Meet Our Team

Tutor Doctor Goodyear Buckeye

Michelle Beck

Michelle Beck


Greetings! I’m Michelle Beck, the Owner and Education Consultant for Tutor Doctor Goodyear/Buckeye. Over the past 15 years, I’ve been deeply involved in the technology industry, specializing in training and selling Fortune 500 technologies, ranging from network solutions to Big Data and Cloud computing. Leveraging the skills honed in sales, such as attentive listening and problem understanding, I’m confident in finding the ideal tutor match to help you achieve your goals. Beyond my professional endeavors, I’m also an aunt actively involved in raising an Autistic nephew. Having witnessed his learning challenges, especially during the Covid era, I’ve developed a profound appreciation for the importance of helping the next generation realize their dreams. I’m excited about getting to know your family and discovering the perfect match to support your educational journey.

 “Nothing we ever imagined is beyond our powers, only beyond our present self-knowledge” – Theodore Roszak

Cassandra Paine

Hi, I’m Ms. Paine. I have been a teacher in one way or another for over 10 years. I’ve worked one on one, and with large groups. I am certified to teach all general education subjects in K-8. I have lived in many different states and even countries! My small family includes fish, a bunny, and a dog. I’m currently a 3rd grade teacher.

Richard Hood

Richard Hood

Hello, I am Richard Hood. I taught 5th grade to preservice teachers in the physical sciences. I got a degree in Chemistry, went to numerous workshops around the country focused on engineering and physical sciences, led many students in competition building projects like a solar boat, science, energy, and environmental competitions and research. I was best at small groups and individual in extracurricular science and engineering projects. Since retiring I love tutoring chemistry, physics, and high school math.

Jeffery Riles

Jeffery Riles

Hello, my name is Jeffery Riles Sr. I specialize in math tutoring. I teach College Algebra, Introductory Psychology, and SAT/ACT math prep. I have completed all of my course work for a Ph.D. in Education Leadership. I am a fan of technology, the MCU, Old Star Wars movies, and coffee.

Andres Valdez

Hi, I am Andres! I am the youngest of three boys and a first generation Mexican/American. I’ve lived in the same house my whole life and currently attend Arizona State University. I play video games, soccer and hang out with friends when the chance comes by.

Larry Marden

Hello, I am Larry! For many years I have tutored math, physics, and computers at the middle school, high school, college, and professional levels. I am mathematician and computer scientist who has been teaching technology courses and tutoring since retiring in 2000 from a 27 year career on Wall St. I hold a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from MIT and a master’s degree in information science from the University of Chicago. A native New Yorker, my wife and I moved to Surprise 16 years ago.

I have tutored local students with a great deal of success. My approach goes far beyond just dealing with the concepts that the student needs to understand, but connects with the student in ways that effectively help him or her overcome any ‘fears’ or ‘resistance’ to the material. I have helped students raise their grade point averages and standardized test scores (such as SAT and PSAT) by showing them different ways of approaching and solving problems, which leads to a deeper understanding and mastery of the subject matter.

Kurt Strom

Hello! I’m Kurt and I’m happy to be joining tutor doctor as a tutor! I’ve been teaching in the West Valley since 2014. I love science, and am a firm believer in hands-on, experience-based, learning. I have experience teaching third through fifth grade subjects including Mathematics, ELA, Science, and Humanities.

Erik Naedler

Hi, I am Erik! I am a generalist and very accommodating. I have almost 10 years of experience being a tutor. I’ve helped students of many ages and backgrounds; ages from 7 to college age and a few older (40 years plus).

My background is in the Life Sciences such as Biology, Microbiology, Botany, Zoology; Anatomy & Physiology; also Psychology and Mathematics.

Susan Johnson

Hello, I am Susan! I am a certified elementary teacher with experience in early childhood, EL, special education, and social-emotional learning, as well as having experience as an Academic Coach and an Administrator. I retired last year after 34 years in education.

My background is in early reading and I have supplemental certificates in phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, the building blocks of reading. I believe that all children can learn and be successful when given the chance and when instruction is tailored to the individual child.

Janis Johnson, MD

Janis Johnson is a mother and grandmother who knows the value of a good education. After retiring from medicine, she attended law school and obtained her Master TEFL Certificate. She has been teaching English as a foreign language for over 10 years in Latin America and tutoring a wide variety of students, from age 4 to adults – including nursing students and call center employees. “Any educational deficiency can be fixed. It’s just a matter of tracking back to just before the problem started and finding out what went wrong.”

