About Us

Our Philosophy

We have all heard the parable of the starving man who comes to the fishing village looking for food. Like the forward-thinking fisherman in that village, Northwest Educational Services believes in teaching our students to fish. We want our students to grow into empowered learners, becoming active agents in their own growth.

    • Our one-to-one tutoring is designed to meet an individual student’s needs. Coaches and students are matched based on both content expertise and personality fit.
    • Some of the most important coaching happens when there isn’t current homework or urgent test prep.
    • Everything counts. All homework assignments are opportunities to actively engage and prepare for future tests, and every step in the right direction is worthwhile.

Check out our blog to learn more!

Business Policies

    • No contract or long-term commitment. Most clients choose to set up regular weekly appointments, but you’re welcome to see us on a short-term or call-as-needed basis.  
    • Pay as you go service. Cash or check, payable to NWES.
    • 24 hours’ notice required for schedule changes and cancellations.

Our Coaches

Greg Smith

Greg is the owner of Northwest Educational Services. He graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1985, majoring in African History and minoring in Physics and Computer Science. He also did a year of post-graduate study in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Vermont before earning a teaching credential from Lewis and Clark College.

Greg’s passion is teaching students how to become masters of learning so they can take charge of their own education. He emphasizes the use of proven strategies that help all types of students including those with learning differences. A dyslexic himself, Greg has been personally using these strategies for most of his life. He also works with parents on how to better support academic success at home. Along with Chris Loper, Greg coteaches “Parenting for Academic Success (and Parental Sanity)” – a five-part course offered every summer.

With nearly three decades as an educator, Greg has extensive experience working with all types of students. He taught middle school English and History before founding NWES in 1995. Greg also runs the Learning Center at Billings Middle School and is frequently asked to speak at Seattle schools and educational conferences on topics ranging from test prep to executive function and parenting for academic success.

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Greg has lived in Seattle since 1995. As a young man, Greg was a serious tennis player, whitewater kayaker, and sports photographer. These days he enjoys skiing, bike riding, and rooting for the Mariners and the Seahawks. He lives in Queen Anne with his wife and two daughters.

Chris Loper

Chris Loper

Chris grew up in Issaquah, WA, and graduated from Issaquah High School, where he earned over a year of college credit through AP classes. He attended Montana State University, where he majored in Sociology, minored in History, and earned a Baccalaureate Honors Degree with Distinction. He is the author of Wood Floats and Other Brilliant Observations, a humorous memoir that blends crazy stories with practical life lessons, available on Amazon and through most local bookstores.

Chris is passionate about education because it is a direct way to make the world a better place. He loves teaching and helping students improve. Through independent study, Chris has used knowledge to greatly improve his own life. He wants to share that knowledge, inspire others to seek it, and empower them to retain it.

Chris has been with Northwest Educational Services since 2014. He no longer coaches students for us, but he still writes our blog. His writing is aimed at helping parents and students learn and apply successful student psychologyPlease follow our blog to learn more. Together with Greg, he co-teaches Parenting for Academic Success (and Parental Sanity) each summer.

Chris is also the creator of becomingbetter.org, a blog dedicated to the science and practice of self-improvement. You can find a collection of his best articles here. Through Becoming Better, he offers habit coaching for adults who want to establish optimize their habits, overcome procrastination, and become extraordinary. He also works with recent graduates and other young adults on executive function. Chris lives in Issaquah, where he is the owner of South Cove Tutoring. For fun, he skis, climbs, hikes, and plays tabletop games.

Jason Benhaim
Born in San Francisco and raised in Los Angeles, Jason enjoyed many summers teaching swim lessons to children of all ages before graduating from Stanford University in 2009 with a B.A. in English. As an undergraduate, he also completed all pre-med course requirements, but ultimately decided he would rather contribute to the well-being of his community by working at food co-ops. After stints in Davis and Albuquerque, Jason moved to Seattle in 2013 and began working at PCC Community Markets, where his most recent role was Assistant Store Director. He found that training, coaching, and developing staff members was the most gratifying part of managing a large grocery store, and is excited to exercise those skills more directly as a tutor.

