Anne Friedli

Anne Friedli

Subject Areas: K-12 Math, Language Arts, and Social Studies; K-8 Science. ACT & SAT test prep

Anne is the founder of Outside the Box: Creative Tutoring. She majored in Elementary Education with double minors in Mathematics and Language Arts at Northern Michigan University. After working in the classroom as a student teacher, Anne decided that she didn't want to be tied to a traditional teaching setting. She wanted to reach students individually so she chose to work with students one-on-one outside of the classroom. This gave her the freedom to key in on each student's interests. She prides herself on finding what it is that gets a student excited to learn.

Anne may be in her 30s, but a part of her will always be young at heart. She loves to laugh during sessions and will proudly break into the banana dance or a do a celebratory jig to honor a student's achievements. She won't hesitate to use silly voices and accents to make boring topics seem a little silly. Anne believes that a student that is laughing is making a strong connection to the material. She won't hesitate to make jokes to teach serious topics. Just don't be surprised if you get a note sent home that says your child was giggling while taking a test.

Anne has always loved creative writing. As a child it was her goal to grow up and be a famous author. Her passions have shifted and she loves working with children now, but she did find time to write a children's novel, Annie Banana, that she hopes to one day publish.

At home, Anne loves spending time with her husband and two dogs. For as long as Anne can remember, she knew she wanted to adopt children instead of having her own. In a couple of years she and her husband hope to begin the process to adopt older children from the foster system. A quote that inspires her comes from the movie Martian Child. "I don't want to bring another kid into this world. But how do you argue against loving one that's already here?

Kristin Graef

Kristin Graef

Subject Areas: K-9 Math, K-12 Language Arts and Social Studies, Writing Test Prep

Kristin is our most "mature" tutor, but like a fine wine, she has gotten better with age. She has a Master's degree in English from Ball State University, and earned her Bachelor's in English at Wittenberg University in Ohio. Kristin has enjoyed lifelong travel in Europe, Canada, and most of the states, and has tutored English to ESL students, both children and adults. She has also taught beginning piano to both children and adults, off and on all her life, and tutored privately in math, history, and social studies.

Mostly, though, she teaches essay composition and sometimes Western Humanities at Aquinas College, and has been doing so for fifteen years. She's taught composition also at GVSU and GRCC, and currently at Davenport University. In the summers she has facilitated at SAT essay-writing preparatory workshops, and directed the summer program at Lake Michigan Academy for different learners, grades K to 12. Other supplemental work has included dog walking (Kristin is the Number One Animal Lover of the Universe) and companion for the elderly.

Kristin is diverse in her interests and skills, but in terms of people, she holds a fond place in her heart for children and the elderly, for similar reasons. They are easy to talk to, because they are genuine. She has strong faith in the intelligence of children, and respects them for that. What results is a keen affinity with them, and she uses that to help them learn.

Kristin's favorite things to do are travelling, writing, reading, petting cats, playing games, binge-watching excellent TV with her two grown sons, swimming, and laughing so hard she needs her asthma inhaler.

Tiffany Gosselink

Tiffany Gosselink

Subject Areas: All Ages Spanish and ESL, K-9 Math and Language Arts

Tiffany graduated from Calvin College in May 2012 with a major in International Development and a minor in Missions. She is certified to teach English as a foreign language with additional certifications in Business English and Teaching Young Learners.

Tiffany has traveled to eight countries and taught math and ESL in two countries, two states, and two different languages. She is fluent in Spanish and loves learning languages as well as teaching the two she knows. Her favorite part about teaching is getting to work one-on-one with students and being able to really get to know them and personalize their learning. Tiffany loves learning and thinks it should always be fun!

Stephanie Voelck

Stephanie Voelck

Subject Areas; K-12 art, K-8 Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science

Stephanie is currently a student at Grand Valley State University majoring in Psychology with big dreams of becoming an Occupational Therapist. She is a certified art teacher for K-12, and has taught in over ten different school settings in the past decade. Far preferring a one-to-one or small group approach, Stephanie knows how to make learning fun. Her specialty is infusing art into any subject, and fusing art with any interest the student has.

