Mindspire™ was founded by Shahar Link, who has been teaching in high schools and tutoring standardized tests for over 18 years. Shahar earned a Masters degree in History from Stanford University, writing his thesis on the history of IQ testing. Ever since, he has been determined to help students succeed on standardized tests and in high school.
Chrissy started teaching immediately after graduating from Princeton University, and she's been helping people learn ever since. As a former Montessori teacher in the public school system, she has unique experience in combining student-led discovery with standardized test prep. Chrissy loves radishes and daffodils, Ang Lee and Lu Xun. She can knit a Möbius strip and a pretty good approximation of a Klein bottle. When she's not tutoring or working on her mini-homestead with her family, Chrissy can most often be found swimming in the Eno, paddling on Jordan Lake, or taking a road trip to visit friends.
Julianna Tauschinger-Dempsey received an undergraduate degree in Social anthropology from Harvard University and a graduate degree in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Her first teaching experience came when at the age of 10, the head of her music school asked her to take on a handful of piano and music theory students. Her love of sharing knowledge and communication skills, building confidence in self-expression and learning how different people see the world has kept her devoted to teaching for nearly 20 years. Julianna began teaching and tutoring the PSAT, SAT and various standardized subject tests in college. And for the past 15 years, she has run her own writing and editing consultancy, which has allowed her to work with a spectacular variety of high schoolers, college and graduate students, university faculty and professionals in the US and Europe. When she’s not extolling the virtues of broadening one’s horizons, deepening one’s skills and following the path of curiosity, Julianna can usually be found teaching or making music or spending time with her three children.
Malik is a Columbia University graduate with a Bachelor's degree in African-American Studies. He has been tutoring one-on-one full-time for the past 18 years with exceptional results. Even as a student in high school and in college, Malik demonstrated his love of teaching by helping classmates, relatives, and family friends prepare for their exams. He currently tutors for the SAT, ACT, SAT II: Math Levels 1 and 2, and PSAT and has instructed students in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Germany, India, South Africa, Switzerland, and throughout the United States via Skype. As a father of three boys, ages 4 to 15, and a 17 year-old girl, Malik understands that every student is unique. Having taught hundreds of students, he knows the importance of structuring lessons to students' specific needs. In his leisure time he is an amateur chef who likes to pretend he is a contestant on Chopped. He also enjoys bowling, playing pool, and traveling.
Ryan Magee graduated from Duke University in 2012 and, after deciding that 18 years of schooling wasn’t enough, went on to complete his Master’s in Physics. He started tutoring in high school, and since his sophomore year at Duke has worked as a college physics lab instructor. When Ryan's not teaching, he can be found cooking, running, or indulging a serious case of wanderlust!
Ken Paillé is a graduate of Bates College (B.A.), the University of Illinois (M.S.), and M.I.T. (M.S.). Early in life, he realized that he actually enjoyed multiple-choice exams, has been tutoring standardized tests since 2001. Ken teaches economics and management, and works in strategic planning and market research. In his spare time, he enjoys reading history and biographies and listening to jazz and standards. He also loves dogs, especially yellow labs.
Karl Zipple is a North Carolina native, growing up in nearby Hillsborough. He earned his BA in Mathematics from Northwestern University in 2008 and has worked with math and statistics ever since. He has tutored students since high school in topics ranging from math to science to economics, as well as helping students prepare for the SAT, ACT, SAT 2, and AP Exams.
Karl believes that every student can reach their educational goals if they are given the individualized attention that they need. Tutoring provides an excellent way to help students master challenging material and reach their goals.
Marissa is a proud graduate of both Wellesley College and Seattle University, the former where she earned her B.A. in English Language and Literature and the latter where she completed her Master's in Teaching. Marissa began working in SAT prep at Wellesley and spent her time outside of the classroom deeply involved in a non-profit organization that brought free SAT courses to underserved students in the Boston area. Through years of this work, Marissa fell in love both with teaching and with the thrill of helping students put their best foot forward in the college admissions process - she hasn’t looked back since. When she's not working with students, Marissa's likely to be found making her way through the area coffee shops, listening to too much Fleetwood Mac, and cheering on her Pittsburgh Steelers.
Blain Patterson is originally from the small town of Wellsville, Ohio. He earned his B.S. in mathematics education from Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio. Upon graduating, Blain moved to North Carolina to attend graduate school at North Carolina State University. He earned a M.S. in mathematics education and is currently working on his PhD. Blain has been tutoring since high school and has experience teaching students from diverse backgrounds, ranging from those with special needs to the academically gifted. When Blain is not doing mathematics, he likes to spend time outdoors, taking his dog Sophie on hikes.
