Manuel grew up in Switzerland before moving to the United States at the age of twelve. As a result, in addition to English, Manuel is fluent in Swiss-German, German and French. He attended San Mateo High School before earning a Master's in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) as well as a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of California at Berkeley.


Manuel has experience working with a wide range of students and grade levels. He has worked with children in special education and taught at-risk youth students for the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE). He also co-taught a class on international issues at the University of California at Santa Cruz and co-taught seminars during his time at LSE and UCB. He volunteered in Tanzania and recently worked as an intern for an International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) in London where he conducted research on third-party mediation practices. 


"My son Matthew has been working with Manuel for over a year with amazing results. Manuel helped Matt with the entire college application process, helped him to prepare and significantly improve his ACT scores and guided him through the essay and completion of every form necessary to get into a highly respectable college.  My son got into every college he applied and he also was accepted at his reach college.  I cannot say enough great things about Manuel and The Right Approach's system. "


- Denise L., TRA Parent

Maria Leite

 Teacher

Specialties
K-8 All Subjects, Health Education, Art & Organizational Skills


Test Prep  
HSPT, ISEE, and SSAT


Education

B.S. Health Education & Minor in Art, San Francisco State University

Abby is a proud sixth generation San Franciscan. She attended Convent of the Sacred Heart for middle and high school, where she transformed into a top student. During her time at Convent, she was student body president,  sports editor on the newspaper staff, and an avid volunteer at school events. After Convent, Abby attended the George Washington University in Washington DC, earning a BA in Women's Studies. Her passion for social justice and education lead her to pursue a Master's in Social Work and School Services from Columbia University in New York City.   


Abby has a profound love for her students, believing they can achieve any goal with the right support and hard work. She has worked with elementary, middle and high schoolers as a social worker and brought her love of history to the classroom as a teacher at Convent of the Sacred Heart High School and Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton, where she is a current Director of Admissions.


When not in the classroom, Abby enjoys watching her beloved Bay Area sports teams, spending time with her family and friends, and curling up with a good book.

Cristina was born and raised in San Mateo. She graduated from Hillsdale High School in 2013 and continued her studies at UC Santa Cruz that year. She recently completed her BA in Psychology and is hoping to receive her Masters in School Counseling in the near future.


Cristina enjoys spending time with her family, going to the movies, dancing, and traveling. She is excited to be a part of the TRA team as it will allow her delve into the world of education and make a difference in the lives of TRA students and families.

Ciara grew up on the East Coast and has lived in many states throughout her career. She recently moved to the Bay Area and is happy to call it her new home. Ciara was inspired by her high school biology teacher to pursue higher education in the sciences. In 2008, she studied environmental science during her undergraduate experience at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. Shortly after, she earned her master’s degree in Earth and Environmental Science from Tulane University in 2014. Upon graduation, she has gained invaluable experience in sustainable permaculture, environmental consulting, and environmental education.

In 2016, Ciara began teaching and tutoring science and math to middle and high school students. She has found helping students achieve their academic goals to be an incredibly rewarding and exciting career. Her teaching style is collaborative and engaging, and she is driven to continue learning new teaching methodologies in order to be the most helpful to her students. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, hiking, surfing, and playing guitar.

Operations Manager & Teacher

Ciara Chambers

Specialties

World History, US History, Government, Psychology, Economics, English, Digital Media & Graphic Design, Study Skills, and Mentoring


​Test Prep  
ACT, SAT, ISEE, HSPT (English), AP Psychology, AP US History,
and AP Government

Education

Career Technical Education Credential, UC Berkeley (in-progress)
B.A. Broadcasting & Electronic Communication Arts, SFSU

A.A. Human Services & Digital Media, College of San Mateo


Specialties
K-8 All Subjects, Communication, Organizational Skills & Event Coordinating


Test Prep

HSPT, ISEE, and SSAT (Math)


Education

A.A. Psychology, College of San Mateo (In-progress)


Abby Miller Gudich

Specialties
Algebra, Pre-calculus, Calculus, Linear Algebra, Chemistry, Physics, Human Physiology, and Biology


Test Prep

SAT (Math) & ACT (Math & Science) 


Education

B.S. Bioengineering, UC San Diego

M.B.A., UC Irvine (In-Progress)

Francisca Shayo

Teacher

Mae Linh Blake

Stephanie O'Brien

Justin Hartford

Director of Operations, Teacher

 Administrative Assistant & Teacher

Alexis is our Director of Marketing & Visual Communication and teacher at The Right Approach to Education.  He is a graduate of Carlmont High School in Belmont, CA and graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Radio and Television and a minor in Counseling Psychology. He also has a passion for teaching the social sciences (history, US government, economics, and psychology), Multimedia, and English.  Alexis integrates a real-world application in his lessons and curriculum. Alexis teaches the relevancy and mastery of the subject material to a student's "scholarly toolbox."  He incorporates a “growth mindset” approach, having students learn from their mistakes and shortcomings in teaching opportunities and positive learning experiences. 


