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, Piano Lessons

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: Art for All Ages, 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. She is also a registered behavior technician for children with autism through Centria Autism Services.

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.

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: All ages Reading, Art, Music, and Drama. K-8 Math. K-12 Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science

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.

Julian Faraci

Julian Faraci

Subject Areas: All ages History, Literature, Spanish, Writing, and Reading. K-12 Stem Learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

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.

Heather Beckett

Heather Beckett

Subject Areas: ASL for All Ages

Heather is a heritage signer, signing her entire life. She furthered her skills by attending Lansing Community College and obtaining her certification for completing the Interpreter Training Program and also achieved an AA degree in American Sign Language. Heather then went on and worked in the K-12 Setting as a full time Educational Interpreter. Currently Heather is a Stay-At-Home-Mom and interprets every Sunday at Frontline Community Church; go check out her skills. During her free time Heather enjoys taking long hikes and going on new adventures with her family.

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.

Suzanne MacLaren

Suzanne MacLaren

Subject Areas: 4K-ADULT READING, WRITING, LANGUAGE ARTS, ART, DRAMA/THEATER, AND FRENCH

Suzanne is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a BA in Creative Writing and a Hopwood Award to her name, as well a serious love of books, both in reading them and writing them. During the school year she works as a Montessori Teaching Assistant, and has made it one of her many goals to one day become a certified Lead Teacher for Montessori. In the summer, she teaches with the Institute of Reading Development, where she works with students from four years old to adults, helping them become stronger, more confident readers.

Suzanne's passion is working with children, and she counts herself beyond blessed whenever she gets to experience their unfiltered thoughts, engage their enthusiasm for the world around them and the worlds they find through books, and build up their boundless potential. She is constantly looking for creative ways to inspire others to become passionate about learning, and also independently tutors in reading, writing and French, being officially recognized as proficient in the language at the University of Michigan. She loves to volunteer and teach with Artists Creating Together for their visual and dramatic art classes, has starred in numerous musicals and plays, and had her artwork displayed at Michigan State University.

In her free time, Suzanne loves to read any and all books, work new worlds into being with her writing, paint and draw in multiple kinds of mediums, and make every day a musical. She loves traveling the world, creating art with her friends, making delicious messes in her kitchen, binging amazing Netflix shows, and spending time with her family at Lake Michigan.

Maggie Cooper

Maggie Cooper

Subject Areas: 6-12 Math and Science, Reading, Introductory Spanish, EMT skills

Maggie is a recent graduate from Eckerd College, where she earned a BS in Biochemistry with minors in Mathematics and Philosophy. In college, she worked as a chemistry teaching assistant, tutor, and researcher, as well as a Residential Advisor. In her free time, she served as an EMT on Eckerd's campus, and volunteered at a local halfway house. If these experiences taught her anything, it was that she loves to be a part of a community that fosters curiosity and a love of learning.

If there was one word that Maggie would use to describe herself, it would be curious. She has always loved math and science and appreciates any chance she gets to help other students understand difficult mathematical or scientific concepts for the first time. While classes like Calculus and Chemistry are daunting at first, sometimes all it takes is an approach from a different angle, and just like that, an entirely new aspect of the world opens up to you - how incredibly exciting is that?

Besides being able to aide with math and science topics through a college level, she also cherishes the time she spent mentoring future responders on her collegiate EMS team and she would be thrilled to continue helping EMT students prepare for psychomotor examinations and the NREMT.

By day you can find Maggie working at her family marina; by night, you can find her (and her cat) looking into Astrochemistry graduate programs. In the wee hours of the morning, you may find her reading up on the latest news in quantum mechanics and quantum chemistry. Why would anyone do this to themselves, you ask? Well, she hopes to one day study the potential effects of gravity on chemical reactivity and, ultimately, the origin of life in the universe. In addition to being a total nerd, she loves The Office and football, and may have one (or twelve) too many plants.

Jonah Chickering

Jonah Chickering

Subject Areas: All Ages: Reading and Writing, High School and College level: MLA and APA Citations, Brainstorming, Help With Research. All Ages: Creative Writing, Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction

Jonah Chickering Graduated from Aquinas College in 2019 with a BA in English Writing. In college, he worked at the Aquinas College Writing Center where he tutored hundreds of fellow college students with any stage of the writing process. This included working from square one on a written project to detailed editing and citation work. He helped people from all backgrounds including ELL students and non-traditional aged students. Although he is early in his career, Jonah has found what he loves to do and what he loves to teach others.

Jonah has a love for reading and writing that he wants to share with everyone around him. Becoming lost in a story and thinking deeply about theme, style, and form is something he will do every day of his life. His favorite genres are science fiction, fantasy, and horror. He loves to write creepy poems and stories about far away places. Teaching people to foster their own creativity is one of the most rewarding things he has ever experienced.

When Jonah isn't hitting the books or the word processor, he is most likely out walking his two Golden Retrievers, playing Magic: The Gathering with his friends, cooking a meal with his identical twin brother, or car pooling to the beach. Jonah is extremely excited to work with Outside The Box: Creative Tutoring so he can help as many people as possible learn how fun and rewarding reading and writing can be as well as how to cultivate creativity within themselves.

Michael Lynn

Michael Lynn

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

A camp counselor, substitute teacher, after-school program organizer, tutor, and mentor, Michael Lynn has spent the last 15 years working with kids of all ages.

