Our Tutors

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:

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SAT Prep, Middle School, High School, Math, Tutor, ACT Prep, math_specialist

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.

Elementary, Middle School Math, Algebra, Tutor , mathMs. 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!

SAT Prep, High School, English, Study Skills, Tutor, CoachMs. 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.

math tutor, special education tutor, learning disabilities, math, sat prep, act prep, test prepMs. 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. Deskevich is from Vinco, Pennsylvania, near Johnstown, which is an hour and a half east of Pittsburgh. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Spanish Secondary Education from Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, in 2015. She has her teaching license in English for grades 7-12 and plans to get her teaching license in Spanish as well. Ms. Deskevich is currently in her third year of teaching at Riverbend High School. She has taught general and advanced English 9 for the past two years, and this year she will be teaching an ESOL English 9 and 10 class, advanced English 10, and general English 9.

Being able to get to know students and helping them become confident in what they learn are reasons why Ms. Deskevich decided to become a tutor in addition to teaching. She helps with the youth group at her church, enjoys exercising, and plans to become ESL certified.

elementary tutor, middle school tutor, special education, learning disabilitiesMs. 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.

Mrs. Cannavo graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Psychology.  She spent eight years managing a longitudinal research project on Adolescent Development which helped her develop a deep understanding of the science of the teenage brain, as well as how to harness and encourage their motivation.  Mrs. Cannavo realized that as much as she liked studying teenagers, she would find more satisfaction in having direct relationships with them through teaching.  She completed a Career Switcher Program at Shenandoah University through the Department of Education, and currently teaches English at Riverbend High School.  She finds deep satisfaction in helping her students become better writers and find their own voice, as well as helping them find books they enjoy and aiding them in increasing their literary analysis skills.  Mrs. Cannavo strives to facilitate students’ growth by helping them realize and harness their potential.  In her free time Mrs. Cannavo enjoys reading, having game nights with friends, and hiking with her husband.   

ronda van reenanMrs. Van Reenen graduated from Marshall University with a degree in Education K-8. She has been a teacher for 21 years. She has taught both elementary and middle school.  She currently teaches 8th grade English in Spotsylvania County.  Mrs. Van Reenen has been married for 28 years and she and her husband have six daughters.  Some of her interests include reading, soccer, going to the beach, and spending time with family.  Mrs. Van Reenen finds working with students rewarding, especially when they recognize their success. She enjoys working with small groups and individual students in order to meet their needs and enrich their learning.

SAT Prep, Middle School, High School, Math, Tutor, ACT Prep, calculus, pre-calculusMr. 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.

Mrs. Kissler graduated from Averett University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education. She began her career at Hartwood Elementary School in Stafford, but has spent the last fifteen years teaching at Courtland Elementary School in Spotsylvania. Mrs Kissler loves teaching all subjects, but after taking a graduate class at UVA, she developed a particular passion for teaching elementary mathematics. One of the highlights of her career was when she was asked to present at the Leadership Learning Exchange Conference on incorporating blended learning and guided math into the classroom. She enjoys teaching most when she sees a student succeed in an area of need. This year she became an empty nester when the last of her three children went to college. She misses them very much, but she is enjoying being able to spend some much needed time with her husband of 24 years and their two dogs.

sheri razaniMs. Razani has a Master’s of Education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a Bachelor of Liberal Studies in International Relations from the University of Mary Washington. She has been teaching English as a Second Language to elementary school students for over twenty years in the Fredericksburg area, and currently teaches in Stafford. Her favorite aspect of tutoring is the direct interaction with students and helping them as they grow into being stronger students. Outside of teaching, she loves to read and spend time with her family.

SAT Prep, Middle School, High School, Math, Tutor, ACT Prep, calculus, pre-calculusMr. 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.

middle school math, middle school english, tutor

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.

SAT Prep, High School, English, Tutor, Coach

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!

kristen mcguireMs. McGuire graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education.  She holds a Virginia Teaching License for Early Education NK-4, as well as Middle Education, grades 4-8.  Ms. McGuire has taught in Stafford County and is currently teaching in Spotsylvania County.  She has been teaching for over 23 years and has taught Head Start, Kindergarten, 1st grade, fourth grade and fifth grade.  When not teaching or tutoring, Ms. McGuire is busy spending time with her son and daughter.  

 juan chaves, chemistry, biology, tutor

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.

tracie_shortMrs. 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!!


college coach, career coach, counselor, college, university, planner, tutorMs. 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.