Jason remains interested in mathematics and the hard sciences and has always harbored an unusual affinity for standardized tests, but perhaps his deepest appreciation is for the written word. He is currently finishing up a detailed trail blog he kept while thru-hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail from Glacier National Park to the Olympic Peninsula in 2018. He has also been known to follow through on several New Year’s resolutions to read 52 books in one year. Among friends and family, Jason is the go-to guy for editing, and he relishes the opportunity to help others express themselves clearly and originally. He recognizes that writing, along with grammar and vocabulary, can be sources of great anxiety; as someone who has struggled with perfectionism and procrastination, he has a keen interest in helping students overcome these common barriers to growth.

In his free time, Jason enjoys backpacking, running, yoga, and meditation. He also keeps his mind sharp by learning to sail and maintaining the boat that serves as his new tiny home on Lake Union. He is the proud owner of the marina cat, Ichabod, and aspires to one day take him out to the Pacific Ocean.

Kal Demisse

Kal was born and raised in Ethiopia, Eastern Africa. She received a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Addis Ababa University (AAU) in 2016.

While attending AAU, Kal spent her summer breaks volunteering at an orphanage teaching kids math and introductory physics. During her last year at school, she held an internship position at a construction firm where she also wrote her thesis in collaboration with the Ethiopian Road Authority.

After migrating to the United States, her love for books would lead her to become a bookseller at the MIT campus bookstore in Cambridge, MA. While there, she enjoyed helping students find the books they needed and found time to explore the northeastern US.

Kal recently moved to Seattle and is eager to continue helping students learn. She is currently taking Chemical Engineering prerequisite classes at North Seattle College and plans to attend the University of Washington.

Kal speaks three languages and is also teaching herself American Sign Language in her spare time. She enjoys reading books, listening to music, and watching soccer.

Brandon O’Toole

With a BS in Mechanical Engineering and over 6 years of industry experience in Aerospace and Computer Software, Brandon has a deep, practical understanding of core concepts in Math, Science, and Technology. In addition to understanding the significance and real-world application of these topics, he is able to pinpoint the concepts which will have the greatest impact and help each student harness their own understanding more fully.

For fun, Brandon enjoys rock climbing, mountaineering, and video games.

Nathan Woo

Nathan was born and raised in Kent, Washington. His first love was for the sciences, such as chemistry and physics, but his first political science course realigned his sights on majoring in political economy instead. Nathan is comfortable working with children K-12. He has a thorough understanding of mathematics through trigonometry, and has a solid understanding of introductory chemistry and physics. He also has an expert grasp of reading and writing fundamentals.

Nathan believes that education is a primary means of empowerment for those who need it and a viable pathway towards personal happiness and enlightenment. In addition to working for Northwest Education Services, Nathan also serves as a special education instructional assistant for Seattle Public Schools as well as a Learning Assistance Program tutor. He brings a positive, can-do attitude and steadying counsel towards any task his students face.

Nathan’s hobbies include cheering for his University of Washington Huskies, running long distances, reading science fiction, exploring philosophy, and Sunday brunch.

Ryo Okubo

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ryo has been working as a biological researcher since his time as a work-study student at UCLA. While at UCLA, Ryo completed all the requirements for a Physiological Sciences major (the typical pre-med path for students at UCLA) before switching to Ecology to pursue his passion. After receiving his B.S. in Ecology, he moved up to Seattle to attend graduate school at the University of Washington, where he received his M.S. in Biology. 

During his time as an academic, Ryo has enjoyed being both a mentee and mentor, interacting with all levels of scientists and students while publishing in scientific journals. His interests have expanded beyond ecology into neurobiology, chemistry, and data science.

In his free time, Ryo enjoys playing and watching basketball (Go Lakers!) and tracking basketball statistics, as well as coding, tending to his aquarium, and hiking.