Born to a pair of high school science teachers, Christine was raised in the suburbs of Boston, with her twin and younger sisters. After high school, Christine received a B.S. in Engineering Sciences from Harvard Universityin 2004and a doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University in 2011. Christine moved to Durham in 2011 when she accepted a job in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke.
Christine believes that it is possible to provide good learning experiences for all students, even if that requires a little more time and effort. Tutoring happens to be her favorite form of teaching, so she's happy helping with SAT/ACT test prep or any type of math and science.
When she's not teaching, you're likely to find Christine baking, listening to folk music that’s older than she is, taking her Schnoodle, Moose, to the dog park, crafting, reading, rooting for her beloved Red Sox, or spoiling her new niece, Madeleine.
Ian was born and raised in Raleigh, attending high school at Cardinal Gibbons where he was awarded the National Merit Scholarship for his PSAT and SAT scores. After graduating with a BA in Journalism from Elon University in 2014, Ian made the unfortunate decision to move cross-country to Los Angeles in January of 2015. While he had done some subject tutoring while in college and worked as a student mentor with the YMCA Mentor program, it was during this time that he first got involved with SAT and ACT prep for students in the LA area. However this couldn’t last long, as Ian beat a hasty retreat off the West Coast in December 2015, and back to his hometown of Raleigh. Since returning, Ian has gotten back into Test Prep with Mindspire, and is enrolling at NC State for his Masters in Teaching to pursue education full time.
Daniel knew he wanted to be a teacher by the time he was ten. During his college years at Princeton, he realized that he wanted to gain experience in the business world and in administration before becoming a teacher. He spent ten years marketing financial and enterprise software (getting an MBA along the way). His last role, Marketing Director for a solar engineering start-up, allowed him to leave business. He spent the next five years in rural Vermont / New Hampshire addressing issues related to rural poverty. In 2010, he returned to school to start his teaching career. Daniel teaches according to some core principles. 1) Until the day of the test, there is no such thing as a mistake. 2. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. 3) Progress is perfection. 4) I am responsible if my students’ do not succeed. My students are responsible if they do succeed. And finally, as said by a sage in the Classical Period: "I have learned much from my teachers, more from my colleagues but the most from my students.”
Emi is originally from a small town in Northern California. Since moving out east, she has studied at Dartmouth College (BA) and Duke University (MA). She is currently a PhD candidate in Social Psychology at Duke and pursuing a BS in Nursing while completing her dissertation. She has been tutoring for over 8 years on a variety of topics, including math, science, reading, and writing, and has had the honor of working with wonderful students from many backgrounds, from elementary kids to middle-aged prison inmates.
She believes that understanding a student’s individual learning style and background while providing a low-stress, supportive learning environment is vital to helping her students achieve success. When not tutoring, Emi can be found volunteering in the neonatal care unit at UNC or working on a piece of traditional leather-backed beadwork outside in the sun.
Cristy Carr taught private and classroom music in high school and tutored math and science while earning a B. S. in Biology from Grove City College. After working as a forestry technician and aquatic researcher in the Rocky Mountains and as an ophthalmic technician in Richmond, VA, she returned as a science teacher to her first love: the classroom. In addition to teaching, she loves her family, the mountains, and children’s books.
As the recipient of a National Merit Scholarship, Cristy knows how important college prep tests are in the college application process, and she firmly believes that test scores should not stand in the way of a student’s life goals. It is her delight and privilege to collaborate with students to grow their motivation, knowledge, and test-taking skills…and then watch them meet (and exceed!) their testing goals. Cristy lives in Roanoke, VA and works with Mindspire clients in Central and Southwest Virginia.
Catherine has twenty years of teaching experience in public and private schools. A lifelong reader and writer, she earned her B.A. in English literature from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She is an active travel and lifestyle blogger, and she attends writers’ workshops. Catherine went on to become a licensed teacher of English, Spanish, Social Studies, and ESL. She has taught AP English, and she studied Spanish in Mexico and Spain. Catherine focuses on teaching students to communicate authentically and accurately in both speaking and writing.
“Everything is possible with relationship,” is Catherine”s mantra. She loves kids, and she relishes the individual attention she can give to her college guidance students. Seeing students grow and realize their possibilities through writing is her passion. She encourages students to tell their stories with integrity, impact, and accuracy.
Brian and his spouse, Kat, have a rambunctious Siberian Husky, Jax. When he’s not walking her or working, Brian can be found reading, rock climbing, playing basketball, or playing drums.
April Koch is a Delaware native who earned her B.S. in Biology from UNC Chapel Hill. After earning a Masters in Education from the University of Delaware, she taught high school science for two years and then began her career as a science and math tutor. April's other life pursuits include being a Teacher Naturalist at Delaware Nature Society, a Senior Intern at Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy student at UD. April has been known to find and capture wild snakes while hiking, just to show them off to (un)interested passersby. She is never at a loss for a teachable moment!