Teacher Appreciation Week 2019
Great teachers challenge and inspire you to achieve academic feats you didn’t think you were capable of.

They teach you how to think in new ways—a skill you’ll apply to every endeavor you’ll ever undertake. They instill in you a love of learning, unbounded curiosity, and newfound problem-solving abilities. You’ll emerge from their classes more capable than ever before, and you’ll remember them for life.

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re highlighting 22 of our amazing 4,000 teachers at The Princeton Review. These exceptional instructors help students achieve ambitious goals. They teach future doctors, researchers, attorneys, businesspeople, and college students how to think differently. Their students become more strategic, skilled, and knowledgeable.

We wanted to know their secrets! So we asked them to share their favorite stories and advice. Here is what they had to say.

Blessing Amune

Blessing Amune, MD*

San Antonio, TX

Subjects taught: SAT, MCAT

Why she loves teaching: “I love being able to help students achieve their educational and professional dreams when they feel like it may not be possible or they don’t know how to get there. It’s very rewarding!”

Her test-prep advice for students: “Practice tests, practice tests, and more practice tests! They are the best indicator you have of how prepared you are for your upcoming exam.”

Her favorite success story: “I had a student who was struggling with the MCAT and had taken it once already. After working with me, he improved by several points. I didn’t see him again after his exam until a year later when I ran into him in the ICU and found out he was the first-year medical student on rotation with us that day. He was able to get admitted to my medical school [where I work] because of his drastic improvement on the MCAT! Hearing that made my whole week. I was so thrilled for him.”

*to be conferred May 2019

Elizabeth Boldalski

Elizabeth Bodalski

College Park, Maryland

Subjects taught: SAT, GRE, LSAT

Why she loves teaching: “My favorite part of teaching for The Princeton Review is helping students reach their target scores so they can get into the school of their dreams.”

Her test-prep advice for students: “One of the most important parts of preparing for a standardized test is developing time-management skills. Learning how to pace yourself on the test will allow you to maximize the number of questions answered correctly while avoiding questions that are too time-consuming to be worth it.”

Her favorite success story: “One of my GRE students ended up getting into a grad school that he thought was a reach. Although he initially thought his GRE scores would be a weak spot in his application, he was able to raise his scores significantly by the end of the class.”

Sumit Bose

Sumit Bose

Chicago, IL

Subjects taught: PSAT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests (Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History, World History, Math LI, Math LII), AP Subject Tests (Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History, World History), ACT, MCAT (Biology, General Chemistry)

Why he loves teaching
: “Teaching in-person and online allows me to interact with students/parents all over the world. I always try to create open and honest communication with students/families so that their learning platform is a fair, level playing field.”

His test-prep advice for students: “Work hard, have faith in your abilities as a student, and you WILL SUCCEED!”

A good test-prep mantra: “Study Smart, Study Systematically, Study Efficiently!”

His favorite success story: “I love hearing from former students. Here are a few excerpts from their notes to me: ‘Hi Mr. Bose, I just wanted to let you know that I received my SAT scores yesterday. I received an 800 on Math II and a 650 on Chemistry. Thank you for all of your help in preparing for these tests!’ ‘I have learned more from you these past two months than I did in my nearly four years of undergraduate science courses!’ ‘I'll always remember Mr. B and how much he has influenced me to be the best student I can be.’”

Diego De Valdenebro

Diego De Valdenebro

Dallas, TX

Subjects taught: GRE, GMAT, ACT, SAT

Why he loves teaching
: “I love being able to help high school students cut through their fears of applying to college. I only wish I’d known in high school what I know now, so passing that on is important to me.”

His test-prep advice for students: “Keep going through practice problems. Nothing helps a score improve more consistently than attempting problems and reviewing mistakes.”

His favorite success story: “I once had a student whose dream was to attend the University of Texas because her father was a super-fan, though her scores/grades weren’t exactly where they needed to be. During the semester, her father passed away, so to honor him, she got her scores in order and was accepted there.”

Jerry Dresner

Jerry Dresner

Baltimore, MD

Subjects taught: SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, MCAT (Psychology/Sociology), AP Exams (U.S. History, World History, Psychology, U.S. Government and Politics)

Why he loves teaching
: “I love seeing students setting concrete goals and then making steady progress in achieving those goals, often surprising themselves in the process.”

His test-prep advice for students: “Practice getting up early on a Saturday morning, or whenever your test is scheduled, and achieving a state of ‘relaxed focus.’ Particularly for the SAT, you have to be ready right out of the box because you will be doing 65 minutes of reading passages, and ‘relaxed focus’ is the mental state you need to be successful.”

His favorite success story: “This student was working toward the ACT, and he hadn't done as well as he’d hoped previously. He made it his business to devour the practice test book and hit me with very specific questions when I worked with him. To his great surprise, he wound up with a perfect score.”

