Parrish Learning Zone, LLC has many excellent tutors who work hard to make sure that their students are successful. We would like to let you know more about these outstanding teachers. All of our tutors are state licensed teachers with Bachelors degrees and most have their Master’s degrees or are currently working towards advanced degrees. Please read below to find out some information about a few of our tutors:
Mr. Slane graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2008 with a degree in Secondary Mathematics Education. He has a Masters Degree as a Mathematics Specialist through the University of Virginia. Mr. Slane has been teaching for seven years. He has taught: 8th grade math, Algebra and Geometry, but is qualified for mathematics in grades 7-12. This year, he is enjoying his first year as a Math Specialist for Spotsylvania County Public Schools. He spent several seasons coaching both girls and boys basketball at the middle school level. Mr. Slane enjoys tutoring because it gives him the opportunity to interact with students even though he is out of the classroom and working with teachers as a math specialist. He finds it very rewarding to help students finally “get it” and start seeing success. Mr. Slane is married with one daughter and another of the way! Some of Mr. Slane’s greatest accomplishments are being a husband and father and earning his Master’s degree.
Ms. Soper has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education for grades 1-9 from the State University of New York at Fredonia and a Master’s of Differentiated Instruction from St. Bonaventure University. She has a teaching license for Elementary Education with an endorsement in math 7-9. She is currently in her fourth year of teaching as a 6th grade math teacher at Spotsylvania Middle School. During her first year of teaching, she received Spotsylvania Middle School’s New Teacher of the Year. Ms. Soper’s favorite subject is math. She says that she, “likes to help students find success in math, especially when it has been a source of difficulty for them in the past.” Ms. Soper says, that she will work her hardest, “for your student to enjoy math and find it a successful part of their day by increasing their confidence in [their] math skills.” She considers it a great accomplishment to see students who have not passed a math SOL pass for the first time or pass advanced, after she has worked with them. Ms. Soper is engaged and currently planning her wedding!
Ms. Shipp is a graduate of Chancellor High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Mary Washington College, (before it became a University), in 2001 and earned a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University in 2007. She has a teaching license for secondary English. Ms. Shipp is in her 15th year of teaching. She taught for three years at Spotsylvania High School before transferring to Riverbend High School. Ms. Shipp has taught English in grades 9-12, as well as Yearbook Production. Ms. Shipp enjoys working one-on-one with students who are dedicated to improving their scholastic performance. While she also loves teaching in a classroom, the individual, (and small group), experience is extremely rewarding. Some of her greatest accomplishments include earning her Master’s Degree, being a homeowner, and taking a cruise! 🙂 She lives down the road from her parents, so she spends quite a bit of time with them. Otherwise, she is busy spoiling her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels; Summer is six years old and Maybe (yes, that’s his name) is three years old. Ms. Shipp is passionate about school. She has always considered herself a lifelong student, and hopes to convey even a portion of her excitement for learning to her students.
Ms. Sadler graduated from Nazareth College with a Bachelor’s of Art Degree in Psychology and Inclusive Education. She has a Master’s of Education Degree in K-12 Educational Leadership from Regent University. Ms. Sadler has a Special Education General Curriculum license for Pre K-12, an Elementary Education Pre K-6 License, and a secondary Mathematics license. She has been working as a Behavior Support Teacher for three years in Spotsylvania County. Her favorite subject is math, and she likes to tutor because she likes to be able to work with students on their current level and see them progress through their learning. She would like for parents to know that she, “really enjoys getting to know the students; it allows her to work with them on an individual level.” She would also like parents to know that she is, “flexible and willing to work with all students and families.” Ms. Sadler moved from New York to work in Spotsylvania County. In her free time, she likes to visit with her two nieces, two nephews, and another niece or nephew on the way in New York.
Ms. Blackwell has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Waynesburg University in Pennsylvania with a teaching license for secondary English. Ms. Blackwell’s greatest accomplishment is getting employed before graduating from college. She is currently in her second year of teaching at Caroline High School. She likes to be a resource to students who need help with reading comprehension and writing. Ms. Blackwell says that her favorite subject is Gym class, and she coaches both volleyball and softball for Caroline High School! When she is not tutoring, Ms. Blackwell is very involved with her school. In addition to coaching, she also co-teaches yearbook and sponsors the Student Council Association!
Ms. Horn has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Childhood Education for grades 1-6 and Childhood Inclusive Education grades 1-6 from the State University of New York at Fredonia. She received her Master of Science in Education for Students with Disabilities grades 7-12 from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. This year, Ms. Horn will be starting her fifth year of teaching. During her first three years of teaching, Ms. Horn worked as a special education teacher for 5th and 6th graders in New York. She worked as a resource room teacher, specializing in math and Language Arts skills, and was a co-teacher in a science and history classroom setting. When she moved to Virginia this past year, she taught 5th grade history and Language Arts at Robert E Lee Elementary. She is very excited to be teaching 3rd grade this upcoming school year. Ms. Horn’s favorite subject is Language Arts. She loves to work with students and help build up their reading and writing skills. Ms. Horn says that she, “loves it when a student uses new reading strategies they have learned and they see how much it helps them!” Ms. Horn loves baking, staying active, and traveling to Buffalo to see her family.
