerful lifelong learning skills applicable to college-ready success and beyond.

In the past, Hoon worked as an options trader on Wall Street, a volunteer with UNICEF and AmeriCorps, a restauranteur, and an edu-preneur. Throughout his life, however, reform-minded education has been his passion. Armed with a B.A. from NYU and an Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education, Hoon co-teaches in just about every class, and oversees the entire operation at Pittsburgh Prep with a singular focus – to develop superior instruction, continually improve the staff’s core knowledge base, and improve outcomes for all students at Pittsburgh Prep.

In his free time, Hoon can be seen raising his two children, enjoying sushi, being choked out in Brazilian Jujitsu, listening to podcasts, and devoting his time to Pittsburgh Prep’s partnerships with local community organizations. Most recently in 2019 amidst the pandemic, Hoon received his certificate in Independent College Admissions Counseling from University of California Riverside. Hoon is an associate member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling as well as the Pennsylvania chapter in PACAC.

College Admissions Consultant
Senior Instructor
IECA Member Logo
Joshua Goreczny

Joshua Goreczny

Josh has dedicated his career and life to helping people improve themselves through education. Growing up in the rural town of Oil City in northwestern Pennsylvania, he appreciated the power of education as a transformative force. Josh double-majored at the University of Pittsburgh in Psychology and History and fell in love with Pittsburgh’s food and music cultures. Josh went on to earn a Master’s Degree with Honors from Pitt’s School of Education while teaching in the North Hills.
His fifteen-year teaching career has spanned leading classes in public and private high schools, colleges, private tutoring, non-profit endeavors, and at-risk interventions; Josh now fills his commitment to education as the Academic Director and instructor at Pittsburgh Prep, leading an amazing team of dedicated educators. Josh prides himself on his deep, caring manner of teaching and commitment to providing insight whether in SSAT prep or AB Calculus, and students appreciate the level of enthusiasm and empathy he exhibits on a daily basis in and out of the classroom. Josh’s SAT classes and private tutoring students average 150-200 point increases on a regular basis, reflecting the overall average improvements at Pittsburgh Prep and their appreciation of his bad jokes
In his free time, Josh enjoys fitness (strength training and long-distance running), #nerdingout with technology, completing (very) amateur home repair and carpentry, and spending time with his wife and adopted pets, Chewbacca and Gordon.

Director of Education and Technology
Instructor

Valeria Antúnez​

Val serves as Pittsburgh Prep’s Center Administrator, and keeps our team on track as we pursue our mission and help our students reach their highest potential. Hailing from Puerto Rico, Val has come to love the Steel City, even if the skies are grayer here.

Before joining Pittsburgh Prep in mid-2018, Val cut her teeth working for her family’s business and studying art & design. Val is a graduate of Cornell’s Operations Management program. She has been an integral part of our team and loves the opportunity to interact with the students and parents that make Pittsburgh Prep great.

When not in the office, Val is an avid climber, animal-lover, painter, and designer. We’re lucky to have a Renaissance Woman like Val to keep us on track.

Operations Manager

Sasha Stankovic

Sasha has devoted herself to advocating for youth and building relationships with communities to promote educational opportunities. Sasha has lived in Pittsburgh her entire life, staying close to home for college. She has a B.S. in Business from the Pennsylvania State University, specializing in Management and Marketing.

Before joining the Pittsburgh Prep team, Sasha worked as Lead Case Manager at a nonprofit organization in Pittsburgh, managing and supporting youth with college and career opportunities. Additionally, Sasha worked at UPMC, coordinating and managing
transformational integration projects. Sasha prides herself on her commitment to building relationships with youth and communities, providing reliable support to ensure student success.

In her free time, Sasha enjoys being absorbed in books, watching The Office, gardening in the sunshine, and most importantly spending time with her family and many pets.

