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Tutoring Up-Grades

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Tutoring Upgrades

Your teen isn't stupid, but poor study skills might make them feel that way...

Would you like to help your child achieve their goals and build a strong foundation for a bright future?

Meet Our Certified Tutors

Dean Viggiano, Learning Coordinator  Dean Viggiano 
 Learning Coordinator

SAT, ACT, Mathematics, Science, History, English, and Study Skills
National Tutoring Association Certified Tutor

Until the third grade, I had never struggled to grasp an academic concept. However, when introduced to long division, my brain simply could not make the connections necessary to understand the steps involved. I felt frustrated, and, beyond that, I felt as if I was a failure for lacking the skills that my peers apparently had. Luckily for me, after a few weeks with no progress, one of the school's math teachers asked me to stay after so that we could tackle long division together. A miracle occurred- the teacher explained each part of the process to me simply, and, as we went over the assigned problems, my understanding suddenly blossomed to life.

Looking back at my first experience with tutoring, it is startlingly clear to me that my mind needs to deal with math in a different manner than the majority of students, though our current education system does not accommodate for this deviation. Despite my initial struggles, in high school I was part of our math competition team, and I eventually completed both calculus AB and BC as AP courses before heading to college. I firmly believe that each student has a unique learning style that can easily be catered to in a one-on-one setting. I have tutored people in numerous subjects at both a high school and college level, and even tutored my peers in anatomy and physiology as I worked towards my bachelor's degree in biology.

In addition to helping others with ACT and SAT prep, biology, chemistry, algebra, geometry, U.S. history and government, and English, I enjoy hiking, reading, playing guitar and ukulele, teaching Tae Kwon Do, and reciting the digits of pi to the 33rd decimal place.


Tess Fisher, Founder of Tutoring at Tutoring Up-GradesTess here, Founder of Tutoring Up-Grades.  Dean loves working with kids, and they can't help but respond to his positive and upbeat attitude. Dean's infectious enthusiasm helps his students see what's interesting about whatever topic they're exploring, and want to learn more about it.

He's a great model for never backing down from a challenge, showing his students they can achieve more than they'd ever thought through perseverance.  Dean is currently certified at the advanced level with the National Tutoring Association.

“My son just got accepted to Harvard! Thanks for all your help, Dean!.


~J.H., parent of Tutoring Up-Grades student



Ben Jones, Head Tutor Ben Jones 
 Head Tutor

SAT, ACT, Mathematics, and Study Skills
National Tutoring Association Certified Tutor

I love interacting with people and helping them to understand complex topics like math (which I also love). There's so much more to math than crunching numbers.  It's so great when students find math fun too.  My highest satisfaction comes when I can work with a student that was convinced a subject or test was too hard for them, and help that student reach a level of understanding they never thought possible. While working with students I enjoy getting to know them and letting their likes and dislikes guide me in helping them "get" new concepts and material.

As a person, I have so many other passions besides tutoring.  Cycling, reading, running, cooking (and eating!), listening to music and watching it be performed, among many others.  It's great to show students that mathematicians are well-rounded (haha!!) people too.  P.S. I love puns and word-play!

Dean Viggiano, Owner of Tutoring at Tutoring Up-GradesDean here, with a bit about Ben's background:  Besides being well-rounded (and funny!), Ben has a great background for helping students - a B.A. in Mathematics, an M.S. in Statistics from Iowa State University, and he has been working with students since 2002.  Like all good tutors, Ben adjusts his presentation based on the student.  He finds a wonderful balance in relating to the student, while still getting them to understand the material.  His love of word-play helps him to make the English portions of the SAT and ACT less of a challenge for students, and he's very skilled at helping students understand math.

Ben helps Tutoring Up-Grades students with complete SAT and ACT tests, algebra, geometry, statistics, trigonometry, and calculus.  He holds an Advanced Certification from the NTA with an Endorsement in Mathematics.

“I really appreciate the way Ben adapts his style to help Astoria feel more confident and comfortable with numbers. He knows how to work with her and it's been very successful." ~Anissa, parent of Tutoring Up-Grades student  

Victoria Fife, Tutor at Tutoring Up-Grades

Victoria Shanahan

SAT, ACT, Mathematics, Spanish, and Study Skills 
National Tutoring Association Certified Tutor

First things first - I absolutely love math, and getting a chance to teach or tutor it only makes me more passionate about this subject! I have a very strong belief that learning in general should be based on understanding and full comprehension rather than the all-too-common memorization tactics. Having a diverse background in teaching different grade levels in various schools also has given me better insight on how different students learn and has motivated me to strive to make my tutoring as focused on the individual student’s needs as possible.