Mr. Cristini has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with a license to teach secondary education from Marietta College. He is in his 3rd year of teaching at Brooke Point High School where he also coaches baseball. He teaches Geometry and Algebra classes. He has been tutoring and teaching a diverse range of students since his beginning years in college and has not stopped teaching since. He enjoys what he does when he gets a struggling learner to feel confident and a confident learner to feel challenged. He also enjoys talking science and anything outdoors.
Mrs. Sullivan graduated from James Madison University in 2013 with a Bachelor Degree in Mathematics. She continued her education at JMU and graduated from the university again in 2014 with her Master of Arts in Teaching. Mrs. Sullivan holds a Virginia Teaching License in Mathematics, grades 6-12. Mrs. Sullivan began her teaching career in 2014, teaching sixth grade math at Skyline Middle School in Harrisonburg, VA. During her first year of teaching, she got engaged! Mrs. Sullivan moved from Harrisonburg to Spotsylvania to be with her then fiance, and was just married this past summer. This is now Mrs. Sullivan’s second year as a seventh grade math teacher at Spotsylvania Middle School. Mrs. Sullivan loves being a teacher, and also loves tutoring because she gets to work one-on-one with students. It’s a completely different atmosphere from the everyday classroom, and seeing the light bulb finally light up for students when they’re getting individual attention is so rewarding. In her free time, Mrs. Sullivan loves laying on the beach reading a good book!
Tara Hefner, M.Ed.
Elementary K- 6 , Spanish, and ESOL Tutor
Ms. Hefner graduated from James Madison University with a degree in Elementary Education PK-6 and a minor in Spanish. She also earned her Master’s Degree from JMU and earned a 4.0 GPA in her graduate program. While in graduate school she was a member of the Education Honor Society, Kappa Delta Pi. Ms. Hefner has taught 3rd grade and 1st grade in Spotsylvania County. She was the “Teacher of the Year” at her school, for the entire county, and for the entire region for the 2012-13 school year. She was one of eight finalists for the entire state! She recently made the move to the high school level as an ESL Teacher. While teaching ESL at Riverbend High School, Ms. Hefner was named the Barnes and Noble National Teacher of the Year, during the 2014-2015 school year. Ms. Hefner enjoys tutoring in Reading, Math, and Spanish. Her experiences studying abroad in Spain and Mexico and teaching English abroad in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua have allowed her to increase her fluency in Spanish and her understanding of the culture. She has a deep love for learning and wants every child to feel successful in school!
Mr. Frey has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Math from Eastern Mennonite College and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Mary Washington with a license to teach secondary mathematics. He has been teaching for over 15 years at the middle school, high school, and community college levels and has taught Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and AP Statistics. Mr. Frey says that his favorite subject is math but he also likes science, philosophy, computers, and pretty much just loves to learn new things. He likes to tutor because he enjoys sharing his passion for mathematics and loves to use technology to enhance student learning. His greatest accomplishment is getting his Master’s degree while working full-time. He is married with two beautiful children.
Mr. Tomeo has a Bachelor’s Degree from Virginia Tech and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason. He has been teaching math for 17 years, and his favorite subject is trigonometry. What he likes about tutoring is the one-on-one interaction with students to help them learn math. When he is not tutoring, he enjoys hanging out with his 17 year old son.
Ms. Martin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Mary Washington and a Master’s Degree in Education with an Administration endorsement from James Madison University. She has a teaching license for Elementary Education as well as middle school math, science, language arts, and social studies. She has been teaching for 13 years and has worked in Fairfax, Spotsylvania, and Stafford. Ms. Martin would like parents to know that she is a dedicated teacher who does not give up on her students. She strongly believes that every child can learn and her goal is to help them achieve their highest level of success! Ms. Martin says that she, “likes to see students gain confidence and be successful.” Some of her greatest accomplishments are organizing a Family STEM Night at her school, presenting at various conferences on the importance of STEM education and use of technology in the classroom, and piloting a Connected Classroom for the second year. Ms. Martin’s favorite subjects are science and math. She is married, and when she is not tutoring, she enjoys spending time with her three children and two stepchildren.
