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Meet our Lake Mary Tutoring Staff


Great Teachers Inspire

Our tutors and staff in Lake Mary consist of passionate educators who love inspiring children to succeed. Warm, caring and great at relating to kids, our tutors in Lake Mary know how to engage and motivate each child in a personal way—building confidence and smiles, as well as skills and better scores. We selectively choose tutors who know local curriculum and can link Sylvan lessons to what’s being taught in school. Get to know our tutors and staff in Lake Mary!

  • Richard Thornton, Director

    Richard Thornton


    Richard has been volunteering and working as a tutor since 2008. In 2014 he graduated from the University of Florida with a major in Medical Anthropology and minor in Epidemiology. Right after graduating he worked as a construction foreman for Habitat for Humanity in Atlantic Beach. In 2016 he moved to Orlando and started working at another local Habitat affiliate and at this Sylvan center. He is pursuing a Master's in Nonprofit Management with a focus in Education. In his spare time he enjoys training in martial arts, playing music, woodworking, and backpacking.
  • Ali Reza Peera, Director of Operations

    Ali Reza Peera

    Director of Operations

    Ali graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics in 2016. Since then, Ali has been a paraprofessional and teacher for Seminole County Public Schools. Additionally, he has been tutoring his friends and family since he was a high school junior. His philosophy on teaching is that anyone can be taught no matter the circumstances. He considers himself a consistent learner and tries to pick up any miscellaneous projects and activities that intrigue him including running, elementary carpentry projects, music equipment modification, and hiking/camping. Ali plays several instruments and is a fan of sonic manipulation of any sort. During his free time, he plays, records, and produces music for himself and friends.
  • Catherine Zeuli, Director of Education

    Catherine Zeuli

    Director of Education

    Catherine is a half Finnish compassionate individual who loves learning, traveling, art, making a difference, and giving back to her community. She has a professional interest in early childhood education and curriculum design. Catherine grew up in the public school system and continued her education at the University of Central Florida where she majored in early childhood education with an ESOL endorsement. After graduating in 2006 she started working as a primary education teacher for Seminole County Public Schools. One of her educational highlights was being the Leonard Bernstein Artful Learning curriculum leader where she had the opportunity to travel and design units of inquiry for a magnet program. Having a professional background in curriculum design in early childhood education while working side by side with parents have afforded Catherine the unique ability to achieve highly effective marks in the areas of curriculum development, implementation, data tracking/analysis and planning of goal-oriented standards-based instruction with a creative worldly perspective.
  • Samantha Duffy, Instructor

    Samantha Duffy


    Samantha graduated from the University of South Florida in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education.  She also minored in Psychology and American Sign Language. Samantha has taught first and second grade in Orange County Public Schools. She also graduated with a second Bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Central Florida in 2018.  She is now working on pursuing a Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her new baby boy, husband and family.
  • Dwan Miller, Instructor

    Dwan Miller


    Dwan has a B.A. in Communication Sciences Area from the University of Florida and has taught more than 20 years of experience in many educational areas. She has the 300 hour Florida Reading Endorsement qualifying her to coach grades K-12 ESOL/English/Reading and has taught grades 6-12 English/Reading. Highlights of her career include being the focus of a Florida Reading Consortium video as well as a UCF student production “Most Innovative Teacher”. Her certifications span from Curriculum Assessment, Effective Classroom Teacher practices and After-School program tutoring and management, Accreditation Chair, Literacy Council member, Blue Ribbon Panel facilitator, ASCD member, and in multiple schools as Department Chair, so she understands all too well that a child’s success in learning stems from a host of areas. 
  • Stephanie Trecansky, Instructor

    Stephanie Trecansky


    Stephanie graduated from Mansfield University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and then from the University of Central Florida with a Master’s Degree in Exceptional Student Education.  She has gone on to receive endorsements in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Gifted Education, and ESOL.  She has taught in Orange County Charter Schools for over ten years and is currently a teacher of fourth and fifth grade students with ASD.  She loves working with the students and helping them find strategies to succeed in everything they do.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her family and attending concerts.
  • Rebecca Dew, Instructor

    Rebecca Dew


    Rebecca is an avid fan of literature and cultural criticism.  With a PhD in Politics and an Honors degree in English, Rebecca currently spends time teaching students how to ace the SAT at Sylvan Learning and also serves as a full-time English teacher at Lake Mary High School. With experience teaching, tutoring and passing college entrance exams with scores sufficient for entrance into Harvard, Rebecca brings her love of learning and the written word to bear with the students she instructs at Sylvan. In her spare time, Rebecca also likes to swim, run, read, and pretend she can complete other projects.
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    This information is pulled from the Manage My Center Information section on slclink. Visit that section on slclink to update your center’s contact information.