I remember being in fourth grade, learning about long division for the first time, and having a difficult time wrapping my mind around the concept. But my teacher didn’t give up on me, and suddenly, in the middle of class, I had my first “lightbulb moment” where it all made sense to me. I had such a feeling of satisfaction and excitement that everything FINALLY made sense! Now, as a tutor, my favorite thing about working one-to-one with a student is that same “lightbulb moment” that I remember so clearly, when they make a mental breakthrough and finally start to understand a concept and even get excited about it. So many people have such a negative concept of math or are scared of it, or think it’s too difficult for them to understand – I want to break that stereotype and help students gain confidence in themselves! I help them to realize that they can not only understand math, but also enjoy it too! Math isn’t scary, I promise!

Besides teaching and tutoring math, I love doing plenty of other things. I particularly love music (especially live music), taking roadtrips, trying new foods, reading, playing guitar, going to the beach, swing dancing, my cats, spending time outdoors, and finding adventure wherever and whenever I can.

Dean Viggiano, Owner of Tutoring at Tutoring Up-GradesDean here, with a little of what I've seen in Victoria...  Victoria really enjoys helping students, and it shows through.  Her ability to relate to young learners is great to see in action.  When it comes to keeping students engaged in learning, Victoria uses her love of math to raise the enthusiasm level all around.  It's really fun to learn from her!  At Tutoring Up-Grades, Victoria helps students with the ACT, the SAT, math, Spanish, and study skills.


“Ryan was very pleased after working with Victoria.  I'm looking forward to success!" ~Lynn N., Parent of a Tutoring Up-Grades student

Joseph DunstanJoseph Dunstan

SAT, ACT, Mathematics, Science, and Study Skills
National Tutoring Association Certified Tutor

As someone who is constantly learning more and more about science and math, I have come to develop a strong appreciation for learning in general.  I have other hobbies too (running, hiking, traveling, and watching movies), but learning and sharing that joy is really important to me.  It's my belief that it is my responsibility to help students discover that joy for themselves.

My greatest goal as a tutor is to inspire a sense of curiosity in students, an inner desire to want to know more.  As I've tutored many students over the past two years, I have found that the largest obstacle for students is to find an internal motivation, some drive to keep going even when the material is hard.  Once students find this desire to learn, all of the work that comes with understanding the content of any area of study becomes easier.  As I work with each student, together we partner to grow the thought processes that lead to their own self-motivating attitude towards learning.  Once students understand how they are thinking, they may begin to change the way they are thinking to make themselves better learners and test takers.

Dean Viggiano, Owner of Tutoring at Tutoring Up-GradesDean here, sharing what I've seen in Joseph...  Joseph enjoys learning about anything and everything, then sharing what he's learned as much as he possibly can.  His talent lies in finding what's truly fascinating about any subject, and helping his students to see what's interesting about it too.  By engaging his students in their own learning process, and making them eager to explore things on their own, Joseph helps create life-long learners with strong critical thinking skills.  He not only equips his students to be successful on the ACT, SAT, and in math and science, but in any subject for years to come.

“Thank you so much for everything.  Joseph has been very wonderful and a great tutor for Lucas.  Lucas had a great time and got a lot of help.”


~Maria V., parent of Tutoring Up-Grades student


barbara TUG 2Barbara France

SAT, ACT, Mathematics, Science, and Study Skills

National Tutoring Association Certified Tutor

I have always loved science and math. I fondly remember doing science activities as a kid, and even attended a Saturday morning class about science when I was in 8th grade. I felt lucky that I had a good support system at home when I got stuck or did not understand my work. I also had a wonderful math teacher for most of high school. She believed that we needed to learn how to do the math by hand first before we could even touch the calculator. I felt that helped me more than anything else. Both of my parents were great in math (in fact, my mother was a high school math teacher!) and I knew I could always go to them if I needed help.