He has also received additional certificates and associate degrees in human services, digital media, psychosocial rehabilitation and peer mentoring from the College of San Mateo. Currently, he is pursuing a Career Technical Education teaching credential from UC Berkeley.  Alexis also is a certified tutor completing 300+ tutoring hours and designated as a CRLA (College Reading and Learning Association) Level I & II Tutor. The certification is given by the International Tutoring Training Program Certification.  As well as a teacher, he is a jack-of-all-trades (DJ, photographer, artist, educator, mental wellness advocate, mentor) and adept in digital media programs. When he's not tutoring or completing administrative duties, he pursues his passion in the arts through photography, mixed media art, DJ music mixing and composition, and volunteers his time at local non-profits.

Specialties
Spanish (All Levels)


Education

B.A. Psychology, UC Santa Cruz 

Tiffany Lopez

Teacher

Specialties
Math:  Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, Pre-Calculus
Science: Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Environmental Science


Test Prep

HSPT, ISEE, SSAT, SAT, and ACT


Education

B.S. Environmental Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
M.S. Earth & Environmental Science, Tulane University

Mae Linh has been teaching math and science in the Bay Area for the last ten years and loving every minute of it. She has taught all levels of physics (conceptual through AP Physics 1), algebra I, and geometry.  She has taught in both public and private schools, including both Saint Ignatius and Notre Dame High School.  


When she is not in the classroom or tutoring, Mae Linh likes to take to the stage and perform with a local theater group, or kick back with her family and five cats.

Born and raised in Tanzania, Francisca moved to the US in 2001.After graduating from Hillsdale High School, Francisca attended college at the University of California, San Diego, where she graduated with a degree in Bioengineering.

Francisca has had plenty of experiences working with children of diverse backgrounds and needs. While in high school, she acted as a board member of the school’s Best Buddies chapter, an international organization whose goal is to create one-to-one friendships for people with intellectual disabilities. She has also volunteered as a Youth Leader for different community organizations including The Mosaic Project. In addition to empowering children, Francisca has previously tutored high school chemistry as well as middle school mathematics.

She has experience teaching many subjects including Algebra, Pre-calculus, Calculus, Linear Algebra, Vector Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, Human Physiology, and Cell Biology.

Specialties

Business, Marketing, Sales, and Math (K-8)


Education

B.S. Business & Marketing, Loyola Marymount University

Cristina Gutierrez

TRA Founder & CEO, Teacher

Specialties

Math and Physics (All levels, including AP)

Test Prep

SAT & ACT (Math)


Education
B.S in Mathematics and Physics, University of San Francisco
M.S. in Education, University of San Francisco
CA Credentialed Secondary teacher in Math and Physics.

Manuel Kernen

Justin has deep roots in the San Mateo/Belmont area, attending Merry Moppet preschool and public school at Fox Elementary and Ralston Middle School. He then attended Bellarmine in San Jose for high school, graduating in 2000.  That decision had a significant influence on him.  Always used to being one of the top students, he had never been in such a competitive environment before, but the Jesuit’s taught him many skills that he still uses to this day, such as processing a lot of information in a short amount of time and successfully managing his time.  He was on the wrestling team for a couple of years and on the debate team all four years, specifically Team-Policy debate. After graduating, Justin attended Loyola Marymount University, majoring in business/marketing. He also took as many psychology and cinema classes that were eligible as electives for his major.  When he graduated, he took a sales rep position at Hartford Sales Group in the Bay Area.