Gail Goldhand

Gail Goldhand

Basking Ridge, NJ

Subjects taught: SAT, LSAT, ACT, PSAT, ISEE, SSAT, GRE, MCAT (CARS), DAT, TOEFL, SAT Subject Tests (Math and Literature), College Admissions Advising, Essay Editing

Why she loves teaching
: “Helping students conquer their admission tests so they can confidently move on with their educations and the rest of their lives is a privilege. Working with motivated, interesting students of all ages all over the country and the world is fun.”

Her test-prep advice for students: “Attack the test with strategy and technique. I tell my students, ‘You will hear me in your head while you're taking the test.’ And they do!”

Her favorite success story: “Fourteen years after the student everyone said was ‘not a good standardized test taker’ annihilated the SAT and developed confidence, she keeps me updated about her life successes, of which there have been many. I'm still so proud of her.”

Munirul Islam

Munirul (Munir) Islam

Flushing, NY

Subject taught: SAT

Why he loves teaching
: “I love being able to show students how they can beat this test! By getting a higher score on your SAT, you open more university opportunities to express your true potential.”

His test-prep advice for students: “Be diligent in practicing at home! You are not going to master the techniques we teach if you do not take the time to practice them at home.”

His favorite success story: “I once had a student who always ran out of time in the math sections because she was adamant about answering questions algebraically no matter what. I was able to successfully show her that by using the TPR strategies more regularly, she can save a lot of time and answer more questions while retaining her strong accuracy levels.”

Dan Kobza

Dan Kobza

Philadelphia, PA

Subjects taught: GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT (CARS), SAT, ACT, TOEFL, SAT Early Edge, AP Exams (U.S. History)

Why he loves teaching
: “The best part of this job is the students. I'm grateful for getting to work with so many fascinating dynamic people as they move towards a new phase of their lives.”

His test-prep advice for students: “Standardized tests don't test anything about you, just how well you take the test. Taking these tests is a skill, and so the way to get better is regular practice!”

His favorite success story: “My greatest successes are when students surprise themselves and everyone else with the score increases they can achieve with honest hard work. I had a student whose scores went up so much that ETS thought they must have cheated, and TPR had to have our lawyers go to bat for the kid!”

AJ Lee

AJ Lee

Washington, DC

Subjects taught: MCAT (CARS, Biology)

Why he loves teaching
: “Helping students fill gaps in studying skills (namely, increasing efficiency) and building reasoning skills that colleges increasingly don’t teach are the most rewarding aspect of teaching for the MCAT. These skills make students better medical students at the start of med school.”

His test-prep advice for students: “Only take a standardized exam when you are ready and adequately prepared. Not during your junior year ‘because everyone is taking it’ or at the end of a review course because ‘you’re supposed to.’ Assess your own strengths and ask yourself if you have done everything to best prepare. And never take the MCAT ‘just to see how I'll do’...you won't do well.”

His favorite success story: “A recent grad from a leading state school was demoralized that he had to take the MCAT a second time (even though >50% of pre-meds do). He studied hard and worked closely to revamp his entire study methodology during our tutorials, and not surprisingly scored higher than the 90th percentile while spending 50% less time studying. He was thrilled to start GW Med School (his first-choice school) with a new approach to studying.”

Eliz Markowitz

Eliz Markowitz

Houston, TX

Subjects taught: ISEE, SSAT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, ACT, AP Exams, GED, GRE, GMAT

Why she loves teaching: “Test preparation allows us to give extremely bright students, who may not be great test takers, an edge to college admissions. Nothing is more satisfying than having a hard-working student improve her test scores and get into her dream school.”

Her test-prep advice for students: “The most important thing to remember is that a standardized test is beatable. If you are willing to open your mind to adopt new techniques, and practice those techniques, you can improve your score!”

Her favorite success story: “One of my students was a terrible test taker and had completely given up on getting into her dream school because of her hatred of algebra. After three three-hour sessions, she had embraced the Plugging In and PITA techniques. The result? She improved her math score by 300 points and got into her dream school in New York City.”

David Matchen

David Matchen, JD, MLIS

Baltimore, MD

Subjects taught: LSAT, MCAT (CARS)

Why he loves teaching
: “Of all the necessary evils that bedevil the admissions process, the standardized test is arguably the worst of the lot. My job is to make the unmanageable manageable, undaunt the daunting, and leave my students in the best possible position to impress their admissions committees.”

His test-prep advice for students: “The importance of diagnostic review cannot be overstated. Doing a full post-mortem of your drill and practice-test performance is by far the best method of recognizing what's impeding your progress, and how to address it.”