I graduated from Mary Washington College with a degree in Business Administration. After seven years in finance, I decided to become a teacher. In 2003, I completed the Career Switcher Program through Shenandoah University and became licensed to teach English and Math for grade six through eight. A few years later, I obtained a Master’s Degree in Teaching from George Mason University. Currently, I am taking classes through UVA-Wise to become licensed as a special education teacher. I began my teaching career at Freedom Middle School in Spotsylvania County thirteen years ago, the same year the school opened. I am one of a handful of faculty who has been at Freedom since its opening. Throughout my career I have been Teacher of the Year for my school, Math Department Chair, Seventh Grade Co-Team Leader, and Girls’ Softball coach. In 2006, I was awarded the honor of taking my students to Washington DC to attend a speech by Senator Ted Kennedy and meet gold medalist Apolo Ohno as part of the kickoff for Senator Kennedy’s American Competitiveness Plan and Raytheon’s “Hippest Homework Happening.” I believe that learning happens naturally when connections are made, connections with people and connections with real life. Tutoring allows for the one-on-one interactions that foster those connections.
I have lived in Spotsylvania County my entire life. I was valedictorian of my class at Spotsylvania High School. I am married with one son, two stepsons, one stepdaughter, and one granddaughter. I enjoy spending time with my family and two dogs. Two of my favorite things are the baseball, GO NATS, and the beach. Martin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Mary Washington and a Master’s Degree in Education with an Administration endorsement from James Madison University. She has a teaching license for Elementary Education as well as middle school math, science, language arts, and social studies. She has been teaching for 13 years and has worked in Fairfax, Spotsylvania, and Stafford. Ms. Martin would like parents to know that she is a dedicated teacher who does not give up on her students. She strongly believes that every child can learn and her goal is to help them achieve their highest level of success! Ms. Martin says that she, “likes to see students gain confidence and be successful.” Some of her greatest accomplishments are organizing a Family STEM Night at her school, presenting at various conferences on the importance of STEM education and use of technology in the classroom, and piloting a Connected Classroom for the second year. Ms. Martin’s favorite subjects are science and math. She is married, and when she is not tutoring, she enjoys spending time with her three children and two stepchildren.
Mr. Pirnat has a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from the University of Mary Washington with a teaching license for English 7-12. He has taught English and reading to students in grades 6,7,8,9, and 11 and currently teaches 7th grade English in Spotsylvania County. He has been teaching for over 24 years!
Mr. Chaves was born in Fredericksburg and went to local schools, including Montfort Academy (the predecessor of Holy Cross academy), Gayle Middle school, and Stafford High School. He now teaches at the same middle school where he was a student many years ago! Mr. Chaves studied Marine Biology at Florida Institute of Technology, and then worked as a marine biologist in many different countries. He was in the Peace Corps in the South Pacific nation of Tuvalu for two years, and he also worked for several years in the Bahamas. Mr. Chaves got paid to scuba dive everyday, and he loved it. He also got to go in a tiny submersible into the deep sea several times, and managed a large fish farm where we raised millions of fish. Several years later, he went back to college at North Carolina State University and got his Master’s Degree in Marine Science and minored in Statistics. He continued working in the Bahamas and did the research for his Master’s Degree all over the coast of North Carolina. After working as a scientist for more than ten years, he became a teacher at Colonial Forge High School where he taught Chemistry, Biology and Ecology. Now he teaches Biology at Gayle Middle School, and he loves tutoring! His interests are fishing, surfing, and playing music. He especially loves playing electric guitar. He is the lead guitar player in a small, 3 piece rock band.
Mrs. Short grew up here in Spotsylvania County and is a graduate of Courtland High School. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her endorsement in Gifted Education from Mary Washington College. She began working in Spotsylvania County Schools in 1994, and, although she is certified K-8, has taught at the middle school level ever since. She enjoys teaching Science, Math, and English, as well as doing enrichment with those identified in the gifted program. No matter who she is working with, Mrs.Short believes that every student is capable of learning and encourages her students to find their gift and make the most of it. She enjoys classroom teaching but finds it very rewarding to work one on one with students to help them understand something they are having difficulty with. When not working at school or tutoring, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and sons at sporting events, the theater, or, her favorite place, the BEACH!!
Ms. Hummer has an M.Ed. in Counselor Education from Virginia Commonwealth University, and currently works as a Virginia Community College High School Career Coach helping students to define their career goals and find post-secondary programs that suit their academic and financial needs. At PLZ Lorrie enjoys helping students: determine career interests and develop an individual career plan or portfolio; Find out more about classes and programs that are offered that may be a good fit for their goals such as: dual-enrollment, AP, technical programs, apprenticeships, and workforce training; Make an academic plan based on career and postsecondary goals; Ease the transition from high school to the workforce or post-secondary education; Search for and apply to college; and Find and apply for scholarships and financial aid.
Elementary K-6 and Spanish Tutor
Ms. Bletsh studied Elementary Education and Spanish at the University of Mary Washington. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Elementary Education in May 2015. She has been teaching 2nd grade in Spotsylvania County for the 2015-2016 school year. She was recently awarded the New Teacher of the Year at her school. Her passion for teaching began in high school and has only grown since then. Seeing students celebrate their success and demonstrate a love for learning are her favorite parts of teaching. In addition to teaching, Ms. Bletsh loves the Baltimore Orioles, exploring new places, and spending time with friends and family. She is very excited to be a part of the PLZ team!