Community Relations and Project Manager

Mary DeLuca

Mary has spent her entire career in education. She has a passion for making sure that education is accessible to all and working with students in large groups as well as individually. She grew up in Pittsburgh and stayed to raise her 2 sons. Pittsburgh definitely holds a place near and dear to her heart. She attended the University of Pittsburgh where she received a BS in Mathematics Education and went on to Duquesne University where she was awarded a Masters in Education. Mary spent 35 years working at the Deer Lakes School District and 8 years for the National Math and Science Initiative. She has worn many different hats; teacher, department chair, AP Reader, instructional coach, and school leader in Pennsylvania and New York City schools. After retiring in June of 2023, she wanted to stay close to education and empower students to reach their fullest potential. She has found a home here at Pittsburgh Prep where she will continue sharing her passion for math with students.

Academic Coordinator
Instructor

Terri Koprivnikar

Terri has spent all of her life in suburbs near Pittsburgh. After earning her BA in Psychology and Criminal Justice, she worked for several years in the court system as a probation officer. After returning to IUP to complete her M.Ed., she began working in the public school system. Her experiences have taken her from a Pittsburgh Public School to three very different local public high schools. All of these experiences have enabled her to work with a diverse array of students, each pursuing a unique post high school path.

Terri enjoys all aspects of her job at a high school, and sponsors several clubs and activities. Also an avid sports fan, Terri has been involved in hockey for as long as she can remember, and has stayed involved in high school hockey as a PIHL Game Coordinator.

In her free time, Terri enjoys spending time with her immediate family, which consists of her husband of 25 years and two sons in their 20’s and her extended family that is too large to describe. She is also the very proud mom of a spoiled two year old Gerberian Shepsky named Ovi who she rescued during the pandemic.

College Admissions Consultant
IECA Member Logo

Kathy Dickensheets

Kathy Dickensheets loved every minute teaching math at Hampton High School for 35 years and is delighted to be an instructor for Pittsburgh Prep. She is part of the leadership team for the AP Statistics Readings, a 2022 PA Teacher of the Year Finalist, an Educational Consultant for six major publishers, moderates for the New York Times “What’s Going on in This Graph” activities, and presents professional development workshops. Kathy loves to spend time with her family and friends, think about math with students, continue to learn, play games, solve puzzles and solve escape rooms.

Instructor
Image of staff member Hayley

Hayley Grossman

Hayley is a Boston native and recent Pittsburgh transplant who has always been passionate about teaching and education. After graduating from Tufts University with her degree in Child Development, Hayley completed a masters program in Boston in order to acquire her teaching license. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh she taught middle school English in Boston Public Schools for 7 years and also coached other educators and worked as a curriculum consultant. Hayley’s favorite part of teaching ELA is helping to foster a love of reading in students and build their skills to critically analyze the world around them. While her passion for reading and writing undoubtedly fueled her enthusiasm for the classroom, ultimately the relationships that she built with her students were the most fulfilling and meaningful part of the job. She especially loves leveraging these relationships to help build confidence in students and cultivate an intrinsic curiosity that inspires learning. Though her area of expertise lies in ELA, Hayley has also tutored students and coached educators in a variety of subjects across a variety of grade levels. Outside of teaching, Hayley loves dancing (teaching dance in high school is actually what sparked her passion for education!), skiing, and traveling.
K-8 Instructor

Alex Yuschik

Alex Yuschik graduated with a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh and originally came to the city to study math as an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon. With over ten years of teaching experience as well as earning the Graduate Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Math Department at the University of Pittsburgh, Alex loves a good puzzle, from twisty calculus problems to college-level mathematics. When not being awed by the world of math, Alex is an ardent student of Japanese, a passionate volunteer for animal welfare organizations, and a writer of science fiction and fantasy. 

Instructor
Image of staff member Melissa

Melissa Schaeffer

Melissa graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 1996. She then pursued a Secondary Teacher Certification Program in Mathematics at Chatham University, earning her Pennsylvania Certification in January 1997. Later, she completed her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at The Pennsylvania State University in 2004. For the past twenty years, Melissa has been shaping young minds at Kiski Area High School in Vandergrift, PA. Her courses have ranged from AP Calculus AB and BC to AP Computer Science Principles and Introduction to Computer Programming in Java. Additionally, she has had the privilege of instructing Kiski Area students for college credit programs at both the University of Pittsburgh and Seton Hill University. Melissa has been deeply involved in various educational initiatives, including serving as a reader for the AP Calculus AB/BC exams and as a presenter/consultant for College Board AP Calculus Exam preparation through the National Math and Science Initiative. Her commitment to professional development is evident in her attendance at workshops and conferences, where she continually refines her teaching strategies and incorporates the latest educational technologies. Melissa’s dedication to teaching has been recognized through awards such as the Kiski Area School District Secondary Teacher of the Year and the United States Navy Outstanding Teaching Award. Additionally, her students consistently achieve outstanding results on AP exams, with qualifying scores consistently exceeding 90% with 100% participation. Outside of teaching, Melissa can be found on the cross-country trails or track, coaching students in athletics. She believes in the holistic development of young individuals and strives to inspire them both inside and outside the classroom.
Instructor

