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.
Jean Snyder, an experienced math and literacy specialist, brings to her students a passion for teaching and learning in all facets of life. Having retired from a 25-year teaching career with Montgomery County Public Schools, Jean looks forward to leveraging her classroom teaching experience at Somerset Elementary for one-on-one and small group tutoring. Jean has always approached teaching with the goals of sparking excitement for learning through hands-on exploration and helping students to become lifelong learners. Committed to her own professional development and continuous learning, Jean regularly participates in workshops, seminars, and word travel to share with her students.
Born and raised in a small Midwestern town, Jean always had a strong desire to travel and explore the world. She graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in English and Spanish and a Secondary Teaching certificate. In her first career after college, Jean traveled the world for Pan American World Airways as a flight attendant, trainer, supervisor, and sales representative. A teacher at heart, Jean later pursued a Master’s degree from the University of Maryland in Elementary Education and began her second career as a 4th and 5th grade teacher. Her love for learning about absolutely everything—from world cultures to current events to math to literature to science—inspires her students and helps Jean to build a special connection with each learner.
Jean was part of her school’s leadership team and her upper elementary classroom experience has included work with many international students with limited English, students with a variety of special needs, and students with extraordinary academic abilities. Jean is a master at differentiating instruction to address varying skill levels and creative tendencies, while encouraging students to stretch to achieve their personal best as they become increasingly independent and organized. Special emphasis on helping students develop math concepts as well as computation skills has been central in her classroom. She sponsored and coached Math Olympiads, an after school math enrichment program, for many years and helps her students to become persistent, resourceful, and strategic problem solvers. Jean also loves helping students discover and develop their own personal stories through the integration of reading and writing.
She currently volunteers one day a week in an elementary school in Anacostia, DC, where there are many at-risk students. She also recently worked in the Foreign Language Enrichment Program at her neighborhood DC public school where her own sons formerly attended school K-6. Three days a week she conducted a before-school beginning Spanish class for second graders. She also serves as a substitute organist-pianist-choir director about once a month at her church.
In her free time, Jean loves to travel, play the piano, sing in a choir, read daily, in-line skate, and hike. She and her husband reside in northwest Washington, DC. They have two grown sons, one a teacher and one a lawyer (like mom and dad!).
Miriam Bader has extensive experience working creatively with children in classroom and museum settings as well as private tutoring. As Education Director at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Miriam oversees educational programs serving teachers and K-12 students. Prior to joining the Tenement Museum, Miriam worked at the Museum at Eldridge Street, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Jewish Museum, Congregation Shearith Israel, and as an elementary teacher in both private and public school settings.
Miriam received her MS in Museum Education from Bank Street College of Education and her BA from Yeshiva University, with a History major and Psychology minor. Miriam holds New York childhood teacher certification and a certificate from the Institute in Jewish Art at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Miriam is a PresenTense NYC Fellow and an alumnus of ROI120, a global community of Jewish innovators.
When not creating unique educational experiences for students of all ages, Miriam enjoys spending time in New York’s glorious parks with a good book.