Andrew Durtschi

Andrew was born in Seattle and raised in the Pacific Northwest. He graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in History. He has spent the last decade in the film industry, and has years of experience working as a writer. His background putting words to page professionally dovetails with years of experience helping students improve their prose and test scores. Working with the team at Northwest Educational Services, Andrew takes a holistic approach to helping each student, not just with the task at hand, but with strategies and study habits that will serve them for years to come.

Cami Sheppard 

Cami was born and raised in Seattle. As a child, she saw words as both toys and doorways to understanding the world. Early exposure to French expanded those horizons, and she’s always been passionate about opening those doorways for others. 

She spent her senior year of high school in Lyon and Paris, then majored in French at the University of Washington, graduating in 1983. Upon graduation, she moved to France forever—or until she ran out of money. 

She worked in finance for a few years, then returned to the UW for an MA in French Literature in 1989. At the UW, Cami taught undergraduate French language and culture classes, then taught in local private schools. 

When her three adult children were young, she began tutoring high school students in French, and found that she preferred one-on-one teaching. This led to supporting students in English as well, helping them craft and edit stories, essays, and research papers. Cami enjoys listening deeply for what her students really need. She’s worked with those who “just want to pass the class” and be done with foreign language, some who need help catching up, students working on college applications, students who don’t need a tutor—just someone to listen—and students who want to go beyond schoolwork. 

Cami’s love of language and story also led her to pursue her own writing. She completed a certificate in memoir and personal essay in 2016 and is currently working on an editing certificate. 

She spends her free time gardening, walking with her dog, hiking the Cascades and Olympics, reading, and traveling.

Maurice Wright

Profile picture of tutor Maurice Wright

Born in the Bronx and raised in a small suburb outside of New York City, Maurice grew up during the glory days of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. In addition to going to the Bronx Zoo, he spent his childhood in classes and swimming pools. Maurice always enjoyed going to school because he was fortunate enough to grow up with a small group of people from elementary school. Swimming occupied the remainder of his time and was his introduction to tutoring: providing swimming lessons to young children. To this day, Maurice enjoys reading Thomas Sowell and Milton Friedman, as well as swimming at the beach.

After graduating from Columbia University in 2009, Maurice began providing ACT and SAT tutoring for a test prep agency in Greenwich, Connecticut. This experience included both one-on-one and group tutoring, both in-person and online. Once his students started to succeed with these exams, he began receiving requests from parents to tutor their younger students for the private high school entrance exams, as well as their older students for the GRE and GMAT. Maurice enjoys the process of helping a student gain confidence through structure and discipline while helping them work towards their goals. 

Maurice is always firm but fair with his students. As a former student-athlete who also used to run his own businesses, he understands the busy schedule and lifestyle of modern students. However, he does not believe in excuses whatsoever. This is why he always starts by emphasizing organization, scheduling, consistency, and resolve. By doing so early on, students trust Maurice and commit to doing the work early on without complaining about the effort required to become successful. 

Jamie Henderson

Born in rural New Hampshire, Jamie came to know the Pacific Northwest when she was ten after her family moved cross country. She graduated from Anacortes High School, where she earned an abundance of AP credits, and then went on to attend Western Washington University, where she earned a business degree. Jamie’s areas of focus mainly include mathematics and science, as well as organizational skills and good study habits. She harbors a fondness for literature and writing – especially poetry – as well. 

From middle school through college, Jamie seized every opportunity to volunteer in classrooms and work with younger students. Jamie’s passion for learning and educating stems from her own need for resources during her academic career. As a first-generation college student, she relied on her teachers and counselors to help guide her through AP testing, the SATs, and the application process for college. Now, she’s happy to be a coach for other students as they move along the same journey. As a full-time student trying to balance a job managing the WWU library during her college career, her busy schedule taught her the importance of mindful study habits and organization, skills applicable to all stages of life and learning.

In her spare time, Jamie can be found trying out a new sourdough recipe, tackling a hike in the Cascades, or tending her backyard honeybees.

Oriana LoCicero

Oriana grew up moving around, spending large parts of her childhood in Massachusetts, Argentina, and Washington. Through this, she found a love for the universal language of numbers and exploring different cultures. This foundation led her to venture out to Maine where she received her B.S. in Chemistry, minor in Dance, and concentration in Physics from Bates College. She returned to Washington and currently calls Bellingham home where she enjoys backpacking, reading, dancing, and ceramics. 

