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Our Staff

Dr. Jamie Rodriguez – President

Jamie is the owner and founder of JBG Educational Group. She began working for one of the leading tutoring companies in New York City and has been tutoring within school systems throughout Massachusetts for the past thirteen years. In addition to running JBG Educational Group, she previously was on faculty at Lasell College and also consults with the Curry College PAL Program (specialty program for students with ADD/ADHD & language based learning disabilities), where she does diagnostic teaching and LD/educational assessments. She attended the honors program at University of Massachusetts Amherst for her undergraduate degree, Columbia University (degree in psychology with a focus on special education) for her Masters, and the College of William and Mary (degree in Counselor Education and Supervision with a focus on multicultural counseling) for her PhD. Jamie is responsible for all inner workings of the company. She handles all inquiries, initial assessments, and referrals of all students, and primarily does the majority of college & private school consulting. In her free time she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and 5 children.

Dustin Cohen- Manager of College Consulting

Dustin grew up in Sharon, Massachusetts and graduated from the Salisbury School in northwestern Connecticut. He matriculated to Dickinson College in 2003, where he majored in American History and was a four-year starter on the Varsity Baseball team. After spending three years in Philadelphia working in finance, he moved back to Boston in 2012 to pursue his interest in education. Dustin earned a Master of Science in Applied Educational Psychology and School Counseling from Northeastern University in 2014, and he soon began working as an 11 th and 12 th grade counselor at New Bedford High School. During his three years at NBHS, Dustin served as advisor to the senior class. Additionally, he was an integral member of the scholarship committee.

As a passionate, knowledgeable college counselor, Dustin is determined to help students maximize their post-secondary opportunities. He has visited more than 150 schools throughout the country and participated in over a dozen college admissions seminars throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic region. His knowledge and unique professional experiences have allowed him to successfully assist students and families in all areas of the college identification and application process, encouraging positive student outcomes and achievement. During his free time, Dustin enjoys exercising, fishing, and spending time with his family.

Marcia Felix- Operations Manager

Marcia is a native Massachusetts resident from the south shore. She attended Montrose School before graduating from Northeastern University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Arts and Design. She worked for advertising and design agencies for over a decade, designing everything from corporate collateral pieces to advertising campaigns, while increasing their profits and brand awareness. After her first child was born, she took a sabbatical to raise and then homeschool her young children. At this time Marcia became very involved in her community and started a homeschool group, connecting students with various educational and cultural opportunities. She developed a passion for education and for creating educational opportunities where they otherwise wouldn’t exist. In her spare time, Marcia enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going to farmer’s markets and making natural skin care products.

Sarah Waters- Director of Operations

Sarah grew up in Weston Massachusetts and now lives in Medfield with her husband and three children. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Sarah has held writing and marketing positions in publishing, recruiting, and career counseling firms.

Active on school committees, she recently served on a committee to examine the elementary school day. She was also part of a team who interviewed candidates and chose a new principal for one of Medfield’s elementary schools. She continues to sit on the Superintendent’s advisory board, where she has an opportunity to discuss topics relevant to students of all ages. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family.

Dr. Kateri Chambers – Manager of Curriculum and Development

Kateri Chambers has been developing curriculum since her time at the Center for Social Organization of Schools during her undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins University. She most enjoys collaborating with students, parents, teachers, and administrators to integrate student learning and fulfill academic needs.

Dr. Chambers also holds degrees from Boston University, Peabody Conservatory, and Guildhall School in London. Concurrent to writing her dissertation on the development of musical orthography prior to 1700, Kateri established an outreach program taking music to patients and staff at BMC. Kateri has taught and tutored in a variety of settings since 2006. Her classroom teaching has ranged from classes dedicated to SAT preparation to college credit skill-based learning. She is most fulfilled when a student can improve upon what she demonstrates. When she is not teaching, Kateri works as a director and performer throughout New England.

Rachel Horwitz – Manager of Marketing and Scholastic Achievement

Rachel attended The University of Rhode Island where she obtained her BA in English Language and Literature. Whether it’s reading through a great new book or exploring the world, Rachel has always loved learning. One of her greatest discoveries was realizing there’s something new to learn every day! Rachel has put that passion for learning to work by helping students achieve their academic potential in many school courses and on the SAT and ACT. She also loves assisting students in developing their college essays and other writing-based assignments. Recently, Rachel has been promoted within JBG to also offer her creativity as our Manager of Marketing and Scholastic Achievement.

