Meet our Lakeland Tutoring Staff


Great Teachers Inspire

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

  • Deena Porter, Owner/Executive Director

    Deena Porter

    Owner/Executive Director

    Deena graduated from the University of Florida in 1997 with a Master’s in Elementary Education and a Specialization in Reading. She was employed at Sylvan from 1998-2008 as a Director of Education, Center Director, and finally a District Manager. When the owner at that time sold, Deena spent time running a company called YoungBiz (teaching teens and organizations how to develop financial literacy and start a business). In addition, Deena has had 15 years in the classroom setting teaching multiple different subjects. Her current certifications are in Elementary, Reading, and Science. When not running Sylvan Learning, Deena loves spending time with her husband Andrew, and two boys, Luke & Ben.
  • Michelle Eddy, Director of Education

    Michelle Eddy

    Director of Education

    Michelle graduated from Southeastern University in 2006 with a B.S. in Elementary Education. She has been with Sylvan for over 15 years. When Michelle is not working she enjoys spending time with her daughter and husband. Her hobbies include reading, going to movies, and going to Disney. Michelle's favorite aspect of working at Sylvan is the personalized approach, getting to know each of the students and watching their confidence grow as they begin to succeed. 
  • Jeff Eddy, Tutor

    Jeff Eddy


    Jeff has taught at Sylvan for three years. He teaches ACT/SAT courses as well as upper level math. When Jeff is not teaching, he enjoys being with his wife and daughter and volunteering at his church. When teaching, Jeff enjoys utilizing his psychological education and training to better connect with his students and enhance their learning progress. 
  • India Johnson, Instructor

    India Johnson


    I have been with Sylvan for over twenty years and have enjoyed every minute. Both of my children have been students at Sylvan and have benefited greatly from the guidance provided here. I have worked as an AP and IB Psychology teacher and currently work at a middle/high school. 
  • Ray Thompson, Instructor

    Ray Thompson


    I've been in education for 25 years. I've taught third grade through 11th grade. I renewed my undergraduate degree at FSU and Ijust finished my doctorate in Education Curriculum and Assessment from UWF. I currently teach high school. I'm married with an eleven year old son. I am originally from Florida and have lived in Lakeland since 2000.
  • Margaret Stephens, Instructor

    Margaret Stephens


    I taught math for 30 years, 29 of which were in Polk County. My experience is with grades 7-12 as well as a couple courses at Florida Southern College. During those years, I also tutored privately. Throughout my several careers, the driving force for me has been involvement and excellence to the best of my ability.
  • Steve Miller, Instructor

    Steve Miller


    My name is Steve Miller. Prior to my retirement in 2015, I was a math teacher at Southwest Middle School in Lakeland, Fl. I taught 6th- 8th grade for 17 years and specialized in simplifying math curriculum to make it more understandable for struggling students. In 2008, I was fortunate enough to be selected as Teacher of the Year for Southwest. I have a bachelors degree in Accounting and a Masters Degree in Education and am currently licensed as a Professional Educator for the State of Florida.