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.

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.

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) - Virtual Lessons Only

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.

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."

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.

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

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.

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 Hope

Nadia Hope

ASL all ages (Virtual lessons only)

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

Currently Nadia is a small deaf business owner. She makes her own art and 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 going on adventures with her friends. She loves being outdoors and spending time with her family and friends.

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett

Subject Areas: 6th grade - College Math

Stephen is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor's of Science in Statistics with a minor in Economics and currently holds a position at H.D. Hudson Manufacturing as a Business Analyst. Stephen is passionate about working with numbers - whether that be interpreting data, doing rapid mental math, or putting together charts to put complicated numbers into a more meaningful concept. Stephen also has a deep appreciation for the French language and took it for all 4 years of high school, he even traveled to France and got to try some of it out in real time.

In his free time, Stephen enjoys jamming to his favorite tunes on his bass guitar, watching movies, playing chess, or spending time with his family. Stephen also has an adorable cat, Luna. Stephen is excited to work with Outside the Box so he can help pass on the knowledge he has been able to learn throughout the years and help others succeed in ways that are tailored to them.

Sarah Westphal

Sarah Westphal

Subject Areas: K-12 Language Arts, ASL, K-8 Math

Sarah is currently a student at Grace Christian University. Over the course of her education, Sarah was homeschooled and enjoyed the ability to learn a variety of subjects independently from curriculums and classroom settings. While in high school, she took college classes at both Cornerstone University and Grace Christian University. She has always had a huge love for learning.
Sarah is working toward a future career in the publishing world. Along with her love for the written word, Sarah has also been learning American Sign Language since she was 8 years old. Sign language is a beautiful, unspoken language. Sarah hopes more will come to appreciate its uniqueness.
Sarah loves to read and write. She even works in a bookstore! When she isn't with a book in hand, she can be found drawing, researching, or even riding her unicycle. She is excited to spread the joy of learning!

Lacie Greene

Lacie Greene

Subject Areas: ASL all ages (Virtual Lessons Only)

Lacie was born and raised in Michigan by her deaf parents and had two C.O.D.A. siblings. She grew up in the mainstream schools and graduated from Model Secondary school for the Deaf in Washington D.C. She spent 6 years working with mental health in Florida. Lacie relocated to Austin, Texas, to serve for Texas School for the Deaf for 10 years as a residential educator. She is currently living in McAllen, Texas, to continue her entrepreneurship journey. Lacie enjoys traveling, camping, art crafts, and spending time with her family.

Carmen Morales

Carmen Morales

SUBJECT Areas: Spanish

Carmen was born in Mexico. She grew up in the state of Sonora. She has a BA in Accounting. In 2008 she got married and moved to Tucson, AZ. She was a volunteer in United Way-VITA during Tax season. She was a foster mother too. In 2015, she moved to Grand Rapids, MI due to her husband's employment. She has worked teaching Spanish in Lingual Learners and volunteering with some families. She loves teaching Spanish and Hispanic Culture to children and adults. She also practices English with her nephews.

Carmen is very responsible, kind and reliable. She enjoys cooking, reading and traveling with her husband, extended family and friends.

Jessica Harrison

Jessica Harrison

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

Jessica graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a bachelor's in Applied Linguistics, with a minor in Greek. She worked as Teacher's Assistant to a professor there for three years and published many articles for the student newspaper. She has since worked as a tutor for four years with VIPKID, an online tutoring company, and has worked with hundreds of students ages 4 through 15. She enjoys teaching language arts and social studies especially but has taught many classes on science and math as well and has seen great progress among her young students. She has thoroughly enjoyed homeschooling her three children for four years and loves to see their love of learning grow each day.

Jessica reads extensively and one of her greatest passions is to encourage her students to read more and to enjoy learning about the world around them. Her own children are often lost in a book throughout the day. Her favorite genres to read are historical fiction, biographies, science fiction, and fantasy. She also loves to explore nature and her family is often out exploring new parks and forests nearby to learn about animals and plants.

Jessica is excited to work with Outside the Box and to help foster a love of learning among her students and encourage them with their studies and to see them excel! She hopes to teach them how to develop their study skills and take pride in what they are learning.

Jordan Ramirez

Jordan Ramirez

Subject Areas: ESL all ages, Language Arts K-8

Jordan graduated from Western Michigan University in 2011 with a Master's degree in counseling psychology. Shortly after, she and her husband moved to North Carolina where she worked in psychometrics, testing both children and adults for cognitive deficits. She has worked in an Army hospital and various private practices.

After 7 years in NC, she and her husband returned home to MI to raise their family. Jordan decided to stay home with her 3 young boys. She now homeschools and for the past 3 years she has been an online ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher to children across the world! She now holds a TESOL and a TEFL certificate.
Teaching has brought her so much joy!

Jordan finds ways, every day, to incorporate nature into her children's education. She finds that kids, especially busy boys like hers, learn best while moving their bodies. And for the children she teaches virtually, she is sure to engage them with rewards, props, and a friendly environment.

Jordan enjoys reading, running, hiking and playing with her boys. She will make any student feel welcome near her and will be their biggest encourager.

Joel Betts

Joel Betts

SUBJECT AREAS: BIOLOGY, CHEMISTRY, SPANISH, 7-12 MATH, ACT PREP, GRE PREP

Joel is an environmental science practitioner and a budding college professor. He has worked as a biologist-surveying fish, bugs, and plants to monitor environmental impacts, and as a farm planner-supporting local farmers to adapt sustainable agriculture techniques. He also spent 4 years during and after his master's (from MSU) working on rainforest conservation in Central America. He loves to help people appreciate the natural world and to understand key concepts in science, math, and language that enable students do good work in their future careers. He is a teacher at his core and aspires to teach college environmental science.
When he's not leading field trips, meeting with farmers, or in the classroom, he is out canoeing and fishing on Michigan's rivers and lakes, playing hockey, or cooking local foods.

Evan Grogan, MSc

Evan Grogan, MSc

Subject Areas: K-College Math, Science, and Language Arts; Greek; ACT and SAT test prep (Virtual Lessons Only)

Evan is currently a Therapeutic Counselor. He graduated from Clark University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Physics. He continued his education in Europe and graduated from University of Nicosia in Cyprus. Cyprus is a beautiful island with a rich history, you should ask him about it. He enjoys helping people to improve the quality of their life and future. One of the best ways to ensure this is providing and guiding people with the necessary tools to succeed.
Evan is a citizen of planet Earth and loves to travel. He recently moved back to the USA from Europe and is getting situated for his twin daughters and wife to join him. Even though his daughters are 8-years-old they have learned to speak Greek during their time in Europe.

Rachel Timmermann

Rachel Timmermann

Subject Areas: K-5 Language Arts and Math (Otsego area or Virtual only)

Rachel strives to build trust with her students so that they feel supported and willing to take risks. Rachel's teaching personality is calm and steady. Through a variety of activities, she strives to meet students where they are. Rachel earned a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Martin Luther College. She has applied these degrees in individual and group settings.