Catherine Stiles

Team Leader, English Department Head, Test Prep and Academic Tutor


Born and raised right here in the Bay Area, I spent my high school years at Harker before taking off to the East Coast to attend Wellesley College. I graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley with a major in Russian Area Studies and a minor in English. My academic experience consisted primarily of small classes with lots of opportunities for discussion and collaboration, including offering my peers feedback on essays and working with them to master difficult topics.

While at Wellesley, I had the opportunity to tutor students beginning their studies of the Russian language. Russian is a particularly difficult language for the English-speaking mind to grasp, so I quickly learned to adapt and think creatively to address each student’s individual struggles. I realized that the 1-on-1 learning atmosphere was crucial for honing in on the unique learning styles of each student and assuring that each session was crafted to his or her best benefit.

I use this adaptivity at AJ in order to tailor my approach to match individual learning styles, strengths, and weaknesses. I believe in helping students understand how they learn and to develop the tools to approach their studies effectively. I also aim not for rote memorization or formulaic approaches, but for true understanding of and engagement with the material. If I can also spark interest in a subject or class formerly considered dull, that is all the more rewarding! I love watching students’ confidence grow, and I seek to bring creativity, patience, and enthusiasm to help students reach their goals. My 1-on-1 tutoring practice is focused on test preparation (the SAT, ACT and SAT Subject exams) as well as academic tutoring (English and K-8 subjects).

My free time is spent on creative writing, studying premodern music, honing my skills on medieval and triple harps, volunteering with horses and individuals with disabilities at a therapeutic riding center, and reading everything from classic literature to fantasy novels.

Subjects Tutored

SAT
ACT
PSAT
ISEE, HSPT, SSAT
SAT Subject Math2
SAT Subject Literature
Academic English
Academic K-8
AP English Language and Composition
AP English Literature and Composition

Offices Served

Happy parents and students.

 Catherine was really patient and good at clarifying concepts I didn't understand. She made sure to check if I understood the concept before moving on.  Read what others are saying

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