Debra Tharp, M.Ed.

Elementary School Tutor and Reading Specialist

Being a teacher for students from grades pre-K through 6th grade has been the joy of my life. I have been an educator for seventeen years. As a Reading Specialist, my priority has always been to help students to develop a lifelong love of reading. Its very important to help students to build a positive self-esteem. I have enjoyed teaching 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade and being a reading teacher. I believe that early intervention of reading is the foundation of a successful reader. After graduating Cum Laude, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. from St. Leo College, I began working as an educator with the Colonial Service Board, Even Start Program, in Williamsburg, Virginia. As an Even-Start Early Childhood educator I worked with students and parents to develop healthy parenting skills and taught nurturing skills. Working for the CSB Prevention/Family Focus Department as the Head Early Childhood Educator in the York County Even Start Literacy Program was very rewarding. It was a wonderful feeling giving back to the community by helping young parents earn their GED. In addition, I taught the Nurturing Program, a parent educational program for the improvement of parent child relationships. I continued my education with the Teacher’s Certification Program through Hampton University. Upon completion of this program, I began my career as a 1st grade teacher at All Saints Catholic School in Manassas, VA. Wishing to work closer to home in Fredericksburg, VA, I was assigned to a 3rd grade teaching position at Holy Cross Academy for 3 years. I enjoyed working with a faith filled community and loved to be able to combine faith and education in teaching. Teaching in the classroom, sparked an interest to continue my education as a Literacy Specialist. I completed the Master of Education, (Literacy Specialist) from Mary Washington University 2012, with a Postgraduate Professional License for teaching in Virginia. Other teaching experience includes pre-school 4-year old programs, Head Start, and permanent substitute teacher for special needs students in Fredericksburg City Schools. I enjoyed a position for two years as the Reading Resource Teacher at St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic School. I have been the Private reading and math tutor for a Speech Therapy office for 7 years. I am truly compassionate about wanting to help all students accomplish their reading goals and learn to love reading. In addition to teaching, I am a mother of three young adults, a teacher, a nurse and a college student. I am also very proud of my 5 grandchildren, and my retired Air Force spouse of 40 years. I am very proud to have been an Air Force spouse for 20 years and I have a great compassion to give back to military families.Being a teacher for students from grades pre-K through 6th grade has been the joy of my life. I have been an educator for seventeen years. As a Reading Specialist, my priority has always been to help students to develop a lifelong love of reading. Its very important to help students to build a positive self-esteem. I have enjoyed teaching 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade and being a reading teacher. I believe that early intervention of reading is the foundation of a successful reader. After graduating Cum Laude, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. from St. Leo College, I began working as an educator with the Colonial Service Board, Even Start Program, in Williamsburg, Virginia. As an Even-Start Early Childhood educator I worked with students and parents to develop healthy parenting skills and taught nurturing skills. Working for the CSB Prevention/Family Focus Department as the Head Early Childhood Educator in the York County Even Start Literacy Program was very rewarding. It was a wonderful feeling giving back to the community by helping young parents earn their GED. In addition, I taught the Nurturing Program, a parent educational program for the improvement of parent child relationships. I continued my education with the Teacher’s Certification Program through Hampton University. Upon completion of this program, I began my career as a 1st grade teacher at All Saints Catholic School in Manassas, VA. Wishing to work closer to home in Fredericksburg, VA, I was assigned to a 3rd grade teaching position at Holy Cross Academy for 3 years. I enjoyed working with a faith filled community and loved to be able to combine faith and education in teaching. Teaching in the classroom, sparked an interest to continue my education as a Literacy Specialist. I completed the Master of Education, (Literacy Specialist) from Mary Washington University 2012, with a Postgraduate Professional License for teaching in Virginia. Other teaching experience includes pre-school 4-year old programs, Head Start, and permanent substitute teacher for special needs students in Fredericksburg City Schools. I enjoyed a position for two years as the Reading Resource Teacher at St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic School. I have been the Private reading and math tutor for a Speech Therapy office for 7 years. I am truly compassionate about wanting to help all students accomplish their reading goals and learn to love reading. In addition to teaching, I am a mother of three young adults, a teacher, a nurse and a college student. I am also very proud of my 5 grandchildren, and my retired Air Force spouse of 40 years. I am very proud to have been an Air Force spouse for 20 years and I have a great compassion to give back to military families.

Masters Degree in Education

Teaches: Elementary School subjects including reading, writing and math.