Wendy Matta

Wendy Matta began teaching chemistry in 1994 during the inaugural year of the Undergraduates Teaching Undergraduates (UTU) program in the University of Pittsburgh’s general chemistry laboratory and recitation sessions.   Although originally interested in forensic chemistry, the UTU experience allowed her to find her true passion, teaching chemistry.  She tutored and worked as a small group instructor until graduating in 1997 with a BS in Chemistry.  Wendy returned to Pitt to obtain her Chemistry Teacher Certificate in 1999 while working as a liaison between the School of Education and the Department of Chemistry performing observation and training of the new UTUs.

 

Seton LaSalle High School provided her first opportunity to teach AP Chemistry and College in High School Chemistry in cooperation with Seton Hill College.   In 2002, she moved to her current position teaching Honors and AP Chemistry at Thomas Jefferson High School.  The early career years were also a time of growth for her family.  Wendy married her high school sweetheart, Tony, and they have two children, George and Paul.   Now that both boys are in college, Wendy spends more time pursuing her hobbies.  She loves to bake, scrapbook, crochet, travel, and she is also pursuing her Winemaking Certification through Penn State University.  Now, with a few hours left in the day, she decided to share her love of chemistry with the students at Pittsburgh Prep.

 

20+ years in the classroom and Wendy continues to perfect her techniques through additional training.   She is a member of the American Association of Chemistry Teachers and recently completed 3 years of training through the National Math and Science Initiative, focusing on making AP Chemistry more accessible to a wider student population.   For Wendy, understanding chemistry starts with connection.   She believes that students must connect their own experiences to the content, they must feel connected to their teacher/tutor, and ultimately they will see how the chemistry content connects to other coursework and future experiences.    Wendy strives to help students find balance and connection between the qualitative and quantitative observations made in the macroscopic realm, the symbolic language of chemistry,  and the models used to represent microscopic particles and forces which cannot be seen.   She is excited to connect to the students at Pittsburgh Prep to share her strategies for success in chemistry.

Instructor

Jennifer Tracy

Jennifer is a STEM instructor with twenty-eight years of experience teaching all levels of high school Chemistry, including regular and Honors Chemistry I, Chemistry II, and AP Chemistry. Additionally, she created and taught an electives course in Forensic Science. Her educational experience is lengthy. Earning a BS in Chemistry from Saint Mary’s College, she moved across the street and attended the University of Notre Dame. While there, she taught undergraduates, conducted laboratory research, and earned a MS in Biochemistry. Following a few years working in the pharmaceutical and instrumentation industries, she returned to Pittsburgh to earn a second MS degree in Educational Science from Duquesne University. She has been teaching ever since.

As an avid distance runner, Jennifer loves to run for fun as well as to compete in half and full marathons locally and throughout the country. She enjoys the beach, snow skiing, cooking, grilling, and knitting. She and her husband enjoy their fur-family of two “retired” American Cocker Spaniel show dogs, Simba and Nathan. To keep them from becoming couch-potatoes, they participate in the dog sports of agility and scent work. Jennifer also loves to spend time with her family and friends.