Larry Canepa

Larry Canepa

Chef Larry Canepa is a Certified Culinary Educator and brings over four decades of Food and Wine experience to today’s adult culinary learners. He has worked in the hospitality business in Phoenix, Seattle and Sedona as Chef, caterer, sommelier and Food and Wine Educator. He has taught culinary arts and restaurant operation classes at the Le Cordon Bleu, Arizona State University, Desert Botanical Garden and the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Phoenix. His experiences include management and operation of free-standing restaurants, specialty wine stores, hotels and resorts. For over 30 years, Chef Larry Canepa has operated the award-winning catering business, Dinner at Eight, in Phoenix, Arizona, specializing in intimate private dining, culinary classes and wine seminars.

He has conducted seminars and lectures on International Cuisine, The Spice Trade, food trends, wine appreciation, coffee, tea, Superfoods for a Super Hero’s Life, dining etiquette, Sugar and the Slave trade, Aphrodisiacs, food revolutions, and healthy cooking for students, adults, continuing education classes and charitable organizations and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs.

Larry Canepa continually seeks to enhance his professional skills to meet today’s demanding adult learners and customers through research, educational travel and industry publications and seminars. Larry has traveled to many European destinations and wine regions, gathering information and experiences that he loves to share with students . Larry Canepa holds a Master of Tea certification with the Specialty Tea Institute and is on a professional mission to ‘de-coffee-inate’ America with a unique and contemporary approach to wine and tea. Larry is actively involved in student mentorship and career placement. Canepa remains actively involved throughout the Valley, holding professional memberships with the Arizona Convention & Visitors Bureau, American Personal & Private Chef Association and the American Red Cross from which he was awarded the “Humanitarian of the Year” award. Canepa also dedicates his services to community and philanthropic organizations such as the American Humane Society, Scottsdale Boys & Girls Clubs, Arizona Miniature Schnauzer Rescue and St. Mary’s Food Bank.

Dr. John Gehred, MD

John is a life long learner, and teacher as well. He really enjoys the one on one of tutoring and watching as the student finally gets the concept, and shows confidence in that knowledge. His personal training has been long and complex with a broad and deep science knowledge, allowing him to work with all types of students because he has seen all of them.

Lily Arnpriester

Lily Arnpriester

I have been tutoring for over three years. While getting my Bachelor’s at Northwestern University, I worked as a paraprofessional and tutor at a local elementary school. I am comfortable in all subjects K-6 but am especially practiced in reading and math tutoring and have experience working with kids with ADHD. I am currently working for my Doctor of Audiology so I don’t have much free-time, but when I do, I love to paint and cook.

Elizabeth Van De Moere

Hello! I’m Elizabeth and am currently a second year Seventh Grade Math Teacher at Cactus Middle School. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Education, specializing in Secondary Education (Mathematics) in May of 2019 from Arizona State University. In addition to maintaining a 3.5 GPA in a challenging academic program, I have been fortunate to participate in several student internships in Elementary School, Middle School and High School classrooms. During my Student Teaching, I integrated Mindfulness activities within the classroom to provide focusing techniques to the students, as an Americorp Project. I have a great deal of experience in primary education but my main focus is in Middle school math, I have completed internships in the following districts: Phoenix Elementary, Maricopa Unified, Scottsdale Unified, Creighton, Concordia Charter School, Gilbert Unified, and Chandler Unified School District. These internships have allowed me to apply my education and dedication to teaching our future. During each internship, I was given the opportunity to build relationships with the students and develop lesson plans to educate our future. I create a safe and energetic environment that lets students explore their learning through interesting and interactive lessons. Students are encouraged to try new skills and techniques, when we make a mistake we take the time and evaluate the error, then we try again!

Emily Maxwell

Emily Maxwell is a member of the AzTEA Professional Learning Committee and is currently the Technology Integration Specialist for the Maricopa Unified School District. She has been an educator for 11 years, starting her career at a charter school. She has taught 5th-8th grade and enjoyed teaching middle school science the most. She holds a Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix. She also has experience with technology integration as she is earning her doctorate through Grand Canyon University. Her dissertation topic revolves around technostress and teachers. Her current role as Technology Integration Specialist and relevant research has put her in a position to support and encourage healthy technology use while allowing teachers to be excited about incorporating more technology.

Jennifer LeBlanc

Jennifer LeBlanc

I have 15 years’ experience working with elementary kids in multiple school settings. My mother is a retired kindergarten teacher so when she was teaching, I helped out in her classroom as an unofficial teacher’s aide. I’ve also worked as an after school teacher where I supervised students and performed various science, art, and culinary projects. I babysit for a little girl who I’m helping get kindergarten ready by teaching her letter and number recognition, reading, writing, and math.  An interesting fact about me is that I’m a volunteer with a police department.

