Rob Margolis is the founder and president of Stumptown Test Prep, LLC. He has been a professional tutor since 1997, beginning in the Washington, DC, area, then in Manhattan, and now in Portland, where he is arguably the region’s most sought-after tutor. He has dedicated approximately 20,000 hours specifically to one-on-one standardized test preparation and has been featured in U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges, Newsweek, and Education Week. In addition, he has taught mathematics, history, and English to grades six through nine at public and private schools in Washington, DC, Santa Fe, NM, and Portland, OR.
Rob graduated from Yale University with a BA in History, and subsequently earned an MA in Liberal Arts from the Graduate Institute of St. John's College. He is originally from Washington, DC, and now lives in Portland, OR with his family. He is an avid Crossfitter and wishes he had more time to read Cormac McCarthy.
“Effective test preparation requires a process of adaptation, evolution. Standardized tests by their nature are models of consistency and predictability. The tests will not change to fit our needs; therefore we must be the ones to adapt. We must learn to think instead of react and to gain awareness of and control over our habits. Evolution of thought does not come easily: we are working against years of deeply ingrained patterns. If we practice well - daily, rigorously, intensely, thoughtfully - and contemplate how to achieve our goals, we will emerge from this process possessed of formidable capabilities.”
Logan has been helping students prepare for the SAT since it was revised in March 2005, teaching in such diverse locations as Salt Lake City and Palo Alto before moving to Portland and joining Stumptown Test Prep in February 2008 as one of the company’s first tutors. During his time at Stumptown, Logan has covered the entire testing spectrum: from working with students to dissect the rich literary allusions in Ezra Pound’s poetry on the SAT Literature Test to helping illuminate such byzantine concepts as the magnitude of vectors on the SAT Math II Test.
As Test Preparation is no student’s favorite subject, Logan prides himself on presenting even the driest of material in an entertaining and memorable fashion. He hopes to inspire students to not simply memorize a vocabulary word but also to excavate its rich etymological history. Thus for him, tutoring is not simply about improving test scores but also developing students’ critical reasoning skills and providing them with new learning methods that will assist them in college and beyond.
Logan graduated from Wesleyan University with High Honors in the College of Letters and also has an MA in the MAPSS Program from the University of Chicago. Although he grew up in Salt Lake City, he was born in Corvallis and enjoys being back in his home-state.
Jay has been with Stumptown Test Prep for six years and has more than 5000 hours of test-prep tutoring. He has been tutoring in Portland for nine years, working with a spectrum of populations, including those at Minds Matter, Project Grow at Port City, and Janus Youth. For the past eight years, Jay has also worked as a freelance editor for firms on Wall Street. In all capacities, he relishes the opportunity to help people express themselves with greater clarity. Though literary minded, Jay loves to teach math and help students understand the myriad ways to approach the relationships between numbers. He always focuses on a student’s strengths and particular style of learning.
Jay believes a student's greatest opportunity for educational growth comes from a sense of self agency. Accordingly, he helps students identify their long-term goals and the skills necessary to achieve those goals.
Jay graduated with high honors from UC Berkeley, where he returned in 2008 to give the English department’s valedictory address. As an undergraduate he also worked full time as a reporter and editor for Berkeley's student-run daily newspaper. He spent his senior year in a prestigious literature program at Trinity College in Dublin.
Prior to teaching, Jay lived and worked on an organic farm outside Portland. Known to neighbors as Farmer Jay, he has a passion for agriculture and the means by which people nourish themselves. He is an avid cyclist and has ridden his bike across swaths of North America, Europe and China. Most recently, he spent two months riding from his house in North Portland to downtown Manhattan (check out his blog at www.thebikingjay.com).
Morgan Azinger has been helping Portland students prepare for standardized tests for the past four years and has more than 3,000 hours of test-prep tutoring. In addition to test prep, she has helped students in grades six through twelve with English, Spanish, and general study habits. She has also mentored students to improve their college admissions essays through Portland Literary Arts and taught as a visiting poet for Portland Public Schools.
Her experience with a wide variety of students with different learning styles has made her particularly adept at helping students find their motivation or confidence. As someone who never particularly enjoyed math in high school, Morgan now finds it her favorite thing to teach as she encourages her students to see these tests as puzzles that can be solved through creativity and perseverance (and the myriad uses of the Pythagorean Theorem). She believes that confidence is the key to success with standardized tests and enjoys finding ways to make intimidating material feel approachable, fresh, and fun.
Morgan graduated from Kenyon College as a double major in English and Spanish, specializing in translation. A Portland native, she attended Lincoln High School and can speak to the culture and quirks of the Portland community and the pros and cons of going to college across the country. She is thrilled to be back teaching on her home turf.
Shveta has over ten years of experience as a test-prep tutor at premier test prep companies in the US, UK, and Asia. She was a New York State certified and tenured High School English Teacher, and her exam guide for AP Literature was published by McGraw Hill. She currently works as a teacher-coach for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a position that allows her to further develop her expertise in reading intervention pedagogy and in research-based instructional practices that enhance learning outcomes for students of all backgrounds.
Shveta brings to each tutoring session an enthusiasm for discovering how each of her students learns best. Having taught freshmen who were more than two grade levels behind, motivated college-bound juniors, adult engineers in Japan who had little to no English language skills, and even aspiring chefs trying to meet a Composition requirement at a culinary institute, she has developed effective strategies for tailoring standard test prep material to meet the unique learning needs of each student.
During tutoring sessions, Shveta encourages her students to discover answers themselves. If a student is confused by grammar rules, math formulas, or difficult reading passages, she breaks the material down into manageable chunks. She then guides the student through a series of questions that shed light on the underlying concepts. One of the best parts of her job is finding a way to make the “lesson” relevant to her students’ lives. In recent months, she has leveraged what she has learned from her students about baseball statistics, obscure rap artists, and The Lord of the Rings to elucidate SAT and ACT questions that would otherwise seem irrelevant or intimidating.
She believes that an important part of her job is helping to assuage her students’ anxieties about standardized testing. This may involve helping a student overcome feelings of defeat due to past scores that failed to meet expectations. Drawing on a background working with dyslexic readers and non-native speakers of English, Shveta empowers students to work through emotional blocks that may be undermining their full academic potential. When students leave a session with Shveta, they feel confident in themselves and excited about what they have learned.
Shveta has a BA in English with Honors from UC Berkeley, a Masters in English with Distinction from the University of London and a Masters of Science in Education. When she’s not working with students and teachers, she enjoys sewing, crafting, and exploring the great outdoors with her four-year-old daughter.