Instructor
Image of Chris, a staff member

Chris Koper

Chris acquired his B.S. in Secondary Education at Penn State and completed his Master’s in Secondary Science Education at Montana State University in Bozeman. He is certified in both Chemistry and Physics, with over 26 years teaching experience including 18 consecutive years teaching physics and chemistry at Conrad Weiser High School in Robesonia, Pennsylvania. Throughout his career, he has been involved in developing innovative curriculums, while incorporating technology and encouraging student participation, including theme-based courses in physics and chemistry focused on the science of superheros and the show Myth Busters. In the classroom, Chris has always put an emphasis on challenging young people to think critically and develop a love of learning, working collaboratively with other educators in my school and administrators to create a strong science program of studies. At Conrad Weiser he developed a Physics program that qualified for a dual enrollment program with our local community college, allowing students to obtain college credits while still in high school. He recently has been an adjunct instructor for physics and chemistry at the Community College of Allegheny County. He is an avid hiker, biker and enjoy birding, often participating in nature walks at The Latodami Nature Center in North Park. He also enjoy reading and listening to podcasts, especially topics covering the sciences, film and theater, and American history.
Instructor
An image of Glen, an instructor at Pittsburgh Prep.

Glen Hackett

Glen is a 24-year veteran English teacher living in a suburb outside of Philadelphia. Don’t worry about his Pittsburgh roots! He has a Bachelor’s in English Literature and Writing and a Master of Arts in Teaching, both from the University of Pittsburgh (H2P)! 

And don’t worry about his ability to help you through virtual tutoring sessions! Glen taught as an online associate professor for about 6 years, is one of two lead technology liaisons at the high school where he teaches, and has helped many students with online tutoring.

 

Glen’s specialty is AP Literature, Essay Writing and Development, and the College Admissions Essay. At the high school where he works, every student who takes an AP class is required to take the corresponding AP Exam. Since roughly 2009, Glen’s AP Literature students have consistently excelled on the National Exam, earning his classes an impressive average of 4+ out of 5 on the test! Glen also has years of experience working with his school’s college admissions counselor to help students with all phases of the college admissions essay process.

 

When not at work, Glen enjoys spending time with his family, walking his family dog, cheering Pitt’s sports teams on,  and both coaching, playing, and occasionally reff’ing soccer.

Instructor

Lynn Horton

Lynn is a seasoned instructor of biology with a Bachelor’s degree from Wellesley and a Ph.D in Cell Biology from Case Western. Her teaching experience has taken her from high schools in Cleveland to professorships to Winchester Thurston, where she teaches a range of subjects that complement her passions.

When Lynn isn’t guiding students in sciences or research, she coaches soccer, sings in choirs, and pursues any interest that keeps her active!

Instructor

Sebastian Kinsler

Sebastian began his college education at thirteen years old, enrolling
in the community college in his hometown Rochester, New York. For the
next few years, he explored classes throughout academia before
discovering his love for the sciences. After completing his associate
degree, he transferred to the University of Pittsburgh, where he
earned his bachelor’s in chemistry through a program certified by the
American Chemical Society. Although he began as a neuroscience
student, he quickly fell in love with the deep universal
understandings only found in chemistry classes. During his time at
school, he gained experience assistant teaching the Organic Chemistry
I course, and developed a passion for helping others excel in one of
the most daunting introductory science courses. He brings these years
of experience to Pittsburgh Prep, where he uses his chemistry, math,
and teaching experience to help students develop a solid comprehension
of difficult STEM material.

When not buried in a textbook, Sebastian can be found weaving his
bicycle through traffic, disc golfing in Schenley Park, attending
local concerts, or at home writing songs on the guitar.

Instructor

Anuj Lele

Anuj grew up just outside Pittsburgh and has always called it home. He is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

Throughout his academic career, he has prided himself on excellence, earning numerous 5’s in his AP exams, a high SAT score, and the impressive title of National Merit Scholar. During these years, Anuj developed a love for explaining, connecting, and teaching – strengths that he brings to Pittsburgh Prep. He enjoys all things STEM, but his forte is mathematics where he develops a connection with the student to explain and develop confidence in the subject. His favorite thing about tutoring is the opportunity to explain a topic in a way that a student has never experienced before.

When not with his students, you can find Anuj volunteering at the Carnegie Science Center, spending time with friends, playing basketball, enjoying Pittsburgh’s great food options, or cheering on his Steelers or Panthers!