When Stephanie isn't in classes or teaching she can be found in the kitchen concocting vegan meals, painting, or playing her with 6 year old daughter. She's an environmental and democracy enthusiast and likes to bike the city or white pine trail collecting signatures for ballot initiatives.

Sam Prince

Sam Prince

Subject Areas: K-12 Language Arts and Drama; K-8 Math, Science, and Social Studies. ACT & SAT test prep

Sam is a self-employed Marketing Consultant, husband, and dad of four kids. He is also co-leader of the children's ministry at Tribes Church in Rockford. He home schooled two of his children for three years and is very active in their homework and education. Sam is excited to tutor for Outside the Box: Creative Tutoring so he can help more students and expand their possibilities.

Sam's passions are many, but acting and drama are probably his biggest. He majored in English and minored in Theatre at the University of Michigan, and has been doing something with acting when he can since graduating in 1992. Sam's dream is to start a children's theatre here in Grand Rapids and have drama programs and camps for kids who want to be the next Academy Award winners.

Haley Gore

Haley Gore

Subject Areas: K-12 Math and Science. ACT & SAT test prep

Haley works as a researcher in Grand Rapids, studying how leukemia works. She studied Biochemistry at Michigan State, and then Forest Genetics and Biotechnology at Michigan Tech, in the northern-most part of Michigan, the Keweenaw Peninsula. Also studying for a year in Finland and Sweden, she has developed a real love of the cold and snow! Haley loves math and science so much, she studied it for an additional 6 years after high school! She loves showing others how much fun it can be, and hopes to convince all the children in her family to go into STEM.

When not working, Haley passes her time exploring different National Parks, knitting, playing games with her husband, and spending time with her two lab mixes, Lucy and Mari. She also plays soccer, and loves to watch water polo (she was a goalie at MSU, but doesn't play anymore). Haley is excited to work with Outside the Box: Creative Tutoring so she can help others see how much fun learning can be, and see the potential to actually use what they learn after graduation.

Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson

Subject Areas: K-12 Math and Social Studies

Amy is currently an Algebra and Geometry teacher at a local Charter high school. After graduating from Michigan Technological University in 2007, she has taught adult education, including GED prep and high school completion, math and online courses at an alternative high school, virtual math courses, including credit recovery, and currently teaches on a platform that is 50% virtual and 50% brick and mortar.

Amy loves getting to know students where they are at and helping them discover the great potential they have inside. She believes that everyone has the ability to learn and enjoys teaching skills that facilitate life-long learning.

In her free time you can find her hanging out with her kiddos, checking out the city, or reading a good book. She loves music and has been caught belting out a mathematical remix from time to time.

Sara Royston

Sara Royston

Subject Areas: K-12 Reading; K-8 Language Arts

Sara is currently an 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Godwin Heights Middle School. She's been teaching middle schoolers since 2001 and thinks they are the best people in the world to laugh with. She is regularly blown away by their insights and questions about the world around them. Sara graduated from Western Michigan University twice, once for her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and then again for her Master's in Literacy Studies. She also has a Reading Specialist endorsement. In case it wasn't obvious, she LOVES to read and write. Her other passions include spending time with her 3 sons and husband, drinking coffee, and eating chocolate.

Susan Meekhof

Susan Meekhof

Subject Areas: K-5 MATH AND READING. ALL AGES, ART AND MENTAL HEALTH COACHING

Susan feels that each person can improve the quality of his or her life by changing the way he or she thinks. To be empowered mentally is to live life purposefully and with confidence in your identity. Susan has been a coach to hundreds of adults in Kent County since 2001. She worked for a non profit to inspire and motivate adults to become responsible, find recovery, and overcome many of common life obstacles. For six years, Susan worked for a non-profit to teach mental health awareness to students in 6th-8th grade. She took a passion for that age group, realizing that those years are a time in life that is pivotal towards success or failure. Susan instills value in her students by building self esteem with practical tools. Susan also has a love and gift for art that she shares with her students. She has been teaching art since 2005 and freelancing since 1980. Susan 's art can be found in restaurants, churches, hospitals, offices and homes. She feels it is necessary to morph your artwork as times change and yet be true to a product that can be recognized as your own signature.