Kristi Chatham

Kristi Chatham

Hi, I’m Kristi! I’m a High school Algebra 2 teacher who has a BS and MA in Education from the University of Alabama, as well as 10years of tutoring experience. I was a graduate research assistant in the Education department at the University of Alabama for 2 years. I have a passion for tutoring and helping students succeed and find learning fun! Math and SAT/ACT test prep are my specialties. My students say that I have brought them back to enjoying math again and that’s my favorite part of working with students!
Teaching Experience:
Teachers Assistant at the University of Alabama (2 years); Reading/Math Tutor (8 years); Bible School Teacher 4th & 5th grade (2 years); Math teacher – Private and Public schools (2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and HS – 7 years total).

Elizabeth Banuelos

Elizabeth Banuelos is a fourth-year student at Arizona State University, where she is pursuing a degree in Family and Human Development and a minor in Educational studies. She is a recipient of the Obama scholarship, which has allowed her to become a first-generation college student. In her studies, Elizabeth is focusing on child development and developmental psychology. Her interest in family and human development stems from her goal of understanding how early relationships shape the course of one’s life. Ms. Banuelos has worked as an intern for the EYEPlay research study. Upon completion of her undergraduate studies, she intends to apply to graduate school to further her knowledge about human development and progress toward a career as a child specialist.

Daniel Perez

7-year Experienced Math Tutor

I am graduate of Arizona State University from May 2019 with Bachelors degree in Mathematics. I also have the experience in helping students with different background as a mathematics tutor from a community college in total of 8 years. I can help students from basic math into Calculus and statistics.

Marissa Blecher-Ponce

Helping Students Reach Their Potential

Hello, my name is Marissa Belcher-Ponce. I am a second-year college student studying the Elementary Education at Arizona State University. I am able to teach Math, English, History, Social Studies, Government, etc. with grade levels between Kindergarten all the way through Twelfth Grade. I am currently working at a school and I am a Paraprofessional, so helping students get their work done is one of my specialties. I am patient, knowledgeable tutor who has worked with students ranging in ability.

Melinda Blain

My name is Melinda Blain and I have five years of private tutoring experience. I currently work at a behavioral health facility for girls aged 10-18 years old and have experience with various mental health and learning disabilities, such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, mood disorders, anxiety, and behavioral issues. My volunteer experience includes working with several organizations throughout the valley as a mentor, tutor, and dance teacher to children who are in the foster care system. I also previously ran a non-profit rescue for orphan kittens, so I am a huge animal lover. I am currently in my senior year of college with a BS in psychology at Barrett on the ASU campus. From there, I will be completing my masters of counseling before becoming licensed as a clinical therapist. I was in a self-contained gifted program from grades 5-8 before moving on to becoming an honors student in high school. Although I had the aptitude for learning, I struggled with having the motivation to excel at classes and had a perfectionist procrastination style. Since I have been through many of the same struggles as my students, I am able to understand where they are coming from and relate to them, while offering solutions for success.
My private tutoring experience stretches across various subjects, such as mathematics, science, writing/grammar, standardized test prep, and study skills. I have worked with all ages and schooling systems from elementary up through college level, honors/AP students, and private, public, online, specialized, and behavioral school systems. My theory when working with students relies heavily on motivation from the student since I believe little can be achieved unless the student is receptive. I apply a hands-on approach in the beginning of new concepts to ensure that the student has the necessary skills before slowly reducing my guidance for the goal of independent learning.

Meryl Kaufman

Multi-Subject Tutor with Behavioral Health Experience

Certified teacher in California and Arizona. 21 years teaching experience with Los Angeles Unified School District and 2 years with Glendale Elementary School District. Positions held: Literacy Coach, Instructional Coach, Intervention Coordinator and Title 1/ELD Coordinator. Specialize in English Language Arts, Reading instruction including fluency and comprehension.

Myia Johnson

My name is Myia Johnson. I have 18 years’ experience teaching Elementary and Special Education. I specialize in working with students that need help with academic subjects, study skills and social emotional goals.

Thomas Donahue

Hello, I am Certified in Secondary Math, Business-CTE and Family Consumer Science. Have taught both High School and Middle School. I’m also a retired Civil Engineer.

P’Jay Gadberry

I am 1st grade teacher, who loves to read, penguins, and my animals. I Graduated from California State University, East bay with a Bachelor’s degree in Early childhood and Childhood development.

Ellis Reyes

I have been a classroom teacher, teacher-leader, and curriculum developer for more than 20 years working with students ranging in age from elementary to graduate school. I have also been a private tutor and academic coach for most of that time as well. Prior to my career in education, I served in the United States Army’s 2nd Ranger Battalion and worked in my family’s farming business.

Karl Anthony

I am a current student working on a Masters in Education. I hold C++ Programming, Ethical Hacker and many other computer certifications. I have a doctorate in Metaphysics and consider myself a professional student. I have a 3.98 GPA, and am Vice-President of NSLS and Golden Key honor societies.