Cheryl Baressi – School Psychologist & Academic Coach

Cheryl Baressi, M.A., C.A.G.S. is a Licensed Educational Psychologist who administers neuropsychological evaluations for students, directs the Center for Self-Regulation and Resiliency, consults regularly with teachers and parents, and facilitates the special education team process. Her work with students is focused on building executive functioning skills including self-regulation, flexibility, planning and organizational skills, and study skills. Cheryl has spoken at conferences sponsored by Harvard’s School of Education Research Institute for Learning and Development about the executive function initiative which she has spearheaded at school. She has worked with Sarah Ward and was responsible for integrating The Zones of Regulation Program into the school culture. Cheryl has created webinars for parents on the subjects of raising a resilient child and implementation of the Zones of Regulation Program in the home setting. She has presented professional development to school staff, including An Anxiety Informed School based on Jessica Minahan’s work, author of The Behavior Code. Cheryl has an M.A. in Psychology and M.B.A. from Boston University and a C.A.G.S. in School Psychology from the University of Massachusetts.

Chris Brown – Academic Tutor

Christopher Brown was raised in Dover, MA and currently resides in Dover with his wife. He earned his undergraduate degree of B.S. in Economics from Boston College and recently obtained his Master’s in Business Administration from Northeastern University where he majored in both finance and supply chain. During his free time, Christopher enjoys being with his family, volunteering, playing sports and rooting on all Boston sports teams.

Dimitar Semerdzhiev – Academic Tutor

Dimitar is a Masters student of Biology at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. He obtained his undergraduate degrees of B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, where he conducted neuro-cognitive and embryology research for three years. He has also interned at a Biomedical research lab at Brown Medical School as well as at a Neurosurgical Clinic in Providence. He is currently working on his microbiology thesis where he is attempting to alter bacterial communication in the hope of creating a novel pharmaceutical. In his free time he enjoys playing sports, spending time outdoors and watching all Boston sports teams.

Don Allison – Academic & Test Prep Tutor

Don Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Mount Ida College, as well as a bachelor’s in finance and accounting from Villanova University. He has spent a lifetime in education and learning, and has a taught and tutored a wide array of subjects, including his current position as a Biology teacher at Notre Dame High School in Boston.
In addition, Don was an Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology instructor at the Cortiva Institute in Boston for several years. He has also taught accounting, finance, computer science, sports marketing, and writing, among other subjects. He also volunteers as an ESL tutor and business mentor for low income families in Boston. His two dogs, Bowie and Nova, keep him busy during his off hours.

Effie Sapuridis – Academic Tutor

Effie is originally from Montreal, Quebec and is fluently trilingual​in English, French and Greek! Back home, she received a B.A. in English Literature, with a minor in Political Science and a minor in Liberal Arts Studies. Post-graduation, she took a trip to Boston and fell in love with the city. She graduated with her M.A. in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts Boston in December of 2016​. While there, she taught several literature classes and tutored privately for middle and high school level students in all core subjects. Beyond her teaching experience, she has a long background in writing, proofreading, research​ and editing having worked for various literary magazines and publishing houses. In July 2017, she launched her own online YA literary journal called “Fterota Logia” and hopes to expand it into the book publishing industry in the future.​ ​She’s currently working as a Research Assistant at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Goutam Sudhir – Academic Tutor

Goutam was raised in Mansfield, MA and currently lives in Franklin. In 2016 he graduated from Brandeis University with a BA in mathematics and economics during which he tutored a number of high school students in Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, and physics. After graduating, he spent two years working at Fidelity Investments as well as a boutique film studio. He is currently a Master of Science in Business Analytics candidate at Bentley University. In his spare time he likes to play soccer, basketball, kayak, hike, travel, and read.

Gregg Chambers – Academic Tutor

Gregg is from Needham, MA and is a native of the area, having grown up in Canton, MA. He graduated from Boston College with a B.S. in Finance and was awarded his M.B.A. from Babson College. Gregg spent twenty-three years as a fundraiser for independent schools and nonprofit organizations before changing careers into teaching. He is currently studying in the Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure Program at Framingham State University, with a specialization in mathematics. Gregg has obtained his teaching license for middle school math and looks forward to a long and fruitful career in secondary education.

Harli Weber – Academic Tutor

Harli received her dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Neuroscience from the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Harli has a passion for science and medicine and currently works in clinical ALS research at Massachusetts General Hospital. While at the University of Massachusetts, she helped lead the Excellence in Student Enhanced Learning (ExSEL) program. This program focused on tutoring students through peer lead team learning and critical thinking. In addition to science, Harli enjoys traveling, listening to live music, and watching football. Despite growing up in New York, she is a big New England Patriots fan.

Ivana Zgaljic – Academic Tutor

Ivana received a B.A in Economics from Cornell University and MBA from HEC Paris and works in Boston on data science and visualization. Ivana has worked as a calculus tutor in Boston, judge for Boston Debate League, and served as a co-teacher of a public speaking workshop for teens in Queens, NY. She enjoys helping students find the basic building blocks of the subjects in focus as well as why the subject matter is practical and important.

