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.

Anne's family is growing as she and her husband are in the process of adopting two children, ages 8 and 11. For as long as Anne can remember, she knew she wanted to adopt children instead of having her own. A quote that has inspired 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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

Julie Weller

Julie Weller

SUBJECT AREAS: 7-12 MATH AND READING; COLLEGE PREPARATION, ACT AND SAT TEST PREP

Julie has an MA in Apparel and Textile Design from Michigan State University as well as a BA in Marketing/Honors College, also from Michigan State University. She taught both Advertising and Intro to Merchandise Management [Retailing] while in her master's degree program and was a TA for a number of Draping and Apparel courses. Additionally, she taught a Research Methodology class for the College of Education. Julie has a great deal of professional work in her resume, including being a Marketing Rep for IBM and a District Sales Rep for a regional hotel chain.

Julie believes that learning should be fun and logical. She believes that reading can be the gateway to new worlds. She also believes that math trains the brain to learn beyond math itself. Her test taking skills were excellent starting in K-12, continuing with a score of 32 on the ACT [back when it was a harder test, too], and culminated in a solid score on the GRE.

Julie lives with her two dogs, Max and Maggie. She is an avid quilter and seamstress, making wall-hangings, quilts, and the occasional item of clothing. Her sewing room is a mess, but her fabric stash is enormous! She is largely self-taught in sewing, originally learning to sew from library books. Julie is also a voracious reader. She is looking forward to helping students discover the satisfaction of learning and developing through Outside the Box: Creative Tutoring."

Sam Bosma

Sam Bosma

Subject Areas: K-12 Math; K-5 Reading, Science, and Social Studies.

Sam is currently a student at Grand Valley State University, majoring in Education and Mathematics with a minor in Elementary Education. Her normal school year is spent taking education and math based classes while working in Grand Valley's Math Center; tutoring college students in classes ranging from Basic Algebra to Discrete Mathematics. Even at the young age of 9, she always knew she wanted to be a teacher and has dedicated her life to giving students the opportunity to learn in fun, creative ways. Whether it would be inventing a new math game or using a popular movie franchise to explain coordinates on a graph, she truly has a passion for her students and their success.

In her free time, Sam can be found hiking various trails with her dog (Molly) or listening/singing along to some of her favorite broadway shows. She also enjoys anything Star Wars or Marvel related.

Mayela Rosales

Mayela Rosales

Subject Areas: Spanish (All Ages)

Mayela was born in Durango, Mexico, but was raised in the industrialized city of Monterrey, Mexico where she Graduated from the Monterrey Institute of Technology. She has BA in Accounting. She has worked in financial and accounting audits for KPMG and freelance work. She also is an English language instructor from the same institute in Monterrey. In 2010 she moved to McAllen, Texas and in 2015 moved to Grand Rapids as she and her family were uprooted due to her husband´s employment. Since then has moved on to teaching Spanish for Lingual Learners and is an ELL bilingual teacher's assistant in the Sparta school district.

Mayela is the proud Mother of two beautiful girls, two yorkies and has been happily married for 20 years. She has found her passion in teaching Spanish to children and helping immigrant children to learn English. She is very empathetic, kind hearted and really cares about their development. Other than teaching the language, she enjoys exposing them to the vast and wonderful Spanish speaking cultures. Mayela enjoys reading and traveling abroad. During her 20 year marriage, she and her husband have visited Paris, London, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Monte Carlo and Italy. She loves to be in the company of her family and cannot wait for the moment to go visit her loved ones in Texas and Mexico.

Beth Maleski

Beth Maleski

Subject Areas: K-8 Reading and Math, Life Skills or Reading and Math with students with special needs.

Beth has her undergraduate degree in Special Education and her Masters as a Reading Specialist. She taught students with special needs in all areas for 15 years. She worked with students that had multiple disabilities as well as cognitive impairment. She taught for 4 years at a community college with students that were working towards their GED. She currently works as a bus driver. Beth loves to work one on one with kids and help them be successful in their learning. Beth has been happily married for 14 years. She has 2 sons that she likes to do a lot of fun things with. Both of her boys have special needs. Her oldest is 11 years old and has autism. He loves to build things and be creative. Her youngest is 7 years old and has recently been diagnosed with Epilepsy and has some learning concerns. He is a fun-loving guy that loves to play games and spend time with others.

Hannah Behrman

Hannah Behrman

Subject Areas: Spanish, Reading, Geography, Creative Writing and Poetry, Mental Health Coaching

Hannah graduated from the military's Defense Language Institute for spanish and went on to
serve in the Navy for 6 years as a spanish language analyst. Hannah worked in the intelligence community utilizing her language skills to translate and analyse data and deployed with the coast guard to assist in anti-narcotic efforts. Upon returning to civilian life Hannah began work at Bethany Christian Services working with teenage refugees from Mexico, Central and South America providing life enrichment, support and English tutoring. Hannah loves teaching people of all ages from children to adults and sharing her love of language and the joy of connecting with people in their native language.

Hannah is especially creative and is ready to approach teaching from many different perspectives. She understands that not everyone learns the same and is ready to adapt and discover the best type of learning that works for her students while at the same time pushing them to strive to reach their best potential.

Nadia Vannortwick

Nadia Vannortwick

ASL all ages (Virtual lessons only)

Nadia has grown up with sign language as her first language. She is hard of hearing, she wears two hearing aids. She has deaf parents that taught her sign language since she was born. She was involved with many of the different deaf clubs events. She also volunteered Camp Chris William for the Deaf/Hard Of Hearing/Blind/Coda campers for the week. She has attended there since 2016. She worked with variety of ages and disabilities. She was always inspired to help other people who are in need or interested in learning our language and our culture.

In addition to tutoring, Nadia is a small deaf business owner. She makes her own art & crafts. She makes bath salts with herbs, candles, wire wrapping with crystals, wood crafts and paintings. During her free time Nadia enjoys traveling out of state and go on adventures with her friends. She loves being outdoors and spending time with her family and friends.

Jessica Lettsome

Jessica Lettsome

Subject Areas: K-5th Grade - General Studies, Math. K-8th Grade - Grammar, Reading, Writing and Art History

Jessica Lettsome is a nonprofit events and development specialist who spent over a decade working in museums and higher education. Originally from South Florida, her last position there was working at Florida International University as a Special Events and Facility Rentals Manager where she grew venue rentals in her six and a half years from single digits to an over six figure business. Working for the advancement branch of the university, she worked with nearly fifty different sponsors and gifts in kind vendors securing donations and monetary gifts for the university. Her last position was Events Manager at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Jessica has served on several boards supporting the arts including Baptist Health, Emerging Museum Professionals and West Kendall Business Association. She has also been a previous speaker at the Florida Association of Museums annual conference. Jessica holds a Master's degrees in Nonprofit Management with a focus on Art History and Hospitality. She also has a graduate certificate in Museum Studies.