Classroom Matters’ tutors are indeed the “Best of the Bay!” We hire experienced and proven tutors from top universities in the United States and abroad. In addition to a thorough background check, we provide intensive and ongoing training in our philosophy and approach to learning. Our tutors are dedicated professionals who are passionate about working with and supporting young people. Every Classroom Matters staff member receives ongoing training on how to support students with learning differences and cultivate executive functioning skills. Read on to learn more about them, or click here to read about our directors.
Derek Burle, a Los Angeles native, grew up knowing he wanted to be involved in both science and music. Derek also felt drawn to math, despite the fact it was always a very challenging subject. He had to work hard to master concepts, and with the help of a tutor, his efforts paid off in high school. Derek went on to study Earth Science at UC Santa Cruz and began his music career there as a bass player. As a many-year, veteran CM tutor, Derek has worked with students in math, science, history, English literature and writing, executive functioning and test prep. Having struggled through math classes in high school, Derek has invaluable insight into how to teach difficult concepts to students who are having trouble grasping material. In addition to Derek’s work with CM clients, he is a gigging musician, and a music teacher specializing in guitar, bass and ukulele. When not at Classroom Matters, you can find Derek playing the bass, at a concert, rock climbing or riding his bike.
Derek tutors chemistry, physics, environmental science, math up to pre-calculus, statistics, ACT/SAT test prep, HSPT/ISEE/SSAT, and executive functioning.
Ibrahim Belagam moved as a child from the quiet, snowy suburbs of Utah to the bustling, sunny tropics in Malaysia. After spending many years growing up in Malaysia, his family moved back and settled in San Diego, which he now considers home. Currently, Ibrahim is a fourth year undergraduate at UC Berkeley, pursuing a B.S. in Civil Engineering. His passion for structural engineering stems from his travels while living in Asia, where he developed a love for beautiful architecture and was also exposed to impoverished communities living in derelict housing. Ibrahim aspires to use his degree to better infrastructure development and help those living in poor conditions. With experience tutoring students at many different levels (university, community college, high school, and middle school), Ibrahim is always striving to discover better ways of explaining concepts to his mentees in understandable and relatable terms. When not busy with academics, Ibrahim enjoys reading, riding his bike, seeing new places, and meeting interesting people.
Ibrahim tutors K–8, humanities, chemistry, all levels of math, and executive functioning.
Kate Williams graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in History with a focus on 20th Century Europe. After graduating, she had a blast leading and developing educational field trips in San Francisco. She enjoyed finding creative and engaging ways to teach history, archaeology, and ecology to youth. Kate grew up in California’s Central Valley— only an hour away from Yosemite. In her free time, she hikes, listens to podcasts, gardens, and tries to visit every museum within a hundred mile radius.
Kate tutors K-8, humanities, algebra 1, and executive functioning.
Larisa Shaterian is an MA student at UC Berkeley studying Folklore. Her research focuses on political uses of memes on Twitter. She holds a BA from NYU in Media Studies and Arabic. Larisa’s lifelong interests include writing, gardening, and ritual in theater spaces and church spaces. She trained in Shakespeare for two summers at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and has a tendency to integrate as many theater games as possible into her teaching. More recently, she has developed an interest in sewing.
Larisa tutors reading and writing at all levels, AP English, AP US and World History, AP psychology, French 1-4, ISEE (lower level), and executive functioning.
Megan Susman is a native of Los Angeles, and hopes you won’t hold it against her. Since moving to the Bay, she has tried to integrate, including two summers of working at Camp Kee Tov, as well as investing in a North Face jacket. She recently graduated from Mills, earning her MFA in Prose, and previously received her BA in English from UC Santa Cruz. Between her two degrees, Megan spent a year abroad in Israel, where she worked in a petting zoo on a kibbutz and in a kitchen in Tel Aviv. Her approach to tutoring involves a lot of patience, positive feedback, and most of all – fun! She hopes to instill her love of words, literature, learning, and intellectual risk-taking into others.
Megan tutors writing, English, HSPT/ISEE/SSAT, and executive functioning. She can also help with college applications.
Though Shana Rocklin grew up in sunny southern California and studied psychology at UCSD, she traded beach weather and flip flops for the chance to follow her high school sweetheart (now husband) to the quirky Bay Area. She is a Certified Horticulturist as well as a Nutrition Educator/Counselor, but most especially treasures the past four years of adventures-in-homeschooling shared with her now-teenaged son through his middle school years. It was during this experience that she developed a deep respect for all those who support learning whether they call themselves teachers, coaches, tutors, mentors, or otherwise reach out to share their passions with others. Shana loves to garden, snuggle with her dog, cats, and chickens (!), read books, rollerblade, and hike in the hills.
Shana is our Operations Manager.