Jason Bisson – Academic Tutor

Jason Bisson is an undergraduate student in Psychology and Linguistics at Northeastern University, and hopes to go on to achieve his doctorate in clinical psychology. He has done freelance editing and nonprofit work since 2013, and recently published an article in a medical journal, but is most passionate about his work with children and service dog owners.
Jason works as a behavior therapist with children with autism and developmental diagnoses, and is part of a team developing a program to train rescue dogs as task-performing Emotional Support Animals. Jason lives in Norwood, MA and in his free time enjoys playing the piano, reading, and going on adventures with his girlfriend and their dog.

John Koch – Academic & Test Prep Tutor

Born in Cohasset, MA, John has lived in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, New York and Oregon. He now resides in North Attleboro, MA. John studied creative writing at California’s University of Redlands, earned his B.A. in English from Vassar College and his M.A.T. in English from Oregon’s Lewis & Clark College. He brings over twenty years of experience as a tutor and teacher of high school English. His students have been accepted to such acclaimed schools as Harvard University and Oberlin College, but he is particularly proud of the number of former students who have become or are in the process of becoming teachers themselves.

John has always embraced the following words from William Butler Yeats: “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of the fire.” Igniting those fires and fanning the flames is paramount to John’s approach to teaching. He has an affinity for reaching students of all kinds, knowing that each student has his or her own individual learning style and believes that every student can achieve academic success. John specializes in grades 9-12, with a particular focus on all elements of English studies and S.A.T. preparation.

In his free time, John enjoys wrestling with the physical challenges of golf and the mental challenges of Walt Whitman. He is also a devotee of J.R.R. Tolkien and John Green, loves his Boston Red Sox, and avidly follows the music of U2.

Julie LeVeen – Academic Tutor

Julie grew up in Westhampton, NY and earned a BA in Art History Cum Laude from Dartmouth College. At Dartmouth, Julie studied Education, participated in an international program in Florence, Italy, and held an educational media internship at Sesame Street in NYC. Next, Julie became an Assistant Editor of children’s books at Scholastic. She went on to earn her MA with Distinction in Higher Education Administration and Student Development from Boston College. Through BC internships, she taught academic and study skills and advised students; as a Graduate Assistant in Elementary Education, she edited Science instructional materials and ran the Massachusetts Science Poetry Contest. Julie’s decade+ of work in Higher Education included program development to enhance the students’ experience at BU Law and Admissions Committee oversight at Harvard Medical School. She went on to hold an academic affairs role in International Programs at Babson College where she managed the Honors International Summer Study/Internship Program in London, preparing and advising students. Julie has also taught Part-time in the Fiske Elementary School’s extended day program. In 2010, Julie and her husband travelled to China to adopt their son. She enjoys writing, volunteering in her son’s classroom and school library, and playing with the family’s pets: a lab-mix rescue dog and a tabby cat.

Kate Brown – Academic Tutor

With a degree in Anthropology from Bates College and a Master’s in Innovative Media & Journalism from Northeastern University it is clear Kate likes to learn, research and understand people and their perspectives on all subjects. She has vivid memories of her own college application experience and can tell you a fun fact about nearly any college in the country. She currently works in Experience Design and Product Development for clients in Boston. When she isn’t geeking out about UX or prepping for a session with students she can be found training for her second marathon, reading a fiction novel, or exploring Boston by foot.

Dr. Mark J. Polking – Academic Tutor

A native of central Iowa, Dr. Mark J. Polking received his B.S. degree in materials science (summa cum laude) from Cornell University in 2005. He then completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, also in materials science, at the University of California, Berkeley, where his research focused on the synthesis and fundamental physics of nanocrystals. After completing his Ph.D., Mark worked as a postdoctoral fellow in chemistry at Harvard University. He is currently a Technical Staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He has served as a tutor for a wide range of math, science, and engineering courses and has taught both computer science and chemistry courses. In his free time, Mark enjoys activities such as backpacking, attending the symphony, visiting museums, and watching baseball.

Melanie Hubbard – Academic Tutor

Melanie is a Vermont native and moved to Boston to go to college. She attended Boston University and graduated from the Questrom School of Business with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. She now works at TJX as a planning analyst and resides in South Boston. During her time in college Melanie taught for DebateMate – an organization that teaches middle school students to solve problems verbally with logic and reasoning. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, skiing, and exploring the city of Boston.