Instructor

Jay D’Ambrosio

For twenty-nine years, Jay has taught social studies at Hampton Middle School and at Seneca Valley Middle School. He has also taught American History, U.S. Government, and Economics to ESL Brazilian high school students via the Genium program. He holds a master’s degree in history and certifications in Social Studies and English

Jay has a passion for enhancing the learning experience through the use of educational technology and has created and taught workshops, seminars, and training series to instruct faculty members in the use of graphic editing software, Web design, and electronic portfolios. Examples of the technology he regularly develops and utilizes in the learning process include, virtual reality modeling, Google Classroom, hybrid-classroom, and educational alternate reality games. In 2003, he wrote a book entitled E-Teaching: Creating Web Sites and Student Web Portfolios Using Microsoft PowerPoint (Linworth Publishing, Inc., 2003), and has contributed articles to numerous educational magazines and journals. In 2010, Jay was recognized as one of the “50 Most Innovative Teachers in the Nation” by PBS for his development of educational alternate reality games.

Jay believes that learning should be child-centered, and that the emotional and psychological well-being of the learner should be of the utmost concern. He has been a member of the Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program (SAP) for over eleven years and has developed and taught a variety of life-skills classes. Jay asserts that the use of story in the classroom is a powerful method for teaching and for connecting with students on a deeper, more meaningful, level. In 2006, he wrote another book entitled, Rethinking Adolescence: Using Story to Navigate Life’s Uncharted Years (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2006), that centers on this concept.

Instructor

Felicia DeRosa

Felicia is our resident and highly accomplished artist, instructor and art portfolio advisor. She holds a BFA in illustration and publication as well as an MFA in studio art, professional practices and art education. She has deep experience guiding students in their portfolio development and advising students in their careers in every art-related field as part of our college admissions team. Her expertise includes following:

  • College programming expertise from State Universities to private 4-year colleges to find best fit for students
  • Career and major exploration in all art-related fields
  • Drawing fundamentals: perspective, composition, golden section/geometry, figurative, and abstract
  • Traditional and digital acuity regarding “tools,” styles and techniques such a Adobe creative suite
  • Community enrichment projects: murals and public art
  • Human Anatomy and functions
  • Color theory, color design, color application
  • Critical theory
  • Visual literacy/communication
  • Painting, Sculpture, Illustration, Graphic design, Sequential art
  • Multimedia installations (concepts, and practicum)
  • Curatorial and project development and implementation
  • Creative writing
  • Professional and studio practices
Collegiate Art and Portfolio Advisor

June Angelini

June has been teaching in the public schools for 25 years and has taught Mandarin Chinese, AP
chemistry, Biology and ESL. She holds the teaching certificate in Mandarin, English as a Second
Language (ESL), Chemistry, and Biology in the state of Pennsylvania. Her Mandarin Chinese and
Chemistry scores on the Praxis exams qualified her for an Excellence Award from the
Educational Testing Service (ETS).
About ten years ago, with enthusiasm, perseverance, and pride she initiated, built, and
developed the Mandarin program for a local school district.  During the past ten years, she
spent many weekends, holidays, and evenings to create and develop the Mandarin program,
write curriculum, as well as promote the program through many community events.
Additionally, she planned and implemented the trips to China which have provided memorable
and invaluable experiences for her students. As a result, the Mandarin program has grown from
an initial one level ,16 students to five levels and almost 100 students in the district. She often
incorporates culture lessons into the language learning in her class because she believes
language and culture go hand-and -hand. She also sponsors the after school Chinese club where
students could explore authentic Chinese food, culture, arts and crafts. As a world language
teacher, June believes it is her mission to educate her students to become global citizens.
In her free time, June likes to work in her garden, read and practice Tai Chi. She also enjoys
traveling and exploring different cultures and food.

