Daniela Feldhausen (Founder, Tutor Mentor and Coach), was a lawyer in private practice and later Associate General Counsel for Fannie Mae in Washington, DC for more than 20 years, until she took advantage of an early retirement package to change careers and focus on her true passion - teaching kids to read.
Inspired by her experience with one of her sons, whose self-confidence dropped dramatically in elementary school as he realized he couldn't read as well as his peers, Daniela obtained an MA in Special Education (mild-moderate disabilities) from the University of Arizona. She has been trained to teach struggling children to read by a professor with a PhD in dyslexia, a reading specialist who trains teachers and school districts around the country on the science of reading, and the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education (Orton-Gillingham).
I love watching children's faces light up as they realize they can do this! Just don't get me started on the Science of Reading vs. the 3-cueing system (aka "whole language" or "balanced literacy"), unless you've got a lot of time on your hands...
Crystal McCue (New Student Intake, Tutor Mentor and Coach), is a retired teacher in Tucson, AZ. She has taught children from preschool through 8th grade. She discovered a love and a talent for teaching reading, and eventually became a Reading Interventionist for K-6. She attended IEP meetings and worked closely with the teachers to help them meet the needs of their students. Now, she goes back to her former school as the administrator of the school-wide reading assessment, and she acts as a consultant for teachers who need further training in reading instruction. Crystal is an Orton Gillingham-trained instructor.
Laurie Warner (Operations and Coach), has been an educator and teacher coach in Arizona for 27 years. Recently retired from teaching, she started a business as an educational consultant and Special Education advocate to ensure that both students and educators receive the knowledge and training to ensure that ALL students are learning.
Stephanie Friend (Marketing and Communications), lives in Tucson, Arizona and is a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in Community Advocacy and Social Policy. She has dedicated more than 20 years of service to local and international children’s causes including education, housing, health and welfare. More recently she has volunteered in canvassing efforts for candidates for local and national offices and advocating for children’s causes. Stephanie promotes the Science of Reading through Kids Up Reading Coaches to individual families as well as schools and school districts, with a special focus on underserved communities. She is OG-trained, but does not work directly with students.
When not working or volunteering, Stephanie loves playing with her new granddaughter, visiting her three grown children, traveling with her husband, swimming, hiking and enjoying all things Tucson.
Raising three kids through the public school systems and being a “class mom” exposed me to the wide variety of learning abilities and skills among young children. I am continually amazed and thrilled by the excitement children share when they master new skills.
Anna Kazanchev (Coach) is a graduate Speech-Language Pathology student at the University of Arizona. Hailing from the Evergreen State, Anna earned her Bachelor’s in Biology at the University of Washington in 2022. Initially drawn to biology due to her interest in human anatomy and physiology, her direction shifted when she learned more about speech therapy. She fell in love with the combination of the medical field and helping others regain their ability to connect with the world. It is the compassion, care, and sincerity in the field of speech-language pathology that makes her certain she wants to pursue her love of children and medicine as an SLP.
Carly Czyzyk (Coach) is getting her master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Arizona. She earned her B.A. in Communication Sciences & Disorders at the University of Central Florida. During her graduate coursework, Carly has worked with both speech and language clients within the pediatric UA Speech & Hearing Clinic and the UA Wings on Words Preschool.
Carly has experience working with children in many different settings. Some of these include summer camps, after-school programs, public schools, daycares, preschools, and more. While working in the preschool setting, Carly worked with AmeriCorps to prepare at-risk preschoolers for kindergarten through intervention targeting language and literacy skill development.
My favorite part of teaching is seeing students achieve their goals and seeing all their hard work pay off when they learn something new! When I am not teaching, you can find me exploring nature, hiking, or reading.
Colin Grogan (Coach) is a senior at the University of Arizona, getting his undergraduate degree in Elementary Education with an ESL endorsement. He has completed courses in bilingual children’s literature, linguistics, reading instruction, and exceptional student services.
Colin has wanted to be a teacher for most of his life. Through his coursework and classroom experience, he discovered a love of reading and language development in particular. He has been working with students of all ages for many years, including time spent as a paraprofessional, Spanish tutor, and substitute teacher in schools throughout Tucson. Currently, Colin works in a supporting role in K-5 classrooms, where he helps emergent bilingual students develop proficiency in English while honoring their native language.
My favorite part of teaching is watching students have those “lightbulb” moments, where they grasp something that was previously challenging. Getting to watch this growth in real time motivates me to be a better educator so ALL students can have these moments. When I am not teaching, you can typically find me outside gardening, camping, reading, or running!
Madison Graham (Coach) is a graduate speech-language pathology student at Arizona State University. She is originally from Atlanta, GA, but got her bachelor's degree in Speech and Hearing Science from Arizona State University online while she lived in Fairbanks, AK. During her senior year of undergrad, Madison was a teaching assistant for a phonetics class. She also worked in an elementary school while in Fairbanks as a teaching assistant in a kindergarten and first-grade classroom.
Rachel Ellsworth (Coach) is a graduate Speech-Language Pathology student at Arizona State University. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders and a minor in Linguistics in Spring 2023. Her research interests are neurodivergent-affirming language intervention for people with autism and gestalt language processing.
Regan Bakke (Coach) is a senior at the University of Arizona finishing her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education with a minor in music. She has completed courses throughout her studies in linguistics, children’s literature, and classroom management.
Kristina Mihajlovic (Coach) is a recent linguistics graduate from the University of Arizona. She graduated from Indiana University in 2017 with her BA in Linguistics and received her MA in Linguistics from the University of Arizona in 2021. Kristina's graduate research work focused on heritage speakers of South Slavic languages (those who used it at home), namely their phonetics and phonology.
Kristina has lots of experience teaching all ages, starting when she was in high school, tutoring her peers and younger classmates in math, science, Latin, and reading. In grad school, Kristina became a substitute teacher in the Tucson Unified School District, where she got to interact with students of all ages in K-12. She has been a full-time 7th grade math teacher and a full-time 4th grade teacher for TUSD, both completely online. Apart from her work with K-12 students, Kristina has also taught college-level statistics for four years. Kristina has also taught salsa dancing classes to adults for the U of A's Latin dance club.
My favorite part of teaching is seeing my students' confidence soar as they gain independence in whatever skill they're working at, whether that be reading, math, or dancing! When I'm not teaching, I'm trying out new things and learning myself: new kinds of dancing, cooking, hiking locations, languages on Duolingo, and making new friends, many of them dogs.