Boyd Tolbert

I am an experienced (K-8) certified teacher and tutor. I have taught, facilitated and effectively taught K-8 students for more than 15 years. Additionally, I am an (AZ) endorsed Reading Specialist. All students can and will learn if given adequate time and effective strategies.

Pamela Anderson

Ali Brinkman

Janet (Raquel) Michaelson

To be truly successful in school or anywhere, your child must have self confidence. Mistakes are an integral part of learning and in fact, are valuable learning tools. When learners are encouraged to explore more than one path and to experiment with something new, it can lead to a feeling of accomplishment and pride in a job well done. That sense of accomplishment is the foundation of self confidence. To grow to our fullest potential, is to become fearless, imaginative problem solvers. I believe that each child has special talents and a unique personality. As such, they should be treated with dignity as an individual. My goal is to seek out and encourage those traits that will best support a happy relationship with learning.
I am an avid reader, gardener and supporter of the arts. I enjoy travel and have been to 39 states, Europe and South America.

Mackenzie Riggs

My name is Mackenzie Riggs and I have my Bachelors degree from Texas Tech University in Education. I am certified to teach early childhood students as well as elementary students K-6. I have experience working with special needs students, English Language Learners, and gifted students as well. Education is my passion and I look forward to working with and helping students grow in their skills and master new concepts.

Julie Edson

My name is Julie and I have 8 years of experience working with kids. I was a preschool teacher for 5 years and 3 spent years working with SpEd students from k-12th as a paraprofessional and a teacher.

Vanessa Burd

Hi, I am a tutor that specializes in various learning styles and help improve note-taking skills, organization skills, and studying skills. I want to be able to empower students to rely on themselves to study and prepare them for college by implementing those skills.

Robin Ledezma

Hello, my name is Robin. I have worked with children for more than 10 yesrs. I have taught k-6 grade, I am familiar with Special Education, speech and the needs all children need to succeed. I love helping and encouraging these children that learning can be fun.

Jami Nichols

Learning can be Thrilling, Not Scary! Hello! My name is Jami.
Being outdoors with my husband and three children (ages 8, 5, and 8 months) is my happy place. I enjoy listening to music, gardening, playing tennis, hiking, writing, and reading great books. Learning thrills me, so helping other children learn has been an extremely rewarding career!
I am an teacher with 13 years of teaching experience both in and out of the classroom. In my various capacities (a high school English teacher, 1:1 tutor for K-12 students, and an online English teacher for English language learners ages 5-15), I have learned one clear truth in regards to effective teaching: connection is key.
By knowing my students’ needs, skill gaps, and interests, I foster connection and engagement. I then bring in these gems during my lessons, using students’ interests to enhance the skills I am teaching. Love puppies? I will guide you in writing a story about one named Frida with a happy face and boundless energy. Your birthday is today? I will teach wearing a birthday hat and blow a candle out of my prop cupcake. Struggling to learn, feeling frustrated, and thinking you’ll never catch up? I will fill your ears with empowerment and personal experiences to the contrary, like my former student, Max, who slipped through cracks and ended up in high school unable to read. Through his consistent effort and our tutoring together, he learned to read! What an accomplishment.
You, too, can have this outcome. If your child promises to try, I promise to connect, engage, and bring all of my tools and teaching experience to the table. You will notice positive changes in your student, which will enhance confidence, self-esteem, and fill in important gaps.
After all, once gaps are filled in, learning is no longer a chore. It is a thrill! Happy learning and I look forward to meeting you soon.

Amber Farley

Hello, My name is Amber Farley. I am a first year Kindergarten Teacher and I have really enjoyed learning and growing beside my students. I love to read books and enjoy life outside of school with family and friends. I have earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with an Early Childhood endorsement (BSED) from Northern Arizona University and I will be going back to college this summer to pursue a Master’s (MSED) in reading intervention with an emphasis in Elementary Education. My favorite season is spring because it is not too cold or hot. I am excited to meet you and help you grow in everyway possible.

Brittany Davis

Tina Gaines

Megan Wittenberg

Breanna Allen

Yaraa Fawzi

Darien Harp

Sergio Aviega



Hello, My first name is Amber and I have been professionally tutoring others for over 10+ years. My passion and pursuit are to help more students every year with their struggles regarding school assignments, quizzes, tests, memory building, a variety of different academic challenges, and much more. I have grown throughout time to develop excellent skills of patience, understanding, focus, and clear methods on how to help the student be more plus become a better-developed student overall in any subject matter of their choosing. I am humbled and delighted at the same time to be your help in any of your academic goals throughout the school year (summer included). We will have opportunities in the future to go over our outlines, our dream cards, and our goal lists together at the beginning of the first session as well as complete periodic checks every 30 days with your latest improvements. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to help you grow into a better you! I look forward to seeing your progress and showing you … your results of development and growth! Have a successful season!