Instructor

Dana Hardy-Bingham

Dana is a passionate actor, director, and educator raised on Bainbridge Island but a lover of Pittsburgh for the last seventeen years. Dana started her early career pursuing professional acting after graduating from Lewis and Clark College. She spent much of her 20’s doing theater in Seattle and Chicago, joining Actor’s Equity Association, as well as SAG/AFTRA. She then went on to the University of Iowa where she earned an MFA in Acting and a 3-year Arts fellowship. Dana has built an extensive teaching career earned through university-level, high school, middle school and elementary level positions in English, Drama, Public Speaking, Interview Techniques, Speech and Debate, and Mock Trial. For the last ten years, Dana was the Drama Director at Shady Side Academy where she taught many classes in the English department, including a Public Speaking course that she developed, which often had a waitlist for admittance. Dana also built an incredible theater program at SSA including taking students to perform internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016 and 2018, and built a Playwriting program and Original Works Theater Festival. A few of Dana’s professional Pittsburgh stage credits include: Regan in King Lear, Yelana in Collaborators, and Jane Eyre in After Mrs. Rochester (Quantum), Deborah in the world premiere of Umbrella Man / Daisy in Amy Hartman’s world premiere of The Chicken Snake (The Rep), Tessa in 800 Words / Denise in Risk Everything / Linda Rotunda in Savage in Limbo (Caravan Theater), and Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter (Open Stage).
Instructor

Cora Palfy

Cora S. Palfy is a teacher, researcher, and writer specializing in music cognition and music theory. Palfy
earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia, and she earned her Masters and Ph.D. at
Northwestern University. She has taught at Northwestern University, the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill, and Elon University. During this time, she developed a passion for teaching writing and
mentoring student research.
Palfy’s research examines how music expresses and engages human behaviors and traits and the way
these phenomena encourage listeners to form relationships with music or the performers playing it. She
is author of numerous theoretical and pedagogical journal articles, the book Musical Agency and the
Social Listener (2021, Routledge Press) and is publishing a textbook with W. W. Norton that embraces an
innovative, inclusive pedagogical framework for music theory. Dr. Palfy is also a singer with a
background in opera and jazz performance, enjoys hiking and rock climbing, and hanging out with her
beloved dog, Franklin.

Essay Specialist

Vincent Valenzuela

Vince has spent his entire professional life in the world of admissions. First as a campus tour guide and admission counselor for his alma mater, Monmouth University (NJ), to four years as the southern regional representative for Villanova University. While on the Main Line, Vince was the liaison for the highly competitive seven-year BS/MD program with Drexel and the accelerated seven-year DMD program with the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2002, Vince transitioned from college admissions to managing the enrollment of three independent schools: Rutgers Preparatory School (Somerset, NJ), Chestnut Hill Academy (Philadelphia, PA) and Sierra Canyon School (Los Angeles, CA). Since 2013, Vince has been an independent college counselor as the founder of CW- Princeton LLC near his hometown of West Windsor, NJ. Vince has had the pleasure of visiting 85 college campuses throughout the United States. He has also been a guest speaker at Fortune 500 companies like Dow Chemical, Novo Nordisk, and Pfizer.

In his free time, he and his wife (of 21 years) Colleen, spend time on the tennis courts and at the beach- Sea Isle City, NJ- with their three children. Vince is grateful to be joining and learning from his new colleagues at Pittsburgh Prep.

College Admissions Consultant

Russell Grant​

Russell spent his life close to home in Pittsburgh up through his college years, during which he earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University while developing an interest in academic tutoring. Upon graduation, he broadened his horizons and moved to China to pursue his newfound passion of teaching and worked in foreign language schools as a chemistry teacher and part-time tutor. He returned to the United States eventually to earn his master’s degree in science education at Harvard University.
He has taught just about every science course available at the high school level at one point or another and currently teaches organic chemistry. Having spent much time preparing for standardized exams independently, he now enjoys helping others to achieve high levels of success as a tutor for Pittsburgh Prep.
When he is not teaching, he can be found playing with his two young daughters, raising them to share in his interests of video games and superheroes, while also readily giving in to their wishes of playing with dolls and dancing. He hopes that he will one day be able to convince his daughters to join him in one of his favorite pastimes – watching videos about math and science on YouTube – but he’s not holding his breath on this one!

Instructor

Amanda Sullivan

Amanda comes to us after ten years with YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh as a regional youth development program director. She has her master’s degree in education with a focus on high school English from Slippery Rock University. While originally from Boston, Massachusetts Amanda has lived in many places including the USVI. Her focus and passion have always been on the education, health, and wellness of our youth. Whether it be implementing nutrition programs into our schools or running sports camps, she is committed to high quality programing and the success of her students. During her college years she worked her way to head coordinator of her community’s child development soccer program. Amanda spends her time outside of Pittsburgh Prep coaching for F45 and instructing yoga classes throughout the community.

