Derrick Williamson

Test Prep & Academic Tutor

Growing up on a farm in the Midwest and spending much of my time in the outdoors, I developed a deep affection for nature and environmental issues at an early age. Fascinated by biology, ecology, geology, astronomy, and everything else that surrounded me in the wild, I wanted to be a scientist, even at that age. I have since followed that calling into a career with the Environmental Protection Agency where I provide technical oversight on environmental cleanup projects. I enjoy the fact that every project poses a new challenge and provides an opportunity to give back to the community. I now manage environmental compliance operations in regional VA hospitals.

I was very lucky to have been offered an exceptional high school education when I was selected as one of 100 students to attend a specialized math and science boarding school that was designed to offer an opportunity for a more rigorous education to rural students with a demonstrated aptitude for learning. The most valuable experience from this education was the constant experimentation we conducted in each class. Not only did I learn the value of hands-on experience, I learned to appreciate science as a tool for problem solving.

My first experience as a tutor came while completing my degree and working in the adaptive technology lab to coach students with learning difficulties. By experimenting with different learning strategies, many students were able to overcome their difficulties and find academic success. With dreams of traveling abroad, I also worked as an English as a second language (ESL) teacher and completed the CELTA teaching credential from Cambridge University. During my training, I taught students from thirteen different countries and enjoyed the challenge of creating lectures and coursework to help a diverse group of people.

My experiences as a teacher and tutor have been some of the most rewarding of my life. Just as so many of the lessons I learned as a student have stuck with me, I hope to leave a similar impression on my students. My teaching philosophy consists of three parts: to personally exhibit a love of learning, to model various approaches to problem solving, and to help develop intuition and reasoning. At AJ, I enjoy building students’ foundational knowledge and critical thinking skills. I specialize in working with elementary and middle school students on all aspects of their academics, in addition to middle and high school entrance exams such as the ISEE, SSAT, and HSPT. Whether I’m coaching reading comprehension or helping students master a new math concept, my goal is always to find the explanations and approaches that work best for each student.

Outside of working and tutoring you will most likely find me in front of a digital audio workstation writing songs and producing music. I also discovered a love of wheelchair ballroom dance, and I have completed the training necessary to become a teacher. I have been a regular guest lecturer in the dance department at CSU East Bay and in the department of Kinesiology at SJSU and have also taught classes with California Children’s Services, Bay Area Outdoor Recreation Program (BORP), and the San Jose Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp.

Subjects Tutored:

Interview Prep
ISEE, HSPT, SSAT, and Writing Sample
Academic Study Skills
Academic K-8


Happy Parents and Students

 He is super engaging, knowledgable, and clear. I liked the friendly environment and overall atmosphere and I felt that the sessions were very productive.  Read what others are saying

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