As a graduate of Cornerstone University, Compass Arts Film Academy, and the Los Angeles Film Studies Center, Michael brings his love of storytelling to help make learning fun.

A natural part of working with Michael is experiencing things with a fresh set of eyes, whether exploring social studies, history, math, or science!

Ben Randall

Ben Randall

Subject Areas: 6-12 Math and Science

Ben is a student at Grand Valley State University majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology, and following graduation, intends on continuing to do research in genetics and teach high school sciences. He is very familiar with the difficulties that comes with high school and understands that above all, the drive to learn is the most important part of an education. He believes that a real world understanding of the subject comes before memorizing equations. When not working on school, he enjoys reading, music, plants and playing with his pet boa constrictor. He challenges anyone who thinks they can spout more facts about Harry Potter than he can.

Carol Phelps

Carol Phelps

Subject Areas: PreK-5 Reading and Math

Carol is a licensed childcare provider in Comstock Park. She has been teaching preschool and running an in-home childcare since 1993. Her favorite part of her job is seeing how fast children learn when provided hands-on, fun activities in an educational environment. Carol has an associates degree in Applied Arts and Sciences with a focus on early childhood development. While in school, she had an opportunity to tutor 1st graders and found it to be very rewarding. She says that being able to help a child learn and understand something after they've been struggling for a long time is such a great feeling!

When she isn't tutoring or running her childcare, Carol enjoys waiting, decorating, spending time with family, going to church, and reading the Bible. She also loves pugs, as you can see from her picture.

Jake Harris

Jake Harris

Subject Areas: 5-12 Science and Reading, 5-8 Mathematics, Statistics, R Statistical programming

Jake is an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University teaching Biology labs. His graduate experience is in plant ecology and he has three years of field experience in Northern Alaskan tundra biomes, but is also familiar with the local ecology of Western Michigan where he was born and raised. Some of the most rewarding experiences he has had include teaching others standard operating procedures and introducing people to foreign tasks and ideas, as well teaching himself what was needed for his graduate degree. He enjoys gardening, reading, hunting, and various martial arts. Learning is a process of discovery and making mistakes

Karyn Graham

Karyn Graham

Subject Areas: K-8 Math and Science, K-12 Reading and Writing

"Karyn is a currently in her Junior year at Grand Valley State University going into Elementary Education specializing in Integrated Science. Her mom is a middle school teacher and she has helped in her classroom and assisted with a summer camp for writing strategies throughout the years. After seeing the "behind the scenes" of a teacher's day, there is nothing she wanted to do more than go into teaching. She loves kids and enjoys helping them learn something new in a unique and creative way. As a tutor, she looks forward to helping students expand their knowledge as well as find new methods in learning concepts and material they may initially find hard to understand.

When she is not in classes, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, running, watching the show Friends (or anything on Netflix in general), reading a good book and listening to music."

Michael McCoy

Michael McCoy

Subject Areas: All Ages Math, Science, ESL, Spanish, Test Prep, Music

Mike loves to learn, try his hand at new things and solve problems. He regularly uses books, videos and audio from the library. He likes to say that he has a master's degree in "Library". He has a bachelor's in Chemistry from Florida State University and studied for his master's in Education at Western Governors University. He also does a fair amount of handyman tasks around the house including tile, carpentry and plumbing along with general gardening and yard maintenance. He says that learning the fundamentals and keeping them sound is the best foundation for education.

Mike is a father of a three-year-old, and the husband of a woman from Venezuela. They like to take walks and drives, ride bikes, go to parks, frequent the museums, read, paint and play all kinds of silly games. All this of course, before and after eating - they love ice cream.

Mike has taught GED, ESL, high school science through AP, and upper elementary. He is a natural teacher who loves to field all kinds of questions, and give them a, mostly, serious response. He can tutor arithmetic through advanced algebra, including trigonometry and geometry, and science subjects, especially chemistry and biology through the lower college level. He learned English grammar as a result of learning to speak Spanish and so can teach reading, composition and grammar in both languages. He has taught or studied for many tests like the ACT, SAT, GED and state teaching exams so he knows how to read standardized test questions and sort through answers to pick the ones that will maximize your test score. Finally, he likes to play the piano (intermediate level) and sing and can teach how to read music and music theory- Do, Re, Mi!

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.

Angela Mendez

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".

Sandra Ringlever

Sandra Ringlever

Subject Areas: Art

Sandra Ringlever was awarded emeritus status by the Ferris State University Board of Trustees upon retirement in December of 2015 from full-time teaching at Kendall College of Art and Design for 52 years.

Sandy taught in the Illustration Program from its inception in the early 1960s. During this time she maintained an active illustration and design business where she worked with a wide variety of clients which included non-profit organizations, architects, interior designers, fashion illustration, advertising, new product development, visual identity and branding and illustration. Sandra has always practiced what she teaches, bringing real world experiences to the classroom.

For the past 10 years she has volunteered teaching art at Gilda's Club of Grand Rapids to groups of members who are in cancer treatment or those who are in remission. Sandy earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University and "tries" to draw and paint every day. She loves spending time with her 3 adult sons and their spouses and her 2 wonderful young grandsons. In addition to her passions with art, Sandra also loves traveling and reading.

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.

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.

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."