Administrative Assistant

Savannah Roberts

Savannah grew up in Bozeman, Montana in a town with one high school! With high scores on the SAT and ACT and a national merit scholar, she decided to go to Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington to study Psychology and Spanish, participate in the Honors program, and study abroad in Seville, Spain. As a student, she worked in college admissions for 4 years and became an admissions counselor upon
graduation. Deciding that she wanted to apply to college one more time,
Savannah is now pursuing a dual Ph.D. in Clinical and Developmental
Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. With a love of helping students navigate the college admissions process, Savannah is excited to work with high schoolers during such an exciting time! When she’s not working, you’ll find her at one of Pittsburgh’s lovely restaurants or coffee shops, or jogging in Frick Park. However, she’s often hopping to the West coast (best coast?!) to see friends and family in Washington and Montana.

Instructor

Corey Schultz

Corey grew up in northern NJ and is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in both history and neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. Through Pitt’s Honors College, Corey is a candidate for the Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) degree, with a thesis focusing on the history of community health organizations in Pittsburgh.

He has extensive experience using the knowledge that he learns in the classroom and applying it to the real world.
In high school, Corey was a tutor for math and science classes while also working for an education company to develop AP Chemistry curriculum. He really enjoys making personal connections with his students and working with them to improve not only their subject knowledge, but also their studying and test-taking skills!

In his spare time, Corey is a volunteer at UPMC Children’s Hospital, where he works in the transplant unit to bring activities and games to the kids in the hospital. He also enjoys playing video games, watching sports, and trying all the different restaurants around Pittsburgh!

Instructor

Atharva Barve

Atharva is originally from Chicago but has lived in Bangalore, India for five years, and Pittsburgh for the last six years. He is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Global and Public Health on a pre-med track with a minor in Business at Cornell University.

Eager to apply classroom knowledge to the real-world, Atharva has worked on a clinical and basic research project on Diabetes and Irritable Bowel Syndrome respectively. In high school, as a captain of the Speech and Debate team, he taught and coached students on speaking and debating skills. Atharva loves making new friends and learning new skills from his peers, colleagues, and students.

When Atharva is not working, you can find him dancing Bhangra for the Cornell Bhangra Team, solving Rubik’s Cubes, playing Chess, or trying different restaurants and cuisines in Pittsburgh or Ithaca.

Instructor

Michael Aguilar

Michael grew up all across the Southeastern United States before earning an undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina in English Language and Literature. He followed that with a graduate degree in the field of teaching from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA in 2011. 

A true expert in all things English, he spent the next 8 years teaching at every level of high school in Baton Rouge. Teaching all four grades of high school as well as AP Literature and Composition and developing and teaching his school’s AP Language and Composition curriculum. In 2018 he moved to stay at home with his children full time and joins Pittsburgh Prep to continue to assist young people with their educational goals while maintaining the schedule that full time fathering requires!

Outside of the educational field Michael loves to read, play beach volleyball, do any kind of physical exercise, enjoy the natural beauty that his current residence of Salt Lake City, UT provides, and spend time with his family. He owes all of his success in life to his brilliant and loving wife, Kendall. 

Instructor
Essay Coach

Christine Dowling

Christine an upper elementary teacher with a passion for nurturing creative and critical thinkers. She has over 10 years experience as an educator and is passionate about developing a dynamic, research-based curriculum that keeps students curiously engaged through play and discovery.

Over her career, she has specialized in academically gifted and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education with upper elementary and middle school age students. She guides students in the use of technology as a tool to creatively express themselves and develop critical thinking skills. In addition to technology, Christine helps students develop skills and confidence in the arts, entrepreneurship, building, communication, and collaboration!

Christine has been instrumental in developing Pittsburgh Prep’s summer Junior programs. In these programs, Christine has integrated experiential learning, arts, and technology into thematic STEAM-based programs. She is also available for enrichment or remediation private tutoring.