His favorite success story: “Although I consider all of my students who move on to their favored schools a success story, one of our LSAT students improved approximately 20 points to the upper 170s during the course. Once he repeated the performance on his June LSAT, he was admitted to Columbia, and, after passing the bar, and completing a federal judicial clerkship, he now practices for a top NYC firm.”

Alec Medlock

Alec Medlock

Greater Los Angeles, CA

Subjects taught: SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, GRE, GMAT, MCAT (CARS)

Why he loves teaching: “I love helping people achieve that ‘click’ of understanding. It’s an intensely gratifying moment, for both the student and me, when we finally crack open a concept.”

His test-prep advice for students: “It’s not about math-ing as hard as you can. Be a problem-solver first!”

His favorite success story: “I taught a GRE class for a group of students at UCLA who were attending a STEM summer program. I got the usual amount of pushback from GRE students, and by the halfway mark, about half the students had stopped attending—their program was rigorous and left little time for other things. But the half that remained was the most dedicated group I’ve ever worked with. Three people from that class later reached out to me saying they’d scored above the 95th percentile and had gone on to their graduate programs of choice. What felt like a real stumbling block had in fact galvanized us all and rocketed the group to success.”

Erika Monasch

Erika Monasch

San Diego, CA

Subject taught: MCAT

Why she loves teaching
: “I love teaching because I love serving as a mentor to other pre-medical students. I know that studying for the MCAT is a time-intensive and draining process, so I want to be there for my students during this stressful time—the same way my family, friends, and mentors were there for me when I studied for the MCAT.”

Her test-prep advice for students: “In the words of my childhood gymnastics instructor, ‘Practice like you’re performing so you can perform like you’re practicing.’ I always recommend that my students simulate test-taking conditions for every practice test. This includes getting up around 6 a.m., not drinking water during the test, and doing the whole test in one sitting.”

Her favorite success story: “One of my students was feeling down and frustrated because her score didn’t improve for several practice tests, so I worked with her before and after class to pinpoint which topics she was struggling with. I also helped her come up with a study plan for the last couple of weeks leading up to her test. Then, when she took her next practice test, her score shot up and was within a couple of points of her target score. I loved seeing how happy she was and the boost of confidence she got from her hard work paying off.”

Marguerite Moore

Marguerite Moore

Boston, MA

Subjects taught: SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT

Why she loves teaching
: “I like helping students and removing some of the inherent stress from standardized tests.”

Her test-prep advice for students: “Progress is not always linear, so don't be frustrated if you're not seeing the improvement you want at all times. Learning new strategies is a practiced skill, so make sure you're practicing in order to see results!”

Her favorite success story: “My favorite stories are when my students let me know that they were able to use the strategies, and that those strategies helped them. Anytime they text me that they reached a goal they hadn't originally thought possible, it always feels great.”

Megan Moore

Megan Moore

Tempe, AZ

Subjects taught: SAT, GRE, MCAT (Psychology/Sociology)

Why she loves teaching
: “I love watching students of all ages work toward a better future. Each student we encounter has sought us out to help move into a new stage in life, and that makes this job so meaningful to me.”

Her test-prep advice for students: “Don’t self-sabotage! Schedule your test with enough time to retake it if you don’t meet your goal score, get enough sleep, study, and use the strategies. That sounds like it isn’t one piece of advice, so: Don’t let you be the thing standing in your way.”

Her favorite success story: “My favorite student success story is about a GRE student. She was a mother deciding to go to graduate school because her kids had all started college. Her practice test scores improved by almost 20 points in both sections, but more importantly, she became more confident in herself and her abilities to go back to school.”

Kyle Peebles

Kyle Peebles

Austin, TX

Subjects taught: MCAT (Biology, General Chemistry)

Why he loves teaching
: “The students begin seeing a mountain of material they must know and feel there is no way they can do it. After I have taught them, the students realize they know the information and can use it effectively on their test.”

His test-prep advice for students: “Always read the questions slowly and carefully. The tricks are often in how the test writers phrase the questions!”

His favorite success story: “I had a student who began with crippling self-doubt in their ability and knowledge. During the course, they realized the not only know the material, but they also projected confidence in what they knew.”

Asha R C Perkins

Asha R. C. Perkins

Dallas, TX

Subjects taught: ACT, PSAT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, SAT Early Edge

Why she loves teaching
: “A few years ago a TPR administrator from California came to Dallas and shared with us a concept that encapsulated one of the reasons why I love what I do: the concept of the ‘60-Year Decision.’  Knowing that the time we spend teaching and mentoring through the TPR curriculum is impacting generations is both inspiring and empowering.”

Her test-prep advice for students: “To quote James and the Giant Peach, ‘Try looking at it another way!’ Oftentimes you already possess the tools within yourself to solve that impossible problem on a given test—or even in life.”