In college I found I wanted to pay it forward. I joined the Chemistry Club and tutored underclassmen in General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. While I did not enter the teaching/tutoring profession right out of college, I did enjoy working one-on-one with people and helping them grasp a concept. I guess you could say that I did this in all of my jobs when I taught a new hire how to do things! Whenever I try to explain a concept (whether new or not), I always try to provide many different ways to think about it. For example, when I teach covalent bonding in chemistry, I relate it to sharing between toddlers, siblings, or even custody agreements between parents, because students can relate to at least one of those examples. My students know that I have a great understanding of the subjects I teach and that I truly care about them and their learning.

Dean Viggiano, Owner of Tutoring at Tutoring Up-GradesDean here, sharing what I've seen in Barbara...  Barbara is a true teacher at heart, and it really crosses over into her tutoring! It's amazing to watch her come up with simple metaphors and analogies to break down even the most convoluted topics. Students get to see and share in her passion for learning. She adds enthusiastic energy to every session for the ACT, SAT, science, and math!

“Thanks again! My daughter has really enjoyed the assistance! " 

 ~Parent of a Tutoring Up-Grades student

Warren Cornell

Warren Cornell

SAT, ACT, Mathematics, Economics, and Study Skills
National Tutoring Association Certified Tutor

Working with students of varied educational backgrounds as well as diverse career goals has been highly rewarding for me in the nearly 20 years that I have done so. I have a great enthusiasm for mathematics and physical science, and take pride in helping students succeed in both. If a student isn't succeeding, then I'm not succeeding. Each student is a unique learner, and I enjoy getting to know each one as an individual and doing everything I can to help meet their learning needs. 

When I'm not working with students on algebra, geometry, precalculus, calculus, or economics, I enjoy golf (which, of course, is just applied physics!), hiking, and photography. I'm a fan of baseball and music of just about any genre, as well as film and literature.

Dean Viggiano, Owner of Tutoring at Tutoring Up-GradesDean here, sharing what I've seen in Warren...  Warren is a fantastic tutor who really knows his math!  He is patient, kind, and truly great at offering multiple explanations.  Warren has tons of experience breaking down the toughest concepts and conveying them using simple terms and analogies. Warren always thinks critically about the subject matter at hand, and his students follow his example.  He loves to assist with the ACT, SAT, and in economics, math, and science!

“I thought you should know that [my daughter] took her math quiz today and she got a 100% on it!! I am so thrilled with this and she is too! Thank you so much for your help." 

 ~Parent of a Tutoring Up-Grades student

Chrissy RenzoChrissy Renzo

Executive Assistant

Working at Tutoring Up-Grades gives me a chance to help.  I have two boys of my own, and I know what good education can do for kids.  It means a lot to me to know that I'm contributing.


Dean Viggiano, Owner of Tutoring at Tutoring Up-GradesDeanIf you've ever wondered how Tutoring Up-Grades can help so many students, Chrissy is the answer.  She takes care of all the behind the scenes details to make sure the tutors are ready to go. Many of you have talked with her and know just how much she cares about everything that goes on here. 


Tess Fisher, Founder of Tutoring Up-Grades tutoringupgrades.comTess Fisher


Helping students (young or young at heart) is my passion and the reason Tutoring Up-Grades exists. I love the personal interaction with my students and using my intuitive powers to gauge a student's comprehension. It is so rewarding to see the understanding dawn in a student's eyes.

Math was hard for me in middle school and high school.  I've done a lot to help myself understand, which means two things that matter a lot:
1) I've been there and I know how horrible it feels to not understand.
2) I have a lot of patience to explain things many ways.

I began tutoring in 2001 while attending community college in Florida. When I continued my education at University of Central Florida I kept on tutoring and was nominated for Tutor of the Year. In my senior year, I taught the GRE prep class offered by the continuing education department (and I was still an undergrad!). In 2005, I received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics.

Currently, I'm a proud member of the National Tutoring Association, certified at the Advanced Level with a Mathematics endorsement. (The NTA is the only association in the United States accredited to train and provide certification to tutors.)

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we help with:

  • Sat/ACT prep and College essays
  • algebra, geometry, trigonometry
  • statistics
  • pre calculus and calculus
  • biology and chemistry
  • physics and earth science
  • language arts, english, reading
  • history and social studies
  • Regents and ap

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Although results may vary, Tutoring Up-Grades' tutoring methods have proven very successful for our students.