In his downtime, Justin also attended community college at CSM to finish all of the prerequisites needed to apply to a master’s program in psychology. In the meantime, Justin enjoys spending time with his family and friends, watching football, basketball, baseball, playing poker, and is a huge movie buff! He and his wife have a little Daschund/mix rescue puppy named Jameson, who only plays with pinecones and nothing else! ​

Teacher

Office Assistant & Spanish Teacher

Teacher

Specialties

All Subjects (K-8), Languages: Beginner Spanish, High School Spanish and Upper-level Spanish, Study Skills: Executive Functioning, Student Organization, and Note-taking 


Test Prep 
ISEE, SSAT, and HSPT (Math & English)

Education

California Teaching Credential (in progress), University of San Francisco
B.A. in Liberal Studies, Sonoma State University
CA Credentialed Substitute Teacher

"My son, Dylan, felt empowered to manage his schoolwork , tests and term papers.  He formed a partnership w/his tutors and felt he could trust their advice and help.   I am happy to recommend your 'approach.' " - Michelle, Parent

Jamie Govoni-Hobe

Specialties
English and Social Sciences (K-12)


Education

B.A. Women's Studies, George Washington University

Master's in Social Work and School Services, Columbia University

A Bay Area local, Tiffany graduated from Burlingame High School before attending Sonoma State University in 2013. She graduated college in the fall of 2016 with a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Studies.  Tiffany spent many years playing sports, participating in school plays and learning all there is to know about baking the perfect chocolate chip cookies. When she was in high school, she found herself volunteering at a Spanish immersion preschool where her passion for teaching had begun. From there, she has worked in many classroom and after-school environments, focusing primarily on early elementary and middle school ages. 


Tiffany specializes in teaching students how to learn from their resources, including note-taking styles, organizing their work, and time management skills. She shows students how to learn from their strengths and apply those strengths to becoming a better, more organized student. In her free time, Tiffany loves baking, shopping, and watching Friends reruns on Netflix. She is currently in the process of continuing her education and hopes to receive a teaching credential in the near future.


Subject Specialties
Social Sciences, Political Science, Special Education, College Preparation, Conflict Resolution, Mentoring


Test Prep 

HSPT, ISEE, SSAT, ACT and SAT (English)

Education

B.S. Peace and Conflict Studies, UC Berkeley
M.S. Global Politics, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

The Right Approach to Education Staff

Stephanie was born and raised in Belmont. She graduated from Carlmont High School in 2010 and then began her studies at San Francisco State University in the fall. While attending San Francisco State, Stephanie followed her passions for helping people and doing art by graduating in 2016 with a Bachelors of Science in health education and a minor in art. 

In her free time Stephanie enjoys doing ceramics, camping, and getting out into nature with her dog, Ziggy. Stephanie also loves working with children and helping other succeed, which is why she is so happy to be part of the TRA family, helping enrich young minds and foster their future success. 


"Thank you for the things you have taught me, Stephanie, and your kindness."


- Peyton L, TRA student

Director of Marketing & Visual Communications, Teacher

Alexis Madayag

Specialties
All Subjects (K-8), Writing & Literature (High School Level)


Education
B.A. Education, University of Vermont

Waldorf Teacher Training & CA Certified Teaching Credential

The Right Approach was founded in 2010 by Jamie Govoni. Jamie is a graduate from the University of Vermont's prestigious child education program. She was named Student Teacher of the Year in 2002 by university faculty. Jamie moved to California in 2003 and taught middle school for four years. Becoming disenchanted with the state's insistence of teaching children based on standardized testing, Jamie sought alternative teaching methods. Combining her training from a Bay Area Waldorf teacher program with her knowledge of traditional teaching styles, Jamie's teaching methods form The Right Approach to Education. She specializes in all subject areas from K-8, students with learning disabilities and SAT/ACT English and writing.


"Jamie knew I would required more unconventional methods to retain the information, so she came up with a more interactive and fun way to teach me. I really appreciated that she tailored her teaching style to fit my learning style, and it helped me
become a better student.”


- Samantha Perez
TRA Student & ASSC Executive Vice President, Santa Clara University


College Applications Specialist, Data Analyst, Teacher

Maria grew up in a small town in Brazil and moved to the Bay Area when she was eleven. She adapted to the new culture quickly and attended Mercy High school from 2011-2015. During her high school years, she found herself working at Belmont Iceland. Belmont Iceland became a great place for her to learn new experiences and develop her skills in communicating and coordinating events. In 2015, she was promoted to “Event Coordinator” for Belmont Iceland and will remain in that position until the closing of the company on April 30th, 2016.


Maria is a passionate learner who is pursuing her dream in childhood developmental psychology. Working at the Right Approach to Education gives her a chance to work with kids and learn new experiences as their administrative assistant and teacher.


"Maria is nothing short of AMAZING. She works math problems into games, let's my daughter "teach back", and ends every session with compliments and encouragement. My daughter can't wait to get to see Maria each week!"

- Kelly S., TRA Parent