Grant Bergland was an intern at The New Yorker, taught at Columbia University, worked as a part-time Professor at The New School, and helped countless students earn top tier (and sometimes perfect) scores on standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, and ISEE tests.
Part of Grant’s secret to being a great educator is that he comes from a family of teachers and has worked as a special education teacher. Over the past 25 years, Grant has taught students from the ages of 8 to 89 as a classroom teacher, private tutor, wrestling coach, curriculum writer, Executive Function Coach, and Adult Education instructor.
Grant Bergland published his thesis at Columbia University and holds a Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Writing. A Master’s degree in English Literature and dual teaching credentials in English Rhetoric/Composition and Art History/Design round out Grant’s background as a master educator. Grant is a member of the National Education Association (NEA), holds a Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development (CLAD) certification, and has a College Reading and Language Association (CRLA) Master Tutor certificate.
As an undergrad, Grant wrestled for Arizona State University’s Division I program and met Dan Gable, Dave Schultz, J. Robinson, Lee Roy Smith, Dan Severn, and trained with two time Olympian Zeke Jones. Grant was a Sun Devil “Spark” award-winning athlete and followed a pre-med curriculum before being hired by Arizona State’s Writing Center where he discovered his love for composition.
“I’d never seen how important writing was until I started looking at my student’s successes and near-misses. Being able to present your thoughts in a way that any other person can feel is hard work. Actually, when you think about it, getting someone to understand you is the most important work we do in our lives.” Grant says.
Within a month of graduation, Grant Bergland was hired by Mt. Diablo Unified School District where he taught for ten years. His first assignment was teaching Economics, Earth Science, and Biology in Clayton Valley High School’s Special Education department. “I learned how to be a great teacher while teaching students with learning differences. I had to teach several classes simultaneously through a combination of various levels of scaffolding to fit my students’ needs. Also, I learned to be an entertainer and “sell” whatever it was that I was teaching at the time.”
Grant Bergland was a case manager for high school students and managed their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), which involved anticipating ways to meet the needs of students with learning disabilities and other obstacles to their education. To complete these IEPs, Grant conducted collaborative meetings with curriculum specialists, speech pathologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, teachers, principals, and parents.
Grant taught every level of High School composition (Grades 9-12), standardized test preparation, wrote curriculum approved to meet the A-F requirements for the University of California, and served as the department chair.
Under the banner of having big dreams and working hard to achieve them, Grant helped many students write admissions essays for applications to top tier colleges: “I can’t tell you how satisfying it was when I’d see a student run towards me across the school quad with an acceptance letter in hand saying: ‘I never thought I’d ever get in!’ It’s a great feeling to know you helped someone start living the life of their dreams,” Grant says.
In 2010, Grant Bergland moved to New York City, aided by a full tuition scholarship from Columbia University and 97th percentile ranking on the Verbal section of the GRE. At Columbia, he studied with notable writers, interned in the Fiction department at The New Yorker magazine, introduced George Saunders to a crowd of over a thousand, and was accepted into the prestigious Bread Loaf Writer’s Workshop founded in 1926 by Robert Frost.
As an academic coach with My Learning Springboard, Grant Bergland has coached dozens of students to earn perfect scores on their SAT and ACT writing prompts and top 1% or perfect scores in all sections. He also tutors middle school students the same skills for the SSAT and ISEE exams with the same level of passion and success. Grant co-authored the ACT and ISEE curriculum for My Learning Springboard and has written both ISEE and ACT test. Moreover, he’s worked as a homeschool teacher for Manhattan families, helped hundreds of students with writing coaching and executive function coaching, and gained a reputation for being able to advise, inspire, and work with any student.
“So much of who we are depends on identity,” Grant says. “Some students think they can never do something and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s my job to help them see and eventually believe they can do more than they ever thought possible. Work is effortless for students who believe that they are writing their own amazing story. I help them find that truth (whatever that might be for them) and get them started on an exciting life. In this way I feel I have the noblest of professions.”
He is a father of two, wrote and directed an award-winning short film, wrote four novels, traveled the world, and rides a very big motorcycle.
Joanna Brown is a Denver native who loves working with children of all ages. She is excited to privately tutor students as a Reading Specialist with the My Learning Springboard team.
Joanna earned her B.A. in History from the University of Colorado and her M.A. in Elementary Education and Literacy from Bank Street College. She has training in the Orton-Gillingham based, multisensory approach Preventing Academic Failure (PAF) as well as the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. She also has expertise in Reading Rescue and Wilson’s Fundations. Joanna has worked in a variety of educational environments throughout New York City, including charter schools, public schools and private schools. Before working as a full time Reading Specialist, Joanna worked as a head teacher at Kane Street Kids Preschool in Cobble Hill, and more recently as a Head Teacher at the Coop School in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Joanna’s literacy philosophy focuses on building independence and a sense of confidence as pathways to becoming a better reader. By teaching students to use a toolbox of skills and strategies, students are able to help themselves as they read more independently and gain confidence in the process. Joanna helps students to strengthen and improve their:
- Oral and written comprehension
- Phonemic awareness
- Phonics/word study
Joanna has a calm, patient nature and a playful sense of humor that help her to connect with students on a personal level. She believes that interest and motivation are critically important in supporting more thoughtful reading. She is passionate about helping students learn to love reading!
In her free time Joanna enjoys pilates, improv comedy, creative writing, dancing, and board game playing.