Oriana’s tutoring journey began at Bellingham High School where she spent a year supporting students with learning differences as a peer tutor. She continued to tutor through college, specializing in Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. She regularly participated in professional development and received the College Reading and Learning Association Level 1 Tutor Certification. As a personal interest, she also took various education classes which placed her in local classrooms and after-school programs where she obtained experience working with kids of all ages in science and English Language Learner (ELL) classrooms.

Oriana enjoys growing with her students and building one-on-one relationships with them. She values bringing empathy to sessions with students and draws from her personal experience of struggling as a young child with reading. Oriana understands students have varied learning styles and works collaboratively with them to create an environment that fosters a growth mindset. She is excited to continue this work with Northwest Education Services!

Cameron Baldi

Cameron was born and raised in Seattle, and expressed interests in math and science from an early age, even willing to get up early twice a week in elementary school to participate in their school’s Math Olympiad. This interest continued through high school, where they took the AP Calculus series before heading off to Western Washington University to pursue a degree in Materials Science Engineering. While working through the classes in the pre-major however, taking a required language elective reignited their love for the Japanese language, which they had studied in high school, ultimately diverting the course of their bachelor’s degree into the humanities. Graduating in 2022 with a major in Japanese and a minor in East Asian studies, they still wish to utilize the content they learned by completing a large catalog of stem courses and return for another degree in the future. Before that, however, they hope to partake in various programs teaching English in Japan, working as a translator, and tutoring. 

Cameron is comfortable working with children K-12, but their skill set is primarily geared towards 5th-11th grade, their expertise is in the fields of introductory Japanese, math up to and including pre-calculus, general science, chemistry, and physics. Having had a teacher or two whose methods didn’t click, they understand just how important it is to have a support system like NWES. They wish to help students learn to find ways to work and communicate with their teachers, especially if their instructors don’t have styles that accommodate the student’s needs.

In their free time, Cameron enjoys tabletop games, writing, and polishing up their Japanese.

Em Wright

Em grew up in a small, rural, farming town in Wisconsin where their curiosity about nature became a passion that has led them throughout their career. As an Anthropology major and Environmental Policy and Culture minor at Northwestern University, Em explored the connection between people, culture, and our planet. They completed their honors thesis about community gardening as an anti-displacement strategy in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in Chicago. In their free time, they were active in the environmental scene, including mentoring middle school students in leading sustainability projects at their schools. 

Em discovered an affinity for mentoring and coaching as an AmeriCorps member in southern Oregon while teaching middle and high school students about ecology and science in an outdoor, field-based program. They continued similar work as a teaching assistant in an undergraduate class while getting their M.A. in Human Geography at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Em now teaches as an adjunct professor in the Environmental Studies department at Seattle University. They are also training to be a somatic coach with International Coaching Federation (ICF) certification, and they bring these skills into their work with learners.

Em is passionate about supporting people to direct their own learning and growth. They love working together with learners of all ages to uncover their passions and find the path to success that fits their unique interests, skills, and growth edges. Em is often the person to whom friends and family go to seek advice, a sounding board, and support. 

When Em isn’t working, they row with Lake Union Crew, dance, go for walks, and spend time with their baby nephew.

Janet Young

Janet has always been passionate about learning. In high school, she took eight AP courses, including every AP history course offered at her high school. She also served as concertmaster and was voted MVP of both the tennis team and the track and field team. She graduated with a B.S. in Psychology, a B.A. in History, and a minor in music from the University of California, San Diego. She then graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and passed the California Bar Exam. She has worked as a lawyer and an executive director, and she currently owns her own business.

As an executive director working with youth in juvenile hall, she personally developed and led a math and English tutoring program for all high school graduates to further their education. She taught all ages while earning her black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She believes with the right inspiration and tools, anybody can love to learn.

Through it all, she has always found time to play violin, read, mountain bike, downhill ski, and save the environment.