Susan has lived in Grand Rapids or its suburbs all her life. She has two married daughters and 8 grandchildren. She loves spending time with her grandchildren and doing art with them. Susan likes to cook and is still perfecting Southern fried chicken. She enjoys cats and she hopes to own one again someday. Meow.

Anna Stover

Anna Stover

Subject Areas: K-12 Math and Science

Anna is currently a student at Grand Valley State University, double majoring in Mathematics and Secondary Education with a minor in Physics. She has years of experience volunteering and working with children of all ages in fun and creative ways. Anna loves doing hands-on science that brings excitement to learning in ways that typical schools don't offer. Her dream is to become a high school math teacher after graduating college.

When Anna is not at school, volunteering or tutoring, she loves to be outdoors trying new adventures. She has traveled the country, hiking the national parks in Utah, learning line-dancing in Texas, and white water rafting in West Virginia. Born and raised in West Michigan, Anna loves to have fun exploring new places to eat, bike and hike.

Karen Paul

Karen Paul

Subject Areas: K-8-Language Arts, Reading, & Writing; ESL K-Adult; Math K-5

Karen has taught in self contained K-5 classrooms for over 20 years, as well as teaching English as a Second Language in various factory settings and at migrant camps. She graduated with a BA in Elementary Education with a reading minor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a MA in K-8 reading, and an ESL endorsement at Grand Valley State University. She loves reading and learning and is passionate about passing this on to students in a fun way.

In her free time Karen likes to read (of course!), knit, play the piano and violin, cook, garden, and make jewelry. When opportunity arises she loves to practice her archery skills in target shooting. Spending time with her 3 children and husband is very important to her as is helping children to reach their full potential in a fun way!

Dakota Button

Dakota Button

Subject Areas: K-8 Math, Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies, College Success Prep, Beginner Sign Language, Beginner American Sign Language, Behavior Modification for special needs (work with the child and/or parents)

Dakota Button was a student at Michigan Tech for three years and is finishing her degree online at SNHU, majoring in neuropsychology. She's passionate about making sure everyone, no matter what age group, has every opportunity to be the best version of themselves. In addition to working with children and teens, she is able to offer classes for parents as well. You're never too old to learn!

Dakota's other job includes working with autistic children and she previously worked with adults with traumatic brain injuries. You can often find her studying various subjects in psychology or reading studies about the treatment of PTSD in veterans through neuropsychology.

Peggy Barber

Peggy Barber

Subject Areas: K-12 Math and Science, Test Preparation. ACT & SAT test prep

Peggy is currently a real estate entrepreneur. She worked in insurance management and consulting for over 20 years at the corporate offices of CNA Insurance and Specialty Underwriters. She has always loved science (and college football) since she got her BS in Chemistry at the University of Notre Dame. She has tutored various ages and worked as a substitute HS teacher.

Peggy enjoys working one on one with students to build their confidence and knowledge by connecting the study of science and math to everyday life experiences.

When not working, she enjoys live music (especially opera), gardening, foreign languages and travel. She has been to the UK, France, Germany and China.

Sherri Rogers

Sherri Rogers

Subject Areas: READING (ALL AGES), K-8 MATH, K-12 LANGUAGE ARTS, SOCIAL STUDIES, SCIENCE, ART, MUSIC, AND DRAMA

Sherri is a former public school substitute teacher and current home school teacher who loves adventuring and thinking outside the box. She currently teaches seventh, fifth, first, and preschool in her family homeschool, and her specialty is teaching difficult concepts in ways that are easily learned and appreciated. After years as a substitute teacher and working with various educational programs, Sherri has grown to appreciate the struggle of learning a difficult subject and she strives to make it fun and interactive whenever possible. When Sherri isn't teaching, she can be found running or hiking. She also loves traveling to fun and unusual places and practicing her photography skills.