Her favorite success story: “I once was privileged to teach a student in one of our SAT school-based programs who had only come to America within the last five years and had learned English within that same timeframe. Through her study in class (as well as coming to school as early as 7 a.m. and at times staying as late as 6 p.m.), her SAT score went up 200 points. She went on to attend and graduate from the University of North Texas and also studied abroad during her tenure there. I am not only so very proud of her and what she has achieved, but also the dynamic woman she has become.”

An important lesson she’s learned: “True learning can come from almost anywhere—I learn daily from my family, books I challenge myself to read, or even how the ombré sunset is painted in possibility with the morning sky.”

Sara Soriano

Sara Soriano

New Orleans, LA

Subjects taught:  ACT, PSAT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, Early Edge, GRE, GMAT, MCAT (CARS)

Why she loves teaching
: “From college admissions and financial aid to getting into the graduate programs that will change career paths forever, it has been a joy to watch a diverse array of students of all ages reach their goals.”

Her test-prep advice for students: “ Slow Down, Score More really is the best advice! Stop sacrificing accuracy for speed!”

Her favorite success story: “I was able to work with a student who was diagnosed with dyslexia as she learned to live and learn with her learning difference. After years of hard work, she was able to overcome the challenges of relearning how to study and read and take tests and get into her dream school, Notre Dame, for architecture after a 10+ point improvement in her ACT score from the beginning of her sophomore to the end of her junior year.”

Candice Z Ulmer PhD

Candice Z. Ulmer, PhD

Atlanta, GA

Subjects taught: ACT, SAT, ISEE, SSAT, MCAT (Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry)

Why she loves teaching
: “I find teaching/tutoring to be an ideal way to give back and provide assistance to students who are struggling with difficult content areas. Because I chose a career that requires a substantial amount of time working in a laboratory, teaching/tutoring with TPR allows me an opportunity to stay abreast of new topics in the classroom.”

Her test-prep advice for students: “Effective preparation for any standardized test requires efficient planning and daily practice. Be sure to ask for help early if problems/issues appear rather than waiting until the last minute.”

Her favorite success story: “I taught a student in a TPR MCAT General Chemistry/Organic Chemistry class who had been working for the past two years and had not seen any science material since college. It was exciting to hear that after my course, she was not only accepted into medical school, but was also awarded a scholarship and dual research opportunity.”

Something you may not know about her: “I also work as a clinical chemist and am involved with the development and execution of programs to standardized protein hormone biomarker measurements to improve the diagnosis/treatment of endocrine diseases.”

Myeisha Webb

Myeisha Webb

Baton Rouge, LA

Subjects taught: ACT, SAT

Why she loves teaching
: “I love being a TPR instructor because it has allowed me to make connections with students at high schools all over my city. The test prep is important, but just being that teacher the kids can relate to and confide in makes a world of difference. I hope my words of encouragement and direction stick with them and inspire them to do great things in life!”

Her test-prep advice for students: “RELAX! I know that it's easier said than done, but don't let the test stress you out. Most times during the test, we talk ourselves out of correct answers because we overthink and stress out. Woosah and focus. You've got this.”

Her favorite success story: “There was this boy in one of my first school-based courses who had been a problem child, and all of his other teachers just knew he wasn’t going to be able make the 18 on the ACT he needed for the school. He confided that to me, and we worked so hard to raise his 11 to an 18. He ended up with a 17, but he was so proud of himself and the work that he had put in to reach that growth that he told me I was his first teacher to believe in him and that’s why he felt he did so well.”

Nicole Winter

Nicole Winter

Irvine, CA

Subjects taught: GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT

Why she loves teaching
: “I love seeing students make progress and perfectly answer questions they used to hate.”

Her test-prep advice for students: “I'm going to cheat and give two pieces of advice: (1) Keep calm and work in bite-sized-pieces, and (2) Review the questions you missed.”

Her favorite success story: “I had one student who was SO nervous and stressed about the SAT, but she worked really hard and managed to improve her score by 200 points by her second or third practice test!”

Aimie Zale

Aimie Zale, MD

New Salem, MA

Subjects taught: SAT

Why she loves teaching
: “I love seeing that Aha! moment on students’ faces when they finally understand a concept. That moment when they sit back in their chair and say, ‘That's so much easier than I thought it was’—that’s the best part of teaching for me.”

Her test-prep advice for students: “Practice every day. Practice doesn't always have to be explicit time set aside for studying; it can be time stolen while waiting for your food to microwave or even while you're on the toilet, but daily practice of some kind is key.”

Her favorite success story: “My favorite success story is a young man who started my class with a low score. He was constantly forgetting his books, but he was interactive during class, and he ended up raising his score by over 200 points. I think he was really skeptical that the course would work for him, but he ended up doing so well, and I'm really proud of him.”