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Parrish Learning Zone helped my daughter with on-line SAT and college essay preparation. She not only scored in the top 90 percentile on the SAT after working with Lauren Cannavo, she especially benefited from the tutoring she received for her admission essays. My daughter was accepted at Notre Dame, UVA, William and Mary, and received scholarships to George Washington University and the University of Alabama. She was initially deferred at the University of Chicago and waitlisted at University of Michigan and Emory University. She eventually chose not to remain on the waitlists and committed to UVA.Lauren also advised our daughter regarding her submission of a 20 page essay on community service for DECA, a high school business club. Our daughter, along with her partner, won second place in her category at the DECA state competitions in 2019 and 2020, and received second place at the DECA international competition in 2019.Lauren was not only a top-notch professional, she really cared about our daughter and was so pleased about her accomplishments. We are so very grateful to her and Parrish Learning Zone.
Marijayne Kruus
Marijayne Kruus
2020-05-11T21:51:37+0000
love the owner. love the detailed feedback. love the attentiveness of the tutor. love Parrish!!!
Jessica Bartels
Jessica Bartels
2019-02-26T22:49:55+0000
My daughter has a math learning disability and hated math. We started working with Nina Parrish and stuck with it for several months. Her grades have improved, but more importantly, so has her self confidence. She now loves going to work on math and will even work on it at home by herself. We are grateful for Parrish Learning Zone!
Laura Ivey Ellis
Laura Ivey Ellis
2018-12-14T14:36:43+0000
Mr. Chaves is an extremely gifted chemistry teacher. It's such a difficult subject--my son was drowning by the time we found PLZ. This was truly a last ditch effort on our part. Mr. Chaves was able to turn that ship around after only 4 lessons and my son passed the SOL! He was able to distill difficult concepts in a way that made them comprehensible and he was patient and kind and gave my son the confidence to succeed. His actual eacher expressed surprise and made a point of telling him he didn't know how he did it but he was impressed. It takes a gifted teacher to get results like that.I only wish we'd found PLZ and Mr. Chaves in the beginning of the school year.
Wendy Zelazny
Wendy Zelazny
2018-06-08T02:05:15+0000
Highly Recommend
Anne Kater Reeves
Anne Kater Reeves
2018-06-07T22:46:05+0000
I highly recommend Parrish Learning Zone. My daughter was able to achieve the SAT score she was aiming for with the help of her Math (Mr. James Slane) and English (Mrs. Lauren Cannavo) tutors. Not only did they help her with practice tests but they also boosted her confidence in taking the SAT. The owners (Nina and Jay) were always prompt in answering my emails. They are very accommodating and worked around my daughter’s schedule (thank you Shiela for all your help in finding available dates for my daughter to meet with her tutors). Thank you Parrish Learning Zone for helping my daughter achieve her goal!
Beth Yankovich
Beth Yankovich
2018-03-23T20:29:18+0000
I can't say enough good things about Parrish Learning Zone. My son has historically suffered from low reading comprehension. I felt he needed a little extra help so I contacted Parrish Learning Zone. The owners at Parrish matched my son with the perfect tutor for him, they developed a rapport almost immediately. He is now in 8th grade and doing well in all his classes. My son is very active in school sports and the staff at Parrish are always very accommodating. They always reschedule with no problems. My son even likes to go early to chat with Sheila.
Beth Kent
Beth Kent
2017-11-08T18:59:11+0000
Awesome! Very structured and student focused - they identified the areas of weakness and turned those into areas of strength in a very short amount of time. I loved the communication from the tutor and the company. I received a specific report of my child's tutoring session including improvements and areas that needed continued work. I received reminders of upcoming tutor sessions - which I needed!! I felt the individual attention and service was worth every penny AND found the prices to be much more reasonable that other tutors in the area. I would HIGHLY recommend Parrish Learning Zone to any parent that needs to find highly competent tutoring help for their child. Parrish is simply the best!
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
2017-03-14T15:53:50+0000
An excellent place to take your kids for any tutoring needs! PLZ is a very personalized and hands on service! Both of my teenage boys have been through here for various reasons and I know we will continue to make use of them!
Tammy Elms Mosco
Tammy Elms Mosco
2016-06-02T12:20:59+0000
Masiel Dubois
Masiel Dubois
2015-06-23T22:16:01+0000
SAT Prep Course with Parish Learning is definitely a worthwhile invest !!...My son's scores improved over 200 plus points!!
Janice Boles
Janice Boles
2014-12-02T22:34:32+0000
I am extremely thankful to Parrish Learning Zone. I have a son that is a freshman in college majoring in mechanical engineering. I am so glad that we found out about the Parrish Learning Zone because they were very caring and really worked hard around my sons high school football schedule to ensure that he received all of the needed instruction in order to do well on the SAT testing. It was a great investment for his future. I believe this experience prepared my son for the transition to college life. He was able to attend a top engineering college and to play football there. My daughter is a senior in high school now and was admitted into two of the top ranked public schools in Virginia. She will be a freshman at one of these schools next year. She also was enrolled in the Parrish Learning Zone for preparation for the SAT. I am again thankful to the Parrish Learning Zone and feel that this was a great long term investment into their futures. I would strongly recommend the Parrish Learning Zone to anyone looking for an environment that offers a caring and knowledgeable approach to educating students. They are the best.
Angela Jackson
Angela Jackson
2014-05-15T00:39:39+0000
Andrew Powers
Andrew Powers
2014-02-09T12:32:29+0000

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