Samantha Lazar is a graduate of Columbia University’s Teachers College where she received her degree in Early Childhood Education, including Students with Disabilities. She draws on her domestic and international teaching and tutoring experiences to create a fun and engaging learning environment for her students. Samantha believes in partnering with families and other professionals, such as psychologists, classroom teachers, or learning specialists, to create a collaborative and cohesive academic support system for children. Most importantly, she builds a strong rapport with students by teaching through their strengths, which encourages the confidence necessary to tackle new learning challenges.
Samantha has extensive experience teaching a diverse group of elementary students from a wide range of backgrounds and varying ability levels. She spent a year teaching elementary school English at a public school in South Korea, expanding her knowledge of language and literacy development.
Upon returning to the U.S., Samantha began teaching in the New York City public school system, adapting the Common Core Standards for unique learners, using a variety of materials and strategies to provide targeted support for students. She has spent over five years teaching K-2 in both general and special education settings, and is currently teaching second grade in a Gifted and Talented program on the Lower East Side.
Samantha is trained in a wide range of math and literacy programs, including: TERC Investigations, Everyday Math, Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, PAF Reading Intervention (an Orton-Gillingham based program), Handwriting Without Tears, Wilson’s Fundations, Fountas and Pinnell’s Benchmark Assessment System, and more.
In addition to working with elementary school learners, Samantha has worked with preschool and kindergarten aged students to foster key skills necessary to succeed in a classroom setting. This includes building independence, following multi-step instructions, developing executive functions, sustained attention, sequencing, and interpersonal relations, along with strengthening fundamental numeracy and literacy skills.
In her spare time, Samantha enjoys traveling, reading, spending time with friends and family, and volunteering with animal rescue organizations across New York City.
Jennifer Cross, M.D.
Dr. Jennifer Cross is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Child Development at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. She received her medical degree (MB ChB) from Bristol University Medical School in England. She then moved to the United States and completed her Pediatric residency training at Lenox Hill Hospital and her fellowship training in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at New York Medical College in Valhalla.
After her fellowship, she was appointed as Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Developmental Pediatrics at NYMC and worked as an Attending Physician for eight years. Dr. Cross has been in practice at The McCarton Center for Developmental Pediatrics in Manhattan where she provided evaluations and management for children with a variety of developmental, learning, and behavioral disabilities including autistic spectrum disorders.
Dr. Cross is board certified in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and has a wide range of clinical experience in the diagnosis and management of children with developmental disabilities.
Martha Eddy, CMA, Ed.D.
Martha Eddy, RSMT, CMA, Ed.D., founder and director of the Center for Kinesthetic Education (CKE), brings to the fields of health, wellness and education, her strong belief in the power of movement and somatic-awareness to enhance lives. Through the power of physical movement she has found that any person or group can become better at feeling life’s satisfactions, embodying peace, and contributing to creating stronger and happier communities. Martha Eddy received her doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University in Movement Science and Education. She was also an adjunct professor in the Teachers College, Columbia University Dance Education Program for ten years. Dr. Eddy earned her Master’s of Arts in Applied Physiology and her Bachelor’s degree in Dance Education.
At CKE, in New York City, she maintains a private practice as a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) that involves teaching adults and children to bring awareness to their movement coordination to enhance functional and expressive capacity. She has decades of experience working with infants and children with behavioral, perceptual, and/or motor dysfunctions including those with attentional issues, developmental delays, and on the autism spectrum. Dr. Eddy also specializes in helping students who either prefer or lack kinesthetic channels for learning, and she approaches all academic subjects using multi-sensory methods. A play-based neuro-motor assessment is often used at the beginning of her work with new students.
Her practice draws on training and teaching in neuro-developmental movement therapy with occupational therapist, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, and physical therapist, Irmgard Bartenieff. She also serves as an educational advocate making school referrals and enjoys working as part of a team with educational and health professionals to offer children comprehensive programming. Her practical application of this knowledge provides a foundation for her Dynamic Embodiment Somatic Movement Therapy Training held in New York, Massachusetts, select international locations and in affiliation with Moving On Center in California, a non-profit educational organization that she co-founded with Carol Swann.
Moving On Center–The School of Participatory Arts and Research (MOC) opened in September 1995 in Oakland, California. The school’s mission is to train movement professionals to be leaders who use mindful physical activity in new, somatic approaches to health, education and performance in their communities around the world. MOC is unique as a somatic movement education program that integrates creative expression inclusive of performance in its educational methods. It includes community outreach programs, such as Learning to Move programs, that place a somatic movement specialist into public and independent schools to provide professional development with all school staff and direct services with students.
Dr. Eddy teaches conflict resolution, movement, dance, yoga, health advocacy, and physical and somatic education for adults and youth, as well as the pedagogy of each at universities, independent studios, and at conferences nationally and internationally. She serves as a consultant to the NYC Department Education, Educators for Social Responsibility and The Inner Resilience Program/Tides Center (formerly Project Renewal). Her teacher education has been offered at Bank Street College of Education, NJPAC, CUNY Early Childhood Center, the Dance Education Laboratory/92Y, NYU Steinhardt College of Education, and Hofstra University. She is a proficient Spanish speaker and does some teaching bilingually.
Dr. Eddy has held numerous academic positions at colleges and universities. She is currently on the faculty of the State University of New York (SUNY) Empire State College (ESC), and many of her courses are also part of the doctoral level program at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute in Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology or Somatic Psychology.
She continues to deepen her research and teaching methods regarding violence prevention in schools and recreational centers across the country by implementing her Peaceful Play Programming. She recently published a chapter and is writing numerous articles and a manual on topics related to physical, embodied, approaches to socio-emotional development in schools and through the arts.