Kaila Minick

Test Prep & Academic Tutor

Growing up in the forested hills of Santa Cruz, I was steeped in nature from a young age. I loved feeding wild birds out of my hand and watching how different animals interacted with each other and their environments. A deep curiosity about how the natural world works blossomed in me, and I carried this curiosity with me throughout school and beyond. Science and math quickly became my favorite subjects because they provide a framework for quantifying, explaining, and discovering more about the world around us. I also enjoyed learning the rules of English and the art of writing to better communicate my ideas with others and to better interpret the concepts and emotions conveyed in others’ writings. With my passion for gaining new knowledge and skills, and with the support of many wonderful teachers, I graduated as one of five valedictorians at Soquel High School in 2009.

When choosing which college to attend, the lush greenery of Portland, Oregon attracted me and reminded me of home. At Lewis & Clark College, the rich and rigorous academic environment gave me a well-rounded liberal arts education, as well as the opportunity to engage in research as an undergraduate student. I double majored in Biology and Psychology, and numerous neuroscience courses deepened my understanding of the complex interplay between the human body and mind.

I first started tutoring while in college, working with high school students on math and science, and I quickly discovered that I loved helping others have those wonderful “a-ha!” moments where everything clicks. After graduating, I wanted to continue being of service to others, so I started working as an instructor for children and young adults with moderate to severe autism spectrum disorder. This work was both challenging and very fulfilling, and I enjoyed getting to know my students on a deep level and customizing my lesson plans and teaching styles to best fit their needs. After several years there, I wanted to spread my wings, so I took a job as an online English teacher for Chinese children. This position allowed me to teach remotely, so my husband and I took the opportunity to travel around the world and visit over a dozen different countries, from Brazil to Italy to Thailand. Over the course of a year, I taught several hundred English classes to children ages 4 to 14. I enjoyed working with students of all levels and helping them practice their reading, pronunciation, and conversational skills. Experiencing different cultures through both my work and my travels was mind-expanding and humbling, and not knowing the language in many of the countries I visited deepened my empathy for the Chinese students I taught and for all language learners.

We returned home just before the pandemic hit, and I jumped into taking some science courses at a local community college, with the plan to apply to Physician Assistant school. While completing courses like Anatomy and Physiology, I realized that the study groups I led each week were one of my favorite parts of the learning process. I enjoyed working with others to share knowledge, create helpful mnemonics, and connect what we were learning to our everyday lives. I carried these skills with me while working as a supplemental instructor for my Physiology professor the following semester. Helping students learn complex physiological processes through drawings, analogies, and lots of practice, I realized that my passion lay more in education than in medicine.

With all my experience in one-on-one teaching and educational support, I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of this highly personalizable learning environment. Working one-on-one with a student provides a unique opportunity to get to know them, their learning styles, and their interests on a deep level, and I can use that understanding to better craft lessons and explanations that work well with their unique mind and interests. Learning also takes time, and I enjoy developing rapport and trust over the course of many sessions. I believe that students learn best when they know that the person teaching them is fully invested in their success and will support them in reaching their goals.

When I’m not working with students, I enjoy hiking, playing video games, cooking, and watching movies with my husband. I also love to travel, and I look forward to when I can safely explore the world again!

Subjects Tutored:

ISEE, HSPT, SSAT, and Writing Sample
Academic Algebra 1
Academic Chemistry
Academic Biology
Academic Study Skills
Academic K-8
AP Chemistry
AP Biology


Happy Parents and Students

 I would be likely to recommend AJ Tutoring, because its a great program that does a great job going over subjects and the tutors care about the students. Overall it's a great environment and some of the tutors have even given me a liking to some subjects.  Read what others are saying

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