Miss Erika Diffendall is a recent graduate of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania where she was captain of the tennis team and participated in university orchestras and ensembles. She graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education English and Music in May of 2016. Although her origins are in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Miss Diffendall recently moved to the Fredericksburg area to teach at North Stafford High School for her very first year of teaching. In addition to teaching English 9, 10 and 12, she also coaches the Boys Tennis Team. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, running, playing viola, and spending time downtown. Her favorite aspect of teaching is seeing students learn and grow. It does not matter what level a student starts at; it matters how hard he/she works to improve. Her mantra and motto is: hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. She is extremely excited to be a part of the Parrish Learning Zone Family!

Ms. Migdal has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Grove City College, Pennsylvania, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Kent State University, Ohio.  She is certified to teach grades K-6 in Virginia.  She taught elementary for a year in Ohio before moving to Virginia, where she has been with Spotsylvania County Schools for the last 17 years and has held numerous leadership positions.  She has taught English, U.S. History, and Science in 6th grade. Ms. Migdal enjoys working with students one-on-one, which tutoring affords her.  When not teaching or preparing lessons, she pursues her interest in freelance writing, and writes a monthly column on local history for The Free Lance-Star.  She also spends a lot of time walking her dog, Molly, an excellent specimen of the breed called “mutt.”

Mrs. Tina Donovan, M.Ed.

Middle School Tutor

Mrs. Donovan graduated from Mary Washington College in 2003 with a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree focusing on Early Childhood Education. She also holds a Master’s of Education degree from Walden University.  She began teaching 6th grade Science at Spotsylvania Middle School in 2003.  Since that time, she has also taught English, Computer Applications, and Digital Technologies. Her teaching endorsements include Pre-K – 6th; English and History 6-8; and Keyboarding.  She is currently completing her 14th year teaching- all at Spotsylvania Middle School. Since her primary teaching responsibilities at this time center around technology, she has found tutoring English to be very fulfilling due to her love of the subject. Working one-on-one with students at Parrish Learning Zone has been extremely rewarding. When she is not teaching or tutoring, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and spoiling her grandchildren at every available opportunity.

Amanda Bletsh

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!

Cathy LaRocco

Social Studies 6-12 Tutor

Ms. LaRocco has a Bachelor’s Degree from Mary Washington College with a teaching license for Social Studies and History in grades 6-12.  She has taught Geography and has been a reader for the AP Geography exam.  When asked why she is interested in tutoring, she said, “As a teacher, I realize that all students can learn.  However, students are not carbon copies of each other.  They have their own pace and style and at times they need additional assistance to reach their goals.  By providing tutoring, you can assist student needs and enrich the subject they are learning about.”  

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Our Client Specialist:

courtney zinserBefore relocating to Spotsylvania, Mrs. Zinser received her Bachelor of Science Degree in elementary education from Bloomsburg University.  She holds a current Virginia teaching license and is certified to teach PreK-6.  Mrs. Zinser taught third grade in Spotsylvania County for 7 years before taking some time off to stay home with her children.  She is excited to step back into the field of education as a client specialist here at Parrish Learning Zone and help students get set up with a tutor that best meets their educational needs.  Mrs. Zinser is married with 2 young sons and 2 teenage step-daughters.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, crafting, and traveling.

Our Awesome Assistant:

Ms. Acors is one of the front desk assistants at Parrish Learning Zone.  She has lived in Spotsylvania County for her entire life and worked for Spotsylvania County Schools for 31 years.  She is also a former EMT with the Spotsylvania Rescue Squad.  She is married and loves to spend time with her two children and six grandchildren.  I love working at Parrish Learning Zone and enjoy assisting the students and parents and making them feel comfortable and at home. I believe that every child has the potential to succeed if they believe in what they do and have a desire to learn. When she is not at Parrish Learning Zone, she likes to volunteer with the Spotsylvania County Ladies Auxiliary and spend time at the beach.  She loves baseball and is a passionate Nats fan.    

Please click here to join the PLZ Team!