Meet our Ocala Tutoring Staff


Great Teachers Inspire

Our tutors and staff in Ocala consist of passionate educators who love inspiring children to succeed. Warm, caring and great at relating to kids, our tutors in Ocala 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 Ocala!

  • Seth Patrick, Executive Director

    Seth Patrick

    Executive Director

    Hello! Seth oversees the educational integrity of our programs and managing/training our team of tutors in Gainesville. Seth brings a wealth of knowledge to Sylvan of Gainesville. He graduated from Manchester University in Indiana. When Seth isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find him playing golf or doing mathematics. Furthermore, Seth oversees all of the academic programs in our center and works with the Center Director to prepare progress reports to present to families each month. Seth also supervises our instruction floor and helps our students grow in order to achieve their goals! He is very dedicated to his position and is ready to serve you in any way that he can. Welcome to the Sylvan Family!!!
  • Larry Shaffer, Teacher

    Larry Shaffer


    Larry has been teaching at Sylvan of Ocala since March 2012. He teaches Sylvan’s Math Essentials, geometry, pre-algebra, and algebra 1 programs. He also teaches chemistry and biology homework support. In the past he worked as a veterinarian specializing in horses. He is excited to work for Sylvan so that he can have the opportunity to interact with youth and give back to the community.

    "I enjoy working at Sylvan because I get to see my students' self esteem blossom. Watching young people grasp a new concept is particularly rewarding."
  • Nancy Lane, Teacher

    Nancy Lane


    I have been working at Sylvan since 2007. I teach Beginning Reading, Academic Reading, and Math. I taught Elementary Grades and Special Education in Tennessee for 30 years. I have a BA in elementary education and MA in Special education. I love working at Sylvan, because it is very rewarding watching students’ progress as they understand a skill. In my spare time reading and knitting are my hobbies.
  • Mary I. Hurst, Teacher

    Mary I. Hurst


    Mary Hurst is a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of Woodside Baptist Church in Ocala, Florida. She is originally from the Berkshire Mountains of Connecticut where she grew up with her six siblings. She has five children of her own as well as three grandsons. She received her Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Georgia, majoring in Spanish and English and her Master’s Degree from Central Connecticut State University. Mary has taught Spanish and reading at the middle, high school, and college level in Connecticut, Georgia, and Florida for thirty years. She also has been tutoring students of all ages in Spanish and English for the last ten years. At home, she enjoys painting, sewing, writing, swimming, and gardening.
  • Lonell Pontoo, Upper Level Teacher

    Lonell Pontoo

    Upper Level Teacher

    My name is Lonell Pontoo. I was born and raised in South Carolina. I received my Bachelor’s Degree Mathematics from South Carolina State University in 1983. I also earned my Masters of Education Degree with a concentration in Mathematics from South Carolina State University in 1987. I later decided attend Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College to obtain an Associate Degree in Business with a concentration in Computer Technology in 1990. I have worked in various capacities and institutions. I have been teaching Mathematics since 1990. I enjoy enhancing my students understanding of mathematics.  Throughout my career I have been told that I make the subject easier to understand. Some of my hobbies are playing basketball, card games, watching TV, and listening to various kinds of music.  One of my goals in the future is to visit London, England, Aruba, and Paris, France.
  • Hailey Vaughn, Tutor

    Hailey Vaughn


    Hailey Vaughn is an elementary reading, writing and math instructor with a gift for working with kids. While Hailey has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in reading tutoring. She studied at Santa Fe College and the University of Florida. When Hailey isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her bike riding, working out, watching Netflix, gardening.
  • Karen J. Fleetwood, Instructor

    Karen J. Fleetwood


    I was born in Coronado, CA into a Navy family so I have moved quite a bit, both within the United States & outside. I attended Mary Washington Coll. in Virginia as a history major, but switched majors to spec. educ. when I attended Glassboro State College. I did my grad & post-grad work at the Univ. of Virginia. After grad school, I worked in the public schools for over 32 years, as a teacher, supervisor/coordinator, & private advocate. I worked in Albemarle Co., VA; GA; and FL, retiring out of Loudoun Co., VA. After retirement, I moved to Florida & ended up back in education as an adjunct professor at South Florida State College for 3 years. I have taught from kindergarten through high school, as well as GED prep. When I decided to stay in Florida, I bought a home in Ocala & began tutoring at Sylvan in March 2019 & have been here ever since.

  • Sheri Patzwald, Instructor

    Sheri Patzwald


    I returned to Sylvan in June 2021 after a 30 year hiatus! During that time, I raised my family and eventually returned to teaching full-time. I currently teach high school math at First Assembly Christian School. When not working, I am an avid genealogist, scrap booker and Ohio State Buckeyes fan. Most importantly, I love spending time with my 3 grandboys!