James Backlund

Foreign Language Department Head, Economics Department Head, Test Prep & Academic Tutor, College Counselor

I had the good fortune of being born on the San Francisco Peninsula, and into the Silicon Valley. My elementary school was Trinity School, Crystal Springs Uplands was my middle and high school, and Menlo Park has always been my beloved home. I finally left the area when I went away to Carleton College in Minnesota, but even then I had chosen to get out of California precisely because I knew I’d be back. Sure enough, after I earned my undergrad degree I returned to the Bay Area, moved to San Francisco, and began working in the Admission and then Development Office of my former elementary school.

At the same time, I began taking accounting and finance classes at UC Berkeley Extension. I then decided to earn an MBA in Sustainable Management, which I did at the Presidio Graduate School. After Presidio, I found work in Brazil with a company that later had me working out of Mexico and Colombia as well.

But all the while, I worked as a tutor. Indeed, tutoring and mentoring has been a thread that runs through more than half of my life. While in high school I volunteered with Project READ to teach literacy skills. In college I mentored first- and second-generation students, while also TA’ing Spanish classes. After college, I had engagements with a number of local educational nonprofits, such as the AVID Program, Music@Menlo, the San Mateo Community Colleges Foundation, and Art in Action. At Presidio, I was a teaching assistant for both the micro- and macroeconomics classes. While working in Latin America, I worked with high schoolers and adults in improving their English skills as well as their preparation for tests such as the SAT and ACT, the GRE, and the GMAT.

Now that I’m working with AJ, I’ve deeply enjoyed taking my tutoring skills to the next level. The training and ongoing support we receive as tutors is phenomenal, and it’s so gratifying that we become fully enabled to make substantial, positive differences in not only the how our students succeed in school, but also in life. This is because not only are AJ tutors superb at guiding students through difficult material, but we help the students demonstrate to themselves that they can succeed at really difficult things.

I love tutoring because I help my students see that they can accomplish absolutely anything they want to. And I love working at AJ Tutoring because we work with only 1 student at a time, so we can discover and unearth the very best from within each student.
It’s enormously rewarding work.

Subjects Tutored

College Counseling
College Application Essays
Academic Algebra 1
Academic Algebra 2
Academic Economics
Academic Geometry
Academic K-8
Academic Pre-Calculus
Academic Spanish
Academic Study Skills
AP European History
AP Macroeconomics
AP Microeconomics
AP Spanish Language
AP Spanish Literature
AP U.S. Government & Politics
AP US History
AP World History

Offices Served



Happy parents and students

 I ended up in the 99th percentile which is very rewarding for me. I hope this news is a message to James to keep doing what he's doing to make the goals of student like myself achievable.  Read what others are saying

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