Christine holds a degree in Elementary Education from Florida Gulf Coast University and additionally holds certifications in Academically and Intellectually Gifted Children from Queens University, as well as Educating Global Citizens and Curriculum Differentiation from Harvard University and is a Certified Mentor Teacher.

When she is not teaching, Christine enjoys cooking, sailing, practicing yoga, and traveling. She’s explored all over the East Coast – hailing originally from South Florida, but lived in Charlotte, North Carolina and Boston, Massachusetts. She now calls Pittsburgh home and is enjoying exploring the city!

Instructor

Atharv Bhave

Atharv grew up in Pittsburgh, attending Canon-McMillan high school. He is currently a second-year student at Penn State, studying Pre-medicine as part of the 7-year guaranteed BS/MD program. 

An alum of Pittsburgh Prep’s SAT intensive course, he achieved perfect scores on the SAT’s math section and on all sections of the ACT. Atharv has also served as a Learning Assistant for collegiate organic chemistry, and enjoys helping students get the results they wish to see.

In his leisure time, he can be found watching sports, learning trivia, or convincing himself to work out.

Instructor

Allison Rice

Allison is a STEM instructor with eight years of experience teaching at the college level. She has primarily taught General Chemistry Lecture and Labs, Organic Chemistry Lecture and Labs, Physical Science Lecture and Labs, and Everyday Chemistry for nonmajors at the University of South Carolina, Allen University, Wake Forest University, and now at Carlow University. Allison can offer an interesting prospective to future college students as she has taught at both large public and small private institutions. In addition to teaching chemistry, Allison is passionate about developing STEM Outreach Programs. She commonly partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters and local elementary and middle school to bring science to life and rise up the next generation of young scientists.

 

Allison has a B.S. in Chemistry from Westminster College, followed by a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of South Carolina. At the University of South Carolina, Allison worked on a research project on graphitic hybrid materials for sustainable energy conversion. Upon completion of her PhD, Allison started a Teacher Scholar Postdoctoral Fellowship at Wake Forest University where she was able to teach her own class, mentor undergraduate researchers, and research nitroaromatic antibiotics for the treatment of neglected tropical diseases. After various research and teaching experiences, Allison found her passion in teaching and started as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Wake Forest University. She also worked as a Chemistry Tutor at Guildford Tech Community College. Since her and her husband are both from the Pittsburgh area, they decided to make the move back north and Allison is excited to start at Carlow University and Pittsburgh Prep.

 

When Allison is not teaching, she enjoys the beach, charcuterie boards, casinos, playing board games, and spending time with family and friends. 

Instructor

Alyson Nolte

Alyson is a proud Pittsburgh native, though she also spent time living abroad, including three years in Spain and one year in Australia. She graduated valedictorian of the McAnulty College of Liberal Arts at Duquesne University with a dual major in Spanish and Corporate Communications, and she later received a Master of Arts in Teaching Foreign Language from the University of Pittsburgh. To date, Alyson has more than 10 years of experience as a teacher and private tutor of both Spanish and EAL, and she has worked with students ranging from early learners through adults. Currently, she teaches three (soon to be four!) levels of high school Spanish in the Pittsburgh area.

Alyson is a self-described linguaphile and an aspiring polyglot who is fascinated by just about anything to do with words and human communication. She is passionate about the benefits of foreign language education and meeting her students where they are at to push them towards higher levels of proficiency and achievement of their language-learning goals.

When not nerd-ing out about language, Alyson enjoys travelling, hiking, reading, cooking, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and spending time with her family and friends.

Instructor

Morgan Jackson-Strong

Morgan is a former High School Biology educator who is now pursuing a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh, where she investigates the role of lipid processing/metabolism and inflammatory programming of alveolar macrophages in health and disease. She currently holds a B.S in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry from Georgia State University. Her passion for teaching began early on when she peer-mentored students in a pharmacy program at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy, which she continued for 10 years. Morgan continued to teach throughout her undergraduate career, where she was a teaching assistant for chemistry labs. Following graduation, she began her teaching career which fortified her resolve and love for supporting students in their academic and personal journeys. Outside of science and education, Morgan also enjoys exploring the world with her husband and their son, cuddling with their cats, and practicing healing meditation.
Instructor