Melissa Zarate – Academic Tutor

Melissa graduated from Denison University in 2016 with a major in biology and minor in environmental studies. At Denison, she began her career in education by tutoring high school math and biology. She is now earning her masters in ecology, behavior and evolution with Boston University’s biology graduate program. When she is not studying primate population genetics, she enjoys yoga, traveling, and playing with her cat, Mango.

Mike Malone – Life Coach

Mike attended Lehigh University and spent years working in the film industry before finding his true passion as a life coach and patient advocate. Mike has worked as a life and relationship coach on the in-patient and outpatient level for over three years and was the program director of a high-end sober living in Los Angeles. He uses a client centered approach to help individuals align with their ideal self professionally, personally and spiritually. Mike has years of personal and professional experience in recovery and spent time working as a mentor for dual-diagnosis clients. As a counselor, he has extensive experience working with adolescents and adults and is currently in clinical training for his Marriage and Family Therapy License at Antioch University in Los Angeles.

Olivia Lawrance – Academic & Test Prep Tutor

Olivia graduated from Johnson State College with her literature degree in 2013. From there, she went on to earn her Master of the Fine Arts at Wichita State University, where she also taught composition courses. Originally from Jeffersonville, Vermont, Olivia now resides in Dover, New Hampshire. In her spare time she focuses on her writing and her two dogs, Mingus and Napoleon.

Olivia Pijanowski – Academic Tutor

Olivia was raised in West Roxbury, MA, and attended University of Massachusetts Amherst, earning an undergraduate degree of B.S. in Psychology Neuroscience. Since graduating, Olivia has been working at Massachusetts General Hospital and is currently a clinical research coordinator involved in research studies for individuals who have ALS. Additionally, she is currently finishing up a Masters in Biomedical Science at Tufts University. In her free time, Olivia enjoys going to spin class, yoga, watching live music and spending time outside!

Sarah Pratt – Academic & Essay Writing Tutor

Sarah lives in Holliston, Massachusetts and is currently home with her two young children. After her undergraduate studies at the University of New Hampshire, and working several years as a paralegal, she decided to follow her calling and become a teacher. She earned a Masters in Teaching from Simmons College and has taught middle school English in Lynnfield and Medfield districts. As an English teacher, Sarah focused on teaching learners how to develop active reading skills and use written language for understanding and communication. She is passionate about making social-emotional connections with learners and strives to connect content to life experiences. Sarah enjoys volunteering in her children’s classrooms, watching their educational experiences evolve, and spends a lot of time on Pinterest finding crafts to keep them busy. She loves the outdoors and is outside in all seasons, biking, hiking, and most belovedly, skiing.

Seth Shamres – Academic Tutor

Seth was born in New York City but grew up in North Miami Beach after his parents migrated there when he was two. Seth was valedictorian of his high school class of 783 and went on to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Electrical Engineering. He has worked as both a hardware engineer in test systems and as a systems administrator for Unix, Linux, and Windows systems, and has lived and worked as an engineer in Sacramento, CA, and in New Orleans, LA. He is generally interested in all sciences and also enjoys music and photography.

Vinesha Baker – Academic & Test Prep Tutor

Vinesha Baker was born in Brooklyn, NY, but has lived in Boston, MA for most of her childhood. Vinesha is a graduate of Columbia University in the City of New York, where she majored in Art History. While attending Columbia, she joined Peer Health Exchange as a Health Educator to teach health topics to ninth graders in New York City Public Schools. Vinesha first began tutoring in high school and has continued beyond college. She believes that every child can succeed in life if they are given an environment that fosters to their particular learning style. She has worked with the Math/Science UMass-Nobles Upward Bound Program for the past five years teaching math, tutoring students in other subject areas, and advising students through the college application process. Vinesha has recently become the Assistant Director of the program and loves that she can continue to help kids reach their academic goals. Outside of work, Vinesha enjoys oil painting, film-and-darkroom photography and visiting as many new art exhibits and galleries as possible!

Will Coyne – Academic Tutor

Will lives in Needham and is a senior at St. Sebastian’s School. He specializes in tutoring mathematics and test prep, including the Math 2 SAT subject test. He has completed an accelerated math curriculum which includes Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra through Johns Hopkins University. Will has tutored middle school and high school students over the last year.
In his free time, Will serves as president of the International Club, details cars and travels the country with Operation Breakfast, serving breakfast to people who have suffered a natural disaster.

Bryce Parazin – Academic Tutor

Bryce is a senior at Westwood High School and lives in Westwood. He specializes in tutoring both AP Physics 1 and AP Chemistry in addition to math up to and including precalculus and college test prep. Over the last few years, Bryce has completed all of those courses as honors or AP level courses and is excited to help others learn that material. Bryce serves as a senior captain on the Westwood Science Olympiad team and head of web design on the Westwood Robotics team in addition to other hobbies like hiking and playing board games.