Katie Miller

Katie Miller

Subjects: 6-12 Math and Science, Nutrition and Fitness (all ages)

Katie obtained her BA in Biology from Kalamazoo College and is currently pursuing her PhD in Neuroscience at Michigan State University where she studies Parkinson's disease. In college she has worked for Communities in Schools as an Algebra Tutor, however she has a strong foundation in all science and mathematics disciplines. After completing her degree Katie plans to continue in science as an education researcher, using cutting edge pedagogical approaches to improve how biology is taught to college students.

In her spare time, Katie loves being outside with her dogs and playing soccer.

Rachel Ratliff

Rachel Ratliff

Subject areas: Science, reading, creative writing, social studies. Public speaking/presentation coach.

Rachel is a Grand Valley State University graduate with a degree in natural resources management and a minor in biology. She has a passion for environmental education; this past summer she interned with Inland Seas Education Association teaching lake ecology on a sailboat. During her time with ISEA she was able to inspire at least 17 different high school students to appreciate midge flies and their larvae. Quite honestly, it is her proudest accomplishment (Have you seen those guys? Eek). She has spent previous summers teaching on other boats as well as volunteering as educator with local nature centers.

When she isn't on the water, Rachel works at a high ropes course where she teaches people of all ages to use recreational safety equipment effectively. She is adept at making mundane information sound wildly interesting and easy to remember.

Above all, connection is what drives Rachel into the tutoring field. Being a part of a student's "a-ha!" moment is such a gift. Working together to find a personal presentation style can also be an intimate process. In the future, Rachel hopes to manage her own natural place-based education program.

Natosha Mercado

Natosha Mercado

Subject Areas: K-12 Reading, Writing, and Science; Statistics and Psychology

Born and raised in northern Michigan, Natosha was Valedictorian of her high school graduating class. She went on to graduate in 2015 from Grand Valley State University where she studied Biopsychology and Statistics. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience from Michigan State University and has dreams of becoming a scientist. Specifically, she hopes to contribute to the development of newer, more effective treatments for Huntington's disease, with which she has a personal connection. Through tutoring, Natosha hopes to share her passion for science and education with the next generation of young scientists.

In her free time, Natosha can be found volunteering at the local animal shelter, trying a new recipe, gardening, snuggling with her cats, doing yoga, or reading a book."

Sarah Szakal

Sarah Szakal

Subject Areas: K-12 Science and Math

Sarah is currently a senior at Grand Valley State University. She is double majoring in Chemistry and Secondary Education with a minor in Biology. She is also a Teacher's Assistant in a Grand Rapids Chemistry classroom. Sarah loves anything STEM and loves making science fun and hands on for her students. She is very excited to tutor for Outside the Box: Creative Tutoring so she can help others see how fun science can be and to help students realize their potential.

When not working Sarah loves anything to do with animals. She owns a housetrained rabbit named Lulu and a large German Sheppard named Thor. In her free time Sarah likes to be active. She takes Thor on many walks. Sarah also likes to play volleyball and softball.

Angela Mendez

Subject Areas: 5-12 Science & Math

Angela is a professor who has earned two bachelor's degrees and a masters, all three focusing on biology and chemistry. She fell in love with teaching in graduate school where she taught at Western Michigan University for 3 years. Currently she teaches at Davenport University in addition to tutoring. She has taken several courses about teaching and is trained in various teaching methods such as inquiry-based learning.

One-on-One learning is truly a passion of Angela's, she can guide the students to answers and show them how to find their own answers. When students are learning how to ask the right questions and find the right answers by themselves, they are becoming self-sufficient. Angela attempts to pass along her enthusiasm for science and math to each of her students by breaking down complex material and making the material more relatable to their lives as well as making them ask "why" and "how". Curiosity should always be rewarded and encouraged, and Angela thrives on sparking curiosity. As Neil deGrasse Tyson says "the people who don't ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives".

Julian Faraci

Julian Faraci

Subject Areas: history, literature, Spanish, STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), critical thinking skills, writing, and reading skills

Julian graduated from Florida International University with a degree in History and a Caribbean Studies certificate. From here, he is currently pursuing a master's degree from Western Michigan University. As a historian, he was required to read many firsthand accounts as well as literature from different time periods. While reading, it became necessary for him to use critical thinking and writing skills to teach and learn more about history. As a native Spanish speaker, languages come naturally.

While obtaining his degrees in Florida, Julian was a teacher for an afterschool program called Bricks 4 Kidz. He taught kids to use their critical thinking skills to build models using Legos. With an emphasis on using one's imagination and creative ideas, Julian encourages students how to think and learn in a fun learning environment.

Nate Sanders

Nate Sanders

SUBJECT AREAS: PHYSICS, MATHEMATICS, STATISTICS I

Nate Sanders is currently a student at Grand Valley Sate University, majoring in physics with a minor in Mathematics. He is also a graduate of Grand Rapids Community college where he tutors Calculus and college level Physics. Eventually he would like to attend graduate school in Germany where he plans on studying nuclear fusion. He is passionate about helping people to understand mathematics better since it is such an integral part of modern life. Whether one is verifying a bank statement or calculating the velocity and air speed of an unladen swallow (African or European...?), mathematics is at the heart of it.

During his off-time Nate enjoys listening to his record collection and attending concerts. He is also a bit of a Star Trek junkie and likes to do a bit of creative writing every now and again.

Dylan Pavka

Dylan Pavka

Subject Areas: K-12 Math

Dylan is a current student at Aquinas College. He is majoring in Athletic Training. Though this is his course of study, he is very passionate about helping younger generations excel in their studies. Dylan loves math and is skilled in teaching it at the k-12 level. Since he is a sophomore in college, Dylan remembers how hard middle and high school are on the adolescent mind. He always says that growing up is an option. He loves to tell jokes and get a laugh out of everyone.

Dylan's other passions are baseball and bowling. You can often find him at the local bowling alley because he is a collegiate bowler. He is also the proud father of Nollie, a 2-year-old American Pit Bull. You can expect to be overwhelmed with pictures of her. One of Dylan's life goals is to one day impact a large enough group of people that he gets a verified checkmark next to his name on Twitter.

Emmie Carr

Emmie Carr

Subject Areas: K-12 Language Arts, Social Studies, and Political Science; K-8 Math and Science

Emmie is currently a student at Grand Valley State University majoring in Elementary Education and English Language Arts. She will eventually go to grad school for Educational Policy and has big dreams of becoming a Michigan policymaker. She has tutored many types of learners in the past and loves doing whatever she can to make learning fun for everyone. Her specialty is finding creative and interesting ways to integrate student interests into lessons and activities.

When Emmie is not in classes or tutoring, you can usually find her at home cuddled up with her cat, Dani, and a book. During warmer days, Emmie loves to hike and camp. She has hiked part of the Pacific Crest Trail and hopes to one day hike the entire trail.

Sarah Mepham

Sarah Mepham

Subject Areas: K-8 Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, Music Performance, and Science. K-12 Art

Sarah is a former teacher who loves to inspire creativity and has taught in a multitude of different settings with specialized teaching and approaches. She has been trained in Montessori grades 1st-3rd and has also taught and trained in Applied Behavior Analysis therapy for autism. She is specialized in working with students with ADHD and related disorders. Sarah believes in promoting positive self concepts in children by focusing on their unique learning styles and by discovering and affirming their strengths through positive reinforcement.

Sarah has excelled in sports and vocal music performance. She is an avid runner and yogi enthusiast! Sarah loves coaching girls and boys soccer. She has always loved working with kids to bring out the best of their abilities and rewarding kids through work AND play.